by: Jeff Edgar [ ]
IntroductionM1114s were built as an overhaul of the M1025 armament carriers starting in 1995 and resulted in greater armor protection and payload. They have seen service in Bosnia and Kosovo prior to the beginning of the War on Terror. They also participated in the initial invasion of Iraq, but in limited numbers. The growing threat of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and other explosive threats as well as the increase in unconventional warfare has led to a rapid expansion of uparmored Humvees, with the M1114-series taking the lead. The Iraqi government, in its effort to rebuild its Army, purchased a large order of M1114s, arming them mainly with DShK .50 cal Russian machine guns or PKM 7.62mm machine guns.
what's in the boxThe box was mailed direct from Mig Production Studios in Spain and took a couple weeks to arrive, par for the course for me with things coming from Europe. It arrived in a small cardboard box and opening it was like a demented Christmas gift: secured in a ton of packing tape it still contained all the joy of opening a present on Christmas morning – even if it took me five minutes to do so. Inside, among all the packing peanuts was another small, firm cardboard box with Mig’s logo and a picture of the kit printed on a sticker that sealed the box (A1). Opening this box you get more peanuts firmly protecting the kit. (A2) The conversion parts come in 4 bags of various sizes filled with cream-colored resin parts and a large PE fret.
The set contains all the main parts necessary to build an M1114 as far as 2005-early 2006ish or a current Iraqi Army (IA) Humvee (A3). Anything prior to when Frag 5 doors were added and you are pretty much good to go. This includes the original M1114 conversion, MIG’s Aggressive pattern wheels (which were previously sold separately), and a mostly Photo Etch turret. The Russian DShK .50cal machine gun for the IA Humvee is included.
Also included was the same instruction sheet from the original conversion as well as a separate sheet for the PE turret. In an oops moment, the original instructions sheet says that the wheels are sold separately. (A4, A5, A6_1a, A7, A8, A9, A10). The only problems I have had was two of the tiny door handles fell off the pouring block while a third is barely hanging on.
QualityGoing through the bags, I was impressed with the quality of detail. The aggressive wheels are excellent, though care must be taken to differentiate the front wheels from the rear wheels and the modeler will need to add the hubs from the Tamiya kit (A6_2a). The casting is definitely improved from the original kit. A good example is in the armored roof. Many have said that there was warping of the roof. Mine was minimal on the original, but there seemed to be none in this sample. (A11) Also you can see the improvement in the quality by comparing the air conditioner from the original and the newer versions.
TurretThe turret shield, which has become the overall standard for US Army Humvee, is mostly Photo Etch. Included is the frontal armor shield and the shield that covers the sides and rear of the gunner. There are three resin pieces included: a beam that connects the sides together, a mount for the front shield, and a pintle mount for the DShK or another mount for a US M2 or Mk-19 (which you’d have to get from the Tamiya M1025 kit or another AM set like Blast Models).
I was surprised that there was more detail on the armor than I expected. Making the turret armor is like making a mini PE kit. There are brackets and rivets to be added. A pro is that the rivets are included, a con is that the rivets are very, very tiny and there are many of them. The instructions are also not very clear where all the rivets go, so photo reference are a must. I am also not convinced that the photoetch is to scale in thickness with the real armor, but I don’t know the thickness of the real armor to compare. By eyeball, I do believe that the frontal armor is to scale.
I have yet to build the turret, so check the forums soon for that. I have included a couple pictures that Mig Jimenez gave me of what the completed turret should look like.
Iraqi Army HumveeIncluded in the conversion is a DShK .50 cal to make an Iraqi Army Humvee, which is generally the main armament. A PKM can also be supplemented, but is not included in the kit. This is a first for any kit manufacturer, which is a plus. On the downside, there are no instructions on how to paint an IA Humvee nor any of the decals you would need. However Echelon decals has a set for the M1114 that are a must have. Not only included are decals for numerous US Army M1114s, but some IA Humvees as well. Iraqi Humvees are just as different as US Humvees, so photo references are going to be needed to accurately build one.
ConclusionAs a final note, on later production kits, Mig Jimenez has told me he will replace the resin side armor under the doors with new ones in PE, but, says Mig, “it never will affect to the final product (well, it will have more quality) or final price.” As my sample was an early production, it did not have this, so I can not comment on it other than the resin ‘armor’ does give a hefty look to the Humvee and made it look like it had been uparmored; I wonder what the PE will look like.
Overall this appears to be a pretty good kit. All a modeller would need to do to make a US Humvee is to not add the DShK. In the past I’ve had trouble finding the original conversion and the wheels available and in one place, but no more. However, you pay for it. Blast Models puts the kit at $60.49 USD. Buying all the original conversion and the wheels separately would combined cost you $47.84, but I wonders though if you’d end up paying for more if you add Shipping and Handling. Plus you’d have to scratchbuild the turret and find another DShK if you wanted an Iraqi Humvee. Its not perfect – no kit is – but it is a great start and a welcome addition. I want to thank Mig Jimenez for graciously providing me with this sample.