by: Peter Dennis [ ]
ConstructionI started by building the suspension arms etc. and fitting them to the lower hull. They all have a lug moulded on that fits into a slot on part no. A23; this is a fairly good fit and keeps them all at the same angle. Once this was complete, I gave the lower hull a coat of Humbrol 86 before adding the road wheels.
The road wheels fit together very well with the usual poly cap between them. 2 spare small caps and 2 large ones are included. The instructions recommend 83 links for the track, but Iím not convinced; it seems to make them very tight and part no.s A6 and A12 have to be fully contracted. When I build my next AS90 Iíll try just cutting one link off the track and see what difference that makes.
The upper hull fits onto the lower hull with no major problems, the only thing I did was to leave the mirrors off. The gun travel-lock fits together well as well, this is the lock for the 52 cal version. If you are modelling the 39 cal version, then you need to remove approx 6mm of the uprights. The guards around the headlights need a bit of care to locate them properly. Again this was given a coat of Humbrol 86.
Now we move to the turret/gun assembly. This is where most problems with the kit occur. Trumpeter have managed to reverse the instructions for gun barrel assembly in section 17. Part D3 and D9 should be opposite and so should D4 and D8. Ironically in section 19 (too late) they show the correct image. The main parts of the turret go together well, but I was unhappy with the locating holes for tools and toolboxes on the sides; they are too big. The 2 boxes on the rear of the turret in section 14 need some care as they can fit below the level of the top of the turret thus leaving the rear of the stowage basket in mid air.
Stowage basket! In my opinion this is the worst part of this kit. One piece was broken in 2 places on the sprue and proved very fiddly to repair. In all it took me nearly an hour to assemble this bit. I found it better to glue the frames to the mesh and then cut round them rather than use the templates as they are 1mm too small.
PaintingPainting was done using Humbrol 86 and a paint called "weathered black" which I think looks better on AFVís than matt black. There is a fair selection of decals on the sheet supplied, unfortunately the instructions only cover a 39 Cal vehicle in Bosnia. I spent some time trying to find reference via the Internet but there are very few images of the 52 cal Braveheart around, especially those showing callsigns and unit markings etc., so Iíve put on what looks right to me.
ConclusionI think itís a nice kit, it certainly looks like an AS90. I canít vouch for the dimensional accuracy as I have no access to the full size dimensions. The only drawbacks to the kit are the instructions and the stowage basket. Going back to the tracks, when they are cut to the length described and the mudflaps are added they look about right. The only thing I used that wasnít in the kit was a length of picture wire for the tow cable.