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LVT 2 & A2 Conversions

For Italeri/Revell LVT-A1

 

 

TRAKZ
(A VLS Product)

 

 

S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: TX0005 and TX0007
Contents and Media: Item TX 0005- LVT-A2 Resin and Photo-Etched Conversion &
Item TX 0007- LVT 2 resin and Photo-Etched Conversion
Price: US$49.95 each
Scale: 1/35
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Complete conversion; all necessary parts included; a welcome release of a long neglected workhorse of the NW and Pacific campaigns.
Disadvantages: Less than convincing representation of M2 .50 Cal HB and the skate rail mounts; some mold release disfigurement on one wall panel of the review sample. No interior drivers compartment detail provided.(See text)
Recommendation:  Highly Recommended

 

Reviewed by Al Bowie

 

Background

 

The LVT 2 and its follow-on armoured A2 variant were predecessors of the famous LVT 4 Buffalo, differing only in that they had a rear mounted engine and a centre mounted cargo well.

This centre mounted well/ troop compartment was a tactical liability which exposed debussing troops to enemy fire whilst they alighted the vehicle over the side. For a soldier carrying a heavy battle load it also exposed him to the risk of ankle, leg or even back injury. The original vehicle the LVT 2 was also relatively unarmoured with large windscreens, doubling as escape hatches, provided for the crew. This was alleviated in the A2 with the replacement by an armoured cabin with a drivers visor and overhead escape hatches.

Both vehicles were armed with .50 cal and .30 cal type machine guns, depending on the vehcile's role.

The cargo well had two skate rails on which the MGs were mounted allowing the gunner a greater field of fire than a static pintle.

Despite its shortcomings the LVT 2/A2's served from 1943 right up to the end of the war, despite the introduction of the later LVT 4. They were used by the US Marines and Army in Pacific (sometimes sporting colourful three tone schemes) and by the British and US Armies in NW Europe. This should give the modeller a variety of schemes and configurations to model. Good reference is available making the modellers task easier.

 

 

F i r s t   L o o k

 

The LVT-2/2A Conversions

Modellers of US & Commonwealth armour (and softskins, as the LVT is technically a softskin) have been presented with a long neglected subject available at a reasonable price with these latest releases from the Trakz (VLS) stable.

The conversions are designed to fit the recent Italeri LVT (A)1 (and Revell clone) release.

Both kits are almost identical. The difference is limited to the style of cabin. As such, the comments in this review are applicable to both vehicles.

 

 

The kits comprise a number of major resin assemblies which make up the cargo well (with its prominent drive shaft running down the middle and skate rails), the cabin, front deck, single .50c al and two .30 cals. Added to this is a substantial PE fret providing the ventilated radiator cover (?) the rear wall of the cargo well, gun fittings and shields, periscope mounts, light covers, the mounting points for the skate rails and a welcome addition of replacement rear vanes which are overscale in the actual kit.


 

Construction

Construction begins with cutting out the centre of the hull walls and replacing them with resin items. The forward and rear bulkheads, driveshaft and floor are added forming the substantial cargo well. The kit deck is now added (with a replacement of the forward deck for the LVT 2) and the rear vanes are replaced by PE.

 

 

This is the stage that we are presented with the only difficult looking part of the project - the skate rails and mounts. These are in 5 parts of resin with PE mounts for the rear rail assembly and a single resin piece with photo etched parts for the forward rail. Next is the cabin and hatches etc followed by the fine details and MG's. The resin has substantial mounting plugs and will require careful seperation from these to avoid damaging detail You will definitely need a few hours and the Motor Tool for this one!

The upside of this substantial plus is that there was minimal warpage in any of these large parts. Very little flash was apparent and cleanup will not be too bad.


 

Accuracy and Impressions

Not being a vernier wielder or rivet counter (I'll leave that to the noted experts in this field), and not having the time to lay the kit against plans, the kit matches the photos of the real thing well and appears complete with no obvious omissions. I cannot comment on fit, but the dry fitting I have done so far has been trouble free.

I was, however, disappointed with a few items in these kits.

The .50 cal, whilst appearing well detailed, bears little similarity to the real weapon in the open breech area (I recommend closing the feed cover). I was also disappointed with the Ammo cans provided which are a block of resin around which you wrap a lovely PE skin. It would have been much better if they had molded the ammo belt into the top of the can instead of giving an unimpressive flat piece of photo etch. After seeing the latest Verlinden .50 cal you will understand how far behind this one is.

Also, the pintle socket of the skate rail travelling mount appears to be quite underscale compared to photos (It could be my eyesight at fault here however). On on of my samples, the port-side cargo well wall had obviously not separated completely from the mold and will require a bit of corrective surgery to fix. It should be noted that this is quite a small imperfection and probably a one off; and the fault was not duplicated in the other conversion.

The final area which is a bit of a let down is relevant more so to the LVT with its large front windscreen. Absolutely no interior of the crew compartment is supplied which will be very obvious if modelling a variant with no improvised armour sheeting over these.

 

 

Conclusion

 

This is a well executed conversion offering a neglected but important subject. However, it is not recommended as a first conversion. The lack of the crew compartment (even rudimentary) on the LVT 2 conversion is disappointing.

Despite the niggles noted above I was quite impressed with these releases and already have my variant planned and awaiting construction. I would recommend this for any modeller with limited experience working with resin conversions and photo-etch.

Rating 4 out of 5!

Highly Recommended.

 

 

References

 

  • STUART - A history of the American Light Tank VOl 1. R.P. Hunnicutt by Presidio Press. Whilst not devoted to the LVT has a section on them.

  • Marines at War - Ian Dear. IAN ALLEN LTD ISBN 0-7110-1147-8. Has good photographic coverage of US and UK vehicles (particularly the Walcheren operations).

  • US AMTRACS and AMPHIBIANS - Steve Zaloga and George Balin. CONCORD Armour at War Series No 7032. Good Photographic coverage of All users. Brief Historical notes

  • AMTRACS in action part 1 Armor Number 31- J Mesko. SQUADRON SIGNAL Publications

  • BRITSH TANKS of WWII (2) - David Fletcher. CONCORD Armour at War Series No 7027. Excellent photos of British vehicles in NW Europe.

  • ACROSS THE REEF , The Amphibious Tracked Vehicle at War - Victor Croizat (Col USMC retd). BLANDFORD1989 ISBN 0-7137-1894-3

Thanks to VLS for the review samples


These and other VLS products may be viewed at the VLS Website



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Review Copyright 2002 by Al Bowie
Page Created 21 June, 2002
Last updated 22 July, 2003

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