The LVTP-5 (Landing Vehicle Tracked Personnel) is the designation of the United States Marine Corps primary people mover used after the Korean War and through the Vietnam War. The United States Marine Corps primary mission is to conduct amphibious assaults on opposed beachheads, as it has been for almost 300 years. The USMC saw great success in using "amtracks" in attacks since WWII when they used LVT-2, 3 and 4 "gators" to move over shoals and coral reefs that would tear up normal landing craft of the Higgins design. The current design, AAVP-7, builds on the successes (and shortcomings) of the LVTP-5, the subject of this reference book.
The book has a soft cover with high gloss black and white photographs front and back. There are 144 pages of sturdy high gloss paper. The author, David Koller, then fills the book with photographs in color and black and white. Many of the photographs are actual build photos of a unit as it comes through a production facility. There are approximately 104 black and white, and 92 full color photographs. The photos are a good mix of 8x10, 5x7, and smaller photographs. Some of the photos are of combat vehicles in combat environments as well as some destroyed vehicles. Interspersed with the descriptions of each photo there are occasionally first-hand accounts of Marines' interactions with the "Amtrack". Every picture in the book is accompanied by a description of what is depicted. There are two pages of written dialog regarding the development, use, and variants of the LVTP-5 and 5A1. The black and white photos are generally very bright and show good detail, and the color photographs should give the modeller a solid foundation to build off of. There are only a few pictures of different variants, but as there were only a few different types this is not a great detractor. The books written material also indicates that most of the differences in the LVTP-5 family of vehicles were internal engine and transmission upgrades, a bonus to the modelling community.
This book has a forward by Captain David Sconyers, USMC, whose first-hand accounts highlight his service with the LVTP-5 through two tours of Vietnam. Itís followed by factual accounting of the history of the LVTP-5 and its variants in a condensed, but informative, two pages. The photos that follow are a good mix of small and large color and black and white, with emphasis on details internal to the crew compartment. Construction photos and pictures of actual units in Vietnam add a lot of material for the would-be modeller. Of particular interest are the variety of "in action" photographs which will allow modellers to plan and construct interesting vignettes and dioramas.
I have always had a keen interest in amphibious personnel carriers, and was fortunate enough to climb in and out of a couple during Marine Corps boot camp in 1990. More so, I have always been fascinated by this particular model, because it has gotten a lot less "press" than the WWII and modern era amphibious vehicles. This book fits a very big piece in the history of marine amphibious tracked vehicles history. I found myself wishing for more written information on the vehicle, but every word of printed material was also pretty much new information to me. I found myself reading the forward and written material several times to absorb every bit of information to its fullest. This book delivered enough of both written and photographic information that I now feel that my future AFV Club build (currently the only available kit) will benefit greatly from it. I absolutely would recommend this reference material for anyone who has the LVTP-5 in their stash, or in their "to build" list. Overall, I found this to be an informative reference material with good variety of photos that allowed me to visualize the vehicle without having ever seen a real one. Itís definitely a welcome addition to my library of modelling reference and military history books.
Highs: An excellent and broad range of photographs of an unusual subject of Marine Corps apparatus. Lows: Some of the black and white photos of the 1:1 building progress are somewhat washed out of detail, I suspect due to the lighting available with the camera technology at the time.Verdict: A sure to please book for anyone looking to build the AFV scale model kit, as well as anyone interested in the amphibious capabilities of the US Marine Corps. Also a fantastic "coffee table" book for military buffs.
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About Brian (fhvn4d) FROM: MASSACHUSETTS, UNITED STATES
I am middle/late 40s, and have been modelling in plastics most of my life. I started around 7 years old, mostly aircraft and armor. I work full time as a Lieutenant on a career fire department. I also currently am the secretary of the organization Armor Modeling Preservation Society.