So here we get to look at one of Hobby Boss second M911 C-HET W/Talbert 64T Trailer, 2018 new tool followed by this version 2020, and I cannot wait to get my hands on it and tell you how good or bad it is
The M911 CHET is a Cold War era heavy equipment transporter of US origin. It was acquired in the mid 1970's as a more capable and lower cost alternative to the M746 HET that had been developed only years earlier. The name CHET stands for Commercial Heavy Equipment Transporter. The design was bought off the shelf to keep the costs as low as possible and to start production as soon as possible.
The M911 is based on the commercial Oshkosh F2365 truck. This model was modified in several areas. Two winches were added behind the cab. The US Army models feature a lift-up non driven fourth axle located in front of the two rear axles. The M911 is a soft skin vehicle and does not feature any armor or other protective measures.
The M911 was to be used with the M747 trailer. That trailer was developed in the HET-70 program alongside the M746 tractor truck that the M911 supplements. This combination allows for 60 t loads. Heavier loads such as the M1 Abrams cannot be transported. In foreign service other trailers are used with the M911. Most of those are capable of 50 or 60 t loads.
The M911 had better mobility than the M746 it was designed to supplement. The huge Detroit Diesel 450 hp diesel engine allows for speeds of 70 km (about 43.5 mi)/h on roads. The speed on dirt roads and off-road is much lower. When used in difficult off-road conditions or with loads exceeding 60 t the reliability of the M911 proved to be limited.
The M911 was acquired in quantity by the US Army and Saudi Arabia. Many dozens have been exported to various US allies. In US service the M911 was replaced by the M1070 HETS in the early 1990's. The M1070 can haul heavier loads and has better off-road performance. The M911 remains in use in various nations around the world.
This is a large box for obvious reasons, being a 1/35th scale the first thing to catch my eyes was the artwork on the front of the box which is something that will draw you to it good pictures or artwork can be the difference between a sale or no sale despite what is in the box?
So, on opening the box you are confronted with a large amount of beige colour sprues 14 in total with a further four large singular parts this includes the trailer bed, hydraulic box cab and engine bonnet, 13 large black rubber tires, 18 small black rubber tires 1 clear sprue glazing for windows, 2 photo etch sheets, 2 metal springs, 2 metal tubes, 1 rope, 1 red cable, 1 blue cable, 1 set of poly caps, 1 Die-cut-mask sheet, 1, decal sheet, 1 colour profile sheet and 1 instruction booklet.
I have been looking forward to this tank transporter since Darren mentioned it and finally, I get the chance to review it and then build it so looking through the box and looking at the parts some of them are amazing in detail.
I have chosen to start with the chassis of the M911 C-HET tractor unit (Commercial Heavy Equipment Transporter) this is an incredibly detailed with a full transmission and drive unit, looking and the transfer case it is identical to the original transfer case when I went to look at the original one from a supplier. So, it is clear that Hobby Boss is trying hard to recreate parts that look like the real transfer box or differential which is very pleasing to see. The build of the chassis is quite substantial but nothing looks like it is going to be an issue, that said, and sods law you come across some very small parts stabilizing bars, the plastic when it is in length, i.e. the chassis lengths are strong but do bend and these much smaller stabilizing bars I think could be tricky in removing from the sprues.
The axles look impressive as does the gear box which makes me wonder why there is no engine apart from the sump the rest is just a void, the fuel tanks have been manufactured in such a way that you have an opening for the fuel and a separate fuel cap giving the chance for someone to make those extra natural weathering like fuel spills etc. A step and toolbox with photo-etch for fitting to the chassis again giving that natural look. The twin wheels at the back, drive wheels when assembling them you have a shaft which has teeth on the outside of the shaft which then joins to the axle. An unusual feature of the M911 is that the second axle is of pusher type. It is air-suspended and can be raised when not required. When lowered it decreases the fifth wheel load on the other two axles. This axle is normally raised when the truck is running unloaded or without a semi-trailer. This axle is well represented in this model, a real plus with exceptional detail including the air-tanks and air bags allowing it to be in the raised or lowered position.
The tires have a reasonable tread on them and feel slightly solid plus side they have the Bridge Stone name and with a magnifying glass you can even make out the tire size, I think that I might look around to see what alternative aftermarket is available for the kit
The detail in the cab is ok in places and good in others the dashboard is at least raised making it much easier to see the different gauges and switches however, they provide a decal to go over the raised area which is an ok bit for me and could have looked much better. The floor has raised grooves giving a more natural look. The steering wheel and column stick are passable, the internal gear box and shifter are ok. One part I did not expect to see so well represented was the left-hand side mounted air cleaner fitted to the side of the bonnet including the main rubber air pipe. The cab sits nicely onto the chassis and the glazing is crisp remembering that this is a military vehicle and would have small arms bullet proof glass a simple wash of clear green paint or wash similar to give the tint of the thicker glass. The glazing appears to be a perfect fit without issues. This was done with one piece of glazing and checking for fit.
So, with the cab on we now turn to the two 20-ton capacity winches which sits behind the cab now this was to me at least an amazing bit of kit, the two winches one on either side looking at the actual winches 'from some resources I have personally and some more that I found on the internet the model versions of these look spot on
The Talbert T64 trailer, itself, the top is in one piece a third of the way up the from the back of it on the underside is what I thought was a join but on reflection I now believe it is a stress line and has a slight bend, but I think once glued on to the chassis with the structure under the trailer I do think it will be straightened out.
The build on the trailer continues with two lengths of chassis with eight cross members all of which look easy enough to fit and look good. I do not see any issues in the initial stages with the building itself. The neck of the trailer which connects to the fifth wheel has some detail to it, but for me the top of the trailer as mentioned earlier does appear to have a stress line but the detail on the non-slip surface is perfect in my humble opinion.
I was impressed with the wheels for the trailer the 10 bolts are realistic and in scale with straight axles, leaf spring suspension not much detail in the leaf springs which is a shame I have over the years seen some other kits they have made them look truer to life.
The legs on the trailer which you use for dropping the trailer off have two options which is down or up, so it gives you that option for a diorama as a parked trailer.
One of the final parts that did impress me was the ramps and the fact that you have springs, so in theory they will be able to be moved in the closed and open with the springs holding it up, which is a good idea.
The Hobby Boss model kit M911 C-HET w/Talbert 64T Trailer is a big kit with a considerable number of plastic parts. There are some issues with it but most of them are quite small for instance there are some injector marks on some of the parts most of which are not going to be seen once built, the trailer is the biggest issue but not one that will stop you building it. Other issues for me include no engine. I only say this as it carries one of the best drive shafts, transmission, a fully accurate in scale and design of the transfer case and drive axles that I have seen in a kit. Usually, those details were scratch built during the build by dedicated modellers who are trying to produce that amount of detail.
The instructions look precise and easy enough to follow but please do go through them thoroughly so that you know what to expect with each build section.
The finish is for two options one green and the other sand yellow the decal for this vehicle is one of my bug bears and are sparse to say the least with literally no vehicle identification marks, no registration, unit identification, danger marks like chevrons. What is there are thick and as a representation of the dashboard not that great seven decals that are for the interior of the cab.
Despite this if like me you like tank transporters lorries in general then I do recommend it but be prepared to find some aftermarket replacement decals and dashboards.