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Dragon 1/72 scale AAVP7A1 assault vehicle

Kit: 7233
Scale: 1/72
Manufacturer: Dragon, from Dragon Models USA, 626-968-0322,
Price: $12.95
Comments: Injection-molded, 225 parts (42 photoetched, 20 vinyl), decals
Pros: Highly detailed
Cons: Some small parts fragile, poor fit of hull sides, gaps on turret
The AAVP7A1 is the current Marine Corps amphibious landing vehicle. Many of these vehicles have gone through update programs; the latest being the addition of appliqué armor. Dragon's latest release in their line of 1/72nd scale AAVP7 kits is the appliqué-armored variant. This kit features the appliqué armor sides in plastic and the overhead armor in photoetched brass. The tracks are Dragon styrene which accepts standard glues. Optional photoetched grab handles, latches, and a muffler guard are included. The hatches can be positioned. Markings are supplied for Italian, ROC, and two U.S. Marine vehicles.

Dry fitting the lower hull sides to the hull bottom revealed that the sides are to long. I trimmed .015" off the rear of both sides to improve the fit. There are five holes in the bottom of the hull that will need filling. The back ramp is hinged, but with no interior, I elected to glue the ramp closed.

The running gear was assembled and painted. Cleaning up the sprue attachment points on the tiny return rollers was not easy. Joining the track ends left a noticeable kink at the joint. This kink was put out of sight behind the front fender.

After building the turret, I filled in the gaps on the lower front and between the armaments with gap filling super glue. The open vision port was filled in with white glue to represent the glass.

In the assembly sequence for the hull top, it is shown removing detail that is not present on the hull top. The instruction for installing the muffler guard MA1 is confusing. The drawing shows a different design than what is supplied. It is not shown were to bend it and exact location over the muffler to affix it. A side drawing shows it bent over with where part number MA 9 touches the guard. This was my only clue.

I chose the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit vehicle markings and paint scheme. I added the paint scheme using Tamiya's NATO Green, NATO Brown, NATO Black, using Silly Putty to to mask. The tracks are painted gun metal. The entire appliqué armor was painted separately using Testor US Army/ Marines Sand; when the paint was dry I attached the panels to the hull.

Even with the kit's vices, it is an impressive model when finished. The vehicle scales close to the measurements in The Standard Catalog of U.S. Military Vehicles by David Doyle, my main reference during construction. I spent 11 hours on this project.

- Tom Foti


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