by: Sal [ ]
IntroductionThe Landing Vehicle Tracked (LVT) was a small amphibious landing craft introduced by the United States Navy, Marine Corps and Army during World War II. Originally intended solely as cargo carriers for ship to shore operations, they rapidly evolved into assault troop and fire support vehicles as well. The types were all widely known as amphtrack, amtrak, amtrac etc., an abbreviation for amphibious tractor. - Wikipedia entry
The LVT-4 followed largely the same concept of the LVT-3 in that the engine was moved forward to allow for a rear ramp door to provide easier and quicker loading and unloading. Since no major changes were made to the engine and transmission of the LVT-2 (upon which it was based) the new vehicle was completed much quicker than the LVT-3, with the first such machines going into action at Saipan in June 1944. The LVT-4 was the most numerous version of the range of World War II Landing Vehicle Tracked amphibious vehicles with over 8,438 LVT-4 built.
This kit is part of Cyberhobby’s line of Orange Box Super Value Packs. It is a re-box of Italeri’s LVT-4 Water Buffalo, kit # 379 which is combined with Dragon’s figure set U.S. Marines (Iwo Jima 1945), kit # 6038 and Cyberhobby sells it for a relatively low price.
ContentsIt comes in a standard size Dragon tray and lid type box that has a left side profile view for the cover art. Upon opening the box I was shocked to find that all three parts sprues were bagged in the same bag as opposed to individual bags. I also realized at this point that several parts had broken off of the sprues and were floating around the inside of the one bag.
Sprue A - which held the lower hull, inner hull, .30 cal MG’s, 1 .50 cal MG and rollers - has 86 parts, of which 3 parts had broken off.
Sprue B, which is not marked, contained the upper hull parts, rear ramp and the other .50 cal, had a total of 30 parts, and also had 3 pieces broken off.
Sprue C contains the interior parts and outer sides of the hull, for a total of 26 parts, but had only 2 pieces broken off. The simulated wood interior benches have some nice wood grain on both sides but if you are going to build the kit with the benches in the down position, you are going to have to clean up some pin marks.
There are two of Sprue D, which are the two-piece tracks for each side. The tracks are some sort of softer plastic and not as flexible as vinyl. They are thick and stiff and do not bend into shape very easily. When I built the Italeri-boxed kit I broke off the front drive sprocket trying to add the tracks and had to repair it by melting into the plastic a piece of metal.
The Instruction booklet lists a piece of rope as E. This is to be used as the rear ramp cable and while the rope is a better piece then the bakery box string that came with the Italeri kit, they could have included a piece of wire here.
In a separate plastic bag was the Dragon figure kit which was of typical Dragon quality, and then another smaller bag containing the weapons set. All four figures are on one sprue and are provided with helmets that have the camouflaged cloth covering. There is also a good selection of web gear to be added but only one sidearm. What I found real interesting about the weapons set is that the M-1 Grand comes with the bayonet mounted to the front and that one of the other figures is posed with a pump-action shotgun and a two-piece bazooka on his back. The other two figures are posed standing upright, one aiming a BAR and the other with a flame thrower.
MarkingsThe kit also included a decal sheet for two different vehicles, 10th Amphibian Tractor Battalion, Yellow Beach 2, Iwo Jima 1945 and 11th RTR, 79th Armoured Division, Netherlands 1944.
Instruction BookletThe instructions come in the standard Orange Box reduced-size color foldout on glossy paper and are basically the same as the Italeri ones except they omit the illustration of the heated screwdriver tip for the assembly of the track lengths. The instructions are divided into 15 steps and starts with the assembly of the outer sides of the hull. They also provide a color painting and marking guide for both the vehicle and the figures on the final page. The colors are keyed to Aqueous Hobby Color, Mr.Color lines, and Model Master Colors.
ConclusionIf the modeler was hoping to find something new added to a relatively obscure vehicle kit, they will be disappointed as I was. But if the modeler is on a budget and is looking for a kit that will build up into a nice Pacific War beach landing diorama, the inclusion of the figure set will come as an added bonus.
In my opinion Dragon could have added a fret of PE and some wire instead of the string. Also a figure set similar to Trumpeter’s WWII USN Landing Craft Crew would have gone better with this vehicle than US Marines that are posed in attack stances.