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Renault VAB VTT 4 x 4
Armored Personnel Carrier

2° RIMa

3° Compagnie,
2° RIMa,
92° Division d´Infanterie de Marine,
Garnison d'Auvours,
Champagné, France
1998

(3rd Company,
2nd Marine Infantry Regiment
92nd Marine Infantry Division,
Camp Auvours,
Champagné, France
1998)

Heller

This model added to kgwings.com on June 15, 2012

Heller VAB 4 x 4
The VAB or Véhicule de l'Avant Blindé ("Armoured Vanguard Vehicle") is a wheeled troop transporter designed by the Euro Mobilité Division of GIAT Industries of France. It is NBC-proof, amphibious, and lightly armored to provide infantry with basic protection against shrapnel and light infantry weapons.
Heller VAB 4 x 4
The prototype manufactured by Saviem (which merged with Renault in 1978) was selected in May 1974, with 4,000 units ordered by the French Armed Forces. The first delivery occurred in 1976, at a production rate of 30 to 40 units per month.
Heller VAB 4 x 4
The base model is the 4x4 VAB VTT armored personnel carrier, which carries an infantry squad of 8 - 10 fully-equipped troops in the relatively spacious armored hull. Crew and personnel are protected from the 7.62-mm bullets and anti-personnel mines. It can also carry up to 2.2 tons (2000 kg) of cargo in place of the troops.
Heller VAB 4 x 4

In general the VAB armored personnel carrier is characterized by it's simplicity, great cross-country performance. Vehicle uses independent suspension system, which provides better cross-country mobility. It is also fitted with a central tire inflation system. Like many wheeled armored vehicles the VAB can swim across small water obstacles, such as rivers. On water it is propelled by it's wheels or by waterjets, mounted at the rear of the hull. A trim vane is erected at the front, before entering water.

Heller VAB 4 x 4
A double armored door at the rear allows access to the passenger compartment. Two inwards-looking, foldable benches provide space for 5 soldiers each. The crew enters the forwards compartment through two lateral hatches, the driver on the left, and the gunner of the right; two more hatches in the roof give access to armament and provide for emergency exit.
Heller VAB 4 x 4

The VAB has been in use with armed forces of 16 countries, Brunei, Central African Republic, Cyprus, France, Georgia, Indonesia, Italy, Ivory Coast, Kuwait, Lebanon, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. The French Army has a fleet of 4,300 VAB vehicles.

Heller VAB 4 x 4
Although the shape and appearance of this Heller kit are generally good, it comes with very toy-like tires and wheels, thick hatches and glass, and other simplified details. The upgrade kits by Extra Tech were really needed on this project.
Heller VAB 4 x 4

The resin and photo etched metal parts for the M2 heavy machine gun are a huge improvement over the kit-provided parts. This is probably the most detailed braille scale M2 I've ever built.

Heller VAB 4 x 4
I'm not completely satisfied with my French/NATO color scheme. The green is a bit too vivid and the brown appears to be a bit light. Hopefully I'll get it a bit closer when I start my LeClerc MBT.
Heller VAB 4 x 4
Another good look at the M2 Heavy machine gun, I love the ammunition belt!
Heller VAB 4 x 4
Most people like to include a coin next to their kit for a size reference, I'm so poor all of my coins are in use so instead I like to use the free "Giant Hand" effect.
Heller VAB 4 x 4
Here is a good look at some of the excellent Extra Tech photo etched parts added to the kit. These upgrades really help transform this simple kit into an accurate replica.
Heller VAB 4 x 4
Here's my VAB on the workbench nearly finished. Although it took a lot of extra work, I'm happy with how the kit turned out and glad to have it in my collection.



Heller VAB 4 x 4 #79898
Heller
Kit: Heller #79898
Extratech
Aftermarket Parts: Extra Tech #EXV 72020 and EXV72077
1/72 scale
Scale: 1/72
Cost:

This kit retails for as little as $6.00 (US) which makes it one of the most inexpensive kits you can purchase anywhere.
Decals:

Decals are provided for a 2-color sand and chocolate camouflaged French Army VAB from Operation Daguet, March 1991, Saudi Arabia 1991.

Assembly:

The kit is comprised of 36 parts molded in light brown with 3 transparent parts. One small decal sheet and a 4 page black and white instruction sheet are also included.

All parts are cleanly molded with very little flash.

Details on this kit are soft, with almost all parts being simplified to an almost toy-like quality, making aftermarket parts highly recommended.

The center roof hatch can be positioned open or closed as well as the front and side window hatches. All hatches are molded overly thick and need thinning. All crew doors are molded closed. The transparent window parts are also extremely thick and are best replaced with acetate or clear plackard.

The wheels are molded in left and right halves with a simplified tread pattern, this is probably the most toy-like feature of the kit.

Fit is good overall with only a bit of filler required at the joint between the roof and the rear wall.

Although the kit is reported to be very slightly oversized, the overall shape and appearance is accurate.

Aftermarket Parts:

The Extratech resin wheels (EXB 72020) are excellent and are a huge improvement over the toy-like wheels included in the kit.

The Extratech metal etched set (EXV 72077) is for the serious modeler as it includes around 100 highly detailed parts including a resin .50 cal. machine gun. Some of the parts are so small I left them off. The instruction sheets include 3 exploded views that must be studied very carefully to figure out where everything goes. Overall the parts fit well and are vast improvements over the stock kit.
Scratch Additions:

Drafting tape was used to make a strap to hold the pioneer tools in place. Bits of chrome sequin was used for mirrors. Kit transparencies were replaced with acetate.
Recommendation:

This is an inexpensive simplified kit that can be assembled in a few hours by a modeler of any skill level, perfect for beginners.

Because this is the only braille scale injection molded VAB kit available, and because of the availability of after-market parts, experienced modern armor modelers may also want to add this kit to their collection.

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