by: Eric Buchanan [ ]
The M1167 is a TOW Missile Carrier currently in use by the US. Based on the Expanded Capacity M1151 HMMWV, the M1167 is an evolution of the M966, the original HMMWV that mounted a TOW missile launcher on its roof using the same hatch and ring setup as the armament carrier HMMWV such as the M1025.
Legend Productionís Humvee TOW Turret set (LF3D007)contains the complete turret and components of the system that attach to it to convert Academyís M1151 (kit 13415), into the exterior an M1167. This kit is meant to be combined with LF3D006, which is the TOW Missile rack for the M1167. The kit was mastered by Peter Samofalov who is known for his past work with Live Resin and from his storefront on Shapeways. The kit is the result of a collaboration between Peter and Legend to produce a line of 3D mastered figures and conversions. The TOW ITAS sight and FCS are an evolution of those parts that he sells on Shapeways. He has recently expanded his offerings on Shapeways to include TOW missile tubes, crates and empty launcher tubes.
This will be a full build review of the multimedia kit Humvee TOW Turret set (LF3D007). The kit contains parts in resin, brass wire, and insulated wire. The kit comes packaged in Legendís typical end opening card stock box with the parts in small zipper bags. The black box has a photo on it of a rendering of the kit.
1 Brass Wire
1 Insulated Wire
The instructions are typical of Legend. There is a single sheet of glossy, A4 sized magazine like paper that is printed on both sides with photographs and renderings of the kit. There are three exploded views that show all of the parts required for each of the three sub-assemblies, the turret, the launcher and the secondary weapon. The rest of the instructions are a combination of photos of the parts and renderings with arrows to show which parts go where. There are part numbers on the instructions but there are no numbers on the parts or on the pour blocks. All parts identification must be done by comparing the parts to the exploded views. Parts placement isnít always clear so you will need to carefully study the instructions and actual photos of the real equipment. Legend also has a series of photos and renderings of the kit available on their site that show different rendered views of an assembled kit.
The turret kit comes with the complete turret, the missile launcher and sight, and a secondary weapon for self-defense. The pour blocks on the parts are attached with numerous, large contact points that require very careful cleanup. There were a few very small air bubbles visible where the pour plugs were attached. The main sight, part #26, has very delicate rib detail. The pour block on this part is attached along a face that has these ribs. I have no idea how this can be cleaned up preserving the detail. Part #26 should have been broken down into more than one piece. Another thing to note is that many of the flat parts have ribs that extend from the pour block along a flat face. These ribs are difficult to remove in some cases because they run close to required detail. The ribs are added by Legend to lessen any chance of warping that may occur after the parts are removed from their molds. There is no visible curvature to any of the parts as Iíve seen on Legend kits in the past. There are also numerous triangular ribs added to strengthen detail. Careful study of the real thing is the only way to guarantee you remove the correct material. The smaller parts have small attachment points which are easy to remove. There are large areas that need to be removed from the large openings of the turret hatch opening and turret ring. The main turret ring has a disc of resin over the opening that has no clear demarcation between the part and the disc. The disc attaches where the turret ring has fine toothed detail. It was impossible to tell how much material to remove and once removed the tooth detail is completely wiped out. There had to be a better way to add a disc to this part.
The detail on the turret and its accessories is truly amazing. It places this kit on par with the best on the market. The parts are smooth and blemish free. All detail is very sharp. Most details have a scale appearance. I say most, because I think the turret walls are far too thick. There are a few small details that are simplified. Most of these details are handled much like they would be on a plastic kit. I think that Legend could have added undercuts to some of this detail to improve its appearance. The turret can either be shown in a transport configuration, or in a firing configuration with the rear turret sides folded down. All of the detail is captured very well. Nothing is omitted.
As I stated above I think the turret walls are far too thick. Legend gives you the option of building the turret in the transport configuration with the walls all locked in their full upward positions, or in the firing configuration with the two rear segments folded flat. The real vehicle has warning stencils on these segments that warn of backblast if the shields arenít folded flat. Legend only gives you a launcher with a missile loaded which limits you to the firing position. This is unfortunate. I think they should have included an empty launch tube as well. The Fire Control System (FCS) mounts in the turret and is very well done. Legend provides no straps to hold the FCS to its mount. One very nice feature is that Legend included the turret traversing unit and the reinforced ring that goes on the inside of the roof. This is a detail thatís missing from the Academy kit.
All of the components of the TOW Improved Target Acquisition System are works of art. Every little detail seems to be captured very well. Legend has even included the connectors for the ends of the cables as separate pieces. The rubber shade for the gunner must be seen. It is just amazing. There are connectors and wiring included so that you can completely wire the system. Careful study of photos of the real thing will again be required here. Legend has great pictures on its website that show a dismounted TOW Missile system wired up. The photos are great and will help with the wiring. I just think itís great that Legend included this material instead of leaving you to find a source for yourself. In my opinion Legend should have included an empty launcher and a launcher with a missile with the radio frequency package on the missile tube. This would have made the kit far more versatile.
Secondary Weapon and Mount Detail:
The M240 and its mount are almost perfect. The trigger guard is molded solid and is the only issue I could find. They capture the look of this type of mount and swing arm very well. This is the best representation of this type of mount that Iíve seen in a kit. There is a myriad of accessories included for the M240 so study photos of the one you want to model carefully because it seems that Legend included parts for many different setups. The telescopic sight on the M240 has a minor flaw. The holographic sight is molded backwards. If you study the renderings carefully you will see this holo sight is shown facing both ways.
Assembly is straightforward but poses a few challenges. The turret is well engineered but requires very careful attention during assembly to ensure proper alignment of the turret walls. Also you must use the right parts to show the turret walls in transport or firing configurations. For transport configuration use only part 19 (2 each). For firing configuration use parts 20 and 21 (2 each). These parts are the latches that hold the back of the turret to the sides. The real turret is made of steel plates that are mostly welded along butt joints. The resin is so thick that there had to be some compromises made to make the turret buildable. The walls on the left and front of the turret either sit positively on the base or mount to large vertical flanges. Their attachment is very secure. The walls on the right of the turret mount with tabs and do not have a positive attachment. They kind of float, being attached in a way that doesnít exist on the real turret. This is the only awkward part of the turret. To look more accurate the turret base should have been extended slightly and been beveled so that the turret wall on the right would have a positive mount like those on the right. There are also overlap flanges molded to many of the turret wall parts that are far too thick to represent weld beads. The mounting tabs are a detail that doesnít exist on the real turret. They are located on the turret walls where straps and mount exist to hold an undetermined item to the turret walls. Iíve never seen any photos of the turret that show what stores here.
The launcher requires very careful study of photos of the real thing and the renderings on the instructions. My biggest gripe with the launcher is that the attach points between the parts are where Legend chose to attach the parts to the resin runners. Normally this wouldnít be much of a problem but Legend added numerous ribs to these attach points to make them stronger during mold removal. There is no way to determine on most of these parts exactly what the attach point should look like. On the eye shade you canít even determine there was ever any sort of peg to attach the part to the sight. On a positive note, some of the parts attach to a flat area which makes their location and mating very easy. It takes a bit of effort to push the launch tube assembly down into the traversing yoke. I would not add any small parts to the traversing assembly until after youíve installed the launch tube. They would be very easy to break off. Part 43 is a formed wire handle. Legend gives you a template on the instructions for forming the handle. Once assembled, the launcher and sight are beautiful to behold.
Secondary Weapon Assembly:
The M240 mounts to the outside turret wall on a swing arm and H24-6 machine gun mount. The mount, weapon and swing arm are all perfectly molded and relatively easy to assemble, at least as easy to assemble as parts that are as small as grains of rice can be. There are no pitfalls here. The assembly does suffer from the same issues as some parts of the sight and launcher. Their mounting pins are impossible to salvage from the pour plug. The grab handle on the mount is to be added from wire. There is no template for this wire part. I think it could have been done in resin and been no more fiddly that the wire part. I broke this handle off numerous times during later assembly. I got frustrated and used the grab handle from a mount that I ordered from Peterís Shapeways store a couple of years ago. The swing arm and mount are exactly the same as those that come in the printed set. You can see this part in the final few photos because it is frosted clear resin rather than light gray. I also decided to carve the ammo box out of the mount because I wanted to show the mount empty. I had to replace the bottom of the ammo cradle as I was thinning the assembly.
This kit is solid offering from Legend. It has great detail and was moderately easy to build. I highly recommend it to anyone who wishes to add an M1167 to their HMMWV to their collection. When combined with LF3D006, the TOW missile rack, a mostly complete M1167 can be built.