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.
Finally, it has been exactly 4 years since my previous:
Review of the M1078
and now Trumpeter
has just released the most awaited upgrade kit from the LMTV family: the Armor Cab kit.
I rapidly opened the box to see if the design approach of inserting the armor cab was appropriate, and I found it nicely engineered. The armor cab components are attached on spare sprues and they can be inserted to the M1083 (or other trucks) easily, therefore it is just a matter of time to get the M1083 with Armor Cab. Well done Trumpeter.
The kit content is summarized as follows: more than 460 pieces attached to 8 plastic sprues with a transparent one, the top of the cabin is molded with no doors and an open top, a PE fret and finally 5 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: WH, WJ and WK (the transparent one). It is important to note that the PE fret is also new, and of course the cabin.
The instructions come on 16 pages with 17 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.
Steps 1& 2:
These steps cover the assembly of the main frame as well as the gluing of the lower part of the engine (no engine provided). The shock absorbers are attached to the main frame as well as the support for the leaf springs.
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.
Rear light blocks are assembled and glued in place. The exhaust line is also attached.
The bottom of this step covers the assembly of the air tank for the CTIS. All LMTV’ 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. Extra armor plates are added in plastic and PE in order to represent the armor kit.
This finalizes the attachment of the leaf springs. Both rear axles and the transmission are assembled here. This is not a difficult task since both axles are directly glued to the leaf springs.
All axles are connected to the main gear box using drive shafts. The front bumper is new here. The armored air filters are glued on the left-hand side of the frame. 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 transmission is impressive and the drive shafts are free of ejection pin marks. The suspension is done perfectly comprising the shock absorber and the highly detailed tension bars (6 plastic parts each).
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” at 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.
The fuel tank is assembled as seen on the two previous M1078 and M1083 with the air tanks and extra armor plates in plastic. The cargo box situated under the flat bed is constructed (same as the M1078).
All details are glued onto the frame; fuel tank, reinforcing bars, as well as the winch are glued. The bottom part of the front bumper is fastened, these parts are proprietary for the armor pack.
These steps cover the assembly of the flat bed which is the same as the M1078. The flat bed walls are detailed in a way that you cannot open them, even the rear one. 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 come in two options: folded or open. The seat legs are fragile and need some special care when removing from the sprue.
This is the major novelty of the kit. This step covers the assembly on the inside of the cabin, and all pieces are new. The level of detail of the cabin did not increase much. No radio rack is present and the seats are the same as the former kits. The dashboard has been improved and is from the M1083.
Step 12 & 13:
Outside of the cabin, and this is the best finding of the new kit. The doors can be assembled open; some details need to be added to do so since the interior of the door is empty. The rest of the outside is really nicely detailed.
A gun turret is also added with armored panel, comparing to my reference picture, it seems that Trumpeter decided to add the field modification turret, so during the painting stage paint the small panel in rust. Humvee armor windshields are provided so this gives extra nice detail. The front armor plate can be in plastic or PE. An M2 MG is provided with good detail and a turned brass barrel will be a good addition. One major drawback of the armor turret is the hatch, it is closed and in order to open extra surgery is required.
This is the final assembly of the cabin with attaching the mirrors and front armor panel. A nice touch is the addition of two search lights.
This is gluing of the flat bed and air filter onto the main frame
Final assembly with attachment of the cabin onto the frame as well as the basket for the spare tire.
Trumpeter did an outstanding job once again on dimensional accuracy and detailing on the overall vehicle. The frame and the tires are nicely detailed. The new cabin is really a great addition; interior detail has been a little improved. The addition of open doors is clearly a great addition, I'm only sad to see the top closed. The armor turret is nicely done and the gun is good.
With the parts for the cabin on two separate sprues, we can expect to have a quick release of the M1083 with armor cab, or some other design. I hope that such a kit can be released as a modification for modelers that want to upgrade their M1078.
Take special care during the painting phase, since the armor kit has been mounted onto a NATO painted truck as shown in the painting and marking guide.