The Bushmaster is an armored personnel
carrier designed in Australia. The project started in the 1990s. Initially
designed as an infantry carrier, it has now 6 derivatives which explains the
shift of denomination from IMV (infantry mobility vehicle) to PMV (protected mobility vehicle)
which is more generic.
In addition to Australia, the Netherlands, Denmark and Great-Britain are the other users of the Bushmaster.
The kit comes in a large glossy cardboard box. Inside, you get 9 sprues in a medium grey plastic, 1 sprue of clear parts, a separate upper hull, 4 rubber hollow tires, 1 sheet of photoetched parts, 1 sheet of decals and 10 pages of instructions folded like an accordion.
The number of parts is quite impressive but remains reasonable for a vehicle of such a size (345 plastic parts, 24 clear parts, 42 PE parts). However, many of the parts are tiny ones which will require some attention not to break or lose them. THe carving is generally good but some details like the weapons are a bit soft. The connections to the sprues are often big which will need a long cleaning work. In some areas, a few flash remains. The ejection pin marks are numerous and quite large but are most of the time hidden.
The instructions are clear and comprise 20 steps plus an additional one for the painting and marking. For each step, paint references are given when necessary. However, they are generic references mentioning any specific brand.
The undercarriage is quite complex and will need some patience. It is advised to have a look at the forums where build logs have been already published to avoid some mistakes. On the real vehicle, it appears that the ground clearance is higher. The top of the wheel hub should be level with the bottom of the hull bins. So you will have to modify the axles height as well as the shock absorbers to get the proper clearance.
The interior is really comprehensive with the build divided into 5 steps. Most of the PE parts are used there of which superb safety belts. Several times, SMA give you the choice between using plastic parts and PE ones. Two dashboards are also included.
The exterior build is
divided into 9 steps. The parts which need it have the anti-slip coating
represented. However, it lacks realism and looks like spaghettis like on the
Italeri's Abrams. The plastic windows come in a thick plastic and have their
frame molded on. For the windscreen, the wipers are separate parts which
enhances the realism.
The steps 15 and 16 are for the building of the weapons and their supports. The weapons and the supports lack of sharpness.
For the decoration, you only have the choice between Australian vehicles either in their homeland or during overseas operations. Anyway, the camouflage scheme remains the same. This time SMA indicate references for 4 paint brands of which the Australian Mouse Armour. It is to be mentioned that the spare wheel cover comes in the form of 3 decals. The use of decal softener is highly recommended.
For their first model, Showcase Models,
a young Australian brand, got a nice result with a very comprehensive kit.
The level of detail is satisfactory but could be sharper.
It is a model which will delight the modern armor lovers and particularly those who like MRAP vehicles.