The Lynx was first produced in 1963 by the manufacturer of the famous M113 and was known as the M113Ĺ C&R (Command and Reconnaissance Vehicle). While sharing many components of the M113, it has a lower silhouette, four rather than five road wheels per side, and a rear mounted engine. Also unlike the M113, production ran to only a few hundred, with Canada and the Netherlands purchasing the vehicle when new, with the Dutch eventually passing theirs on to Bahrain, while in Canada the Lynx was retired in the early 1990s. Differences exist between Dutch and Canadian versions, and it is the Canadian type that is represented in this offering from Armada Hobby.
Armada offer quite a range of small scale resin kits, having some 68 products on offer for example on the Tracks-n-Troops web shop. From the serial number of this kit, it looks like it may be one of the older items in their range. They certainly cover some unique Cold War and modern subjects including cars and trucks as well as armoured vehicles.
The kit is packed in a nice top opening mailing box with a card slip-on case that carries the artwork and keeps the lid shut. The larger components are loose in the box, with the smaller parts inside a zip lock bag. There is a single sheet of instructions and no decals. In detail, parts are as follows, all in resin except where noted:
- Large hull casting (photos 2, 3, 4)
- Tracks lengths x 6 (5)
- Sprockets and idlers x 2 (6)
- Road wheels, inner and outer x 8 (7, 8)
- Trim vanes Ė two options (9, 10)
- Suspension parts mounted on hull plates x 2 (11)
- Lamps and smoke dischargers x 2 (12)
- Lamps, tow mounts and tie-downs x 4 (13)
- Jerry cans x 2 (14)
- Lamp bar guards x 2 (15)
- Tow hooks (16)
- Large and medium stowage packs (17)
- .50 cal machine gun (18)
- Tow cable (19)
- Side skirts x 2 (20)
- Instruction sheet (21)
- Etched sheet with lamp bar guards and machine gun mount and sight. (22)
First impression was that the detail on the main hull part is well defined, including some well-cast undercuts. Other components are for the most part reasonably well detailed, defined and cast: the larger pieces, the road wheels, side skirts, trim vanes and suspension plates were all quite decently done, although there were one or two holes in the wheels, which nevertheless can be hidden once the side skirts are in place. All of these parts were also attached to pour blocks with acceptably fine resin joins, so that removal and clean-up was easy enough. Some of the finer details were slightly less well done, and one lamp was missing completely, as was one end of the tow cable (photo 19), not even, Iím pretty sure, in the bottom of the bag.
The instruction sheet is literally a hand sketch of the exploded parts with minimal written instructions that refer only to the optional parts, and also to the possibility of using Trumpeter tracks instead of the kit resin tracks Ė presumably from their M113. There is no painting guidance apart from the box top art, so for both that and for detailed part placement the model maker will need to refer to the many examples of the real thing that can easily be found on the web.
To start with that quite large pour block needs removing from the main casting; I cut all around with snips (23) and then used a junior hacksaw to cut it off flush with the hull bottom (24). The suspension units attach to the sides (25); these needed a bit of adjustment to make sure that they sat at the same level on each side, and as the final drive transmission housing that protrudes from the bow plate is on these components, it will be very noticeable if they are not level.
Photos that I found of the Canadian vehicles all seemed to show the same wedge shaped trim vane mounted on the nose, so this is what I fitted (26) and I canít say under what circumstances the alternative part may be used (also shown in photo 26).
The wheels all pop together easily and accurately enough (27) and as is pretty universal on small scale kits, they sat in a rather wobbly way on the axles. To get them aligned I inserted tiny blobs of blue tack inside the mounting holes so that I could set them straight on the axles, prior to applying the CA glue to the mounting point, one wheel at a time (28).
Sprockets (29) and idlers (30) both required careful clean-up, one idler having a particularly large lump of resin attached across two of the spokes. Although photo 31 shows the sprockets mounted, I removed them again in order to attach the tracks to them, and then remounted them on the body (32, 33). As is common with small scale tracks, getting the sprocket teeth to engage with the track holes proved something of a challenge, and frankly, they are not quite spaced to match.
In order to check that the side skirts would both sit flush and sufficiently hide the missing top track run, I attached them with a hinge of double sided tape (up 33, down 34). The tracks fit very tightly between the hull and the side skirts, even after I had narrowed them down slightly (35). Note that although I only bothered with the lower run of track that would be visible once the skirts were fitted, there is plenty of track provided to go all the way round if desired. Track sections were subjected to lengthy clean-up to narrow them down and to clear all of the drive holes, before being moulded into shape after dipping in very hot water (36).
With the main components attached and prior to the final details being added, I should mention a few apparent accuracy issues. Both the resin tracks provided and the suggested Trumpeter M113 tracks donít seem correct when compared to photos of real Lynxes; the Lynx appeared to have lighter tracks with open sides where the sprocket teeth engage, as well as very prominent rubber pads that also do not look the same as M113 tracks. There are also a few things that seem wrong with the overall shape of the hull. In photo 37 some aspects of the kit are compared with the real thing. Firstly the shape of the domed cupola seems too small on the kit. Secondly the two red angles at A were created by aligning the lower line with the kit hull bottom and the top line with the sloping plate in front of the commanderís cupola, then the copy is adjusted on the photo of the real thing for the difference in aspect; basically the slope of the plate on the kit is inclined too much. The lines at B are identical even though the scale of the kit and the real thing are not, and it can be seen that the kit is much too big at this point. Then at C, the curve was drawn around the front of the real vehicle and itís obvious that the shape of the kit is not right. On the actual vehicle this curved part extends down until level with the join of the glacis plate, with the extension below that point being a small flat welded plate, while on the kit this is all one curved shape. In photo 39 onwards it can be seen that I did make some changes to the shape of this part, shortening and flattening the track guards, and changing the shape of the curve.
In photo 38 the smoke launchers and the cluster of front lamps are in place. The small single front lamps then sit right in front of this cluster (39). I tried the resin lamp bar guards, but they seemed far too small to use, so I went for the resin parts instead. These were also too small however, in that when shaped, the tops cannot fit over the lamp clusters with both front and rear of the guard being in contact with the hull. I therefore cut the metal top bar out, filed down the moulded bar that surrounds the lamp clusters until it was thinner and flatter and then mounted the etched parts on either side. I think it looks something like the real thing; one problem with the clearest photos I could find was that some of the lamps seem to be missing from display vehicles.
Further problems appear when trying to mount the rear lamps on the small sloping plate at the rear: the plate is not wide enough and the lamps, the same as those provided for the front, are not correct for the rear. The angled plate could quite easily be made bigger at the expense of having to recreate the detail that is on it, most obviously the aerial mount; more correct rear lamps could fairly easily be fabricated from some plastic rod, but for now I left them off (42, 44).
The tow cable should be attached in a curve, and on the real thing there are two brackets either side of the hatch. The jerry cans are supplied without any brackets, so something would have to be fabricated to avoid that glued on look. I think that the lower rear plate could also carry a couple of spare track links between the tow hooks. If you want to use the provided stowage then you should really look for photos that show where such packs might safely go, but there is no indication in the instructions. One final thing that I couldnít figure out, and so left off, was exactly how the .50 cal attaches to the main cupola. Photos of the real thing show quite a large and complex mount, but I couldnít work out how to use the etched parts to create something that resembled it, and in the instructions it only shows one of the etched parts in relation to the gun, I think a channel that it sits in, while what I assume is the mounting bracket and the sight arenít shown.
A relatively simple resin kit of a quite unusual vehicle that shouldnít on the face of it take too long to build. The definition of the details is good and the quality of the moulding is more than acceptable, with the wheels, side skirts and smoke tubes being notably good, as well as much of the detail on the hull top. However, some of the components are not too well designed in terms of fit, particularly for example the issue with both options for the lamp bar guards, neither of which work properly. Then there are the accuracy issues, mainly with the shape of the hull, but I also wasnít convinced by the .50 cal and mount nor the front and rear lamps. These issues mean that to build an accurate model of the Lynx, some considerable research and corrective work would need to be done; on the other hand, an acceptable and attractive model could still be finished relatively easily with just a little work in order to cope with some of the lesser issues, and this of course is often the case with a resin kit.