by: Kevin Brant [ ]
Originally published on:
The M113 has been one those iconic AFV’s, that has been around for more than 50 years, still soldiering on with many countries. And of course Canada has been a user of the M113, as an armored personnel carrier along with many other uses. I won't go into a lot of details as to what is contained in this M113 conversion set from Legend Productions as Jason Bobrowich [LEOCMDR] has done an excellent in-box review and details the parts against the actual vehicle, that review can be found here
As mentioned in Jason's review, it is not a very complicated conversion; it assembles more like a update set. For the conversion, I acquired the Tamiya M113A2 - Desert Version(35265), which in itself looks to be a good kit, and there are lots of extra modern stowage.
The conversion starts with building the main hull from the Tamiya kit, there is no major cutting of parts for the conversion, just the shaving off of lots of surface detail. This is more true for the roof, where you can almost sand the entire surface flat. I would suggest a good micro chisel and razor saw, especially for removing the view ports. I quick sand, and the roof should be ready to start applying the parts. Or if you are like me, the chisel dug in a little deep at one section, so a little filler before sanding.
Attaching all the photo-etched tie downs can be daunting, due to the size and number. I did mark some of the locations of the tie downs with a permanent marker to assist in lining them up, including the tool brackets. Unfortunately the kit does not include the tools, so all the tie downs and brackets look bare when done.
As for the resin parts, a quick razor saw deals with the pour plugs, a little sanding stick action, and the parts are ready to place on the model. I have always been impressed with the quality of the castings with Legend Productions kits, and this one is no different. For mounting the new view ports, when shaving off the old one, I left a little ridge to help me line up mounting of the new ones.
While of the parts are for the roof, the kit does include parts for the rear door, front head light assemblies, and grouser racks. On the rear door, door latch handles are replaced, tow cable assembly build from photo-etched with string cable, and jerry can racks built from photo-etched with resin jerry cans. The buckles for the straps are provided, but no strap material, a little Tamiya tape substitutes well here.
On both ends, the resin lights are well done, and a little care is needed in bending the photo-etched covers, but with patience they form nicely, and look great attached to the model. When mounting the front, I would suggest gluing in the Tamiya kit part to fill the long open slot, cut off the lights and then fill, this will make it easier to get a flat surface to work with to the new resin parts, plus provide a little reference line to align the lights. Also, I mounted the photo-etched cover first, and then used the interior measurement to stagger the lights evenly.
The instructions do a great job in showing the location of the parts, but I found them a little weak in showing me how some of the photo-etched parts are bent. The set does provide the option to mount the storage bins included in the kit, which was done by some Canadian units, but not all, thus I left them off my conversion.
One part that really stood out for me was the 3-d look of the Canadian license plates, with the "CANADA" raised letters. Unfortunately, Legend Productions does not provide a decal for these other than the numbers. Thus if you want to mimic the colors you will need a very fine brush and patience. As for the rest of the decal, it is great to finally see markings like this for Canadian vehicle, and they do go on very well.
To build a Canadian M113, neither the conversion set from Legend Productions nor the Tamiya kit contain the proper track. So I do have on order a set of the AFV Club NATO track, which is why the model is not complete. Once I have the track, I will throw up some images of the complete build.
For paint, I used Vallejo Air Russian Green, Vallejo Air Lt. Cam. Green-Grey, and Tamiya NATO Black. I think the color pattern worked out well, which is not included in the kit, and you will have to source your own references.
Overall this is a simple conversion kit for the Canadian M113A2 from Legend Productions. The set is more like a detail set, and could probably be used to detail almost any M113 if you pick and choose the parts. The instructions are very helpful in placing the well done photo-etched and resin parts. It would have been nice if the kit included the tools to fill all the bare tie downs and brackets, and if it had included the full decals for the license plates. This kit has given me the urge to look at the other Legend Productions Canadian M113 conversions, and I would highly recommend this kit, especially for fans of Canadian armour.