The M113 Armored Personnel Carrier is one of the best known modern AFVs in the world. Developed in the late 1950s, it entered service in 1962 with the U.S. Army and went directly into combat in Vietnam. The M113 has truly become a global AFV with more than 50 countries using the venerable little tracked APC. The M113 has been modified, converted, and adapted to multiple roles and functions over its 53 years of service and is still used worldwide.
Post WWII Canada used turretless M4A2E8s as APCs during training. The U.S. M59 APC was briefly trialled and the failed Canadian "Bobcat" APC left Canada without any viable APC option during the early 1960s. The Canadian Army acquired the M113 in 1964. Over 700 M113s of various variants were purchased by Canada between 1964 and 1965. The designation for the basic APC was M113A1 CDN. Beginning in 1984 Canada began to purchase additional new APCs that were designated M113A2 CDN. At the same time upgrades to existing M113A1 CDN APCs was conducted in order to bring them the M113A2 CDN standard.
The M113A2 CDN APC included a number of upgrades. External fuel tanks are the most visible modification. Diehl track had become standard on Canadian M113s since the mid 1970s. Over time additional modifications such as hull mounted grouser racks and larger style turn signal guards were added.
Many Canadian M113ís had additional wooden storage boxes added to the hull tops. These were produced at the unit level and varied in size and shape. A number of Canadian M113A2s were upgraded to the M113A3 TLAV standard in the early 2000s and still serve to this day with many additional modifications.
Continuing from previous Canadian M113 based conversions (M113 ADATS and M113A2 TUA) Legend Productions has now added the M113 CDN Conversion Set to the product list. The conversion set is designed to be used with either the Academy M113A3 (13211) or the Tamiya M113A2 (35265) kits. The set consists of 66 resin parts, 166 PE parts, and a full set of decals. Well done Legend Productions! All of the resin parts are of a high quality level of casting. The set itself not only contains parts specific for a Canadian M113A2 CDN but also includes as variety of generic M113 details in order to enhance your Canadian M113 project. Canadian specific parts include the following:
- Canadian Forces Registration plates
- Late model front and rear turn signals and guards
- Wire cutters
- Upper hull stowage boxes
- 20 Litre plastic fuel cans
- Differential housing wear guards
- Grousers racks
- Driver's warning light shroud
- Communication wire attachments
Generic M113 detail parts include the following:
- Tie downs
- Pioneer tool mounts
- Spare road wheel
- Trim vane details
- Driverís hatch
- Driverís hatch periscopes
- Tow cable mounts
- Jerry can racks
- Fire extinguisher pull handle housing
- Exhaust pipe
- Engine grill mesh
- Rear ramp details
- Commanderís hatch, cupola periscopes, machine gun mount
- .50 Calibre HMG with cradle
- Upper hull details
- Antenna mounts and guards
- Tow cable nylon thread
- 0.3 mm and 0.5 mm brass wire
- Water cans
- Antenna mount blanking plates
As well, a bunch of resin bolts that are also provided for use on the PE parts.
There is a TCCCS (Tactical Command and Control Communications System) box provided in the set but it was not used on the Canadian M113A2. This is a part found in the M113A2 TUA conversion. The only part broken in my set was a couple of rounds on the resin .50 Cal belt.
The decals are a real treat and are based off of actual vehicle markings. This is an excellent addition by Legend Productions.
The decal sheet consists of the following:
- Canadian flags (red/white and low visibility black)
- Black Maple Leaf markings
- Call sign markings for 43B
- Call sign markings for 52B
- Bridge class 12 tons
- Tactical symbols (white and low visibility black) for Mechanized Infantry, Mechanized Artillery, and Combat Engineer
- Tiny red Maple Leafs for plates
- Canadian Forces Registration plate numbers for five vehicles
- Vehicle registration numbers for five vehicles
- Production year markings for 1964, 1965, 1966, and 1986
- 7.62 mm and .50 Cal ammunition box markings
The instructions consist of one two sided colour sheet showing the part placement via blown up images. A part breakdown is also provided on the sheet. Due to the large number of decals provided and the multiple marking options only generic placement locations for the decals is provided. There is no explanation of the specific markings. Legend Productions does very clearly state on the instructions that the modeller should check their own references for marking placements and camouflage schemes.
In regards to camouflage schemes the Canadian M113A2s were painted in a single colour NATO CARC green, a Canadian three colour scheme, and the NATO three colour scheme. Of course, the Canadian M113A2s were also painted in white for deployments to Croatia and Bosnia but UN decals are not provided in the conversion.
As stated above, both regular and low visibility flags and tactical symbols are provided. Applied at the unit level, standards were in place for tactical marking applications however there are always variations. There were always variations on vehicles so relying on good reference material is very important if you want accurate markings.
A very good place to refer to for accurate Canadian camouflage schemes is the Armoured Acorn website.
Having examined the set in detail, the possibility exists to use most of the parts to also create an M113A1 CDN. This would require using an M113 kit without external fuel tanks, original style side skirts if you choose to use them, backdating the headlights/taillights, and not using the grouser racks.
The use of the hull top mounted stowage boxes is discretionary. Some vehicles had them, others did not, sometimes only one was mounted, and jerry can racks were placed in various locations.
This is not a complicated conversion. It is a high quality conversion living up to Legend Productions very high standard of resin and PE products. The Canadian M113s were definitely the workhorse of Canadian Mechanized Infantry Battalions during the decades of the Cold War and it is great to have a small yet unique conversion set to create the APC. In regards to the accuracy of the parts I can see no faults. Modellers must remember that this is a conversion and not a full kit. Legend Productions not providing specific information on markings and camouflage schemes is not a fault in my opinion. There were so many variations with Canadian M113s that the modellers should invest the time to research markings and paint schemes. You might just enjoy it!
Highs: Excellent details and lots of options to create a Canadian M113A2. The decals are a huge bonus!Lows: Nylon thread for the tow cable. A small amount of metal tow cable would have been a huge improvement.Verdict: An excellent well detailed and accurate conversion.