<span style="font-weight: bold;">Initial considerations</span>
If you, like me, want to build a M977 HEMTT in 1/72, you have 2 options. You can go the expensive road, buying a resin kit from CMK/Planet Model, or you can, again like me, buy the new plastic kit from Academy. I happen to already own the M984 and M983 resin kits from CMK/Planet Model, and let me tell you right away, there's absolutely no reason to buy the more expensive resin M977, unless the parts it shares with the two other kits have been completely re-mastered. The details of the kits parts from the Academy kit is almost without exception better than the resin parts. A few of the Academy parts are not as accurate as the resin parts, but other than that, the Academy kit is a really winner.
Just as I'm about to finish my first M977 build, OKB Grigorov has announced (and released?) a PE set for the Academy kit. I'll will have to take a closer look at this when I start building my next HEMTT.
And now, again from OKB Grigorov, a PE set for making an armored cab on the M977.
Well, back to the other considerations. As is often the case when building soft-skin vehicles, the wheels are not really a strong point in the kit. The tread of the tires isn't really that good, the wheels are not weighted (they never are), but even worse, the steel rims are wrong. After going through the 2 HEMTT books from Tankograd and several resources online, I'm pretty sure the rims on the front two wheels are not the same as on the rear two wheels. Either that or the rims are flipped 180 degrees. So the wheels in the kit are inaccurate, or in plain speak, wrong. The wheels look like they could be used on a M984 (the wrecker/recovery version), but would be wrong if used as the rear two pairs on a M977. Funny thing is that the 4 wheels to be used for the rear 2 pairs already are different from the other 4 wheels, but only the back part of the wheel, not the front. Too bad.<p>Actually I've found another variant of the tread pattern, so that makes 4. After going through both the Tankograd books again, I think I'll conclude that the resin CMK/Planet model wheels match the pattern used in the mid-90s, and the pattern on the DToys wheels was used in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Most of the photos I've found with the old pattern show vehicles in Germany or the U.S. mid-90s, and the photos with the DToys pattern are from 2003+.<br/> </p> <p style="font-weight: bold;">Building the bugger</p> <p>More on this soon!<br/> </p> <p style="font-weight: bold;">Conclusion</p>