The advent of remotely-controlled Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) in Iraq and Afghanistan took its toll on the fleet of unarmored flat-bottom HMMWVs, thus creating a need for better crew protection. While up-armoring the vehicle through the addition of armor plates has provided increased crew safety against lateral attacks, it offered little protection from a mine blast below the truck. Moreover, the extra weight of the armor plates reduced the vehicle's payload capacity, maneuverability, off-road mobility, and air transportability.
Ballistic Supplies Inc. to the rescue… The company developed LVF Floor Kit, which provides low velocity fragmentation protection for HMMWVs. The kit is mounted flat to the floor at a height of less than 1/2 inch and with total weight added to the vehicle of only 35 pounds. Ballistic Supplies also designed HMMWV Armored Seat kits, weighing approximately 45 lbs each, without attachments or cushions. These Seat kits provide protection for the head, back, sides and the seat pan from small anti-personnel landmine shrapnel, hand grenades and handguns.
Live Resin produces number of different upgrades for 1/35 scale HMMWV models. This review covers their Ballistic Supplies HMMWV Armored Seat (LRE 35154), while all the other reviews of Live Resin goodies on Armorama can be found here (link
The set is safely packed in a hard cardboard box. The box features CAD boxart images; the one on the front shows contents of the kit as 5 complete seats with bases, stating the seats are compatible with Humvees and GMVs from all manufacturers (Tamiya, Academy, Bronco, Italeri), while the boxart on the back displays the ballistic seats in more detail and depicts seat assembly procedure. The box contains a zip-lock bag with 25 resin parts organized on 6 carrier blocks. The resin looks really good: all the parts in my review sample are cast perfectly with the impressively sharp details superbly rendered in 1/35 scale.
The kit represents Humvee-specific seats manufactured by Ballistic Supplies Inc. These seats are typically seen in Ground Mobility Vehicles (GMVs), a special operations version of the Humvee used by the US Armed Forces, sometimes also featuring tactical seat covers offering back cargo pockets and pouches. The set includes 5 seats: 4 cabin seats and additional seat for the aft gunner, usually located in the GMV cargo bay. I compared the details of the seats in this set to the reference images of the real thing and found a really good match. The intricate structures of seat bases are delivered really well and the seat cushions feature fabric folds which are nicely done and look pretty realistic. The only thing I noticed are identical creases of two back rest cushions and two seat cushions, but I don’t think this is anywhere close to being a deal breaker for this set. In fact, this set is another example of Live Resin’s fantastic dedication to detail, utilizing 3D rapid prototyping to define all the intricate fine-points of the ballistic seats accurately and realistically in scale.
Each seat is assembled from 5 pieces: armored seat shell, seat and back rest cushions, seat support and seat base. My first assembly tip would be to take your time while removing all the pieces from their carrier blocks. This suggestion is particularly aimed at cleaning armored seat shells… these pieces are connected to the blocks via two thick casting plugs which need to be carefully removed and the back of the shell sanded flat. Also, cleaning seat bases requires some extra effort, as there is thin flash on all the triangular seat base openings which needs to be get rid of.
The assembly diagram is shown on the box art and, with beautifully engineered parts which fit perfectly, I had no problems building the seats. However, I would suggest studying the references (or the boxart image) to understand which particular seat base corresponds to which cabin seat. This setup also dictates the use of different seat shells, as the vertical extension of the shell base needs to be oriented away from the door opening and toward the center platform the vehicle. Live Resin states these seats are compatible with 1/35 scale Humvee models from all the different manufacturers… I dry fitted the seats to Tamiya’s offering and they are a very good match. I don’t have models from other manufacturers so I can’t comment on the fit to the rest of the Humvee fleet in 1/35 scale.
Although I reviewed so many accessory sets from Live Resin, I’m impressed by their offerings over and over again. Ballistic Supplies HMMWV Armored Seat (LRE 35154) is an absolutely fantastic kit depicting 5 ballistic seats usually seen in Special Forces Humvees and GMVs. First of all, the resin cast is top notch and the details the company is able to reproduce in scale are absolutely stunning. Also, the kit is intelligently designed with perfect fit of the parts so the assembly is very easy. Last but not least, the seats fit Tamiya Humvee really well.
It is a no brainer for me… this set is an essential upgrade for anyone building a Special Ops Humvee in 1/35 scale.