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135
Baghdad BUSKer

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Sometimes I build a kit just because it's a great kit.

I had heard so many good things from Gino Quintillani about how marvelous the Meng Models Bradley M2A3 with BUSK III kit was (and accurate, too), so I decided to jump in (Pascal Bausset's build on Armorama is also terrific and influenced my thinking). I'm a Wehrmacht armor guy, and don't know a ton about modern vehicles, but that actually helped me because I wasn't worried or inhibited about making a mistake the way I would be with German WW2 subjects.

Not that I didn't do my homework. I purchased Robert Skipper's set of Bradley walkaround & interior photos (well worth the $14.99 price), and I asked lots of questions, which Gino and others answered freely. Modelers are a great bunch of folks.

I started with the base kit, then added ET Model's set of PE (good set, lousy directions), and used both Voyager and Orange Hobby radio masts with scratch-built wiring for the base. At Gino's suggestion, I purchased a set of ProArt's SINCGARS resin radios, though I found out later you'll need an arthroscope to see them in the final build, as they are in the rear of the turret. I tricked out the entire interior with quite a bit of scratchbuilding, including electrical conduit (made from metal and plastic wire), cables for the video screens and additional items like the engine wiring, water tank, and the NBC gear in the troop compartment. I replaced the kit tracks with Friuls, and I'm happy with the results, though the kit tracks are very nice.

It's often the small things that "make" a build, and in this case, it was a set of DefModel resin cooler, water container, and clear bottles with "Coke" and other labels. The set comes with both pristine bottles and crushed ones, as well as various water bottles. A little dark brown/black paint and the Cokes were ready. The water bottles just need some white or blue tops and labels. I used various leftover stowage items (including Legend MRE boxes) and cases of Middle Eastern-brand waters,, and someone (I can't remember now, it might have been Tom Cromwell) gave me extra TOW missiles).

Drilling down into detail, I remembered something my friend and fellow model club member, Chris Green, told me about his deployment in Iraq:

1. Soldiers are pigs (I had three teens at one point, so I didn't need to be convinced)

2. You don't want to go outside the vehicle to pee when on patrol, even though you're drinking lots of soda and water (too dangerous), so you pee in the used water and soda bottles

A little Tamiya Clear Yellow, and voila: bottles of pee (or gun-cleaning fluid in the G-rated version).

The model has picked up several awards from two shows, including a gold medal at ARMORCON and Best Armor at MOSQUITOCON. However, the best tribute I received was when a judge at MOSQUITOCON asked me if I'd served in Iraq (too old for that, but I was deeply honored and touched he'd think so). He said the trash on the floor reminded him so much of the struggle he had in Bradley's to get his soldiers to remember their Mom wasn't deployed with them to clean up for them, and they'd have to pick up their own garbage. It was just the realism that helped him vote for my build.

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About the Author

About Bill Cross (bill_c)
FROM: NEW JERSEY, UNITED STATES

Self-proclaimed rivet counter who gleefully builds tanks, planes and has three subs in the stash.


Comments

Absolutely brilliant, an inspiration for us all. Thank's for sharing. Keith.
JAN 10, 2016 - 02:39 AM
Wow.....that is amazing. Well done. Best wishes, Ian
JAN 10, 2016 - 02:50 AM
Bill - just amazing work, look awesome, love all the little details, and the paint and weathering is great.
JAN 10, 2016 - 03:26 AM
The level of detail is stunning! Your awards are very well deserved.
JAN 10, 2016 - 04:22 AM
Amazing job. Congrats
JAN 10, 2016 - 04:46 AM
Great job on it. It came out looking awesome.
JAN 10, 2016 - 10:50 AM
Thank you all for your kind remarks. I can't give enough credit to Gino and others for their help, as well as the Meng kit. It really builds up into a wonderful kit, and I am a crank about urging my friends to buy and build it.
JAN 11, 2016 - 06:36 AM
You did such a great job on that kit, Bill. Having seen it in person, I can tell you that those awards are well-deserved. Plus, I'm flattered that I could contribute in a small way. Enduring those pee bottles rolling around at my feet was not done in vain! Chris
JAN 14, 2016 - 06:51 AM
Stunning level of detailing Bill. The black scrapes / chips / dirt on the front of the track guards particularly caught my eye, very nicely done, very random. Nice set of photos too! *Multi*-award winning.
JAN 14, 2016 - 12:25 PM
Chris, it's the small details that make for a good build. I consider this a group effort, and the awards, while nice, are meaningful because of all the guys who contributed. Maybe it's a tiny way to say "thanks" for your service to our country. Thank you, Matthew. I am very flattered by all the kind words you and others have offered. It's a GREAT kit, so if you haven't purchased one yet, don't wait.
JAN 14, 2016 - 12:32 PM
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