M3A3 Bradley CFV with Big Foot Track Links
Kinetic, 1/35 scale
Reviewed by Brett Green
The M3 Bradley Cavalry Fighting Vehicle (CFV) is an American tracked armoured reconnaissance vehicle used by heavy armoured cavalry units in the United States Army.
The M3 Bradley CFV is very similar to the M2 Bradley IFV (Infantry Fighting Vehicle) and is fielded with the same two-man 25mm Bushmaster Cannon turret with a coaxial 7.62mm machine gun. It only varies from the M2 in a few subtle ways and by role. The M3 is classified as an armoured reconnaissance and scout vehicle and does away with the firing ports found in the M2 series. The M3 also carries more TOW missiles as well as more ammunition for its 25mm and 7.62mm guns.
The Bradley family as a whole was originally intended to support the M113 Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC), but ended up replacing it altogether. Today, the Bradley is fielded in conjunction with the M1 Abrams series of main battle tanks and often accompanies infantry squads into combat.
In the 1991 Persian Gulf War, Bradleys and their 25mm cannon / TOW anti-tank missile combination destroyed more enemy tanks than the M1 Abram. Only three Bradleys were lost to enemy fire, however, at least 17 were lost to friendly fire.
Improvements to the Bradley family have included enhanced identification features, as well as anti-tank missile countermeasures (for first generation wire-guided missiles only) and improved armour protection in the form of ERA.
The M3A3 model of the Bradley uses enhanced information and communication equipment, a central processing unit, and information displays for the vehicle commander and squad leader. The M3A3 is compatible with the inter-vehicular communication system of the M1A2 Abrams tank and AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopter. The commander has an independent thermal viewer and a new integrated sight unit called the Improved Bradley Acquisition System (IBAS), which allows automatic gun adjustments, automatic boresighting, and tracking of dual targets. The roof is reinforced with titanium armour. Many M3A3s were converted from M3A2s.
F i r s t L o o k
A few years ago Kinetic released a 1:35 scale M3A3 Bradley that was based on the sprues of 2014’s Orochi kit.
This time Kinetic has upgraded the kit with a set of individual-link Big Foot tracks.
Kinetic’s 1:35 scale M3A3 Bradley comprises 375 parts in grey plastic, 192 black plastic parts, 30 parts in clear, 18 polythene caps and one fret of photo-etched parts.
As far as I can tell, the grey plastic parts are the same as the 2021 release with the exception of the new individual Big Foot links. The original link and length tracks are still included – nice touch.
The hull is made up from two main parts – a lower tub and upper superstructure. The turret is similarly conventional with upper and lower halves. Surface textures are generally crisp and include important elements such as non-slip texture and raised bolt heads.
The running gear is based on separate swing arms. The road wheels are made up from five parts each. A polythene cap is trapped between the outer and inner road wheels, followed by outer and inner plastic tyres.
The link and length tracks are well detailed.
There are some small and shallow ejector circles on the inside surface of the track lengths, but I think these will be pretty much invisible once the model is complete.
The new individual Big Foot tracks are perfectly moulded.
The photo-etched fret offers mesh.
Clear parts are supplied for vision blocks.
The decal sheet provides markings for a single vehicle in overall sand.
C o n c l u s i o n
This is a solid and well detailed exterior display piece.
Its relatively modest parts count also means that Kinetic’s 1:35 M3A3 Bradley should be pretty straightforward to build.
At USD$29.99, it's a bit of a bargain too!
* Historical summary courtesy of Wikipedia.
Thanks to Lucky Model for the sample.
Text and Images by Brett Green