Italeri 1/35 LVT-4 'Water Buffalo'
This type of tracked amphibian vehicle was developed for the U.S. Armed Forces at the beginning of WWII to ascertain mobility in swampy terrain and at the beaches during landing operations. This version was typical with its wide rear ramp which could be lowered to move equipment and troops. More than 6,000 units were produced from the end of 1943 onward. LTVs were widely used in the Pacific Theater as well as on various European battle grounds to cross big rivers.
Max. Speed in water/on land : 25km/h
Range in Water: 320km
Range on Land: 480km
Armament: 2 x .30 cal. and 2 x .50 cal. machine-guns
WHAT IS IN THE BOX?:
The kit holds two large and one medium sized sprue of olive green parts. A small sprue, in the only cello bag in the kit, holds the decals and a short piece of tan string. The string is to be used for the pulley arrangement on the rear cargo door of the vehicle. I wish that Italeri would use better packaging in their kits as parts get broken off their naked trees and could very easily become lost.
Continuous rubber band treads are provided in four sections. This means that the modeler will have to do two hot rivets with a heated screw-driver, on each side, to assemble these later. Not a good thing to look forward to.
The instructions are a single, bi-fold sheet, that folds out into 10 pages.
Page one gives the history of the vehicle in no less than a dozen different languages.
Page two gives general instructions for parts removal from the trees, again in 12 languages. There are six part replacement reply labels printed next and a number code explanation for the colors to be used in painting the kit.
Page three is the parts tree drawings.
Pages four through the top half of page eight give 17 assembly steps. The bottom of page eight and all of page nine gives the marking instructions for three different schemes.
Page ten gives some warnings about possible hazards in 20 languages.
Large tree, letter 'A' holds the bottom, inner sides, drive sprockets,
return rollers, idler wheels, no less than 20 road wheels, 2 x .30cal.
and 1 x .50cal. machine-guns and their mounts, two boat hook poles, grab
handles (three of these handles are spares) etc. (83 parts here)
Large tree, letter 'B' holds the floor, interior wall sections, upper decking, bow pieces, rear fold-down door, machine-gun shields, and a second .50cal. machine gun etc. (30 parts here)
Medium sized tree, Letter 'C" gives us the outer sponson walls, sponson tops, front fighting compartment wall, vision flaps, slatted panels (that can be positioned either verically or horizontally), these panel's supports, and tail gate hinge plates etc. (26 parts here)
The decal sheet gives markings for three different schemes:
1. A U.S. Marine vehicle, 1944 (no geographical area is called out)
2. A French Army vehicle, 1956 (again no geographical area mentioned)
3. An Italian Army vehicle, 1957 (ditto)
I thought it was sad that we are not told WHERE these vehicles served and also that two schemes are post war. But, I am a WWII nut and that is a personal bias.
There are no figures provided in the kit.
This vehicle has been long wanted by armor modelers. This new kit fills
an important niche in any armor collection.
Parts are flash free and well molded. However, as mentioned before, Italeri could cello bag their parts in their kits.
I don't like the four part rubber band tracks. One hot screw-driver weld, per side, is ENOUGH and usually a disaster waiting to happen. At least for me it is. Also, clear head light lenses would have been nice to have.
Perhaps one of the after-market companies, that does individual tread links, will do some for this kit in the future. Are you listening Model Kasten?? Hope so anyways.
With the few reservations, previously mentioned above, I highly recommend this new kit.
I heard an unsubstantiated rumor that Italeri plans to do a second vehicle on this same chassis. Perhaps the turreted version?
Italeri is perhaps one of the easiest brands to find in any well stocked hobby shop.