by: Jason Bobrowich [ ]
IntroductionThe British Warrior Infantry Fighting Vehicle has kept British troops safe in war zones for over a decade and a half. The Warrior IFV has received armour upgrades over the years and the latest upgrade is the WRAP 2 package. WRAP 2 (Warrior Reactive Armour Plating 2) provides the Warrior and its crew a new level of protection against both direct-fired weapons and IEDs. New technology has allowed the WRAP 2 to give the Warrior a very good balance of increased protection while not weighting down the vehicle to inhibit performance. The WRAP 2 packages were installed on the Warriors serving in Iraq in late 2007. The upgrades were done in Kuwait and took less than a week to get each Warrior fitted with WRAP 2 and back into action in Iraq.
The newly released Cromwell Models conversion for the WRAP 2 armour package is designed for the Academy Warrior MCV kit. From looking at the conversion either the Warrior MCV “Iraq 2003” #13201, or the Warrior MCV #1325 kits should work for the project. After an overall look at the parts and the instructions I give a very positive nod to Cromwell Models for their effort on the conversion parts. The resin parts are very well cast showing very fine crisp details. I compared the conversion parts to available reference material of Warriors with WRAP 2 and my conclusion is the conversion is very complete and accurate.
contentsThe conversion includes 105 resin parts. The parts come well packaged in five clear zip lock bags and packed in a sturdy cardboard box with bubble wrap around the bags for added protection. Forethought was given to packing the parts, in that parts of the same size are kept together in the same bags. This avoids large parts from potentially crushing small parts.
InstructionsThe three pages of instructions come in the form of exploded drawings and show the general placement of the parts for the entire hull and turret. The instructions also denote the Academy kit parts that should not be used when constructing the conversion. There is a drawing with metric dimensions for the turret sight ballistic “glass” and wire mesh. While the drawings are very good, I noted that two parts used on the side armour modules are not mentioned in the instructions.
Modellers should seek out additional reference material on the Warrior with WRAP 2 before tackling this conversion in order to accurately place all of the conversion parts. Two current references are the Military Machines International magazine, June 2008 issue with an article by Carl Schulze on the Iraq deployed Warriors with WRAP 2 and the Tankograd British Special #9009, British Next Generation Armour also by Carl Schulze that features a nine page spread on the Warrior WRAP 2. There is very little information available on the Internet except for a few British Ministry of Defence images and a walkaround on Prime Portal of the Warrior WRAP 2.
ReviewEssentially the conversion parts can be broken down into three subsections. These include the hull add-on armour, the hull and turret modifications, and the slat armour sections. First there are the add-on armour panels for the hull sides, front, and bottom. The hull side sections are very hefty and cleanly cast. They require very little clean up, and after comparing them to reference images, all the bolt detail is present. There is a new Chobham armour section for the hull front replacing the kit parts. It is cast as a single piece with very good vent and mesh details present. Very nice to see included in the kit are two belly armour panels requiring only minimal cleanup.
The hull and turret modifications parts include the new air conditioning unit with hoses, new stowage bins, wire cutters, anti-IED and electronic counter measures mounts and antennas, Bowman radio components, protective turret sight covers, a new three periscope driver’s hatch, a spare road wheel, and a variety of small fittings to bring the Warrior up to date to present standards. The level of detail on all these parts is very good. The majority of the parts have very little in the form of casting blocks making clean up simple and fast. On the sight protective cover and on top of the air conditioning unit there is fine mesh. Cromwell Models has very successfully cast this mesh in resin. It is quite impressive to see and very encouraging that an aftermarket model producer would take the time to produce such high quality parts. A couple of the parts such as the cabling for the hull antenna mounts will require bending to get them formed into place on the hull. Experience with using hot water to make the resin pliable will assist the modeller when tackling this part of the project.
A very unique feature of the WRAP 2 package is the slat armour along the lower hull, hull rear, hull front, and turret. Kudos to Cromwell Models for taking on the challenge of casting slat armour in the WRAP 2 conversion and their FV432 Bulldog kits. The slat armour sections in the conversion comprise of 19 individual cast sections. The clean up is kept fairly low, as it appears the same with many of the other parts that the majority of the resin pour gates have been removed prior to packaging. The slat sections are cast in straight and angled sections depending on the location of them on the Warrior. The trade off for casting the slat sections is that there is some fine resin “skin” inside the slat sections. This is easy to clean up with a steady hand, patience, and a sharp hobby knife blade. Some of the slat sections were slightly warped in the review kit but this is easily corrected with dedicating time to a dip into hot water and careful straightening. Along with the slat sections are multiple resin cast ‘V’ and ‘U’ shaped mounts for the slat sections. Take the time to identify the different types of mounts and how they will be attached to the armour panels and subsequently how the slat sections will be attached to the mounts.
There are no marking in the conversion and it appears from looking at reference images that very few markings have been applied to the Warrior WRAP 2 vehicles, except for vehicle names and a distinct warning placard on the air conditioning unit top.
ConclusionThe conversion allows modern armour modellers to build a current version of the Warrior. It is great to see Cromwell producing up to date modern subjects and producing them accurately and in high quality.