AmbulanceVAB

Azimut reference VAB 4X4 Sanitaire


Originally designed for the same manufacturer VAB model, this conversion is composed of about 40 resin parts and one photoetched parts plate. It enables to turn the Heller VAB into the ambulance variant thanks to a quite detailed rear interior and the roof modifications. Several parts are applicable for all the VAB variants and enable to improve the base kit.
The carving and the casting are good. Few bubbles remain and the part preparation is easy.

The instruction A4 sheet is in the Azimut usual style, that is several drawings with English and French captions. The explanations are sufficient except for the waterjets building for which the dimensions of the various shafts to build from plastic rod would have been appreciated.

The basic kit improvements
Seemingly, Azimut recycled some parts from its own VAB now out of production. However, this enhances the kit realism.
The set provides the following replacement parts :
Resin parts : the engine deck (missing in my kit), the waterjets, the jerrycan brackets, the shackle rear supports, the tool rack.
Photoetched parts : the shutters, the waterjets grilles, the exhaust pipe protection grille (central part), the doors and hatches handles, the vehicle manufacturer ID plates and the rear cat's eyes.
The modifications are easy to build except for the engine deck which requires the kit to be cut prior to install the replacement part. Unfortunately, Azimut does not provide photoetched grilles.

The conversion set
The interior
Only the rear compartment can be modified with the set. It comprises a new floor with anti-slip coating, the oxygen bottles rack and two stretchers with their supports. My model came with one of them missing.
The floor fit is not that good due to the fact the kit was originally designed for Azimut VAB kit. A light sanding enables to easily correct this flaw.
The stretchers supports are correct but lack the U shaped locking devices. This one is reproduced with brass rod thanks to various available pictures.

The exterior
The roof fitting enables to distinguish this version from the basic one. The set provides the following parts : a little seachlight, an air-conditioner, a power unit and a cupola (for the rear of the roof), a large seachlight and a new commander hatch (for the front part).
The parts to be sanded prior the fitting of the new assemblies are represented as shadow areas in the instructions. However, a more precise location with some measurements would have been appreciated. A sketch for the wiring fitting between the air-conditioner and the power unit is missing too.

On the power unit, the protection grilles for the ventilator are missing, they can be made from plastic stripes or photoetched frame.
Under the air-conditioner Azimut forgot the part jutting out inside the rear compartment. This must be done with plastic card.
The cupola is a solid resin part hence limiting the realism once the rear doors opened. It needs being drilled out and detailed with picture. Under each vision block, a metal plate and a strap for a tarp or a camo net must be added.
The commander's hatch consists of a round base replacing the weapon station and the hatch itself which opens rearward unlike the other hatches.
Azimut provides the various inner and outer handles and explains how to fix them depending on the hatch (front or rear one).
The commander's searchlight is hollow casted thus enabling to create the window from clear plastic sheet. Its control handle is absent and needs to be added as it is clearly visible from outside.

No decoration is proposed but this is not a problem as you need the Heller base kit which gives the proper instructions. Azimut only provides the various locations of the red crosses however without giving their various dimensions.

As a conclusion, this set allows to get a good representation of the ambulance VAB without major transformation efforts. I just hope I got the "black sheep" with the 2 missing important parts (one stretcher and its brackets, the engine deck) and I do regret that Azimut is not cautious enough in the checking process of its products.

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