Back in the 1980s, when the U.S. Army was working on a specification for a new truck to replace the aging M35, Austrian truck maker Steyr began working on a new platform based on its 12M18, a truck originally developed for the Austrian Bundesheer. The 12M18 is also used by military forces in Canada, Kuwait, Pakistan and Thailand. When the Army released its specifications for a family of medium tactical vehicles (FMTV) in 1988, Steyr linked up with Houston-based Stewart & Stevenson and sent several prototype vehicles to the U.S. over the next two years. In October 1991, Steyr and Stewart & Stevenson won the bid. The FMTV is based on an Austrian truck, the Steyr 12M18, but considerably reengineered to be available as the 4x4 2.5-tone Light Medium Tactical Vehicle (LMTV) and the 6x6 5-tone Medium Tactical Vehicle (MTV). Both models have over 90 percent of components in common such as the cab, engine, drive train, tyres, wheels, front suspension, axles, etc, and involve many commercial components. The basic LMTV is the M1078 cargo while the 6x6 base is the M1083.
The MTV family of 6x6 military trucks is powered by Caterpillar 3115 ATAAC 6.6-liter turbocharged diesel engine, developing 290 hp. It is a high efficiency and low emission unit. This engine is coupled with a fully automatic transmission. A central tyre pressure system is fitted as standard.
Some versions are fitted with load handling cranes and others have recovery winches. It is also produced as bare chassis for special bodies to be added. A machine gun mounting is provided.
The kit content is summarized as follow: more than 460 pieces attached to 11 plastic sprues with a transparent one, the top of the cabin is molded with doors closed, a PE fret and finally 7 vinyl tires.
The instructions are typical of Trumpeter’s exploded view style. A colored double A4 sheet provides the builder with information for decal location as well as painting instruction. Two colors schemes can be depicted: a 3- tone NATO and desert sand.
After a quick review of the sprues, most of them are from the previous LMTV truck, namely the M1078 item number 01004. The only new sprues are the following: WA, WB and WC. It is important to notice that the PE fret is also new.
The instructions come on 16 pages with 19 stages in total.
Each of the steps are displayed as a black and white line drawing, and the task required at each step is minimal, which in my opinion provides a relatively easy build.
The build starts with the frame as well as the transmission and gear boxes.
Step 1 covers the assembly of the main frame as well as the gluing of the lower part of the engine (no engine provided).
The rear leaf springs are also attached at this point. The bars used to connect both frame parts are new.
Building of light blocks as well as mud guards are done here. The light blocks are new and the level of detail is good. The exhaust pipe is installed here which is a new part as well.
The last part of step 2 covers the assembly of the front axle, this is the same step as for the M1078.
Both rear axles and the transmission are assembled here. This is not a difficult task since both axles are directly glued to the leaf spring. All axles are connected to the main gear box using drive shafts. All these parts are M0183 proprietary.
The final assembly of the rear axles is done here with the gluing of the anti-sway bar (new part). The front bumper is rapidly assembled and fastened on the front end of the chassis.
One of the most striking lack of details is there is no engine. Only the lower louver of the engine is depicted with few details.
The main frame is nicely reproduced with all the small bolts and the details are crisp. There are some ejection pin marks in the support of the mainframe but these seem to be hidden after construction.
The transmission is impressive and the drive shafts don’t have ejection pins. The suspension is done perfectly comprising the shock absorber and the highly detailed tension bars (6 plastic parts each).
The end of step 4 is the assembly of the air tank for the CTIS. M1083’s are equipped with a Central Tire Inflation System (CTIS) to regulate the pressure inside each tires, therefore a complete air-line is mounted on the vehicle with a compressor, air filter and air tank.
Trumpeter did a great job to represent this system. The air filter in my opinion seems to be under scaled but the 3 air tanks are adequately detailed. You will need to add all the small tubes and connectors between the tanks.
The remaining components of the airline are assembled here with the air tank and air filter.
Construction of the fuel tank follows with one new piece, WA26. This piece seems to protect the fuel tank and it is glued on its side.
The construction of the tires requires 6 parts and the inflating system tubing is not molded to the hub, the level of detail is good. The tires comes in vinyl with not only the Michelin X logo but also “radial regroovable” and “395/85 R20 XML” of 1mm high. This is the most detailed modern tires I’ve seen. The tire pattern is good but there is a horrible seam down the middle, I hope that trumpeter will correct this before release.
All wheels are glued in this step, as well as the fuel tank (don’t forget the fuel line). The winch is also assembled and glued in place, although no cable is provided.
The tool box is assembled and glued onto the chassis.
Steps 8 to 12:
All these steps cover the assembly of the flat bed. Those pieces are newly tooled for the M1083. The flat bed walls are detailed in a way that you cannot open them, even the rear one (part WB4). In my opinion, Trumpeter can easily correct this issue since the ladder to reach the flat bed is present but nearly invisible when glued in place.
One other remark, the flat bed does not come with canvas, this can be added as an option???
One good point is the level of the seats that comes in two options: folded or open. The seat legs are fragile and need some special care when removing from the sprue.
Steps 13 to 16:
The assembly of the cabin starts here with the dashboard.. what to say? Trumpeter did not make improvements between the M1078 and the M1083, which share a common interior. Surprisingly, the dashboard is simplified, Trumpeter adds new decals to detail the dashboard but the number and position of the dials are wrong. The inflating system control panel is present but totally incorrect. The seats are over simplified. The two rear boxes are still present while a radio rack can be easily added on an extra sprue or even done in PE since the sunshield were also missing on the M1078 but is now furnished on the PE sprue. No safety belts are included, nor their attachment points.
The cabin is molded in one piece with the doors attached to it, and it will require precise surgery to open them, this is kind of a pity and limits the display of this model. The same comment applies to the roof. Trumpeter did not fix these important issues between the M1078 and the M1083.
All the small lamps are represented in transparent plastic and with painting the result will be brilliant.
This is a simple step attaching the flat bed to the chassis as well as the air inlet.
The basket for the spare tire is simplified as it is missing the strap on the sides and the chains on the top. Same comment as previously, such small items can be added on a PE fret and give a better rendition to the kit. The cabin and spare tire basket are glued onto the chassis.
Trumpeter did an outstanding job again on dimensional accuracy and detailing on the overall vehicle. The frame and the tires are nicely detailed.
But the omission in details present in the M1078 are still present, namely the lack of detail and accuracy inside the cabin. I can understand that with a high retail price the sale of the M1078 did not reach the expected value therefore Trumpeter did not want to retool the cabin to open the doors. But the minor flaws such as better seats or safety belts, even a radio rack, can be fairly easily corrected by Trumpeter.
Unfortunately, the cabin and the flat bed does not give enough freedom for the modeler to include such a vehicle inside a diorama since both of them are closed.
I do understand the position of Trumpeter in a business point of view: try to get as many of the LMTV family using most of the common parts. But the cabin needs an updating, they are capable of doing that, the M1070 is a good example.
A Build Log
has been started in the forums.