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135
The Much Maligned Italeri HMMWVs

Introduction

In the mid 1980s, the US Army replaced its aging M151A1/A2 (a.k.a. “Jeep”) and its omnipresent, M416/M416A1 ¼ ton cargo trailer, combination with the new M998-series High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) manufactured by AM General. Pronounced “Humvee” or called “Hummer”, this vehicle became the Army’s workhorse and was put into service in about a dozen variants, some differing only by the addition of a winch for recovery operations.

Italeri produces several HMMWV variants and other companies re-box the basic Italeri kit adding parts to create their own unique variants. Despite inaccuracy problems the kits are well engineered, fit well and look good. The Italeri HMMWVs are pleasures to build and look like HMMWVs when completed.


 

M998 Hummer #247

In 1988, Italeri produced its first HMMWV model. It was kit number 247 and called “M998 Hummer.” The kit was, in fact, an M966 Armored TOW (tube-launched, optically tracked, wire-guided missile) Carrier. The nomenclature of the vehicle was not the only error the kit had.

The kit represented a pre-production prototype and had several errors. First of all, the front bumper of the production HMMWV has three circular holes in it; the Italeri kit had four. The front bumper is also missing the two “U” shackles and brackets. Next the windshield wiper blades of the HMMWV hang in a straight line with the wiper arm. Italeri molds the wiper blades at an angle so they remain parallel to the top of the windshield frame. Early Italeri HMMWVs are also missing the three oval indentations found below each door on the sides of the chassis. Italeri corrected this on later models. Another item missing is the air vent grill for the crew compartment. This is located on the right side of the chassis, just forward of the front passenger door. Italeri HMMWVs do not have “AM GENERAL” embossed in the tailgate, but that omission may be due to licensing reasons.

Other short comings to the Italeri kit are simplified interior details such as the driver and passenger seat assemblies and the missing heater. The doors are given the option of being opened; however, the “B” pillar is not included and would show if the doors were opened. Both the gunner’s hatch and cargo hatch are molded closed with no option to pose them open. The gunner’s hatch is also molded in reverse [thanks Marcel]. There is just an empty shell inside the vehicle. Missing are the radio rack, gunner’s stand and other storage racks common to a TOW HMMWV. Italeri omits the pioneer tool rack that stores under the rear bumper.

The tread patterns on the kit tires do not match either the older bias ply tire pattern or the newer radial tires. Also the front and rear hubs on the actual vehicle differ, Italeri gives the same hub for all four wheels.

Additionally, the kit decals depict a USMC vehicle; however, the wading exhaust and raised air cleaner are not provided in any Italeri based kit. Therefore no Italeri kit can be built into a true USMC vehicle. This kit was also boxed by Testors in the yellow box and was kit number 830. The box top featured photos of the assembled kit.

Copyright ©2002 - Text and Photos by Robin Gronovius (sabot). All Rights Reserved.



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