Aoshima released a model of the Maneuver Combat Vehicle (MCV) in development for the Japanese Ground Self Defense Force (JGSDF). The model is based on the prototype of the vehicle from October 2013. The MCV is an 8-wheeled armoured car/wheeled tank equipped with a 105 mm AT gun in a turret. This makes it a vehicle very similar to the Italian B1 Centauro and in some lesser extend to the M1128 Stryker MGS which has a automated turret. These kind of vehicles are seen more and more in armies around the world because they are lighter in weight and can be flown to distant locations more easily then a 60 to 70 ton Main Battle Tank. The off-road performance, armour and armament are a lot less too however. The Canadian Army wanted to replace all it's MBT's with M1128's but experiences in the last years have completely turned that decision around. Japan also retains MBT's in it's army, namely the new Type 10 MBT. Like the Type 10 the MCV has modular armour as well which can be adapted to certain missions.
Video images of the real thing:
The model consists out of 68 parts, 42 for the main body and turret, 24 for the wheels and 4 clear parts for the lights. All parts have fine detail so don't put on a paint layer that is too thick! As with Revell's Boxer the wheels are molded as 3 discs making it possible to have both a wide and detailed wheel surface. The barrel is already hollowed out and all parts fit perfectly. There is no option to put the drivers hatch in 'road mode' as seen on the photo above of the all green prototype. All hatches are moulded separately so if you have JGSDF figures they can be used here! The real novelty of this model is in the suspension however. This is not very detailed since it can't be seen but Aoshima has chosen to make it functional. Like the real thing the whole vehicle can swing over it's longitudinal axes, in addition to this the 4 front wheels can steer. An intricate but robust system of parts make sure the 4 steering wheels move with each other. In order to make this all functional no glue needs to be applied in step 1 and 2 of the building instructions. A last remark about the grab handles, these are all moulded as solid protrusions, most of them are small but the three on the back and two on the turret rear will benefit from replacement with wire.
some photo's of parts on their sprue:
The suspension system before it is closed up, all these parts must be fitted without glue in order for the suspension and 'roll' system to work. On the other photo's the completed vehicle:
It's very nice to see a plastic model of this type of vehicle in 1/72 because there was none available so far. All parts look very well moulded and are nicely detailed. The model is not to complex as well, highly recommended for beginners as well.