Hornet - HBH 11 - 4 heads in modern UK AFV helmets
The current British tank crew helmet is the Crewguard, manufactured by NP Aerospace under the civilian name of AFV400 (they also make the GS MK6A and MK7 infantry helmet). The helmet provides interface capability with a wide range of communication headsets and due to it being made from composite materials can be used for dismounted as well as mounted operations due to its ballistic properties.
The Crewguard is in effect a headset, currently the Bowman system but previously the Clansman, clipped to a ballistic shell with a soft liner and chin strap. It replaced its predecessor the HMAK HT-9 (produced by the Danish Army Materiel Command (Hærens Materielkommando)), around 1987/90. I am unable to find the exact date but this is around the time the ANR (Active Noise Reduction) headsets were introduced and these wouldn’t work in the old ‘bone domes’ because they needed to listen to the ambient noise levels in order to cancel them out…hence the exposed headsets we see today.
What I can say with confidence is that the Crewguard was used during Operation Granby and Desert Sabre in 1991, after studying photos, and is still in use today. Prior to this, i.e. Operation Corporate (the Falklands War) in 1982, the HMAK was worn.
It is worn by tank (Challenger), engineer vehicle and CVRT crew, as well as Fuchs. It as been said by its users that at a push it is only capable of stopping harsh language which is why many CVRT crews now use the MK6A or 7 infantry helmet when they can, like Warrior crews (and now Bulldog) always have. Photos also exist of Challenger crews wearing infantry helmets.
This helmet, the Crewguard, is the feature of this review…Hornet’s headset# HBH11, Four Heads in Modern UK AFV Helmets.
The packaging is the norm for Hornet…a small Ziploc bag with a card backing and label. The contents are highly visible so you know exactly what you are getting. So what exactly do you get?
Four heads in a crisp light grey resin wearing Crewguards, one with goggles on the top front. You also get two jigs to help make the microphone (mic) booms from (it’s suggested) 5amp fuse wire. To finish them off are four foam microphone covers. No instructions are provided but the mics go on the right side and should sit just below the lips.
What’s great is that all the faces are different; two look pretty serious, one half smiling (to himself by the look of it) and the third looks downright bored. All are superbly cast with no air bubbles and just a very fine seam line on the backs of the necks where it will be easy to remove without marking the lovely detail.
They are all wearing Clansman AFV headsets c. 1999, but in this scale they should pass muster for Bowman. The earphones are a little too big for infantry headsets but I wonder how many people will be able to tell this (see reference photo of Crewguard helmets with AFV and infantry headsets below). Note; when fitted to infantry headsets a Velcro strap pulled tight over the top from the earphones ensures stability so this would need to be added.
The composite helmet shell is very well done with the small rivets depicted correctly and the black plastic rim protector is well portrayed. What’s more the shape of the helmet is correct…it does look like a Crewguard.
Another fine headset from the stable of Roger Saunders; perfect for upgrading existing figures or helping the modeller to convert/create his own.
The quality is excellent and shows once again Hornet set the standard IMO for products like these.
Marks : 95%
Review Martyn Smith