HobbyBoss Strf 9040C review

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It´s finally here, the Hobby Boss Combat Vehicle 90C in 1/35. It has been a few years since it first appeared as a rumour on the internet.

For one and a half year now we have had the Academy CV90 available. The Academy kit however is of a B-version. If you want to build the version that is in use in Afghanistan you have to have the up-armoured Charlie version.

The Academy kit is not without its flaws, but over all it is a very nice kit. Lets see how this kit from Hobby Boss fares in a comparison.

The kit

The surprisingly small, but sturdy top opening box is packed to the brim with sprues. The box holds a total of 16 sprues,  among which can be noted four sprues for the road wheels, four black sprues for track pads and a transparent tree for lights. A brass fret with photo etched details is also included, containing among other things, nets for the engine air intake and radiator air intake. A decal sheet, a bag of track links, a colour printed paint/marking guide and an instruction booklet and the main hull parts top up the box.

The paint guide shows two alternatives, a white painted UN vehicle from the Liberia missions and a dark green vehicle. Seven different registration numbers are included on the decal sheet.

Chassis

The instructions starts with the suspension and final drive assembly. Here we find two of the major flaws of this kit. The mounts for the suspension arms are symmetric, left/right on the lower chassis. In real life, these are slightly offset due to the construction of the torsion bar suspension. Hobby Boss made the same error on their 1/35 Merkava mk4.

This error is by no means unfixable, just cut away the suspension on one side and move it slightly forwards or backwards. Check references to see which side and how much. Whil

e not a difficult thing to do, it will require sanding and puttying and some effort. The question is, is it worth it?

The second error in this area, is the omission of the add on belly armour that the Charlie version of the Stridsfordon 90. While this too, will not be very visible on the finished model, it is quite easy to fix with some plasticard.

The reason for omitting the belly armour is, I guess, because that HobbyBoss wants to use the same bottom part for their upcoming Stridsfordon 9040B.

How does the chassis under side compare to the Academy kit? The Academy kit has much finer and more correct detailing. The suspension arms have the correct offset on the Academy kit. It is probably possible to kit bash the two kits, using an Academy bottom with a Hobby Boss upper hull.

The academy lower hull mated to the HB upper hull

The next step deals with the road wheels. Each half of the road wheel is made up by two parts. The disk it self and a small ring, that is needed to create the special U-shape of the wheel. Academy solved this in a slightly different way, separating the rubber ring and outer rim from the wheel. Ironically the U-space on the rim is often covered by a ring of black foam on the real vehicle.

The wheels look good, but my personal opinion is that the Academy wheels are slightly nicer.

Speaking of nice, the Academy drive sprockets are almost pieces of art. The Hobby Boss sprockets are not bad either. They consist of two halves on which two sprocket rings are mounted. Just like the real thing.

Step three and four deals with the door to the troop compartment and the rear wall. They have separate parts for the add on armour, and need some holes to be drilled. Another hint of the coming of a Strf 9040B from Hobby Boss. The door has interior details, but there is no interior in the vehicle, so most people will close the door. The ladder like contraption to the left of the door is a ski-rack. It can be flipped up/retracted or flipped down/extended, on the real vehicle. Hobby Boss only gives you the option of building it extended. The ski rack has been around since the introduction of the Strf 90 in the Swedish army in the early 90-ies, and it was present on early Charlie-vehicles as well. However, when the Strf 9040C went to Liberia, it had its ski rack replaced by a storage sack. Later the sack was replaced by a metal box. This box has been used ever since, and is used by the Strf 9040C in Afghanistan today.

In the fifth step, the rear wall is mounted to the chassis. On the academy kit, this part fits rather poorly. The Hobby Boss kit fits together a bit better. The thorough builder will want to use some putty here anyway.

After this, it is time to look at the upper hull. On the Hobby Boss kit all the hatches for the stowage compartments are moulded on. The add on armour on the front is also moulded directly on to the hull. The hatches over the troop- and drivers compartments are separate pieces, and the troop hatches can be built either open or closed. (although the instructions will have you glue them on closed the option on having them open is shown on a separate leaflet – which shows three different alternatives, one of which is wrong. The hatches always folds up against each other then opened.)

The details on the upper hull are fine. The add on armour panels have a lot of rivet details and no-slip texture on them, like the real thing. There is however one small let down. It is the portraying of the anti slip tape. It far from as bad as on the Strv 122/Leopard 2A6 kits from the same manufacturer, but they are still raised a bit too much, and they are devoid of any texture. Academy does this much better I think.

Step seven deals with the head light assembly. The lights come on a transparent sprue, as on the academy kit. However, the outer glass panes on the headlights comes only as photo etched frames. It should be complemented with a small piece of acetate or something similar.

In the eighth step the two halves of the hull are put together. The fit is quite good. On the academy kit there is an ugly step at the front. On the Hobby Boss kit, the fit at the front is great, which is ironic, since an add on armour module will cover this area anyway. It does look promising for their Strf 9040B however.

Track record

Step 9 and 10 deals with the road wheels and drive sprockets, which promptly leads us to the tiresome work with the link by link tracks. Each link consists of a link and a separate pad. The track links are moulded in a gun metal plastic, while the pads are moulded in black. What you don´t get, are those pesky ejection pin marks that marred each link in the Academy kit. These links also click together. It is not a strong bond, but I think it might be helpful while assembling the tracks.

The same links are used for the spare tracks, for which there are photo etched mounts to be placed on to the turret. According to the instructions, the tracks are supposed to be hanged with the guide horns out. On the real vehicle however, the links are hanged with the guide horns inwards, with the horns recessed in to holes in the add on armour modules. I think this is easiest replicated by cutting off the guide horns on the spare links.

The 12th step is concerning the side skirts, that comes moulded on to add on armour for the sides. It looks ok I think.

Step 13 concerns it self with minor details and the tow cable. The Academy kit did not include a cable, the Hobby Boss kit does, but it is really thin, and I think it should be replaced by something slightly thicker.

Turret

From step 14 and on, it´s time for the turret, beginning with the 40mm Bofors gun. The gun barrel is a fairly conventional three piece affair, with the barrel split in two down the middle, and a separate cone shaped recoil enhancer. Sadly we do not get the same treatment as Academy has spoiled us with, with one plastic, slide moulded one piece barrel AND a turned aluminium barrel. Even more sadly, either academy barrel won´t fit/look good since the Hobby Boss gun is slightly larger. This is probably correct, since I got the feeling that the Academy Turret is slightly on the small side. Compared to the drawings in the SPHF book of the Strf 90, the hull is 98% and the turret just 96% (I know this because of a scratch conversion project I am also working on).

The turret is also a conventional two piece affair. The parts have a lot of rivet detail and the add on armour modules have a fine anti slip texture moulded on. The anti-slip tape on the turret also has a slight texture to it, compared to the anti slip tape on the hull.

There are a few pieces on the photo etch fret that are supposed to go on the turret. The sight cover is one of them.

We have been spoiled with clear plastic periscopes in many recent kits, the Academy Strf 90 is one of them. The Hobby Boss kit is not one of them. The periscopes are plain plastic. The up side is that they sit better than the ones in the Academy kit, that I think sits a bit too low.

There is however one really glaring omission when it comes to turret details. On the Strf 9040C the coaxial machine gun has been moved from its prior location beside the gunner, in the turret, to an external mount between the hatches for the commander and gunner. The new mount is fixed in traverse, and its elevation is linked to the main gun. There is an ammunition box behind and to the left of the gun, also on the outside. The machine gun itself has been switched, from a ksp m/39 (a version of the Browning .30) to the ksp 58 (FN MAG).

The machine gun and its mount is completely missing from the kit. This is, I think, the most annoying and difficult to fix error on the kit. True, when the Strf 9040C was first shown to the public, it lacked the gun, and many walk around pictures does lack the gun. So if you want to build an early, all green vehicle, the kit will be almost correct out of the box.

But now it is there, and on the vehicles sent to Liberia, that the kit provides decals for, the gun is mounted.

Maybe some after market people will cater for us? Until then, bring out the plasticard.
Painting and marking

As previously mentioned, two painting alternatives are shown, and seven different registration plates are included (140317, 140321, 140324, 140336, 140338, 140343 and 140345). Four of them can be painted white and marked as UN vehicles used in Liberia using four different UN registration plates (23403, 23404, 23407 and 23409).

The decals are not the strongest parts of the kit. The typeface of the registration number is looking strange, and they are not as sharp as I would like.

The guide shows a few alternatives when it comes to markings, but no clear indication on which swedish army registration number that goes with what UN number.

Conclusion

To summarise it all, I think the Hobby Boss Stridsfordon 9040C looks to be a nice experience. It goes together well, and has a nice level of detail.

The really large downside is the lack of the coaxial machine gun, the missing underbelly armour, and the lack of offset of the suspension. The lacking gun is the really annoying error.

Despite this, I cannot see why I shouldn’t recommend this kit. It is today the only Stridsfordon 9040C available, and if you just want to put a battle proven Swedish IFV in your shelf, it will look as good even with the errors described above.

The Academy kit has its ups and downs as well, and when summed up, I think the two kits are quite comparable. After all, they do portray different versions, so they really don´t compete, if you are a real CV90 afficionado like me.

As you can see in the pictures below, I have started building the kit, and scratched an external gun mount, and the other parts needed to make this a correct Liberia vehicle.

About Erik Gustavsson

One of the founding fathers of Plastic Warfare, and the creator and administrator of this website.
This entry was posted in News, Reviews, Swedish Plastic and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to HobbyBoss Strf 9040C review

  1. Marco Iancer says:

    Hello Erik,
    Thank you very much for this review, very useful! How the rear hull storage sack does look like? I haven’t been able to find some clear images of it.
    P.S.: I have discovered that the AFV Club reflective film for the Merkava IV is also listed for the CV9040, I think I’ll give it a try.
    Cheers,
    Marco

    • Erik Gustavsson says:

      I don’t have any pictures of my own, of the sack, but here is a link to a picture that shows it:
      Picture

      • Marco Iancer says:

        Hello Erik,
        Thanks a lot. Was the ski rack used as a frame, just wrapped with canvas, or did they remove it?
        Cheers,
        Marco

        • Erik Gustavsson says:

          I believe it was removed. I don´t think there was much of an internal structure to the bag. But I am not sure, since I have only seen it in photographs.

  2. ingvar says:

    Cool! Nice job on the external coaxial MG. I am sure it will appear as a resin update kit soon :)

    Looking forward to see it all finnished up in bright white, with UN markings, red liberian dust and all.

    BR,
    Ingvar

    • Erik Gustavsson says:

      Yes, a well worn, chipped white with a lot of red dust .. that´s the way, aha aha, I like it.. 😀
      I actually bought a bottle of MIG red African dust, just for this..

  3. rudi meir says:

    Hi eric,

    I’m building the kit right now so I have a few questions for you.
    The detail on the roadwheel rubber seem to be overdone so I’m thinking of sanding them down a bit, pics of the real thing seem to have finer rubber detail….good idea??
    So the skirack will be removed and I will scratch a metal box and external MG.

    But my biggest question is if there are vehicles with a 3or4 tone splintercamo!?? If not I will paint it white with green wheels. I just love the look of Swedish splintercamo!
    Is Baracuda netting used on white vehicles in Liberia and are these the same type like used on the Strv 122?? Are there any ‘action’ pics ( Afganistan/ Liberia ) to be found on the net or in your private collection you are willing to share??

    All help welcome, thanks!!
    grtz Rudi

    • Erik Gustavsson says:

      Hi Rudi
      I also believe the pattern on the rubbet is over done. It is there on real vehicles, but far from so visible.
      Regarding splinter camouflage, I have never seen any strf 9040C with the 3-tone pattern. I have only seen them green, white or brown.
      The barracuda system was not used in Liberia, but is in extensive use in Afghanistan. There a sand/chocolate version is used. You can find pictures of Strf 90 in Afghanistan on this site already. I did two galleries with pics I got from an afghanistan veteran a while back.
      Basically, a vehicle stationed in Sweden is dark green, when they were used in Liberia, they were white and in Afghanistan they are sand, with masking system on top. I think the running gear can be painted all green on all alternatives.

      Good luck!

      Best regards
      Erik G

      • Erik Gustavsson says:

        I maybe should mention that the Strf 9040C prototype had the three tone pattern, but there are some differences between the prototype and the series vehicle, so it cant be built out of the box. Then again, the kit is not correct for a current vehicle out of the box either.

        • rudi meir says:

          Thanks Eric!

          The reason for not using splinter camo anymore would be the use of Barracuda netting, making the camo useless I guess.
          Am I right in thinking that the white is painted over the green and how hard would it chip while on mission in Liberia?

          Grtz Rudi

  4. Ciro Riccio says:

    Hi,
    do you know if the voyager pe set or the et model set for the cv9040b(academy) fit over the cv9040c?!
    It should be the same base cause the IFV is the same but with the add-on armour.
    Can you make some attempts and maybe share them with photos?!
    I’m making an order for the C version of the HB and I don’t know if I can use the Pe set.
    Regards
    Ciro

  5. Cagkan Cakir says:

    Hi,

    I just begun to build a CV9040C with barracuda, used in Afghanistan (I will use either Ingvar Sylegard’s method or Arkebuza’s set for barracuda camo) , but the references about this version is very hard to find in web as you know. I am obsessed to correct details on my models, so I am planning to correct the suspensions, build a belly armor, the metal box on the rear and the most important and hard of all the FN MAG and it’s mount on the turret (I will stole the FN MAG from my other kits) , I have not any good reference especially about the top of the vehicle and turret. I want to ask that if you have any references about the vehicle and maybe share, I will be definitely happy.

    Regards

    Cagkan

    • Erik Gustavsson says:

      I’ll try to update my walkaround of the CV90C with some more photos I have. Unfortunately I cannot publish everything I got, since I don’t know the photographers.

  6. Johan says:

    Hejsan.

    Har du gjort ksp 58 själv eller har du hittat den från något tillbehörs kit? Funderar på att köpa denna sats. Men vill beställa den när jag vet att det går att finna så man får den som den skall se ut. =)

    Mvh Johan

    • Erik Gustavsson says:

      Jag har gjort själva lavetten och en del detaljering på själva kulsprutan själv. Men en fransk resinmodellstillverkare, Djiti Productions, har sagt att man håller på att ta fram ett detaljeringsset för 9040C som ska innehålla ksp-lavetten. De har gjort ett set för 9040B1 redan.
      https://www.facebook.com/DjitisProduction

      • Johan says:

        Ahh okey. Tackar för tipset. Kanske blir så att man skaffar en C-vagn och börjar bygga. Var ju kul att bygga B-vagnen.

  7. Cagkan Cakir says:

    Hi again,

    What is the Swedish Army’s correct color for the CV9040 C using in Afghanistan ? Any Federal Standard code?? I can’t find it anywhere.

    By the way this is my progress of the model:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/cagkanc/sets/72157631983932859/

    • Erik Gustavsson says:

      Nice work!
      I have asked around for the sand colour, and I will do some more asking. I’ll let you know when I know!

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