JGSDF Light Armored Vehicle
Iraq Humanitian Assistance Unit
1/35 Scale - Kit No.35275

First Look Review by Terry Ashley

The Vehicle: (Notes from instruction sheet)
With a crew of four the JGSDF Light Armoured Vehicle is fitted with a 160hp liquid-cooled 4-cylinder diesel engine, allowing it to reach top speeds of 100km/h. Weighing just 4.5 tons, it is able to be carried by a CH-47J helicopter or C-130H transport air¬craft for emergency air-drops.
The gun mount on the roof can be fitted with a 5.56mm MINIMI machine gun or Type 01 Light Anti-Tank Guided Missile. Vehicles deployed to the Iraq town of Samawa in 2004 were fitted with reinforced bullet-proof windshields and extra equip¬ment such as wire cutters, updating it to the standards of light armoured vehicles of other nations. Many vehicles also featured an armoured cover around the gun mount for extra protection. Due to the historical signifi¬cance of the JGSDF Samawa reconstruction mission, the JGSDF Light Armoured Vehicle gained much international attention in 2004.

The Kit:
Tamiya continues their releases of vehicles seeing service in Iraq with this kit of the relatively unknown JGSDF LAV, until now that is.

The kit consists of 152 parts in olive drab plastic and a further 16 in clear plastic with the lower chassis in die-cast metal, added to this are the four vinyl tyres with the usual wheel poly caps and a small bag of screws and rivets for attaching the plastic parts to the chassis and for the wheel axles plus a small decal sheet and instruction sheet.

Clear parts

The kit gives you the choice of three slightly different configurations and you have to make your choice early as some locating holes have to be opened up before commencing construction.

The parts have the usual crisp details we are used to from Tamiya but there are quite a lot of pin ejector marks on many of the parts, some of these in hard to get at places and others marring the detail. These are especially noticeable on the insides of the doors and hatches as well as on the body of the smoke grenades with these requiring careful filling to eliminate them.

The front and rear suspension units are made up of multiple parts with good detail which includes separate disc brakes, shock absorbers with well defined springs and separate front steering arms although the wheels are not designed to be steerable after assembly.

The suspension units are attached to the metal chassis with the screws supplied and are engineered so they don’t compromise the details with the shock absorbers trapped between the suspension and chassis during assembly.

The wheels have well defined rim details with the hubs as separate parts to further add to this detail and have hollow vinyl tyres which feature a nice aggressive tread pattern as well as the embossing on the side walls and attach to the axle hubs with the poly caps supplied so you can add these at any time.

On the upper side of the chassis is attached the central consol/hump again with the screws supplied and to this is added the front bucket seats (with a couple of good sized pin marks to be removed) as well as the driver’s foot pedals and rear fire extinguisher.

The large one piece upper body shell is a typical Tamiya moulding with excellent details on all sides and especially on the front engine compartment intake grills which apart from the front radiator grill are all moulded integrally with the body.
The front radiator grill has the hollow openings between the slats for good definition but it would be an idea to blank off the inside with a piece of card as you can get the see-through look from certain angles after assembly.

The interior also has a nicely detailed instrument panel with separate gear levels and steering wheel which is fitted to the underside of the body shell as is the clear front headlights and rear mud flaps which also incorporate clear tail light clusters.

The fit of the plastic body shell to the lower cast chassis is everything we expect from Tamiya and actually fitted and held together without the need for glue when test fitting the parts, a testament to the kits engineering.

All the four doors and rear hatch are separate parts with details on both sides but there are some sizable pin marks to be filled on the insides that will need care in some places and attached to these are separate armoured glass blocks as well as separate door handles.

There are numerous other fittings around the body such as the armoured windscreen panels, the large storage rack on the rear roof and foot steps on the rear body plus the two front mounted rear view mirrors and roof mounted cable cutters.

On the rear corners of the body are either the eight smoke grenades or aerial mounts depending on the version you are building plus the rear towing shackle with the dog ears having holes included.

The upper weapons ring is nicely detailed and is fitted with an equally well detailed 5.56 MINIMI machine gun and small gun shield although this again has some pin marks to be removed as do the two halves of the top hatch which can be shown open or closed and include separate inner grab handles.

As an alternative you can fit the large armoured cover to the weapons ring as seen on some of the vehicles in Iraq and while my next comment has nothing to do with the kit, this cover appears to be a excellent hand grenade catcher and you wonder how long it would remain in use in a hostile environment, especially with the hatches open forming a solid “bowl”.

Also included is a driver figure with nice uniform details and the instructions give details of the camouflage pattern if you wish to use this?

The decal sheet has markings for four vehicles serving in Iraq during 2004 finished in overall olive drab and has well printed markings with good colour register but with the usual thickish carrier film.


Sprue Images
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Detail images
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This is a typical Tamiya kit with excellent details included and good fit of parts for what is a very good looking vehicle with that definite “sports car” look.
The inclusion of the die-cast metal chassis has me a bit baffled but it doesn’t affect the final finish so is probably of no consequence and despite the numerous pin marks will build into an attractive kit out of the box and should prove quite popular not only for its looks but for anyone wanting something a little bit different that you can included in Iraq dioramas.

For another review of the kit, see Vodnik's review on Armorama.

On the Web:

Ground Power

Ground Power Magazine #122 - 7/2004
Published by GALILEO Publishing Co.,Ltd.
2-2-13 Misaki-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan

Includes a 30 page detailed article on the JGSDF LAV.

Kit courtesy of my Credit Card and the excellent service from Rainbow Ten.

Page created 22 June 2004

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