Tuesday, May 21

Full Build Review: 1/35th scale MRZR D4 Ultra-light Tactical All-terrain Vehicle Dual combo kit from Magic Factory

Paul Lee has built Magic Factory's new 35th scale dual combo (2 kits in the one box) of the MRZR D4 Ultra-light Tactical All-terrain Vehicle of the US armed forces. See what's in the kit & how it goes together & looks once painted in his review...
Full Build Review: MRZR D4 Ultra-light Tactical All-terrain Vehicle
Dual combo kit (2 kits in the one box)
From Magic Factory
1/35th scale
Plastic kits with photo-etch & Vinyl tyres
Kit no. 2005
Magic Factory Facebook & Website

The subject: MRZR D4 Ultra-light Tactical All-terrain Vehicle
The Polaris MRZR 4 is 4-seater variation of the MRZR 2. This incredibly light all-terrain vehicle was a huge success. The US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), the US Marine Corps, and special forces from a number of other nations, including Turkmenistan, all employ it. Additionally, there is a tendency towards conventional forces acquiring similar tiny, mobile, and adaptable all-terrain vehicles.

Designed for expeditionary armies, they enable foot soldiers to move much more quickly. When compared to HMMWVs, MRZRs are a whole different breed of vehicle. The forward locations are where these all-terrain vehicles are stationed. Because the MRZRs lack armour, they must rely on their speed and great off-road mobility to evade hostile contact. They have the ability to go on off-road paths inaccessible to hostile vehicles. The MRZRs are comparable to quick off-road mules.

Three passengers and the driver can ride in the MRZR 4. The crew is safeguarded by anti-roll bars in case the car rolls over. These safety bars can be folded down to lower the vehicle's overall height. A thin canvas cover is not required. The MRZR 4 may be readily modified for a variety of missions, including casualty evacuation or the transportation of supplies and troops. a tiny cargo bay at the back that can be utilised to transport crew equipment as well as different supplies including fuel, water, and ammo. Extra passengers may be transported in the cargo compartment in an emergency. Two litters can be swiftly configured to fit in the cargo space. As an alternative, two rearward-facing seats are suggested.

The LMADIS counter-drone system mounted on a Polaris MRZR vehicle

The Canadian Army ordered 36 vehicles plus 12 tactical trailers with an option for additional vehicles in 2016, while the US Marine Corps ordered 144 of these vehicles for their expeditionary troops.

The Kit: Magic Factory's MRZR D4 Ultra-light Tactical All-terrain Vehicle dual boxing
Magic Factory is a relatively new manufacturer with a very eclectic range of new releases focussing on mainly modern contemporary subjects, ranging from the Israeli Iron Dome SAM system, to a robotic dog? Outside of modern subjects, Magic Factory also released an F4U kit so you most definitely cannot accuse them of releasing the same old stuff like everyone else.
This release is of the MRZR All Terrain Vehicle and I must admit that I thought looked like a pair of golf buggies at first glance. While slightly ungainly looking, these vehicles play a variety of roles including delivering battlefield supplies, battlefield ambulance, and anti-drone warfare, a necessity which has really risen to prominence in the Russia/Ukraine conflict. The MRZR has been adopted by a few armed forces around the world, although most notably with the US Marine Corps. These are the subjects in this release which comes as a dual combo which gives you the option to build two vehicles. You can build one as a regular armored MRZR D4 vehicle with a cargo trailer, and the other as an anti-drone MRZR D4.

The sprues:
First, to add to the CADs we have the plastic parts of the kit. All injection moulded in a tan colour, these are pretty non-descript, I suppose just like the real thing. Take into mind these are test shot images, we don't have the sprues to review the quality or accuracy, just showing you what we have...
The kit's tyres, love them or hate them, are in black Vinyl - the tread is pretty beaten on them. We do think that a lot of aftermarket tyre suppliers will jump on here for the half of the modelling population that cant abide by them.
Photo-etch parts are supplied, but thankfully not too many in this kit - some (pessimistic types - you know the ones) were expecting much more. We must think that Magic Factory were able to make a lot with plastic.
A decal sheet is supplied for both kits, with the myriad of stencils, instrument dials, instructions, data stamped sheets and even a "Blue screen of death" for a windows screen that doesn't work - nice!

The build:
Construction starts with the lower chassis which gives you the engine, driveshaft and transmission, but this will be pretty much hidden under the body once it is installed. Of note are those pipes sticking up from the engine because you're supposed to mount the rear tray on top of those, so dry fitting is essential if you choose to take that route. I had some issues installing the rear bumper which attached with a slight angle which will affect the towing mount, but removing part of the bumper mount solved this issue.
Next comes the suspension, although the instructions let the kit down a bit and are a bit vague in some places trying to illustrate where the various arms are supposed to go. This should go without saying, but I did snap two of the suspension arms taking them off the sprue so take care. The shock absorbers give you springs in two lengths for the front and rear which come in well marked bags which is a nice touch.
The aforementioned rear tray is a relatively straight forward affair and gives you the option to build in the raised or lowered position. There are some PE details to attach, and this is where I discovered the most novel aspect of the kit in the PE sheet. The PE sheet comes with an adhesive backing sheet, but this is to keep the parts attached to the sheet itself rather than the usual method of being attached to the fret so there are no attachment points to remove. While this seems great at first glance, the main issue I had with this was trying to stop the pieces from bending while peeling them from the backing sheet. I couldn't imagine this method being very successful with smaller bits either but thankfully this kit’s PE are reasonably sized. Take extra care with attaching the tray fences too because it is very easy to attach them back to front.
The front hood comes in multiple panels and assembled around the radiator with the front installed last. I left off the lift rings attached to the front bumper until the end, but I will tell you now that these parts are extremely fragile, so much so that I destroyed enough of them so that I didn't have enough for both kits. Two snapped while being removed from the sprue, but then half a dozen or so snapped trying to slide them on over their mounts so take extreme care.
So while the instructions have you install the rear tray and front hood before the main passenger cabin, I chose to attach all three of those sub-assemblies to put over the chassis. This ended up giving the rear tray a slight slant, and I did get some interference in the fit of the lift mounts on the passenger cabin so it may be the case that the tray is not meant to be attached to the cabin. The harnesses are provided in PE, although I have problems trying to bend these into shape in general so I ended up making some out of tape instead. Decals for the instrument dials are also provided.
The second kit...
Being a dual combo kit means that there are two kits, although you cannot build two of the same unless you want two base model versions. The armed reconnaissance version has mounts for three M249 SAW's to be attached to the sides of the roll cage and one on top, but I elected to go with an unarmed version since the kit also comes with a trailer and seems more suited to this role. Construction of the trailer is fairly straight forward with springs provided for the shock absorbers once again, and vinyl tyres, and like the rear tray, take care assembling the fences so you do not get them back to front. The kit also comes with Magic Factory's NATO Individual Weapon Set which is a nice addition, although most of the weapons aren't really in US service so they're not entirely appropriate which is a slight shame.
Like the trailer, the wheels for the vehicle are provided in vinyl, but the wheels have four attachment points to be attached to the brakes, but this means that the wheels all have the same alignment which doesn't look natural, but easy enough to fix if you don't glue them squarely or remove the attachment points.
The second version I chose to build was the anti-drone vehicle which differs in being a two seater vehicle with a storage trough in the back seat, the anti-drone equipment on top of the roll cage, and some storage and what looks to be a generator attached to the back of the vehicle.
This is definitely an interesting release by Magic Factory as no one else makes this vehicle which is always welcome to the “Oh no not another...” crowd, however as always the question is how well will it sell? They're definitely not the easiest kits to build, but they're not difficult either and just require some care and effort to build, so it's definitely not a kit for the beginner. 

The completed kit...
The dual combo is a bit of a fad for me too as you don't always want to build two of the same vehicle. Interestingly enough, while building this, I found the engineering to be quite similar to what Bronco used to do, and considering that Bronco stopped a while back now, I wonder if the previous staff have any involvement at Magic Factory?
Paul Lee

Thanks to Magic Factory for sending this kit to build and review. You can find out more about these and their other kits on the Magic Factory Facebook & Website