The set includes many of the parts originally included in the Trakz LVT(A)4 conversion set (TX 0006) designed to convert the original Italeri LVT(A)1 but with the subsequent release by Italeri of the LVT(A)4 this new set has a few less parts as it doesn’t need the upper superstructure for example but still includes the full turret and etched parts.
The quality of the resin parts is excellent with just the usual casting blocks and some thin resin film to remove from the smaller parts, some of which will require a bit of care due their small size but the resin is easy to work with and cleanup was relatively easy.
The larger parts of the full turret and gun mantlet are also well cast with the turret in particular having sidewalls of an even thickness without any blemishes inside or out. There is some substantial casting pour plugs and some excess resin “globs” on the underside of the turret bustle which look quite daunting at first glance but are easy to remove with care and don’t leave any air holes behind after removal. There was also a large “glob” on the inside of the turret race but this was also easy to remove leaving a smooth surface.
Detail on the turret is quite nice with bolt heads around the inner turret race and weld beads on the outside surfaces although the forward sections that form the gun mounting lack the characteristic rough finish which is in contrast to the smoother finish of the turret walls and adding some Mr. Surfacer here wouldn’t go astray.
The gun mantlet has a rather large casting block along the top and unfortunately there were a lot of small air holes exposed after removal which made the top of the mantlet very fragile and a little damage was sustained requiring a bit of repair, this being the only place where air holes were present.
There are some internal air bubbles in the lower turret casting but unless you go poking around with a sharp stick these won’t be exposed and disappear with a coat of paint.
The etched copper parts are cleanly etched with nice relief and the usual engraved bend lines where required but while not having the finesse of some contemporary etched sets are perfectly acceptable.
The large fret measures 165mm x 105mm (6 ½” x 4 1/8”) and has some large parts such as the gun shields and rear water deflectors in multi-part assemblies which look complicated but by following the instructions shouldn’t pose any real problems.
Other etched parts include the periscope housings, turret ring traverse “teeth”, head light guards and the complicated .50cal mounting on the rear of the turret as well as some .30cal ammo boxes where the etched box is bent around a plain resin box template to form the box and you can leave the separate box lid open if you wish for added detail.
Back to the turret there is a detailed gun assembly with separate upper and lower guards plus the right side gun sight and additional hand wheels, crew seats and a selection of equipment for the side walls with the gun assembly having considerably more detail than the rather plain kit parts.
The resin gun fits into holes in each side of the turret casting and the gun mantlet then fits to the front of the gun much the same way as the Italeri kit parts are assembled and apart from some minor trimming of the gun “neck” to fit inside the mantlet things went together fairly easily.
You can cut off the kit turret basket and add to the resin turret if you wish for a bit more interior detail and to fit the resin turret to the kit superstructure may require a bit of trimming to the plastic turret ring with test fitting determining what is required.
The upper rear decking on the turret will need care when removing the casting block as this is along the thin rear side and some repair and minor trimming may be needed to get a good fit to the turret but this is only minor.
There are also two resin .50cal and .30cal machine guns with additional etched detail parts and apart from the .50cal barrels having a slight warp (easily fixed with warm water) the .30cal barrel cooling jackets being a little thick they build into quite nice guns to add as you wish. Just forget that etched .50cal ammo belt which is really ridiculous being flat one dimensional stuff that just doesn’t look convincing at all.
Additional optional parts are included for the upper armour panels added around the turret top for Okinawa vehicles and the two turret side mounted .30cal MGs as fitted to Marianas vehicles and this gives a nice choice of detail finish for the model.
The instructions are in the form of exploded view drawings of the various assemblies and while okay in most instances careful study before hand wouldn’t go astray to fully understand the sequences.
A nicely detailed update set for the basic Italeri kit with the turret in particular adding considerable detail to the kit and the etched parts replace most of the kit parts that most need replacing.
Thankfully there isn’t any real surgery needed on the kit as most resin and etched parts simple replace the kit parts.
Highly recommended for Amtrac fans.The resin parts:
Resin gun and guards with the kits parts
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|Project LVT's Amtanks
David E Harper
Letterman Publications 008
|LVT(A)1,4,5 Model Tech Manual
David E Harper
Letterman Publications 011
|US Amtracs and Amphibians at War 1941-45
by Steven Zaloga & George Balin
Concord 'Armour at War Series' No. 7032
ISBN 962-361-655-4 plates
|Amtracs US Amphibious Assault Vehicles
by Steven Zaloga
Osprey New Vanguard 30
|AMTRACS in action
Squadron Signal Publications
Thanks to ModelMecca/VLS for the review sample.
Page created February 6, 2006