Hobby Fan
M3 Amphibious Bridging System
with parts for German Bundeswehr

Hobby Fan 1:35 Scale Kit #HF071
Preview by Terry Ashley

Hobby Fan
The M3 Amphibious Rig is a self-propelled amphibious bridging vehicle that entered service with the British and German armies in 1996 and subsequently used by the Republic of China (Taiwan) and Singapore armies.

The M3 was a 4x4 self-propelled vehicle by way of four large wheels for road travel and two large pontoons for amphibious operations and had a road speed of 80kmh and water speed of 14kmh using two steerable pump jets. Multiple rigs can be joined to form longer bridge sections if the need arises.

The M3 Amphibious Rig saw active service with the British Army in Operation Telic (Iraq March 2003 to May 2011) during their advance on the city of Basra in 2003.

The kit:
This new full resin kit from Hobby Fan allows you build a British or German M3 Amphibious Rig in either travel or deployed bridging configuration, it also includes a fully decked out driver’s compartment which is the only interior of the vehicle.

The kit consists of 221 parts in light cream resin, a small clear sheet for the windscreen/windows plus a decal sheet and single page A3 sized instruction sheet. The standard of resin casting is excellent with just a little fine resin film (flash) on some parts and the usual casting blocks to be removed, the resin itself has a softer feel to it and not brittle at all which it quite easy to work with making the clean-up process a little easier.

Decal and clear sheets
Hobby Fan

The kit has some huge parts such as the one piece hull and side sponsons as well as some very small and finely cast parts and there was no warping evident in any of the parts with only a couple of the smaller parts broken in the packaging and these were easily repaired. The large hull is perfectly square as are the large side sponsons and loading ramps; these parts also have non-skid texturing on the upper surfaces where they should. There are some small air holes exposed when cleaning up the casting plug on the large sponsons and these will be covered when adding the large hinges, but that was the only area that I found any air holes.

The sponsons, loading ramps and crane jib arms were also perfectly straight without any warping at all, the crane can be assembled retracted or extended but if you want to show the arm partly extended you will need to cut the extendable arm as the jib isn’t hollow.

As mentioned the front crew cab is fully detailed inside with full width instrument panel, seats and driver’s controls and the separate cab doors can be fitted open or closed as you wish, the sponsons and ramps can also be assembled fully folded in the travel position or extended for the operational bridge configuration with fully detailed large hinges and mounting brackets. The fine railings front and rear of the hull will need careful handling while removing the casting plugs but again these didn’t have any warping which makes assembly easier.

The two differentials are also nicely done with additional suspension parts and the large wheels have excellent tyre tread pattern with sidewall embossing of “MICHELIN” as well as a separate hub cap for good definition.

The decal sheet is nicely printed and has markings for one British and one German vehicle with the decals shown in place and numbered on the same assembly photos as for the main kit assembly so again you have to look carefully at times to find the right location for some decals.

These are on a single A3 sheet with photos of the assembled kit with numbers pointing to the parts in place, this is not that clear in sections and you will need to study the sequences carefully to find the location of some of the smaller parts as it’s a little confusing in some areas. The reverse side of the sheet has the numbered parts laid out for identification and it might be easier to leave some of the smaller parts on their casting plugs until needed to properly identify as needed.

No painting information is given and this doesn’t help much getting the NATO cam scheme done with the correct pattern and you will need to find your own reference for this, as you will for the paints to be used as well.

A3 sized instruction sheet with parts layout diagram included on reverse side
Hobby Fan
This is a large and impressive kit with some huge parts such as one piece hull and sponsons as well as some very small and finely cast parts but one thing is for sure, this kit is not for the inexperienced modeller not only because it’s in resin but some of the assembly sequences are not that straightforward and will need care assembling.

The instructions are also not for the inexperienced but they are quite comprehensive compared to some resin kits about the place. The assembled kit should look quite impressive not only due to the size but the many smaller detailed parts to add definition plus of course the subject.

The Resin Parts:
Click on thumbnails for larger view
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Detail Images
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Thanks to Hobbyeasy for the review kit.

Page created March 3, 2012

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