by: Vinnie Branigan [ ]
introductionDragon released kit number 7237, AAVP7A1 Ram/RS and left a lot of people wondering when it would release it with the Enhanced Appliqué Armour or EAAK, or would it be left to the aftermarket guys. Well the wait is over, and here we have essentially the same kit with some tweaks, and a full EAAK.
Disclaimer!As regular readers will know, modern armour is a foreign country to me! Of necessity then, this is more of a preview of what you get with a detailed description and some really nice pics! Oh, and if you'd like a close-up of something I haven't shown, please do ask!
the kitI love the presentation of these 1/72nd kits from Dragon! You still get the same Dragon Card, but everything just looks so...... lovely in this scale! On the card this time we have a small decal sheet, more about all these later, a pair of vinyl tracks in DS100 that can be cemented using normal styrene cement, and a small photo etched fret.
If anything could 'switch' me over to modern armour, it would be this vehicle. The shape of it is just so attractive, but with the EAAK it looks even better! This armour has been moulded in one whole piece, one for for each side, on a new sprue that also holds new sidewalls with moulded on swing arms, and these look far better detailed than those in the original kit.....sharper and better proportioned. unfortunately, some of the faults of the original kit are still present, such as the holes in the drive sprockets being moulded closed, but with careful painting, little of this can be seen.
The detail on the one piece slide-moulded hull roof is simply stunning! Really crisp and there are photo etched parts on the new fret for the EAAK components on the roof, as well as a new storage rack for the side rear of the vehicle. Also included on the new photo etched fret is mesh for the smoke generator.
The original kit had all the on vehicle tools moulded in place, which is something that really shouldn't happen these days with a modern manufacturer like Dragon, but happily these are underneath the appliqué armour and can't be seen. Where they would normally be fitted there is armour plate, and then a new storage basket as well, with Dragon providing various items to be stowed. Unfortunately, these additions don't cover up the rather soft moulded on spare track links that appear on both sides, that I doubt even brilliant painting could hide. These would be better removed, and empty brackets scratched to take their place, unless you can source spare links from somewhere else.
Marking optionsDragon make provision for four vehicles, two of which are camouflaged, one in all over green, and one with the EAAK in sand. these are:
2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion, USMC, Iraq 2005
ROC Marines, 2005
26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, USMC, Iraq 2005
Italian Marines, 2004
See photograph of decal sheet for more details.
in conclusionAlthough I can't speak for the accuracy of the kit, I did notice that there is some bolt detail missing from some of the EAAK armour, but this should be relatively easy to add, especially in this scale. Also with the original release, there was some concern over the fit of the hull roof to the hull, and if so, then this has been addressed since the review sample fit perfectly. These kits in this scale from Dragon never cease to amaze me, simply because of the stunning detail they always include. Yes, they make the odd mistake, like the moulded on tools, but it's a 1/72nd kit, and a welcome release for all that. This one will get bought in the bucket loads by Braille scalers. Highly recommended!