The YPR-765 is a Dutch name for an AIFV vehicle manufactured originally by the FMC Corporation in the USA and later under license in Netherlands. AIFV was designed as a private venture of the FMC and a result of their efforts to improve capabilities of M113 as a fighting vehicle. They used earlier experience from work on XM701, a prototype Infantry Fighting Vehicle, to create XM765. The US Army evaluated the vehicle, but decided that it did not meet their expectations choosing M2 Bradley instead. The Dutch Army however supported the development of XM765 and placed first order for 850 vehicles in 1975. First prototypes called Armored Infantry Fighting Vehicle (AIFV) were built in 1977 and later that year first production vehicles arrived in Holland, where they were designated YPR-765. More information about AIFV vehicles can be found in Wikipedia article here
AFV Club released a model of YPR-765 PRI (basic IFV variant with 25 mm KBA-B02 cannon) in 2003 and it was very well received. Unfortunately the Dutch version of the kit was only released as a limited edition (part number AF35S14) and at that time the official information from manufacturer was that once the first production batch is sold out, they will no longer be available or re-released. The reason given was that molds for sprue B had been permanently modified to release a NATO AIFV version with tie downs added on side armor/floatation cells.
A few years have passed and AFV Club somehow managed to release an updated version of their Dutch YPR-765 PRI kit, now as modernized YPR-765A1 PRI version. This new kit no longer has a limited edition status, but was given normal sequence part number. This could mean that either AFV Club retooled old molds once again for Dutch version and NATO AIFV kit will now disappear from the market, or they tooled a new set of molds for the new kit.
When the original AF35S14 kit was released in 2003, it already represented an outdated configuration of the vehicle. At that time vehicles still in active service in the Dutch Army had numerous modifications applied, most noticeable being Diehl 213 tracks and large storage racks added at the hull sides at the rear. These racks made it impossible to use firing ports in hull sides, but these were proven to have very small practical value anyway. In most later vehicles these ports were welded shut and periscopes over them eliminated. These later vehicles also had storage rack extended to the rear in the form of perforated metal shelf over the rear ramp, plus new storage boxes and jerry can rack added to the vehicle hull rear. Some of these modifications, and possibly also some internal upgrades caused the change of vehicle designation to YPR-765A1, but I was unable to find any detailed information on this. Out of the box old YPR-765 PRI kit could only be built as earlier variant without any of mentioned modifications, but Czech aftermarket company ExtraTech quickly offered a solution in the form of extensive photo-etched parts set to upgrade the model to current configuration and AFV Club themselves sold separate sets of Diehl 213 tracks, both as individual links and one piece vinyl tracks. New AFV Club kit now offers another option, as it also includes all parts for the up-to-date YPR-765A1 PRI vehicle in the box.
What’s in the box
The contents of the new kit should look very familiar to those who earlier bought YPR-765 PRI or NATO AIFV kits, as there is only one small new plastic parts sprue added. New photo-etched parts fret replaced the old one and new decals are provided. Also given is a piece of nylon mesh for storage racks. One-piece vinyl Diehl 213 tracks replaced T130E1 tracks provided in older kit. Obviously new are also instructions and they are now printed in full A4 page format (previous kit included smaller A5 sized instructions which was a bit difficult to follow for some, as all diagrams were proportionally smaller). By the way, the short history of the vehicle given at the beginning of instructions was extended in new release and among others the information about new Diehl tracks was provided. But the author of the text made a mistake, as he refers to Diehl tracks used on Dutch vehicles as 513B model. Actually as I mentioned earlier track used on Dutch YPRs and included now in YPR-765A1 PRI kit are of 213 type. Diehl 513B is a quite new and noticeably different version, only recently introduced in some armies (German, Danish and Australian for example), but as far as I know is not yet used by the Dutch Army. Only Diehl 513B tracks available in 1/35 scale are resin ones from PerfectScale Modellbau
Molding quality is very high with no flash and very crisp and delicate details. Some seem to be really fragile and a lot of care will be needed to avoid damaging them during removal from sprues and cleanup. The only ejector pin mark I was able to locate in a place that can be visible after assembly is on the bottom of turret gunner’s hatch. Of course if you close that hatch the problem disappears. Probably the biggest molding flaws of the kit are sink holes that appear on a few parts. They are quite shallow, but some may be visible on finished model and are in places where filling them would be rather difficult without damaging surrounding details.
Lower hull tub is given as a separate part with no sprue attached. It includes some access panel details on the bottom and unfortunately all shock absorbers and suspension arms are also molded on it. This means that putting the finished model on a rough terrain diorama would require quite serious plastic surgery.
One piece vinyl tracks are excellent and practically as detailed as their plastic individual link equivalent available separately from AFV Club. They are in fact noticeably better than vinyl T130 tracks from previous YPR kit, that were a bit too thick.
The A sprue in the kit is a real veteran, as it originally appeared in the first AFV Club full plastic model kit: AF3502 M730A1 Chaparral. Only road wheels and idlers included on that sprue are used in new YPR-765A1 kit, all other parts can go directly to modeler’s spare parts box. There is one serious error in kit instructions, as it shows that parts A8 and A9 should be used for sprocket wheels. Unfortunately these parts are designed for T130E1 tracks and won’t fit to Diehl tracks included in the new kit. Modelers should use Diehl sprockets included on sprue D instead (parts D13 and D17). Old sprue A molds were slightly modified for the first release of YPR / AIFV kits and the sprue appears in that modified form in the new kit. The change was an addition of raised rim edges on road wheels. In old M730 and M548 kits tires were flush with rim edges. This modification certainly makes painting of tires easier, but the modification was overdone in my opinion. On real vehicles there is only very small step between tire wall and rim edge, and often there is none at all and tires are flush with rims (I have photos of M113 wheels with tires oversprayed in camouflage color and it is impossible to tell where the rim ends and tire begins). On new kit parts the raised rim edge is a bit too tall, but luckily it is very easy to tone it down with a few quick swipes with sanding stick.
Sprue B in the new kit was not changed and looks exactly as it did in first YPR-765 kit. There are no signs of retooling visible on hull side panels, so if this sprue was indeed retooled from NATO kit version, then it was done very well leaving no sign of AIFV surface details. Aside from hull side armor/floatation cell panels, the sprue also includes top hull section, glacis plate, parts of front floatation cell, rear ramp, top cargo hatch, commander’s cupola and hatch, plus a few other pieces. There is a nice non-slip surface added on front floatation cell, top hull armor and commander’s hatch, but I’m afraid that it is so subtle that it can easily disappear under a coat of paint. All periscopes on the hull and cupola parts are molded integrally with these parts from solid olive green styrene – there are no clear parts in the kit. Also molded integrally with hull top part are firing port covers in closed position. Rear doors are molded closed integrally with the ramp, which itself is hinged and can be positioned open. Also opened can be cargo and commander’s hatches, as well as engine access cover. But there are no interior parts provided in the kit, so opening these hatches, ramps and covers is not a good idea, unless modeler wants to scratch built at least some hull interior components.
Sprue C is also the same as it was in AF35S14 kit and includes separate engine access cover, driver’s hatch (with non-slip coating), ventilator cover, smoke grenade launchers and many other small detail parts. Grenade launchers are molded with solid tube ends and should be opened for better appearance (shallow depressions should be added to represent rubber covers, and deeper holes can be made to model the empty launcher tube). Taillights and headlights are molded with solid lenses from green styrene, so those who want to use e.g. MV lenses will have to drill holes in lights to accept them. Light guards are molded very thin for styrene parts and should look good without the need to replace them with aftermarket PE parts.
Sprue D, also taken directly from old kit, includes Diehl sprocket wheels, final drive covers, jerry cans (two US style plastic water cans and two NATO style metal cans), spare Diehl track links, very nice set of pioneer tools with molded on straps and tie-downs, plus some other crisply molded detail parts. Also on this sprue is plastic part for towing cable molded in one piece with cable ends and attachment brackets – no metal cable is provided in the kit.
Sprue E contains all parts for PRI variant 25mm turret. Flutted gun barrel has a solid muzzle end, which should be opened for a better appearance. Solid green styrene periscopes are molded integrally with turret top part. There are two versions of gunner sights provided, but no explanation is given in instructions for their usage. Use E22 part for modern vehicle, as E23 was used in 1980s according to Gerard van Oosbree (the author of Military Ordnance Special book on YPR-765 and also of a review of original AFV Club kit on tanxheaven.com website). Optional parts are provided for rubber dust covers for weapons spent shells ejector ports. In 2003 kit AFV Club had some problem with proper flow of styrene in molds for this sprue and two of four tiny separate bolts that should be added to turret sides were not molded at all. This problem was solved before the release of NATO AIFV kit and luckily new YPR-765A1 also includes this corrected sprue with all bolts molded correctly. On the sprue provided are German style smoke grenade launchers, but they are not used on Dutch vehicles and appropriately not shown in kit instructions.
As mentioned earlier there is just one completely new sprue in the kit – sprue H. It includes parts for storage rack frames, new storage boxes and jerry can rack, plus four T-type towing shackles and a couple of other new details required to build YPR-765A1 variant. Rack frames are molded extremely thin and will require a lot of care to cut them off from the sprue without breaking them to pieces.
To fill empty rack frames AFV Club provided a piece of nylon mesh. The mesh has a rhomboid pattern and this unfortunately is the biggest flaw of the new kit. All photos of upgraded YPR-765 vehicles, but also AFV Club’s own box art illustration and instructions diagrams show square mesh pattern! It is very important as this is not a dense mesh, just the opposite - it is quite sparse pattern of wires and square shape is very noticeable. Even photos of built and painted model on the side of the AFV Club kit box lid show that it has square pattern mesh attached. This means that rhomboid mesh provided in the kit is completely inaccurate and should be replaced with PE or other suitable square mesh. It is difficult to understand how AFV Club could make such a mistake considering that they obviously knew what mesh would be correct for the kit. Maybe later releases of the kit will include correct mesh?
New photo-etched parts fret in the kit includes nice new engine intake screens – much finer and better looking than those provided in original kit. Also included are hangers for rear hull storage box and jerry can rack, perforated metal plate for rear hull stowage rack, mud flaps, tie-down strip for hull front, a strap with separate buckles for attaching jerry cans to the rack and blanking panels for hull openings left after removal of periscopes from troop compartment. Adding these four parts requires cutting off molded on periscope details from the top hull part.
First production run of the new kit includes one extra resin part and there is a label on the kit box lid with “Special Parts – First Edition Only” announcement. As I wrote there is in fact only one resin part added and a small instruction sheet showing how to use it. The part is a rack for sleeping mats (or bags?) that is attached to the rear of the turret. Resin part is molded with seven bags strapped to the rack, but actual rack is not visible under these bags and is only represented as solid resin bar. This is not correct as ends of the rack attachment rails should be visible even when the rack is fully loaded. Other problem is that there should be circular metal trays under bags and these are not present. I also believe that the real rack holds eight bags, not seven as in the kit. But at least the first edition of the kit includes some way to represent that rack – I understand that future releases will not include any parts for it. This is another flaw of the new kit, as these racks seem to be a standard feature now on all fully modernized YPR-765A1 PRI vehicles. PE parts to build the turret rack were included in ExtraTech set if someone would like to add it. And that set also included reasonably accurate (although a bit too sparse) square pattern mesh racks.
Decals and markings
Decals are printed with very thin and very glossy carrier film. Printing quality is reasonably good with only minor color register problems, but it certainly isn’t the same level of decal quality as that from Microscale or Cartograf. AFV Club added “SFOR” to the kit name, but only two of five marking options are for SFOR vehicles in NATO three-color camouflage. No information is given about the unit, time or place where those and other featured vehicles were spotted. There are also markings for two overall NATO yellow-olive green (RAL6014 – not olive drab as shown in instructions) vehicles and additional one in NATO three-color camouflage with no SFOR markings, but standard NATO tactical unit markings on it. Green vehicles are described as early type and camouflaged ones are late type – references to late and early type appear throughout the instruction steps and late features include removal of hull side periscopes, addition of perforated sheet storage rack at the rear and a couple of other modifications. Markings for all vehicles are generally correct for Dutch Army vehicles, but I wasn’t able to locate any photos of those specific vehicles featured in the kit.
I already mentioned a couple of accuracy problems earlier, like wrong pattern of mesh for racks or very simplified resin turret rack (only present in first production batch kits and probably missing completely from kits manufactured in the future). Aside from these problems described earlier, the kit seems to be very accurate. I don’t have reliable scale drawings of the YPR-765 to verify all dimensions and shapes, but comparing parts to photos did not reveal any noticeable errors. There are plenty of intricate details all over the kit and all seem to be very accurate. Maybe after assembling the kit some errors could be found, but parts on sprues look very good. There are however some small points in instructions that are not correct. I already mentioned the error with sprocket wheels, but there are some other parts shown that are not correct for the Dutch vehicle. I wasn’t able to find parts C49 and C50 (shields that protected opened firing port covers) on any Dutch vehicle photo. If they were ever used on YPRs then they must have been discarded long time ago (but they are used on Belgian AIFV for example), so shouldn’t be attached to the model. Also parts for early style folded stowage rack (C47) should be left off, as they were removed when large new racks were added. The only parts that were left on the hull were hinge brackets, which in the kit are molded integrally with parts C47. But it shouldn’t be too difficult to add these small details from scratch.
The new AFV Club kit certainly isn’t without flaws, but it is a very good product. The kit is based on a model that is four years old and it only shows how much has changed since then – now we expect clear parts for periscopes and light lenses, metal tow cables and slide molding used to open gun muzzles in all new kits, but when original YPR-765 kit was released such additions were still a rarity. Even without these features included however, the kit is very detailed and accurate. The only thing that certainly should be replaced by a modeler is a stowage rack mesh, but it shouldn’t be too difficult to find correct square pattern PE or nylon mesh. Other flaws are minor and correcting them usually means just not following the instructions strictly. It would be nice to have at least partial interior included (Academy included it in their KIFV kit, very similar to AIFV), as it could be clearly seen through open hatches and rear ramp (which has interior details on it, including separate internal handles). I guess that it’s just too expensive to add interior parts.
Highly recommended with small reservations!