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Orochi M3A3 Bradley CFV

Kit:IM002 // Scale:1/35 // Price:$36.99
Crisp detail throughout; workable individual-link tracks; smart use of photoetched metal
No figures or stowage; only one marking option
Injection-molded, 496 parts (8 photoetched-metal, 8 vinyl), decals

Similar to the M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicle, the M3A3 is used for scout and reconnaissance missions. It packs a bigger punch than the M2, with more internal storage for its TOW missile system and 25mm cannon. Most M3s have been fitted with BUSK (Bradley Urban Survivability Kit) armor to increase crew protection in urban environments.

Meng Models released a 1/35 scale Bradley that is the Cadillac of kits with its full interior and detailed engine. But sometimes it’s nice to have a simpler option. This is where Orochi’s Bradleys shine. Orochi offers two M3A3s: The Deluxe Edition includes a figure, a metal barrel for the 25mm cannon, and metal tracks. The Standard Edition I built doesn’t include those bells and whistles — but that doesn’t mean it lacks detail!

The kit contains 10 sprues of sharply molded parts with no flash. A small fret of photoetched brass is included as well, and those parts help tremendously to round out the finished model.

The only marking option is a single sand-colored vehicle.

The 13-page magazine-style instructions feature a brief history of the M3 Bradley and 31 easy-to-follow steps that I followed throughout.

The engineering is spot-on, and construction could not have been easier. I used just a little filler to smooth seams; the fit of the parts is simply outstanding. The BUSK armor on the side skirts proved a little tricky to assemble, but it’s not a problem if you take your time to ensure everything is aligned.

Each track link needed to be cut from the sprue and cleaned up; it’s not difficult, just time-consuming. After that, the links click together and stay that way. They are very sharp, and there’s no need for aftermarket t

The turret is well detailed. I applied leftover AFV Club self-adhesive film to the windows to give them the anti-reflective sheen of the real things. 

The kit doesn’t supply any stowage to fill the turret basket, but there are plenty of aftermarket options.

Pre-shading panel lines and a few of the BUSK-armor boxes broke up the monochromatic appearance of the desert camouflage. I finished the model with Testors Model Master U.S. Gulf armor sand enamel (No. 2136).

Decals went on over a coat of clear gloss without silvering.

Light weathering completed the 35-hour project. This was a refreshing build, not only for its simplicity but also because of the fit of the parts. If you are looking for a detailed but not overly complicated Bradley, or if you are a beginner with a yen for armor, take a look at Orochi’s kits. They won’t disappoint!

Note: A version of this review appeared in the July 2015 FineScale Modeler.


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