FineScale Modeler

Takom M114A1E1 CRV

- – Chris Cortez

The M114 A1E1 CRV is a Vietnam War-era tracked command and reconnaiss­ance vehicle. It was developed as a lightweigh­t, low-silhouette vehicle to complement the

M113 armored personnel carrier. Like the larger M113, it was constructe­d out of aluminum and could be transporte­d by cargo plane or even airdropped. The M114 had a crew of three, was powered by a 160 horsepower GM V8 engine, and was amphibious, ideal for deployment in Vietnam. However, it proved to be mechanical­ly unreliable and underpower­ed, and its aluminum hull left the vehicle vulnerable to land mines.

Takom’s M114 is the first plastic kit of the armored fighting vehicle. The smaller vehicle and relatively low parts count make for an enjoyable, reasonably quick build. The lower hull is a single, bath tub style piece to which the road wheel arms and suspension attach. A track jig fits over them, making it easy to verify that the placement is correct and helping build the link-and-length tracks.

The upper hull build goes quickly. There isn’t much in the way of interior detail, but there is some detailing on the inside walls. I wish there were more to see inside because it would be great to pose the large rear door open.

Part fits were generally good, and I found only one error in the instructio­ns: In Step 18, the headlight guard pieces are flipped — A12 goes where G13-14 should and vice versa. It’s not a huge issue but will cause a headache if you don’t catch it.

Photos show pronounced weld beads between the panels that aren’t represente­d on the model. It’s not a make-or-break omission, but there is a nice notch where the panels meet. That makes it easy to add the weld seams using putty or stretched sprue.

The kit includes markings for four M114s stationed in Germany in the 1970s. Two are overall olive drab and two wear four-color camouflage.

I enjoyed painting and weathering the little vehicle, but the decals were a bit thick and the clear carrier on my sample seemed a tad milky. A sealing clear coat and filters helped to blend them into the surface.

Due to the number of parts and well engineered constructi­on, I spent about 20 enjoyable hours on the M114, much of that on painting and weathering. I would recommend Takom’s M114 to anyone; it’s a one-of-a-kind model that doesn’t take up much room, so you can easily add an interestin­g subject to your collection.

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