Airifx continued their string of new releases related to British forces in Afghanistan with the Quad Bikes and crew. Basically, these are all-terrain vehicles adapted for military use. There are two complete vehicles and their accompanying trailers with four crew members. These are new kits, so the molding is superb. Given the diminutive size of these vehicles, however, the parts are rather fragile so please remove them from the sprues with care. The kits are molded in that familiar Airfix blue-grey plastic. There’s one sprue for the figures, two sprues each for the vehicles and trailers for a total of thirty seven parts. There is a modest decal sheet and colored instructions with 3-D drawings for instructions. As is typical with Airfix kits, the spues are packed together loosely in a plastic bag which means some loose, and this case, broken parts.
Study the instructions carefully before assembling. The suspension can be confusing. Various parts are colored red, indicating that they are not to be cemented. Well, to keep everything firmly in place, after everything was assembled, I glued the suspension parts to keep them secure. A great deal of time must be spent to make sure the front and back suspension are properly placed so the engine fits snuggly between them, allowing the bottom brush plate to fit flat. I had a great deal of difficulty with the rear suspension bars. They didn’t fit correctly with the attachment points in the engine frame so everything seems crooked. As for the wheels, they go together quickly and easily, however, since it was difficult aligning the chassis, the attachment points for the wheels were off. It was a tough fit, but they worked.
In contrast to the quads, the trailers they pull are very easy to assembly. The individual trailer sides need to be assembled and can be used to either haul what looks like ammo cans or a stretcher. If you opt for the stretcher, it requires two cross pieces. The sides of the trailer were slightly bowed, so the cross braces required a little surgery to get them to lay flush. There are also some pin marks on the fenders, but they are hidden by the tire, so I opted not to fill them. The axle assembly is straight forward. There are no markings on the trailers and they are painted the same desert tan as the Quads.
The kit comes with four figures that require assembly. I am not a figure builder so I found these a bit difficult to put together. The arms needed a great deal of adjustment to appear in a natural pose and still do what they were designed to do – hold on to a weapon in one case and in the others, hold on the quads. I followed the instructions carefully, but found the attachment points for the heads confusing and difficult, resulting in a less than good fit. I am not sure if it’s operator area or a molding problem. I didn’t want to ruin the nice lines of the figures with a terrible paint job, so I painted them in grey primer. It allows the details to pop out but opted not to paint their uniforms or faces for this review. Airfix provides a painting guide including samples of the camouflage pattern on modern British uniforms.
The painting instructions are in Humbrol colors. The body is painted Desert Tan and suspension Black. I purchased Humbrol Desert Tan from a mail order hobby shop so I could get the color of the Quads right. The black is from Tamiya. Many of the parts are best painted on the sprue given how small these are when assembled. There is a small sheet of decals that include what appear to be warning labels for the quads. There are no unit markings. Airfix continues to release new kits that are interesting and timely.
These little Quads certainly seem faithful to the real things, but they are tricky to assemble and require a bit of patience and test fitting. My thanks to IPMS, and Airfix for giving me the opportunity to review this kit.