With increasing demand for modern fighting vehicles, many kit manufacturers are stepping up to the plate. Trumpeter is no exception, adding its Italian Puma armored fighting vehicle to the fray.
Opening the box, I was delighted to see just nine sprues of parts, two frets of photoetched brass, four vinyl tires, and a nice decal sheet. Surface detail is well-molded throughout. Seeing a part count around 300, I assumed this would be a fairly quick build. That was not the case.
Instructions are presented in 12 steps over a 12-page magazine-style booklet. Included are a separate decal and paint guide and a parts tree breakdown.
The first couple of steps deal with building the suspension and drivetrain. Parts PE A1 are suspension-mount brackets. These are very difficult to put in place, so be patient. Suspension detail looks great once it’s fully assembled and installed.
I ran into quite a bit of trouble on Step 6. The directions are not very clear on bending the photoetched-metal parts, and once this assembly is together it’s not clear where it goes in Step 7. I referred to the picture on the decal and paint guide to see if I had it in the correct position. Turns out I might have had the angle off a touch.
Steps 8 and 9 are very busy; you have to be careful to make sure nothing is missed. I chose not to add parts D26 (bolt heads?) as I lost most of them while cutting them off the frets. You can pose some of the hatches open or closed. But there is no interior detail, so I glued mine shut.
The rest of the build is pretty straightforward and mostly trouble-free.
The photoetched-brass parts are thick and hard to bend. A good bending tool helps. Also, I did lose a couple of photoetched-brass parts while bending them — Part PE A6 hit the floor and was never found — so I left these parts off the model.
I painted my model using Tamiya and Floquil paints for NATO green, NATO brown, and grimy black. The decals went on over a gloss coat with no problems at all. I noticed no silvering on any of the decals.
My model took me a little more than 30 hours to complete, much more than I anticipated when I opened the box. Due to the difficulties with the photoetched brass, I would not recommend it for a beginner. However, experienced modelers should enjoy building this Puma.
Note: A version of this review appeared in the May 2013 FineScale Modeler.