Since the initial release of the AAV-7A1 with the die-cast hull well over two years ago, Dragon have finally gotten round to upgrading the initial kit with the AAVP-7A1 RAM/RS and now with the EAAK version. Both kits are basically the same with the EAAK having the extra pieces for the Reactive armour.
The differences between this and the first release or the AAV-7 lie in the Running gear, the earlier version has been upgraded with the Bradley running gear, using the wheels and tracks from the M2/3 with return rollers, the hull has also been fitted with attachment points for the EAAK armour.
The kit has been upgraded from the die-cast hull to an all plastic hull with the EAAK attachment points moulded on and the hull has been given some added finesse with the use of PE. That said this is the earlier hull and it still has the moulded on tools, which were difficult to remove in die-cast and now are still difficult to remove because of the attachment points. One surprise is the inclusion of the original LVTP-7 MG turret and also the original suspension parts, although the wheels are not included. One small point to watch for on the turret, in the kit the front edge is shown as being flat when in fact it should be pointed as shown below.
As per kit
As it should be
So to the kit. what do you get for your money?
The lower hull showing the attachment points.
The upper hull, as can be seen from these pictures the hull is split the same as the original, making a fair old seam to sort out along the hull side, made all the more difficult because of the attachment points. In the EAAK kit this is not so much of an issue as a lot of it is covered by the EAAK armour.
The first sprue contains both turrets (old and new) the water jets and the hull roof hatches, plus various other hull fittings.
The second sprue contains the rear ramp, smoke dischargers trim vane (up and down) and the old suspension layout.
The wheels come straight from the Bradley kit, with the older sprocket style
The EAAK armour comes in two pieces, not much fiddling about here.
The new Suspension layout, along with the new exhaust.
The tracks are the same as the Bradley kit and are in DS styrene, so they will be easy to get them to lay correctly on the return rollers.
The PE fret includes a lot of hatch locking handles, the extra armour plate for the roof and the mesh around the roof mounted exhaust.
Marking are for 4 vehicles: 2 U.S Marine vehicles from Iraq 2005, 1 Italian Marines vehicle, and 1 Republic of China (Taiwan) Marines vehicle (which has a camo scheme that matches the U.S scheme). The decals are thin and in register.
I don't have any references for this vehicle other than the trusty Janes Tank and combat vehicle Recognition guide, and two sets of walk arounds one of a US vehicle the other an Italian and I haven't got a clue anymore as to where they came from other than somewhere in cyber-space !