Wednesday, December 5, 2012
The first 1/72 version to come onto the market was the Altaya diecast model. The Dragon kit came out a bit later, and Hobby Master has recently released a version as well.
Below are the three LVTs that I currently own. The first one is by Dragon, while the other two are Altaya diecast models. All three are pretty much identical as far as dimensions go, but each model seems to have a different type of engine deck.
The Dragon LVT is very easy to put together. There are a lot of fragile cleats and handholds that can be left off if you want to make it into a more robust wargaming miniature. I'm taking a break in the build because I'm trying to figure out how the gunners were supposed to stand in the gunner's cockpit. Did they just stand on crates or whatever was handy like for the LVT-4, or was there some dedicated platform for them to stand on?
The two Altaya LVTs are completely different molds. The olive colored one is the older version, and the navy gray one is the newer version. Both have diecast upper hulls with the remaining parts in various types of plastic. The most obvious differences are that the older version has a front hull machine gun, and mesh grill floors in the gunner's cockpits (though they are not deep enough to accommodate a standing gunner). The newer version just seals over the gunner's cockpit entirely, and is missing the armored backrest. The 37mm gun differs between the two models as well.
The olive LVT represents a USMC vehicle used at Peleliu. The lettering scrawled on the side of the model is way oversized. In addition, the stars on the LVT are red. Makes me really wonder if this is a real Altaya LVT. I've seen similar models being sold from eastern Europe on eBay, so maybe not...
The LVT also seemed to have the tracks on in the wrong orientation. I was considering leaving them as they were, but because other Altaya tracks came off so easily, I succumbed to the compulsion to turn them around. Big mistake. The interior halves of the return idlers crumbled immediately, with one drive sprocket suffering a similar fate.
I managed to repair the drive sprocket, but could not do anything about the inner half of the idlers. I've only seen really old Airfix figures disintegrate like this, and it makes me very nervous about how all of my models are going to hold out over time.