Assembly starts with attaching the suspension and axles to the frame. Fit here is good and getting all four wheels to touch the ground is not a problem. The drive shafts are then attached to the engine oil pan and transmission assembly. This part of the build is a little tricky since the whole engine and drive train assembly is supported only by the drive shafts. Inserting the shafts is also tricky since you have to insert them both at the same time. I suggest practicing this step a few times before adding glue. The body shell can be attached to the frame at this point to help align the engine while the glue is curing. A set of tools complete with a tool tray is included. I had trouble looking for its attachment points behind the rear axle so I decided to leave them off.
The exhaust system and sway bars are then added to the frame. The two-piece fuel tank fits snugly between the frame and the tranny. The engine mount is finally glued on, completing the whole undercarriage assembly.
Construction of the main body begins with the radios and shifters. The shifters are soft and thin so great care must be taken in cleaning and attaching them. The gunner's platform is not used here. Instead a flat piece covers the hole for the platform. The separate tailgate is also attached to the rear at this point. The long side panels are attached next. The engine side panels go into the engine room. Since this is a two-seater version inserts are provided for the floor and sidewalls behind the front row of seats.
The windshield frame, windshields and wipers are glued together. Fit is so good that I just snapped the windshields in, leaving off glue that might mar the clear parts. The instrument panel, steering column and steering wheel are then attached to the windshield assembly. The whole thing is glued to the dash. Careful alignment is needed here or a gap might appear between the top of the door and the edge of the windshield frame. The seats are put in and the front bumper is added to the frame.
Next comes the hood assembly. The mesh is attached under the grill. The mesh must be trimmed carefully because it can unravel easily. The front grill and the headlights are attached to the hood. The headlight fit is a bit tight. Small bits like the air cleaner, lights and hood latches complete the hood. The side mirrors are best left off until after final assembly since the parts are thin and the might get broken off. The hood assembly is glued in next. Brush guards are provided but I opted to leave them off. The soft doors go in next. The roof, which comes with “R” and “F” hints underneath so you don't accidentally put it in backwards, tops off the cabin.
I opted to make the Troop Carrier version since it's in use by the Philippine Army. Assembling the troop seats is a bit tricky and the thin and long parts have to be aligned carefully. I placed the assembled seats on a flat surface while the glue cured to aid in alignment. These assemblies are then glued to the cargo area of the Humvee. The antenna mount is added to the rear. There are no attachment points for this so a bit of trial and error is needed.
The three-piece tire-wheel-hub assemblies are put together next. Remember that Humvees have different hubs for the front and rear wheels. Careful gluing will allow the wheels to roll.
AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT
The pedals are molded to the floor so you might want to remedy this with scratch built pedals.
There is no engine and radiator so if you want to pose the hood open you have to look around for parts. CMK has resin engine inserts.
The shock absorbers are the rubber-booted kind. These can be replaced with coiled wire shock absorbers that are normally seen in Humvees.
The rubber tires might be annoying. They can be replaced by resin parts if desired.
Interior detail is good but wires and ducts can be added for accuracy.
The door windows are too small. Careful carving with a sharp knife fixes this.
COMMENTS AND OPINIONS
The parts contain bits of flash which can be easily cleaned. There are some hard-to-miss sink marks on the suspension parts but a little putty and sanding will take care of them. The undercarriage is very detailed and it seems to take half the instruction manual. Other sink marks on the body are hidden by the seats and other parts so filling them is not required.
The lights and windshield are on separate sprues so there are no clear parts to mask while painting. The wheels can be painted without masking since they come in two parts.
Academy's Humvee is a very nice kit.
I already have the M996 TOW Carrier lined up next. Academy Humvees are better deals here in the Philippines compared to Italeri Humvees since Academy's offerings are a dollar or two cheaper. Grab one before they disappear!