Italeri Kit No. 6396
1/35th Scale
First Look Review by Peter Brown

Italeri's LVT(A)4 is a variation of their earlier LVT kits. It is Kit No. 6384 LVT(A)1 Alligator with a new sprue for the larger turret and as that kit uses one sprue and the tracks from the LVT(4) Water Buffalo Kit No 379. This is typical of many manufacturer's desire to get as man kits as possible from as few sprues as possible.

Apart from the change from green to yellow-brown plastic, new for the LVT(A)4 is the C sprue with parts for the upper hull and turret. Compared to the LVT(A)1 the -(A)4 the upper hull section is extended to make more room for the larger turret. This came from the M5 Stuart series based M8 Howitzer Motor Carriage and mounted a short-barrelled 75mm gun and .5" anti-aircraft gun. This gave the new Amtank a more powerful main gun compared to the earlier 37mm gun on the -(A)1, though the two .3" machine guns mounted behind the turret were deleted which was sometimes a problem in the close-quarter fighting on the Pacific Islands campaign.

ItaleriThese new improved Amtanks were built in considerable numbers and used mostly by the US Army and to a lesser extent by the US Marine Corps from late 1944 onwards. An improved version with a stabilised gun, revised vision arrangements and the .5" gun replaced by two .3" was designated LVT(A)5. This was radically updated to give better sea-going properties and was employed by the US Marines after the war including Korea, while basic LVT(A)4 was used post-war by various armies. A small number served with 2/1st Australian Amphibious Assault Squadron and more in a short-lived British Royal Marine Amphibian Support Regiment. In French hands they were also used in Indo China and at the Suez landings in 1956.

With so much of the kit based on previously released sprues, much of what has been said of the earlier Amtrack and Amtank kits applies to this kit. The tracks on the original were complicated and reproducing them in plastic is not an easy task. The new sprue gives us a gun breech and suspended fighting platform for the turret though more detail will be an improvement as these areas are very visible. Also a good candidate for replacement are the transparent domes over the driver and co-driver's hatches which are moulded solid. Many vehicles also had a rail in front of the turret which is missing on the kit. As usual with Italeri, no figures are included.

Painting instructions give options for several Army and Marine units in 1944 and 1945 in a variety of colours, some are in plain Olive Drab and others have a camouflage scheme of light and dark browns over the basic green. Decal sheet include vehicle stencilling plus call sign codes and nicknames. Several of the vehicles depicted appear in Concord 7032 "US Amtracs and Amphibians at War 1941-45" by Steven Zaloga and George Balin, "Amtracs in Action" by Jim Mesko (Squadron Signal Armor in Action No 2031 ) and the old and new Osprey Vanguard "Amtracs: US Amphibious Assault Vehicles" by Steven Zaloga and these books give extra material for other colour schemes as well as for adding extra detail to a basic LVT(A)4 or converting to the other versions

Sprue C

The LVT (A)4 kit is now available worldwide from Lucky

Page Created 23 August 2003

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