Following on from their previous LVT series kits, Italeri have now released this kit of the LVT-2 which had some parts in common with the LVT-1s (most notably the running gear) as well as incorporating a number of improvements.
This version of the LVT-2 represents the mid-late production type with just the two side steps in the side pontoons (the early production types has four steps either side) and the rear engine deck intake grills. The wooden lattice floor mats are also not provided as they were for the earlier production types.
The kit consists of 162 parts in light grey plastic with a set of vinyl tracks in four segments, a small clear sheet for the windows as well as the decal and instruction sheets and follows the real thing in having the running gear from the previous LVT kits but most of the hull and interior is newly tooled for this kit.
One interesting thing is there is lurking on the sprues a number of parts applicable to the LVT(A)2 such as the armoured covers for the engine deck intakes which go unused for this kit so you don’t have to be Nostradamus to work out what kit will follow. There are also a few parts from previous versions still included on the sprues which again are not used and can be added to the spares box.
The quality of the moulding is quite good overall as there is very few if any of those sink marks which at times mar Italeri kits and the detail is quite crisp with good definition although there is a bit of flash and fairly prominent mould seams to be cleaned from some parts.
Dimensionally the kit measures out well against the 1:35 plans in the Letterman Productions LVT Line Drawings set #LP012 with most of the hull parts matching almost exactly and any discrepancies are within acceptable tolerances. Unfortunately this does not extend to the running gear where the drive sprockets and idler wheels are undersized in diameter as are the small road wheels.
The sprockets have the central hub disc the right size but the outer disc and drive teeth are a bit over 1mm too small in diameter and the sprocket teeth are too small with the 11 road wheels also being 1mm too small in diameter. The sprocket drive teeth do not actually mesh into the track which just sits on top of them as it passes around the sprockets which may be a reason for them being undersized?
The main hull is broken down like the previous kits with the top deck in one piece with central cut out for the interior and a separate front cab with separate front glass hatches, the rear engine intake grills are also separate parts.
As before the side sponsons have the inner panel that forms the hull sides and the outer “square” sponsons added which trap the road wheels between the axle mountings. The rear toothed idler wheels are also trapped between the two sponson sections but the front drive sprockets are mounted separately and assembly here is fairly straightforward if a little fiddly with all those small road wheels to deal with.
For the interior you get the detail nicely represented on the inner sides of the outer hull panels plus some additional panelling and the floor, front and back bulkheads as well as a two part drive shaft assembly that provides all the basics for the interior layout. The assembled interior tub fits to the lower hull plate with the front curve and this has some nice subtle wells seams included and there is also a separate rear hull plate to be added to finish off the main hull assembly.
Additional interior details include the weapons skate ring in multiple parts and you will have to take care to ensure these sections join together as snugly as possible especially around the rear curved sections.
The upper hull is basically just the front section, side track covers and the engine deck and you have to open up a number of locating holes for the various fittings with the separate cab moulded in one piece with separate front windows for which you use the thin clear plastic sheet provided. These can be positioned open or closed and you also get the optional armoured front panel that was sometimes fitted over the front of the windows and the two small side windows also have the clear glass inserts.
Added along the top of the cab is the perforated strip that is a little on the thick side and would be better represented in etched metal and no doubt will be included in the etched update sets to come?
At the back are the revised water boxes and the vanes are way oversized and could do with considerable thinning if not replaced with etched parts when they become available and the large curved guards are added along with the plastic tow cable.
The engine deck grills are in plastic and again are a little on thick side and there are numerous smaller fittings added around the hull deck such as the head lights, mooring attachments, various grab handles and a couple of grappling hooks that are delicately moulded for a good appearance.
Weapons provided are a single .50cal machine gun and two .30cal machine guns with the skate mounting brackets in two parts for each gun and are quite nicely done but a little basic at the same time if that makes sense?
The .50cal MG is unfortunately not up to the standards we have seen in other kits recently with very basic detail and an undersized cooling jacket that makes it look a little odd but it does have separate rear firing handles for better definition.
With the two .30cal MGs, these are better represented with good detail on the receiver and nicely defined cooling jacket holes although these is a huge mould seam down the centre of the receiver that will need removing. The guns have their mounting moulded with the received which does distract from the final appearance but should look okay but many may want to replace the barrel with any of the available aftermarket barrel to improve the look.
As mentioned the tracks are in rather stiff vinyl with basic details as well as two sizable pin ejector marks on the top of each track shoe and these are virtually impossible to remove from this medium. The stiffness of the tracks makes it difficult to get them to sit around the sprockets and idler wheels as well as being overly thick without any definition where the drive teeth should intermesh with the track.
The decal sheet has all white markings with the carrier film cropped close to the markings but it is a little on the thick side but as most markings go on flat surfaces this shouldn’t be a problem.
There are markings for 4 LVTs provided, all US vehicles and none for British which may disappoint some.
- 1. Unknown unit, Saipan (Marianas Islands), June 1944
- 2. Provisional Company, 193rd Tank Battalion, Makin (Gilbert Island), November 1943
- 3. Unknown unit, New Guinea, 1943
- 4. 2nd Amphibious Tractor Bn., Tarawa, November 1943
The interior has again all the basics but there is also plenty of scope for adding the finer details for those wanting to put more work into the kit but should be welcomed by Allied Armour fans.Recommended 7/10