Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Desert Storm era US Army: M163 VADS (work in progress)

Not too long ago I got this vehicle off ebay for a cheap price. It was already built and it had parts missing according to the articles' description. I bought it anyway, as this old ESCI kit is ultra-rare nowadays and Italeri never put it back into production, although they bought ESCI's moulds..
When I got the M163 I discovered that it not only had parts missing, but also was covered all around with a jelly-like all-purpose adhesive (know as UHU in Germany), which the former owner had used to assemble the kit. Now I had to break the vehicle apart carefully and try to remove as much evidence of the glue as possible. Once I was done, I had a look around the net and found pictures of the M163 Vulcan Anti-Air Defense System based upon the later M113A2 chassis. The old ESCI kit uses the standard M113 hull without the rear tanks attached to the left and right of the access ramp. I wanted to change that and purchased a conversion kit with resin bits (shown on the picture of the vehicles' rear).
The vehicle had the parts of the radar missing, so I had to re-build everything from scratch. I used a lot of bitz from other old kits that I had lying around and added a lot of detail to the otherwise rather simple and plain turret. Shaun (S&S models) had sent me some "freebies" (read: not having to pay for them) of his excellent modern US tankers and I wanted to use one of them as they perfectly fit into the era of Desert Storm. I cut away a little bit of the figure's legs and placed it within the turret.
Some stowage from Legend Productions to resemble the tarpaulins in use to cover the opening in the turret when the VADS is not in use, some tools and spare track-links and the detailing was done. Now I need to prime it in black and start painting it in desert camo!

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