by: Rowan Baylis [ ]
Background"A/S32P-25 Shipboard Fire-Fighting Vehicle. The P-25 shipboard fire-fighting vehicle is a 4-wheel (2-wheel drive), 6 cylinder, turbocharged, liquid cooled, 24-volt, diesel-powered vehicle, with a hydrostatic drive system that transmits power to the rear wheels. Steering is preformed by a single hydraulic cylinder and tie rod assembly that controls the front wheels. Dynamic vehicle braking is provided by the hydrostatic drive system. When the accelerator is released, the brakes automatically engage. Separate tanks within the vehicle chassis carry 750 gallons of water and 55 gallons of AFFF (Aqueous Film-Forming Foam). Three 20-pound fire extinguishers containing HALON 1211 (Halogenated Extinguishing Agent) are stored on the right side of the vehicle. One nursing line connection on each side of the vehicle provides AFFF mixture from the ship's system directly to the vehicle's water pump.
The vehicle has seating for a crew of two. The driver compartment is located at the left forward end of the vehicle and contains the main control panel for activating the fire-fighting systems. AFFF can be sprayed from both the forward turret nozzle and handline hose reel nozzle. These nozzles operate independently and can be used simultaneously to make this vehicle ready for fire-fighting duty."
Source: Integrated Publishing
The kitSkunk Models Workshop have released a 1:48 model of the A/S32P-25 as part of their useful range of modern aircraft support vehicles. The kit arrives in a colourful end-opening box with photos of the completed model on the front and sides. The sprues for the P-25 and three figures are packed in a plastic bag along with a small set of decals and instructions. Skunk Model's kit is pretty simple - just 30 parts for the vehicle moulded in quite a hard greenish-grey styrene. There's very little flash to take care of (just a hint along mould separations). I found a few ejector pin marks that will be visible on the completed model, but they're no big deal, and probably 10 minutes work at most to clean them all up.
The detail on the tender is simple but effective, with nicely depicted grills and vents on the bodywork, a non-slip finish on the rear step, and separate extinguishers for the side rack. The front turret nozzle is made of two parts to capture the 3-D "S" shape, but the rear hose is moulded integrally with its drum and compartment. This is really the only disappointment detail-wise, because it does look very basic, and a quick check of photos of the P-25 online reveals that the designers compromised for the sake of simplicity; whereas the kit shows the hose's nozzle lying on the compartment floor, in fact it emerges between two guides higher up before being tied down when not in use.
AccuracyOverall, the kit seems to match up with photos pretty well. There are a few small details that can be altered or added; e.g. the kit includes a hand-rail above the extinguishers that isn't always evident in photos of the full-sized vehicle, and the front lifting rings seem to be stowed facing aft on in real life (rather than sticking, out as on the kit, where the crew could bump into them). But the one real mystery concerns the wheels. The kit parts have reasonably detailed hubs, although little by way of a tread, but you'll see in the description above that the P-25 is a 4-wheeled vehicle, and this is borne out in the few photos I've found online - however Skunk Models' version is a 6-wheeler with doubled-up wheels at the rear... That's a pretty fundamental difference and I've not found any reference to a 6-wheeled version. To be honest though, the inner rear wheels are hardly visible and I'm loath to condemn the kit as definitely wrong because I've no knowledge of the P-25 beyond what I've read on-line for the purposes of this review. Hopefully one of our US Navy modellers can clarify the matter...
ConstructionAssembly is quick and simple , with the main body parts fitting together neatly to form a good solid box. I found the locating tabs at the front of the body side panels too large, so a quick trim was the order of the day. I wasn't happy with the rear hose (I guess that's the price of finding a reference photo!), so I quickly made a new compartment from styrene sheet using the original as a template. I'll make a dummy drum and hose and fit them after main assembly, which will also make painting much simpler.
Three figures are included - a driver and two standing deck hands. They're crisply moulded, if a little basic with rather "wooden" poses. I've no doubt there are superior aftermarket resin figures available, but these are a welcome start. I think they are probably generic figures for Skunk Models' kits, so I'm not convinced the driver is dressed appropriately for a firefighter on duty - certainly, one photo I found online showed the driver wearing silver protective gear as you might expect.
Instructions & DecalsThe assembly and painting guides are a bit of a surprise because they seem as if they've been produced on an office copier (they're even crooked on the page and the painting guide is slightly distorted). It reminds me of the way hastily typed-out English instructions were sometimes included with imported Japanese kits years ago - the only difference is that these are "international style" anyway with minimal text, so it's rather odd. Anyway, the fact that they don't match up to the overall level of presentation isn't really important; they do the job. Colour matches for Gunze Sangyo paints are include (although the maker isn't stated).
A small sheet of decals is included. These are glossy and crisply printed. There are no multi-colour items, so registration isn't a concern.
ConclusionI like Skunk Models' P-25, despite my uncertainty over the wheels. I haven't given an overall mark until that question is resolved. Whatever the outcome, the kit will certainly make a useful accessory to display alongside modern US Navy jets for an interesting diorama. I've got the model half-built and almost ready for painting, so I'll add a few photos of the completed P-25 soon.
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