Armoured Reconnaissance (Recce) is a well known term to the Canadian Forces. The Canadian Forces utilized AFVs for reconnaissance during WWII, throughout the Cold War, and into the present day in Afghanistan. During the Cold War the Canadian Forces used the Ferret, the Lynx, and the Cougar AVGP. During the late 1980s a replacement was being sought for the venerable Lynx Command & Reconnaissance vehicles. Development began on a modifying an 8x8 LAV 25 to suit the reconnaissance mission requirements and in 1992 a prototype was presented by General Dynamics Land Systems - (GDLS) – Canada. In 1993 the Coyote was selected and 203 vehicles were ordered. Crew testing and evaluations of the Coyote began in 1996 and it entered service with Armoured Recce Squadrons and Infantry Recce Platoons in 1998.
The Coyote has been designed as a dedicated reconnaissance vehicle with the ability to carry out reconnaissance, surveillance, patrolling, and fighting for information. The Coyote is armed with a 25 mm M242 Bushmaster cannon, 2 x C6 GPMGs, and 8 x 76 mm Wegmann grenade dischargers. The Coyote can be fitted with an add-on armour package depending on the level of protection required. As an additional defensive tool the Coyote mounts a laser warning receiver that alerts the crew if they are being lasered by the enemy. One of the trade offs of the increased protection is increased weight and this combined with a change in amphibious operations doctrine resulted in the Coyote not fitted with a swimming capability.
The focal point of the Coyote’s reconnaissance capabilities comes in the form of the sophisticated surveillance suite. This includes a thermal imager, MSTAR radar, long range video camera, laser rangefinder, deployable tripod mounted surveillance equipment with 200 meters of cable, and the very striking 10 meter telescoping mast that allows the Coyote to remain hidden behind terrain or buildings and conduct recce missions undetected. The surveillance equipment is monitored by the surveillance suite operator crewman in the right rear of the hull. There is a comprehensive console of electronic equipment and monitors to permit real time observations and recordings of enemy activity.
The Coyotes have seen operational service in Canada during the G8 Summit, Bosnia with SFOR, Eritrea with UNMEE, Kosovo with KFOR, and they have been deployed in Afghanistan since 2002. The Coyote is an excellent asset for the detection of enemy troops, equipment, and positions. The ability for the Coyote with a skilled crew to sneak and peek on the battlefield, detect the enemy, and then coordinate resources to destroy that enemy is exactly what the Coyote was designed for and it excels in meeting those objectives. Completely fitting with the Recce motto the Coyotes will continue to be the “First in, Last out” for many years to come.
continues their effort to strike a positive chord with modern AFV modelers, in particular fans of modern Canadian AFVs, with the release of the Canadian Coyote ISAF Uparmoured conversion kit, RM35131. An accurate Coyote LAV conversion or kit has been long sought after, and Real Model holds true to continuing to produce conversion kits for subjects that interest a wide variety of modelers with this release. The multi-media conversion kit is designed to be used with the Trumpeter LAV 25 as the base kit. As you will see further in the review there is only a relatively small amount of the Trumpeter kit that is used in the assembly of the Coyote. The conversion kit parts are produced in resin, photo etch, metal, and paper accessories.
Prospective modelers of the Coyote should be aware from the onset that this conversion does not include the surveillance suite telescoping mast. The completed project will build into a Coyote that can be depicted as having the mast stowed or one of the earlier Coyote versions that did not have the mast fitted. As mentioned in the title this Coyote conversion depicts the Uparmoured version as deployed to Afghanistan. Uparmoured Coyotes were also deployed to Kosovo in 1999. Coyotes without the add-on armour were deployed to Eritrea, Bosnia, and while training in Canada.
The Coyote conversion comes solidly packed in a Real Model cardboard box. The box top shows an image of a Coyote built and finished by Real Models’ owner Miloslav Hraban. The box top also includes small images of the photo etch frets and the printed accessories. Parts are all packaged in zip lock bags and with the instructions they all fit very snug in the box during shipping.
The Coyote conversion kit consists of the following:
•3 x photo etch frets
•1 x Barrel Depot 1/35 M242 Bushmaster chain gun (new style) BD35050
•1 x printed sheet of road and warning signs
•1 x sheet of ration and water bottle boxes
•4 x 10” 0.5 mm brass rods
•2 x 10” 0.8 mm brass rods
•57 x resin parts
•2 x resin bending jigs for the turret stowage racks
There are no decals included in the conversion kit.
The majority of the resin parts are free of any air bubbles or flash. Air bubbles were noted along the edges of the driver’s periscopes and the spare tire rack. The quality of the resin castings is very detailed with solid pouring blocks attached to all parts. Modelers should be prepared to break out their razor saw and take time to clean up all the resin parts.
The instructions for the Coyote conversion are comprised of 9 single sided sheets. The title page shows images of the resin parts with associated numbers, the photo etch frets, and the printed ration and water boxes. Page two shows three images of a Coyote conversion build with indicator arrows and numbers for the relevant kit and conversion parts on the hull and turret. There is also a colour image of a real Coyote showing the left signal light guard and mirror frame. Page three to seven are formatted in the Eduard style for the bending, assembly, and placement of the multiple photo etched parts. The Eduard instructions are very well done and with the large amount of photo etched parts included the modeler would be wise to study the instructions and follow the assembly process.
Page eight includes six colour images with indicator arrows and numbers to further denote the placement of the photo etched parts. Three of the images pertain to the turret and modelers should note that the images shown in the instructions are actually a LAV III and not a Coyote. This should not overtly confuse anyone as both the Coyote and LAV III use the same turret. The other three images show the spare tire rack with specific indicators to the photo etched parts added to the resin part.
Finally page nine show two colour images of a built and unpainted Coyote conversion. The images show both the left and right sides. It would have been nice to have had further views of the rear and front hull and top views. It should also be noted that the build images do not show the spare tire rack mounted, and this would have been a good detail to have included in the images so modelers not familiar with the Coyote would completely understand how the spare tire rack is attached to the upper and lower tow pintles. The image of the completed and painted Coyote on the box top does show the spare tire rack mounted, but no spare tire is attached. Likewise the build images do not show the C6 machine gun mounted on the turret pintle. The turret machine gun is a sub assembly in itself and an image of it completed and mounted would be beneficial to modelers.
I noted that there are no instructions as to how to use the two bending jigs or how the three turret stowage racks are assembled or attached to the turret sides or rear. This may cause serious issues with modelers not familiar with the previous Real Model LAV III conversion or modelers not comfortable assembling parts from viewing images of a real vehicle. On a similar note, there are drawings and images of the signal light guards and mirror mounts included but there are no dimensions provided for how big each part should be made. A simple 1/35 template drawing of the guards and mirror mounts would have solved this issue.
Overall the instructions show very little regarding the assembly of the turret parts. There are no instructions for the attachment of the grenade dischargers, TCCCS box, antenna mounts, coaxial machine gun, wire cutter, or turret hatches. This will for sure require modelers to test fit parts and refer to reference material.
In regards to the assembly and combining of the Trumpeter kit parts to the conversion parts there are no instructions provided. There are kit parts used on the hull such as the winch rollers and the lifting eyes and these are pointed out with arrows in the images, but they are not called out by part number. Obviously the lower hull and suspension of the Trumpeter kit is required, but there is no indication as to parts to leave off during assembly such as the trim vane and marine drive components. I noted that in the build and finished images that add-on armour panels can clearly be seen attached to the Trumpeter hull in the area of the rear four tires but there is no reference to this is any part of the instructions. I am not certain upon reviewing the images and the photo etched parts that these sections of add-on armour are included in the conversion.
Finally, the instructions do not mention any paint schemes or detail painting. Markings are not a significant issue with a Coyote deployed to Afghanistan in 2002 but modelers do like the painting of signal lights, taillights, gun barrels, turret sights, and tires pointed out to them. Most markings that were on the Coyotes were covered when the add-on armour was mounted so the lack of markings would be totally realistic.
The Bending Jigs:
Two resin cast bending jigs are included in the conversion to aid the modeler in forming the brass rods for the turret side and rear stowage basket frames. The key with using the bending jigs is to ensure that once the brass wire is bent that it is at the correct angle and that the photo etched parts such as the screens and supports fit properly. Again, there is nothing in the instructions to show the modeler how to use the bending jigs properly.
The Barrel Depot M242 25 mm chain gun barrel is supplied in the conversion kit. While this is not a review of the barrel I will provide some details regarding it. The barrel consists of an aluminum fluted barrel with a brass muzzle brake. The muzzle brake has two sets of four venting holes on either side. The venting holes are very nicely reproduced and have the slight concave detail. The issue with the barrel is that the Coyotes have been fitted with the later style muzzle brake with three sets of four venting holes, and not two as depicted here. This might be a sticking point for those modelers wanting total accuracy, although I am not aware of an aftermarket barrel with the correct three sets of venting holes.
The Michelin XML tires and wheels included in the conversion are well done. The tread pattern is well defined and there is a slight weighted sag look to the tires. The hub bolt pattern is correct and there is a small valve stem present on each wheel. The spare tire is equally as detailed with only minor flash present in the bolt holes. One feature that is visibly missing on the tire surfaces is the raised MICHELIN lettering. This may be due to copyright issues. There are fine, raised lettering and numbers on the sidewall for the technical tire data. The eight wheels are designed to simply mount on the Trumpeter suspension parts, but modelers must take note of the distinct mounts on the back side of the wheels. Four of the wheels are specifically for the four rear mounts and four are specifically for the four front mounts.
The Turret and Turret Parts:
The turret itself is cast in resin. The resin detail level is very high and rivals injection moulded parts. It is hollow with a thin membrane of resin over the turret hatches. This will be very easy to clean out if you feel like adding some crew figures. The mantlet is cast in place, this of course will not permit the gun to be lowered or raised. The turret has the add-on armor cast on with the attachment bolts. The top pieces of the add-on armour appear to have a slight anti-slip texture.
There are some accuracy issues with the turret. I did note that some of the add-on armor bolts are not exactly in the correct location compared to images I reviewed of Coyotes deployed to Afghanistan. The differences in the placement of the bolts on the kit and the real vehicles are relatively minor when viewed side by side. There does appear to be other small bolt detail missing on the mantlet and there should be weld beads on the main gun mount. In addition, on the mantlet there is a very obvious square protruding object above the coaxial machine gun port. This object is a camera present only on the LAV III turret. It is not mounted on the Coyote and this area of the mantlet should be smooth. Unfortunately, this oversight is a result of Real Model using their LAV III turret in the Coyote conversion kit. The turret of the LAV III and the Coyote are the same except for this detail. The modeler will have to remove this detail, fill the hole, and sand it smooth for the mantlet to be accurate. Hopefully this mistake will be corrected and future kits will be accurate.
The turret lifting rings are also moulded on and have no flash; not an easy task with resin casting. Detail parts such as the grenade dischargers, laser warning receiver, hatches, coax machine gun barrel, communications equipment, wire cutter, stowage bins, and the turret machine gun all need to be added during the assembly process. This may be very difficult for some modelers due to the lack of instructions.
I noted that both the commander’s and gunner’s sights are missing the commonly seen covers. In the majority of images of the Coyotes, the protective covers are in place while the vehicles are deployed. The cover should be a two piece rubber and strap design covering the back of the sight and allowing a sun shade of sorts to be flipped down over the optics.
The turret hatches are nicely produced and will need wire handles added to the outside. If the modeler wants to pose the hatches open wire grab handles will also need to be added to the inside. In between the turret hatches two wire grab handles will need to be formed and attached. Luckily there are small locating holes present on the hatch tops and on the turret top to aid the modeler in placement and measurements.
The grenade dischargers are cast as a bank of four for each side and look very nicely detailed. Photo etched chains are provided for the caps. The laser warning receiver starts off as a resin post and with the addition of eight photo etched parts becomes a subassembly in itself.
The turret machine gun is provided in resin. The version provided is the full stock version. Both this version and the spade grip version could be found on Coyotes initially deployed to Afghanistan in 2002. The C6 receives detailing with nine photo etched parts and some plastic rod. The simple curved turret mount is provided in resin.
The turret TCCCS (Tactical Command, Control and Communications Systems) box that mounts on the left front antenna mount is shown in one of the build images on the last page of instructions, but it is not shown anywhere in the assembly instructions. The TCCCS box is included as photo etched parts and will need additional detailing with bolt and communication attachments.
The side and rear stowage bins are to be built and detailed with the brass rod, wire mesh, and the photo etched parts. The bins will look excellent once built and detailed but the issue will be accurately assembling and attaching them to the turret without any instructions. Modelers will be wise to drill placement holes on the turret for the stowage racks. The tie down loops are provided separately in photo etch and they will add to the detail already present allowing the modeler to realistically attach kit and equipment.
The resin parts are comprised first of the upper hull. This piece is exceptionally well cast with excellent details. The add-on armour is cast on and well defined. There is cast anti-slip surface texture on the topside add-on armour panels. The driver’s hatch, two rear hull hatches, and the rear doors are all cast as separate parts enabling the adventurous modeler to create their own interior. The additional resin parts for the hull are the rear hull, external fuel tanks, exhaust, headlights, signal lights, ventilator cover, mirrors, a small antenna, driver’s periscopes, and the spare tire rack. The air bubbles that I noted on the driver’s periscopes in my kit can be rectified with some patience, putty, and sanding.
The lower hull is supplied by the Trumpeter LAV 25 kit used with the conversion set. While it is not mentioned in the instructions, the modeler will use the Trumpeter kit lower hull and the suspension components for the conversion. There are also several kit parts used in the construction of upper hull such as the lifting eyes, tow shackles, and winch guide. The mating of the styrene kit lower hull and the resin upper hull should be straight forward once the casting block is removed from the upper hull.
As the Trumpeter lower hull does not have the add-on armour mounted, the conversion kit supplies the add-on armour in photo etched panels. The modeler must take each panel and cut identical panels from 0.5 mm sheet styrene and add it to the photo etched parts for a scale thickness. The completed panels are then attached to the lower hull. The instructions are clear in this aspect as to the placement, and due to each panel having a different shape this task should be easily accomplished. Of note is that there is no sheet styrene included in the conversion kit.
In regards to the upper hull I must stress again that the surveillance equipment is not included in the conversion for the left rear hatch. Hopefully this will be available in the future.
Modelers may note that some of the add-on armour bolts appear to be lacking detail. This is because these are the locations that the photo etched racks and other parts will be attached. Multiple grab handles and securing hooks made from brass wire will need to be added to the upper hull by the modeler. Reference material or referring to the build images in the instructions will aid in this task. The upper hull does have all the placement locations pre-drilled for ease of attachment and sizing.
The spare tire rack is another part that is a sub assembly in itself. The frame is made of resin and to that photo etched parts, plastic rod, and two styrene kit tow shackles will be added. The instruction diagram and images do not show the tow shackles, but they are used to secure the lower mounts of the rack to the lower hull tie down eyes.
In somewhat mind boggling detail the completed Coyote conversion will be adorned with an approximate (my eyes were crossing counting all the parts so the count may be a few off) whopping 495 individual photo etched parts. The level of detail is very high and that should be expected with the likes of Eduard producing the parts for Real Model. The parts look very impressive and a steady handed modeler should have no issues removing them or folding the parts properly. There is excellent grill and stowage basket mesh as well as the multiple hull mounted stowage racks. The hull add-on armour panels will provide very good templates for the backing of sheet styrene prior to installation.
Modeler’s will be very pleased to see the multitude of tie down loops pre-formed in short sections, and the coordinating photo etched mount with small notches for the tie down loops to make attachment easy and secure. Some of the hull racks even have the tie down loops already attached along the edges where production permitted.
With this amount of photo etched parts, the modeler will need to read the instructions and plan each phase of attachment. The time and effort will reap outstanding results.
Included in the conversion are two sheets of printed accessories which add to the conversion and possible diorama settings.
The first sheet provides a variety of road signs and warning placards:
•8 x “Stay Back” vehicle warning placards
•10 x mine/unexploded ordnance triangular warning placards
•2 x checkpoint warning signs
•6 x various political and traffic signs
The signs and placards can simply be cut out and used by the modeler as deemed fit. The colors are sharp and the details in the signs and placards are very crisp.
The second sheet provides a variety of ration and water bottle boxes:
•4 x Nestle “Pure Life” water bottle boxes
•4 x U.S. “First Strike Ration” boxes
•4 x Canadian Forces Breakfast meal ration boxes
•4 x Canadian Forces Lunch meal ration boxes
•4 x Canadian Forces Supper meal ration boxes
•3 x Viva water bottle boxes
These boxes will require the modeler to cut them out and then fold and glue appropriately to make either a closed or open box. The level of detail is excellent in regards to the tiny printed text and the colors.
The Coyote conversion that Real Model has produced is overall a very good kit in respect to the quality of the parts provided and the level of detail achieved in both the resin and photo etched parts. I was very impressed with the extensive number of photo etched parts and the degree of research and accuracy that has gone into them. The photo etched parts will, without a doubt, greatly enhance the detail on the already detailed resin parts. The resin parts are cast to a very high quality and should be easy to use for modelers with previous experience with resin parts and conversions.
While the inaccuracy on the turret mantlet is a flaw, it can be corrected with some cutting and filling. The instructions provided may cause the modeler difficulties, in particular with assembly of the wire frames on the turret and the hull front. If Real Model could improve the instructions with clear build images of the wire parts and more assembly multi-view images of the resin parts this would be considered an even better conversion kit.
Overall I give this conversion a high rating. It is excellent to see great workmanship go into creating parts for this unique vehicle conversion. I would recommend this conversion to those modelers that consider themselves “comfortable” working with resin, a large amount of photo etched parts, bending and fitting wire framework, and of course for those with the love of modern Canadian armour.
The printed accessories included show the continued resolve of Real Model to provide the modeler with details, details, details and this is another reason why they are such a well liked model producer. It is excellent to see that Real Model has already followed up with an additional up-armoured Canadian Coyote conversion used later in the Afghanistan tours which can be seen Here
Hopefully we will eventually also see an un-armoured version as a conversion as well so modelers will have the option to depict all levels of training and operational deployment seen thus far with the Coyote. Hopefully we will also see in the future an additional set with the surveillance equipment.