When I first saw this conversion listed as a future release I thought, “why bother” there has been two full kits of the M163, Italeri (#269) and Academy (#1360) plus a resin conversion from Verlinden (#518), and I seem to recall someone else having a dabble as well, so this seemed a little wasted.
After seeing the conversion kit in the resin I can see why Hobby Fan bothered, put simply this conversion consigns all the others to the spares box, this is one superb effort.
Not only do you
get the usual exposed turret and gun assembly as with the others but the full
interior ‘basket’ with its ammo bin, feed chutes and myriad of wiring
and is stunning to see. (Check to image above).
Also the six 20mm barrels are provided in turned aluminium for a vastly superior look to the cannon assembly.
The target kit
is not mentioned but I would recommend the Academy M113 (Kit #1360 or
#1389) as these are the best M113 kits available at this time.
You could also use the AFV Club M113 MRV (kit #AF35023) as this is basically the Academy kit anyway and already includes the side floatation panels.
The Hobby Fan kit has approx. 112 resin parts cast in a light cream resin with the usual large casting blocks. All the bits are packaged in a couple of plastic bags inside a large card box with bits of foam filler to stop them bouncing around during transit. There are also the six metal barrels as mentioned and the two side floatation panels from the AFV Club M113 ARV kit plus a double sided A4 page of instructions.
The quality of resin casting is simply stunning with all the wiring supplied as very thin cast resin bits, how they got these out of the moulds is a question in itself?
There is some thin ‘flash’ film on a number of the finer parts but this is to be expected with such fine casting and is easy to remove. Extreme care will be needed when removing the fine wiring and other small parts from the casting block as it would be very easy to break these.
The new top deck casting was warped in my sample but this is
easily fixed with some warm water or can also be fixed as you glue down the
top to the vehicle hull, the quality of the casting was not affected by the
The only other blemish was a single small air hole found in one of the parts; I only mentioned this as it shows how good the casting is with so many very fine and complex parts.
The turret is very detailed with many small parts including some resin wiring and resin ammo feed chutes, the aluminium barrel assembly fits into the main gun body the same way it does on the real thing. The kit comes with the radar assembly but this can be left off for later vehicles.
It is below the top decking that this kit really shines, you get the turret basket which sits on top of the large ammo drum and several electrical boxes and bottom framing. What really makes this assembly is the myriad of fine resin wiring supplied and the large ammo feed chutes that really bring this alive.
Other items for the interior include the radios, rear commander’s post and seat as well as the large wall ammo container in the rear left corner of the main compartment.
All of this excellent detail can easily be seen through the large rear door when left open and will make for a stunning model.
The instruction sheet has exploded view drawings for the turret and interior assembly as well as plan type views showing the location of all the wiring supplied. As far as instructions included in resin kits goes these are among the better ones I’ve seen.
This is an exceptional conversion, the full interior of the Vulcan turret and interior parts stand this out from the rest of the M163 offerings over the years.
One word of caution, this kit is obviously intended for modellers experienced in working with resin as there are many small parts and the assembly is quite complex especially the turret above and below the top deck but the result would look stunning.
The Resin Bits:
Page Created 20 July 2002