Iveco Puma 4x4
ref: Trumpeter 05525 Italian Puma 4x4

The Puma is a family of vehicles built by Iveco. It has been developed for the Italian army as a stalemate for the Centauro, however it is also used by the infantry. The contract assigned to Iveco also comprised the development of the following variants: missile launcher, ambulance, command vehicle and mortar carrier.

At the end of 1999, the Italian army ordered 580 Puma, 250 6x6 vehicles and 330 4x4 ones. The first vehicles were delivered in 2003. The first deployment of the Puma occurred in Iraq in 2005 for the operation Antica Babilonia.

In 2006, with the implementation of UNIFIL 2, Italy deployed two battalions equipped with Centauro, Puma 4x4 and Puma 6x6. Under the command of the brigade Ariete, they were part of UNIFIL sector West.

The 4x4 version is designed for reconnaissance missions. It carries a crew of 2 plus 2 reconnaissance troopers. It is armed with a MG3 7.62mm MG but can also mount a M2 0.50 MG.


The kit

Trumpeter issued the both versions 6x6 et 4x4. The latter comprises more than 400 parts on 8 light grey plastic sprues, 1 clear sprue, 2 hull halves, 4 rubber tires, 2 PE parts sheets, 1 decals sheet and 4 polycaps.

The 12-page instructions booklet is complemented by a color sheet for the painting instructions. The instructions are clear.

The sprues are wrapped in separate bags. The most fragile parts are protected by some foam.

The level of detail is very good and the molding is sharp. The fit is overall very good but you need to thoroughly clean the molding lines on many parts.


The build

Trumpeter divides the build into 11 steps. The first 7 are dedicated to the hull. Trumpeter states to glue the rear plate at step 7. I recommend to glue the part at step 2 before gluing the different details.
The suspension is an easy assembly. You just need to enlarge the holes on sub-assemblies AA to install the shafts.

At steps 3 and 4, you must add "bolts" on the both sides of the hull. These are molded on the sprue frame and you have to be careful when removing them to prevent any damage or loss.

At step 4, you must carefully avoid any gap between the two parts of the exhaust. The wheels will be installed after the painting and the weathering.

At step 6, it is advised to add the winch cable around the drum G9 before building the assembly. Trumpeter does not give the cable so a length of sewing thread will do the trick.

At step 8, you have to thin parts D17 and D18 which are the brackets for the rear baskets. The PE part PE-A16 is quite tricky to shape. It has 4 holes that you must align with 4 pins molded on the roof. The tools are not glued to facilitate the painting.
The Galix smoke grenade launchers are installed. Trumpeter has badly oriented them. The lower tube is oriented to far to the interior and it is quite impossible to fix.

At step 9, PE parts PE-A13 et PE-A14 must be bent without any jig.

At step 10, the driver windshield is not installed, it will be after the painting. The PE headlight protections are tricky to bend as again Trumpeter does not give any jig.

At step 11, PE part PE-A17 is unusable. It is a kind of flap retaining the ammo box of the MG3. The box itself is good for the bin. It is easier to do a new one form thick plastic card to avoid the gluing seam. The MG support E74 presents large molding lines.
Finally the cupola is installed. However, it is impossible to traverse it to the rear because the base of the MG support bumps into tie-downs.


The decoration

Trumpeter proposes a UN version  and a three-tone one.
I opted for the UNIFIL. The vehicle proposed by Trumpeter can be seen here. It shows a quite worn-out paint which I tried to depict with the salt chipping technique. This vehicle belonged in 2006 to the Italian battalion Italbatt 2 manned by the regiment Genova Cavalleria of the brigade Ariete.

The three-tone base paint has been applied. Once dry, the base was coated with mat varnish then some salt was deposited according to the reference pictures of the actual Puma. The white paint has been sprayed from a distance to avoid blowing the salt away. Then this one is quickly brushed away.

A coat of satin varnish is applied before decaling. For the rear registration number plate, you need to make a plate from thin plastic card on which the decal is applied.

The weathering begins with a grey Tamiya wash applied in the recesses to enhance the panel lines. The various shades of Umber and Sienna earth are used to create stained areas. The edges of the doors and hatches are worked with a thin brush and some XF84 Dark Iron.

The bottom of the vehicle is made dirty with a mix of pigments and plaster which is thrown with an old toothbrush. 



Trumpeter issued a good kit which builds easily. Unfortunately, as often, the PE parts are hard to bend either because they are too thick or because of the lack of jig.