by: Seb Viale [ ]
The Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck (HEMTT) series is a range of eight-wheel drive diesel-powered off-road capable trucks, used by the US military. Formally described as "Truck, Cargo: 10-Ton, 8x8", it has been nicknamed the "Dragon Wagon". HEMTT trucks first went into service with the U.S. Army in 1982, as a replacement for the M520 Goer.
A 10x10 variant of the HEMTT truck is used as prime mover in the Palletized load system (PLS). The vehicle is produced by the Oshkosh Corporation. In the civilian realm the truck's chassis is also used in the Oshkosh Striker as an airport crash tender.
12 pages B&W instruction booklet.
6 Plastic sprues
1 Transparent sprue
One small decal
Italeri has just released brand new fully upgraded moulds for this item.
This vehicle depicts a HEMTT gun truck with field modified armor on the flatbed as well as on the cabin. Extra weapons stations are welded onto the flat bed.
I never had the chance to see or own a previous HEMTT from Italeri but with the big mention on the top of the box: “Fully upgraded moulds”, I was expecting an outstanding level of details similar in such with contemporary release from other plastic companies. Well, I have to admit that finding no vinyl tires, or a PE fret was a shock. Moreover the level of detail on most sprues has made me dig deeper to check the details.
Out of the 6 plastic sprues, four have a 292 number. 292 is the kit number for Italeri M-977. So you can imagine with the age of that kit what level of detail you will be dealing with, so much forso called improved moulding. Generally, overall detail is pretty low, a lot of simplification is present. The evident mold design flaws are found in many locations, flash, sink marks, large seam lines, and numerous ejector pin marks. The level of detail is not up to the standard of today’s releases.
So, I am sorry to tell you that 77% of the kit is Not New. Only the extra armor plates and weapons stations for the flatbed are new.
So saying that, let’s start the review.
The build is done in 12 steps for the HEMTT, the last 7 steps covers the attachment of the field applied armor panels. Last step is for the crane.
Step 1 covers the build of the frame. In my review sample, the two large beams (1A and 16A) are not aligned and bent. The bolt heads are just plain cylinder shape not as seen on the real vehicle.
Step 2 covers the assembly of the suspension. The leaf springs are too big and over simplified. Flatbed support beams are again wrapped and need to be perfectly square prior to gluing, numerous ejection pins need to be sanded.
Steps 3 & 4 are for the building of the transmission. The gear boxes are over simplified, the main comment is again on the bolt heads which are again small cylindrical points.
Steps 5 - 7 are for the building of the engine. No details are shown on the parts. Exhaust cover which is actually in PE is molded directly onto the exhaust pipe. Air filter is nicely done. All boxes are engineered in strange way. Some parts in plastics would preferably be supplied in PE such as the mud flaps.
Step 8 finalizes all the mechanical parts for the suspension and transmission such as anti-rolls bars. Wheels hubs are attached to the drive shafts.
Step 9 covers the cabin which has a nice dashboard. The seats are molded in one piece, no seatbelts. On the outside the overall aspect is simplified for example; the lights are molded as a single piece, the passenger door is molded closed but the driver’s door can be displayed opened.
Step 10 covers the gluing of the 8 front wheels. Each wheel is molded in two plastic halves with poor engraving shown on the walls. Tire pattern is really simple and removing the joint line can be tricky. The cabin is glued onto the main frame
Step 11 covers the building of the flat bed. This is straight forward while the wall needs be sanded because of the presence of ejector pin marks.
Step 12 covers the attaching of the flat bed to the main frame and the attachment of the wheels. This is the final step for the HEMTT.
The rest of the build covers the extra armor plates being glued into the flat bed and cabin.
Steps 13 & 14 are dedicated to the assembly of the armor panels onto the flatbed. Surprisingly the level of details is great. All welding lines on the steel plates are really well done as well as the bold heads.
Step 15 covers the preparation of the cabin for the armor. Mirrors are attached to the cabin as well as the driver door.
Step 16 covers the gluing of the door protection panels. Since such items are welded in place, you need to sand off the bold heads.
Step 17 covers the assembly of all weapons and I need to be honest even though these items are part of the new sprue, the quality is poor. Large seam lines can be seen on the barrel of the M2 and the Mk19 barrel is totally wrong, the gun mounts however are nicely done; you can save them after some minor clean up.
Step 18 finalizes the assembly of the cabin protection armor and the gun ring is glued onto the roof.
Step 19 covers the attachment of all of the guns onto the truck bed.
Steps 20 & 21 cover the building of the crane; one missing detail is the cable for the crane.
Unfortunately the truck main sprues are not new and you will need to do a lot of work to reach a good level of detail. The model is out of date when compared to what competitors offers. I can only suggest that you find an alternate source for the HEMTT. It is really disappointing to see such lack of attention from Italeri when they have demonstrated a good level of quality on the new sprues. I am dreaming of a brand new tooled HEMTT. In conclusion, you will need a lot of AM stuff to ensure a high level of quality and details.