Orochi M3A3 Bradley Cavalry Fighting Vehicle (CFV)
The M3A3 Bradley Cavalry Fighting Vehicle is the latest variant of the M3 Cavalry Fighting Vehicles. It is an upgrade that features a commander's independent thermal sight unit with a laser rangefinder to improve first round hits with the M242 25mm Bushmaster Chain Gun. Other improvements include a command and control system, either Blue Force Tracker or FBCB2 and an improved GPS based vehicle location system. In addition to the 25mm Chain Gun, the M3A3 is equipped with a M240C machine gun, coaxially mounted with the 25mm gun and a two round TOW II (tube-launched, optically tracked, wire-guided) missile launcher system with 12 missile reloads stored in the back of the vehicle. The crew consists of a Bradley commander, gunner, driver and two scout observers. In 2004, M2A2/A3 IFVs and M3A2/A3 CFVs, deployed to Iraq, received Bradley Reactive Armor Tiles or BRAT to protect crewmen form the effects of shaped charge weapons such as RPGs as well as the insurgent weapon of choice, the Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).
Orochi is a newcomer to the 1/35th scale modeling scene. The first release was the IM001 M3A3 CFV Deluxe Edition kit that featured the same plastic kit as the IM002 but has a resin figure, brass 25mm Bushmaster barrel and metal individual track links with pins. The review kit is the #IM002 Standard Edition kit which has individual plastic link track, a plastic 25mm barrel and no figure. The parts are molded cleanly with no "short shots, deformed parts or noticeable flash on the parts. Several sprue trees were warped but this had no effect on the parts. The kit contains:
- Six sprues molded in tan plastic (two suspension parts, one turret parts, one upper hull parts, one upper hull detail parts, one rear hull/Bradley Reactive Armor Tiles (BRAT))
- Single sprue in clear plastic
- 20 track link sprues molded in black plastic
- One piece upper hull, with the side armor and lower skirts molded as a single unit
- One piece lower hull
- Two photo etched frets, one with several grilles and the other is a paint mask for painting track pads and roadwheels
- Single sprue with soft poly rings for the roadwheels
- Small decal sheet with marking options for a vehicle from 3rd Platoon G Troop, 2nd Squadron 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment
- Fourteen page instruction booklet
Assembly Instructions sample
Final assembly and marking instructions
The left side view of the upper hull. Notice the molded on lower skirts and the molded on foot loops.
Front view of the upper hull. There is a noticeable anti-skid texture molded on hull.
Right side of the upper hull. Note the engine deck grill details
Lower hull suspension details
Suspension Sprue (one of two in the kit)). Note the bolts molded on the bottom of the sprue. These will be used to replicate the bolts on the bolted on applique armor found on the upper hull of the M3A3
The back of the suspension sprue. The sprockets are quite nice
The turret sprue, note the series of drain holes in the bottom of the bustle rack
Upper hull detail sprue (front and back sides)
Upper Hull & Turret details (both front & back views)
Real hull, troop ramp, and BRAT side armor modules
Clear parts sprue. It includes vision blocks, tail lights, turn signals, headlight lenses as well as transparent armor for the Bradley Commander
Track sprues. There are 20 of these sprues in the kit. Some careful cutting and clean up is required here, but the track snaps right together and stay together
Soft poly rings, soft styrene gun rotor cover, PE engine deck screens and the kit decals
Close up of the engine deck PE screens
Close up of the paint masks for the track pads and roadwheels
The kit decals. One marking option for the M3A3 CFV G-33
, 2nd Squadron 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment in Iraq
The kit surprised me with the detailed
individual track links, multi-part wheels, a nice plastic fluted 25mm gun typically found on later model Bradleys. The BRAT array is detailed and looks the part. Perhaps the best part is that the
model looks like a Bradley A3. However, there are some downsides to the kit, such as the si
mplified details on the commander's sight and the TOW launcher, soft detailing features on the upper hull such as bolt heads and the attached
lower skirts are
as single thickness (instead of two thinner, spaced plates). T
he marking options
contain the markings for only one vehicle.
Recommended for fans of modern armor pending a full build.
Thanks to Orochi and Dragon USA for providing the M3A3 Standard kit for review.
2nd VP Central Region