The M1117 Guardian Armored Security Vehicle, or ASV, is an all-wheel drive armored vehicle manufactured by Cadillac Gage of Textron for use by the United States Army Military Police Corps. Its armament consists of a Mk 19 grenade launcher and M2 Browning Machine Gun, mounted in a turret similar to that used on the US Marine Corps' Amphibious Assault Vehicle; and a M249 Squad Automatic Weapon mounted outside the gunner's hatch. The vehicle has become very popular with U.S. Military Police Units and Convoy Security Units in Iraq. It is a more heavily-protected and heavily-armed alternative to the armored HMMWV, which was not originally designed to be a protected fighting vehicle.
The kit is pre-production shot, and doesn’t necessarily come with all the items you will find in the commercial one. It consists of:
• Six grey plastic sprues, comprising 396 parts
• Transparent sprue
• The hull (upper and lower parts)
• Two PE frets (not included in this review sample)
• Four vinyl tires
• Decals (not included in this sample) with OIF decals, KFOR decals, MP decals
• Chain (not included)
The kit instructions are obviously a photocopy of the original one, and do not come with a painting guide. Concerning the paint scheme, I can think of 3 NATO colors for the KFOR decals, and desert sand for the OIF decals.
The Standard of plastic moulding is again very good overall with nice clean detail, but there is a sprinkling of fine flash and some very shallow sink marks about the place. Most notably, there are very few pin marks of any consequence (minus the doors), and of course, the usual mould seams which will need care when cleaning from the smaller parts.
The instructions come on 12 pages with 14 stages in total. The first two pages are dedicated to the general instructions, and contents of the kit. Each step is displayed as a black and white line drawing, and doesn’t show much information, though a few sub-assemblies are required, which in my opinion gives a relatively easy build. You will need to take special care on the sub-groups like the wheels and suspension which can be quickly become tricky.
The build starts with the suspension and wheels (steps 1-4), then the hull (step 5) and the overall add-on ceramics appliqué on the upper hull (steps 6 & 7). You need to glue small pieces of plastic for the upper part and PE parts for the lower hull.
The hull comes with the anti-slide coating specific to the Guardian with the proper groove, so you will not have to do it yourself. Great job Trumpeter! Doors and lower ceramic appliqué are done in step 8-10. In step 11, the suspensions are glued in place onto the hull. Steps 12 and 13 cover the building of the gauge turret. The final step (14) represents the assembly of the turret and the chain.
The transmission and suspension:
The Timoney's independent suspension system is impressive, and the universal joint doesn’t have ejection pins. After looking carefully, the differential box does not glue together perfectly, and a 1mm gap remains that needs to be filled with putty. I hope this issue is specific to my review sample and will be addressed in the final production. The suspension bar with its holes presents some accuracy issues regarding the dimension of the holes; in addition, one of them is not open. The suspension is workable but can be easily fixed in-place by adjusting the spring. The front transmission can be oriented easily by carefully gluing the steering rods.
The wheels are the same type as the M1078 (hub & tires), but the airline for the central inflating system is not present; only the armor plate is depicted. On my reference picture, you can easily see the tubing, so this detail need to be added for accuracy. The construction of the tires requires 4 parts; the inflating system tubing is not molded to the hub, however the level of detail can be improved by comparing with the hub from the M1078. The tires come in vinyl with heavy engraving of the Michelin X logo, but also “14.00 R 20 XZL.” The tire pattern is good, and there are no horrible seams in the middle.
The hull exterior:
The hull is molded in two pieces with the doors and windows open. The upper part is empty, and the flat surface needs to be glued afterward. All the horizontal panels come with an anti-slip coating particular to the Guardian with the correct-shaped grooves. The ceramic tiles need to be glued in-place, and the details are extraordinary, including the bolt detailing. You can choose two different options for the front light, as well as for the mirror (both Humvee-type and the new one). The lights can be installed with two options for the horn. You need to take special care while removing the light guard from the sprue in order to not destroy it.
The engine cover comes in plastic or in PE, a great addition from Trumpeter giving you a choice in the level of detail. You also need to glue in-place the tie-downs: they are done in a basic way that looks like a styrene strip (a PE alternative will be a great addition). The hatches for the driver and passenger may be shown open or closed.
The fit of the upper and lower hulls was very good with precise location not requiring any trimming or other problems. The lower hull displays the Guardian’s characteristic V-shape once the suspension is added. The ceramic appliqué for the lower hull comprises eight separate PE pieces in total, but they were not included in my evaluation sample.
Among the many details worth pointing out is the armored glass for the doors. Trumpeter has used two layers of transparent plastic “glass” glued onto a hollow styrene spacer giving the impression of greater thickness.
What is there to say, since there is no interior for either the turret or the hull. Is this a drawback? Well, since the 3 doors can be shown in the open position, you can see through, as well as with the hatches for the driver and passenger side. You would need also to fill all the horrible ejection pins that are present in the interior panels of all doors and hatches and scratch-build the pistons from the lower parts of all doors.
The building for the turret is really straightforward, with the lower part glued onto the upper, followed by the ceramic appliqué. You can choose which version of ammo feed belt for the Mk19 in plastic or vinyl; with the vinyl one you can move the gun mount. The eight periscopes are built in two pieces: a transparent one glued onto a plastic one so you can paint the interior of the transparent part to represent anti-laser coating. The smoke dischargers are the ones from the AAVP turret, and can be painted with a black top. On my reference pictures, two type of discharger can be found: one similar to the Stryker, and the one from the AAVP. Trumpeter did not give us a choice on this special feature. The M2 plastic barrel is nicely done with open muzzles, so I don’t think you will need to buy an AM replacement metal one, nor for the Mk19 barrel.
Trumpeter did an outstanding job on dimensional accuracy and detailing on the overall vehicle. The anti-slip coating is a nice addition, and will for sure save some time for most modelers; moreover the pattern is nicely replicated. The Timoney independent suspension and the tires are well-detailed. Unfortunately, the interior of the vehicle and the turret are empty. The doors and hatches cannot be easily opened, and some work would need to be done in order to represent the pistons on the lower parts of the doors. I don’t know the retail price of the kit yet, but if you want to use this vehicle with the doors open, you need to do some scratch-building. The molding seams are minimal, but the ejection pins are located in some of the most important parts like the suspension, doors and hatches.
I would like to deeply acknowledge Jackson Xiao for sending me this review sample.
A build log
has been started on the Forums to evaluate the kit construction.