by: Adam Phillips [ ]
M2A3 Bradley BUSK III IFV, the U.S. Armyís most advanced IFV at present, is a variant of the M2 Bradley which went into service in the 1980s. This IFV is installed with the Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below (FBCB2) Battlefield Command Information System and Bradley Urban Survivability Kits (BUSK). It has strong survivability and information combat capabilities.
Combat weight of a M2A3 Bradley BUSK III IFV with ERA modules is about 30t. It is powered by a 600hp VTA-903T diesel engine with an HMPT-500-3 hydro mechanical transmission. The two-man turret consists of a 25mm M242 Bushmaster chain gun, a 7.62mm M240C coaxial machine gun and a two-tube TOW anti-tank missile launcher. The rear passenger compartment can hold 6 soldiers and thereís room for another one behind the driverís seat. So taking into account the crew, it can hold 10 people in total.
This IFV serves with U.S. troops stationed in the Continental United States, Afghanistan, Iraq and South Korea.
Recently, in a professional capacity, I attended a seminar about the customer experience. Essentially those companies that provide the best customer experience have the best profits. Now, weíre not talking the best products, but the companies that provide the customer the best overall experience with those products. The customer experience can be described as the interaction the customer has with the company from the first piece of sales material all the way to the use of the product. Well, what does all of this have to do with Meng Modelsís new M2A3 Bradley? Well, I will go so far as to say I have never been as impressed with a new kit release as I am with Meng Modelsís new Bradley.
If youíre anything like me, Iím constantly searching the internet, social media, and Armorama for news on new kits. When I saw Meng Modelsís announcement for their Bradley I could not have been more excited, everything Iíve seen and built from Meng Models has been nothing but first class. Well, Meng Models has done it again!
When I received the review sample from Armorama I thought they ran out of normal sized shipping boxes because the dimensions were so large. When I opened the box I was astonished to see the actual size, I was aware that it had a full interior, but did not expect it to be almost twice as big as the Tamiya ODS offering. The other thing that really impressed me was the quality of the box the kit is shipped in, itís a nice sturdy cardboard that isnít easily warped. This may not seem important to some, but again it goes back to the whole ďcustomer experienceĒ aspect. Even before I touched a bit of the plastic I felt like I was about to open up an amazing kit.
When I finally finished drooling over the box art and learning a bit more about the Bradley vehicle, I opened up the kit and my jaw just about hit the floor. The box is stuffed full of green, black/gray, and tan plastic sprue. At this point I did take a peek at the instructions and verified that all these parts will actually be used in the construction of the kit. We all know how frustrating it can be to open up a box full of sprue only to find out 70% of the parts will end up in the spares box.
As I moved through the kitís contents I was pleasantly surprised to find Meng Models has split out the sprue into three colors to help identify what parts go with individual sub-assemblies. The black/grey sprue is dedicated to the engine and transmission, the green sprue for the interior, and the tan for the hull, running gear, and exterior etc. At that point, I also want to point out that I was very impressed with the anti-slip coating on the hull itself as well as the fact that all the periscopes are hallow and utilizes clear parts. Again, the kit just keeps impressing. Then there is the full interior which speaks for itself, the only downside I was able to identify in the kit was the flexible rubber seatbelts included. To me, the buckle detail seems to be molded a little soft.
So, pretty much the build itself seems like it will just about fall together and chock full of detail. Well, once the vehicle itself is all built up the kit doesnít fall short in the marking options with one vehicle from 2003 and 2 vehicles from 2005 represented. Before I forget to mention, yes the kit does come with Photo Etched wheel and track masks that we previously saw in their T-90 offering.
To sum it up, I really canít stop saying enough good things about this kit. By now there have been a few builds of this kit made available on Armorama and the web in general and those builders have done an excellent job of showcasing the kit's potential. I look forward to building up the kit myself and verifying my prediction that the kit will go together quickly without much hassle and will present a great representation of the Bradley Fighting Vehicles. The build review will be on Armorama for you to read soon.