The M113 Armored Personnel Carrier is perhaps the most-successful infantry vehicle ever: more than 80,000 were built, and it has served in the armies of over 50 countries - as well as some entities hostile to the U.S. (Hezbollah, the former East Germany, Iran and Vietnam among others). This as opposed to less than 7,000 built for its front line replacement, the Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV). The US Army has wanted to swap-out the M113 for some time, yet tens of thousands of them serve on while the procurement bureaucracy scratches its head trying to figure out whether the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) or the GCV Infantry Fighting Vehicle will be the one to replace this versatile workhorse.
The M113 entered service in 1960 right as the Vietnam War was heating up, and it is an iconic vehicle from the conflict, as well as a mainstay in other fights, including both Gulf Wars. It also has been a platform for just about anything soldiers need moved from place-to-place with some armored protection. Its aluminum body was never intended to stand up to even small arms fire, but to transport troops TO the front, not act as a "battle taxi." Nevertheless, variants for command, ambulance, supply, and vehicle recovery coexist alongside weapons platforms mounting a wide variety of ordnance: mortars placed on platforms on top, Vulcan guns, TOW and Chaparral missiles, a flamethrower and recoil-less rifle have all found their advocates in this army or that.
Part of what makes the M113 so popular is its light weight (made possible by that aluminum armor referenced above). Soldiers talk about seeing M113s consumed by fire as "puddles of metal," but that doesn't diminish their usefulness in all sorts of hot spots. Intended to be flown into combat or even air-dropped, the M113 has ironically done most of its work on the ground in-country. Soldiers around the world still use it, and even the US Army can't get rid of its thousands of M113.
Since Voyager's upgrade for the M113 kits either never materialized or sold out, it's good to see upgrades coming along for the Academy and Tamiya kits. Legend Productions has released several, including sandbag armor for the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) versions. This review covers their generic detailing set that should work across a variety of kits and periods from Vietnam through today.
Inside the usual black Legend Productions box is a plastic baggie with over 50 resin parts, plus two frets of over 150 PE parts and a length of nylon cord for making the toe "rope." There is also a full-colour, two-sided instruction sheet with lots of photos showing where the parts go.
The key word in the product description here is "detail." The set isn't designed to fix any issues or accuracy problems, but to enhance the "fiddly" bits for those who want to improve the simplifications of styrene. Given that the M113 has been in service since the 1960s, any "detailing" set would be challenging if it were to cover the entire run, so suffice it to say Legend Productions has focused on items that will be there across the years:
Hatches (nicely-moulded top hatches)
.50 calibre machine gun & ammo boxes
Lights & brush guards (resin & PE respectively)
Smoke grenades (not present on my Vietnam-era M113 kit). Hatch & other periscopes (intended to be painted, not clear)
A nicely-moulded tow rope affixes right to the rear of the back deck. The .50 calibre gun is very nice, but would probably be even better if the barrel were replaced by a PE After Market one.
None of the items in the set looks beyond the skills of any intermediate modeller, and the end result should improve just about any build.
While modellers await an M113 with an interior worthy of this long-serving and iconic vehicle, Legend Productions has stepped into the void with a detailing set that will add a good deal of features to the older Academy and Tamiya kits.
Thanks to Legend Productions for providing this review sample. Be sure to mention you saw it reviewed on Armorama when ordering yours.
Highs: Lots of small details to "make" a great build, including abundant photo etch. Color instructions with clear photos.Lows: Some items like the .50 caliber MG would be better rendered in metal.Verdict: A good value for money.
Our Thanks to Legend Productions! This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.