The rear compartment is moulded perfectly square without any warping with nicely done screw head details on the outside with some corresponding bolt details on the inside although not all corresponding bolts to the outside are present. There are also some remnants of the moulding sprue attachments to be removed from around the top of the compartment. If you wanted to be real picky the walls are a little over scale in thickness but as there is nought you can do with these it’s probably not an issue most would worry about.
The main thing here as with the cab doors is the upper folding panels are moulded fixed in the upright position and to the show these lowered you will have to cut the panels away from the main compartment which is not the easiest task. There is also no demarcation line on the inside for the folding panels as there should be which adds to the issues if you cut these away and the detail on the inner walls is a little on the sparse side.
Additional storage boxes are added to the inside walls and the two large boxes for the rear compartment walls and these have the latches moulded with the boxes. You also get etched latches if you want to cut away the moulded on latches but I found the detail on the etched latches not as well defined as the original moulded plastic items and wouldn’t bother with the etched latches.
Also on the rear wall is the ‘bucket’ with etched attachment straps, this and the two storage boxes have central bosses and holes in the rear wall as it seems they were initially designed to be screwed to the rear wall but are just glued in place on the final kit. Unfortunately the screw holes are still present on the rear compartment wall and you will have to fill these as they are visible after final assembly.
The mounting for the ‘bucket’ on the rear wall can be cut way with the mounting also provided as an etched part but cutting this way will take quite a bit of effort due to the size and it being almost impossible not to destroy the surrounding screw heads in the process. Added to this is when the sides of the etched base are bent to shape the base is too narrow to accept the plastic ‘bucket’ and again save yourself a lot of grief and stick with the moulded plastic base.
The rear tail lights have clear plastic fronts with the correctly depicted light segments for left and right sides which are added from the back of the rear wall for the correct inserted appearance.
There is also the large rear towing pintle added to the rear bumper and on the vinyl mud flaps attached inside the rear walls.
On the outside of the front compartment wall which forms the back of the Driver’s compartment is mounted the backrest and seat for the third crew seat in the front cab and it’s best not to add the seat until both the cab and rear compartment have been attached to the chassis for the seat to mate to the mounting posts between the two front seats.
The main compartment is attached to the metal chassis with four screws but watch as the two locating lugs on the underside had to be shortened by half to sit evenly on the chassis frame and you may want to leave the compartment separate from the chassis until fully assembled for easier handling but this raises issues with the inner floor section.
The central floor section has the pedestal base added from below and this also attached to the compartment floor with four screws but the main compartment has to be screwed to the chassis before adding the inner floor otherwise you don’t have access to the lower screws.
The pedestal base has to be fitted facing the correct way with the small tab on the top of the pedestal facing forward and there is a small pin on the underside to aid in the correct alignment so there shouldn’t be any problems fitting this correctly.
The rear screws in the floor section are rather unsightly after assembly and you may prefer to fill in the screw holes and just glue the floor section the lower compartment in the conventional manner after the compartment has been screwed to the chassis.
Added to the pedestal base are two bolted strip segments but I had to trim 1mm of the end of one of these to fit properly so test fit before gluing and I chose to leave the floor separate until last as you can slip this into place after the compartment has been attached to the chassis as mentioned above.
Added inside the compartment are the crew seat backs to the fuel tanks and the seat cushions to the floor section but leave these off until the floor is fitted if you also chose to leave the floor separate to make slipping the floor into place easier.
At the front is the ammo can racks which is supplied in plastic and etched brass with the brass option providing a finer appearance and also there is a rack for the SCR-528 radio although the radio in the kit bears little resemblance and SCR-528 radio I have seen?
The side compartment sills are in three parts for the two sides and rear and these simply sit on top of small locating tabs on the compartment walls, these sills sit level with the upper fold line for the armour tops and the left sill has the racks for the spare headlights carrier here.
Eight large ammo chests are supplied for the compartment storage, four for the front rack and two at each read corner and these chests are moulded differently with the front four having the top and bottom halves split horizontally which results in a perfect chest without any join seams to be filled.
On the other hand those for the rear corners (and the main gun mounting) are moulded in two vertical halves resulting in large join seams down the middle that will cause problems eliminating due to the raised outer lip. Why all the chests could not have been split horizontally to eliminate this annoying join seam is one of those perennial unanswered questions.
The easiest way to eliminate the seam is to add a sliver of plastic card to cover the join although this will then make the edges level with the outer lip but filling the seam in the conventional manner will be quite a job.
You should also be careful when removing the chest parts from the sprues as the sprue attachment overlaps the raised edge sill and you have to carefully trim the sprue burr to preserve the raised sill.
You are provided decals for the “To Load Reel” and “amm. Chest Cal..50 M2 200 Rounds” markings for the ammo chests but these are actually raised embossing on the chests and not painted stencilling while some cheats don’t have the markings but these may be remanufactured chests for preserved M16s.
There should also be stowed around the compartment 8 spare cal.50 barrels, 2 on the floor, 2 on the rear wall and 2 above each fuel tank but these are not supplied in the kit. You do get 4 extra barrels with the changing handles included as options for the main gun mounting and you can cut away the changing handle and use these 4 for the floor and rear walls to partly add these but you will also have to make the attachment clips to hold these in place. There are four raised “lumps” on the floor where the barrel clips should go so these indicate the location of the floor mounted barrels.
Final assembly, once the forward ammo rack and radio rack have been attached these hide the forward floor screw holes and the floor will slip into place by carefully positioning the forward edge under the racks and slipping the rear section into the lower recesses to be glued in place. The floor mounted crew seats can be added after the floor section is glued in place.