by: Mario Matijasic [ ]
US military deployments in areas with restricted mobility, such as Afghanistan, indicated that a lighter version of the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle was needed, leading to the development of the MRAP All-Terrain Vehicle, or M-ATV. Smaller, lighter and faster, but offering the same levels of protection as previous MRAP versions, the M-ATV soon became the US military's off-road vehicle of choice, ideally suited for operating in mountainous terrain.
Truly a multipurpose vehicle, the M-ATV is able to operate on every area of the battlefield and serves such functions as command and control, troop transport, shelter carrier, towed weapons mover, armament carrier, TOW missile system carrier and even ambulance.
(adapted from: http://www.military.com/)
Wings & Wheels Publications (WWP) recently released a photo reference book for modelers on M-ATV. At first glance this book looks amazing, printed on a high-quality paper, well structured, professionally presented and jam-packed with large full color photos. Here are the basic facts:
Title: M-ATV MRAP in Detail (US Army Light MRAP Vehicles)
Publisher: Wings & Wheels Publications (WWP)
Authors: Ralph Zwilling and Radim Jankásek
Format: softcover (22x24 cm)
Color: full color
Retail Price: $33 (€27)
The book features M-ATVs photographed during training exercises at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center (MRC) in Hohenfels, Germany, as well as at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan. It contains over 220 photos covering three main variants of the vehicle: the first variant is a base model designated as M1240, the second variant is M1127 fitted with CROWS II remote-controlled weapon station, and the third variant is M1245, built based on the specifications of the US Special Operations Command.
The book is organized in 6 chapters, with color coded upper page edges for easy navigation:
• Introduction (002-023)
• M1240 M-ATV (024-059)
• M1240 M-ATV Interior (060-071)
• M1277 M-ATV (072-083)
• M1277 M-ATV Interior (084-099)
• M1245 M-ATV (100-108)
The opening chapter, introduction, gives an overview of the M-ATV program development and presents technical description of the vehicle. Although longer than in previous WWP titles, introduction not only provides very interesting information but is also accompanied by full page walkaround photos of the M-ATV. Of particular interest are the photos of a vehicle fitted with RPGNet System. The following two chapters are dedicated to show the base variant of the vehicle, M1240, inside and out. First up is a chapter covering M1240 M-ATV exterior with all the tiniest details of the vehicle hull presented here: front hood (integrated bumper winch, brackets for mounting Rhino or SPARK roller kit, rearview mirrors and front), front window (Driver's Vision Enhancer (DVE), front spotlights), side details (rearview mirrors, door hinges and handles, steps below the armored capsule, side spotlights, exhaust pipe), CAT C-7 engine, rear basket (frame construction, rear fenders), cargo compartment (spare tire mount, taillight assemblies, signal horn, rear couplings, towing pintle, folding ladder, as well as various radio antenna mounts and electronic countermeasure equipment), O-GPK turret, tires and suspension details. Wow! The M1240 M-ATV interior chapter displays the details of the vehicle armored crew cabin and provides an amazing value for all those wanting to add some extra bits and pieces to a really scarce interior of all M-ATV models. Driver's compartment, commander's compartment with C4ISR equipment, front centre rack, front seats with 5-point seatbelts, roof details, rear cabin, rear seats details... it's all there. M1277 M-ATV comes next, armed with Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station (CROWS) II. This chapter shows the Rhino, as well as the additional rear storage boxes and plethora of various antennas used on this variant. The CROWS II is also depicted in great detail. M1277 M-ATV interior shows a slightly different crew cabin interior with the CROWS II remote control station mounted behind the driver's seat, but also adds new images to all the cabin compartments already displayed in the M1240 interior chapter. Finally, the last chapter deals with M1245 M-ATV, a SOCOM variant of the vehicle. It shows the massive impact protection profile below the front bumper, and protected cargo compartment behind the armored crew capsule for storing ammunition and personal equipment.
Two model companies produce M-ATV kits in 1/35 scale, Panda Hobby and Kinetic. Panda models are considered more accurate and dimensionally correct, with the company offering the base version M-ATV MRAP (PH35001) as well as the CROWS II version (PH35007). Although very nice kits to build out of the box, many modelers still choose to improve their M-ATVs, collecting reference images and adding various aftermarket upgrade sets to make as realistic model as possible. WWP’s photo reference manual on M-ATV provides an essential guidance in the process… The book features large and clear photos of vehicles on JMRC training ground, but also in the Afghanistan theatre of operations, showing the general layout of the M-ATV as well as all the intricate details of the exterior and the interior. The book also provides very interesting information in the introduction and in brief image captions which explain various details presented in the photos, thus making the WWP’s title a great asset for modelers and vehicle enthusiasts alike.