Category Archives: Landing Craft

Trumpeter 1/72 USMC LCAC

The landing craft air cushion (LCAC) is a high-speed, over-the-beach fully amphibious landing craft capable of carrying a 60-75 ton payload. It is used to transport weapons systems, equipment, cargo and personnel from ship to shore and across the beach. The advantages of air-cushion landing craft are numerous. They can carry heavy payloads, such as an M-1 tank, at high speeds. Their payload and speed mean more forces reach the shore in a shorter time, with shorter intervals between trips.

The air cushion allows this vehicle to reach more than 70 percent of the world’s coastline compared to only 17% with conventional landing craft.

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Kit Highlights

  • Kit # 07302
  • USMC Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC)
  • Scale 1/72
  • Length:372mm   Width:198.6 mm   Height: 95mm
  • Parts: 338
  • Photo Etched parts
  • 9 sprues, lower hull , deck and cushion
  • One-piece hull with full deck made from four-directional slide molds
  • Cargo deck scupper pattern finely rendered
  • One-piece real rubber cushion.

You may have seen this model kit in you local hobby shop or favorite on-line retailer. What is really inside the box of the 1/72 Trumpeter USMC LCAC?

There are 9 cleanly molded sprues, a sharply detailed photo etch fret and a real rubber air cushion among others.  The molding is very clean, no flash at all and no bothersome molding lines. My single complaint is that the fan guards/grills are on the thick side.

For the price tag of this model kit I would have welcomed a couple of 1/72 figures. As far as I know, this kit is no longer in production.  But they are still widely available.  Trumpeter is actually producing the same kit with Japanese markings (Trumpeter kit # 07301).

Note from the Author
The detail on the hull is superb. The decal sheet is large, the print is top notch and does look very much like a Cartograf job.  If you’re a ship builder, you’ll be happy to add this model kit to your collection.

Preview sample courtesy of my wallet.

Navy Underwater Demolition Team Strikes Again

Join the Navy and blow up things!!  The latest diorama shows the post World War Two U.S. Navy UDT version of the boat used to drop off and recover the best of the best.

I had this model back in the late 1960s as I remember the “frogmen” figures that inspired me to set a goal for becoming one of them, things didn’t work out along those lines but I completed over twenty years in the Navy retiring at the highly respected Chief Petty Officer’s position. This model reminded me of the inspiration so I took on the task of detailing the model and mounting it in a sea-bourne setting as it should be.

The boat model; I used all of the parts included in the kit with the exception of the .30 caliber machine guns that I replaced with ones from Academy Models along with adding ammo cans and splinter shields which in real life were at on time made from very thin metal. The painting was strictly by the book as Navy Standard Grey in various shades would appear to be weathered and worn by saltwater.  The inflatable boat was painted jet black with a coating of acrylic gloss to show lots of water inside and out, this was then secured to the landing craft with all of the correct lines and hopefully all the required knots as shown in the directions booklet.  Additional details were added including a ready service box on the forward bulkhead oppisite the coxswain’s station, these were and still are used to store explosives or flares on naval ships. Also sea-bags and a storage bag are seen toward the stern of the boat.

The figures; I used the three figures shown in the photos with little detailing or adjusting as the arms and legs were pretty well defined. The boat crew figures were painted Navy dungaree working uniform colors for the period and weathered by drybrushing all of the surfaces to show wear and tear. The UDT member in the inflatable boat was painted with flat black with a coating of acrylic clear gloss as this UDT member would be wet all of the time!

The base; Where to start? That is a real question to ask when you have just build a watercraft with all the props and rudders installed. I gave up the idea of showing all of that work in favor of the rough seas that would highlight the entire boat. I used a white packing foam sheet with a section carved out of the hull and used acrylic caulk for the water effects with blue and white acrylic paint for the coloring. Lots of glossy paint was used along with letting the caulk set up to the point where I could move it around to simulate waves and swells. The foam sea was then positioned on a finished section of shelving.

Please note, if sea-sickness should prevail over you while viewing the diorama, please refrain from getting sick in the boat!! Enjoy

John


(Contains 8 attachments.)

1/350 Gallery Models Landing Craft Air Cushion

The Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) is a class of air-cushion vehicle (hovercraft) used as landing craft by the United States Navy’s Assault Craft Units and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF). They transport weapons systems, equipment, cargo and personnel of the assault elements of the Marine Air/Ground Task Force both from ship to shore and across the beach. Concept design of the present day LCAC began in the early 1970s with the full-scale Amphibious Assault Landing Craft (AALC) test vehicle.

During the advanced development stage, two prototypes were built. JEFF A was designed and built by Aerojet General in California, with four rotating ducted propellers. JEFF B was designed and built by Bell Aerospace in New Orleans, Louisiana.

JEFF B had two ducted rear propellers similar to the proposed SK-10 which was derived from the previous Bell SK-5 / SR.N5 hovercraft tested in Vietnam. These two craft confirmed the technical feasibility and operational capability that ultimately led to the production of LCAC. JEFF B was selected as the design basis for today’s LCAC.

The Kit:
The 1/350 Gallery Models Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) is part of a small collection of other subjects in the same scale released by Model Rectifier (MRC). This kit along with the others are pretty much related subjects, for example:

Gallery Models 1/350 kits

  • CARRIER DECK EQUIPMENT
    Item 64006
    Scale: 1/350
  • U.S. MARINES ARMOR ACCESSORIES
    Item 64004
    Scale: 1/350
  • USS IWO JIMA LHD-7
    Item 64002
    Scale: 1/350
  • USS WASP (LHD-1)
    Item 64001
    Scale: 1/350
  • U.S. MARINES Aircraft
    Item 64003
    Scale: 1/350
  • USN LCAC HOVERCRAFT
    Item 64005
    Scale: 1/350

I like the idea of a clear carded packaging, that way you can see the amount of detail and the quality of it. The model kits from Gallery Models are well molded for its scale with no flash whatsoever.

Open the package carefully, it is your assembly instructions on the inside and the back has the decal and color guide in Mr. Hobby, Vallejo, Model Master, Tamiya and Humbrol equivalents (Kudos to MRC for this detail). Assembly of the kit is very straightforward and fit is 1st class.

I painted pretty much both kits straight on the sprues and then pieced them together. There is no way you can glue parts where they don’t belong, especially the main structure because they simply wouldn’t fit.

Painting & Decaling:
I used what I had available. The main structure was painted with Tamiya XF-19 Sky Gray, XF-24 Dark Gray on some details, XF-1 Flat Black for the ‘rubber ‘parts coated with Semi-Gloss Acryl coat. The cargo area was painted with Tamiya NATO Black XF-69 and the windows were painted with Tamiya Transparent Blue X-23.

Don’t sweat it if you paint the frames while painting the windows. You can go back with a dry brush of the base color (XF-19 in *my* case) and bring the frames back to life.

Decals are very thin and will go on with the proper tweezers fairly easy. Note that I didn’t gloss coated the surface prior to decals. I lay a small puddle of  Micro Scale Decal Solution and viola! That saves me some time and there is no ‘silvering’ to worry about. After placing all the decals, all the structure was coated with Model Master Acryl Flat.

Then it was assembled to the ‘rubber’ section of the model; buy why? Because the rubber had a ‘wet’ look achieved with Semi-Gloss Acryl. So coating the structure Flat saved me from masking the semi-gloss area. Weathering was achieved with Tamiya Weathering Master Sets.

Final Verdict

These kits are a joy to build, either as a relief after a big build or as a weekend project. MRC states that these kits are suited for ages 14+ and I have to disagree. Definitely due to the low parts count and easy fit, I would recommend these kits to young modelers as young as 10 years old with some adult supervision. But make no mistake, these are not snap kits either.

For the scale they have very nicely detailed and I will dare to say that there is still room for some scratch built add-on details.

They will go very nicely with a 1/350 USS IWO JIMA LHD-7 or even as a stand alone kit on a small vignette. The Gallery Models 1/350 LCAC will give the modeler of any age a few hours of fun for just $11.95 USD.

Highly Recommended!

Review Samples courtesy of my wallet.

Italeri 1/35 LVT-4 Water Buffalo

The LVT had its origins in a civilian rescue vehicle called the Alligator. Developed by Donald Roebling in 1935, the Alligator was intended to operate in swampy areas, inaccessible to both traditional cars and boats. Two years later, Roebling built a redesigned vehicle with greatly improved water speed. The United States Marine Corps, which had been developing amphibious warfare doctrine based on the ideas of Lt. Col. Earl Hancock “Pete” Ellis and others, became interested in the machine after learning about it through an article in Life magazine and convinced Roebling to design a more seaworthy model for military use.

After more improvements, made difficult by Roebling’s lack of blueprints for the initial designs, to meet requirements of the Navy, the vehicle was adopted as “Landing Vehicle Tracked” or LVT.

 

 

Italeri 1/35 LVT-4 Water Buffalo

The Kit: And here we go again, if you’re a frequent visitor of Model Kits Review, you may have noticed our Currently on our Bench model on the right side of the screen. The LVT-4 Water Buffalo is an interesting subject with lots of history and action and should be on any armor model builder’s shelves. Back in October, 2011, I published the end result of a more humble model kit. Airfix’s 1/72 scale Water Buffalo kit.

This was an easy build that left me with the desire of adding an LVT-4 to my armor collection in 1:35 scale. This is Italeri’s kit which I chose over Cyber-Hobby’s version because my local hobby shop marks over the SRP Orange Box offerings.

The kit goes along very well but extra care must be taken due to some parts warping. The warped parts will fall onto place but this will require extra clamping. There was a slight fit problem from the tp main hull to the body on the front. Some sanding and gap filling CA was required. You can notice that I had a run of CA glue. This was later disguised during the weathering process Stucco Gel for a gritty muddy look.

Tracks: The tracks on this kit are composed of 2 parts for each track. Like if one joint wasn’t enough. I don no use heater screwdrivers, instead I use a 25-watts pencil which gives me more control and literally one can weld the whole joint instead of the 2 tiny prongs from the track.

You can ”sandwich” an old flat screwdriver between the tracks and pencil for a more uniform weld. The tracks are made of a rubber that is not as flexible as you may be used to.

Trying to force the tracks in place is a recipe for disaster with the main sprockets. To overcome this issue, I did borrowed the hair drier from my other half. Warm/Hot air for some 30 seconds made the rubber flexible enough to set them in place without a hitch.

Paint and Weathering: The base color for the LVT-4 Water Buffalo was Green Drab 4727 from Model Master Acryl. A very thinned wash of Tamiya ”Buff” XF-57 was applied all over the model with a big brush. Some of the pigment at the bottom of the jar was left on purpose. The rest of the weathering are layers of Tamiya Weathering Master sets, RAW Umber Oil and Vallejo pigments.

Note from the Author
This model is highly recommended, it has some accuracy issues for the model kits accuracy police. There a few after market add-ons, this was built straight out-of-the-box. Besides being a nice subject, it also offers a nice canvas for weathering techniques. Would build another one!

Airfix 1/72 Amphibian Buffalo

The Landing Vehicle Tracked (LVT) was a class of amphibious vehicles 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 LVT had its origins in a civilian rescue vehicle called the Alligator. Developed by Donald Roebling in 1935, the Alligator was intended to operate in swampy areas, inaccessible to both traditional cars and boats. Two years later, Roebling built a redesigned vehicle with greatly improved water speed.

The United States Marine Corps, which had been developing amphibious warfare doctrine based on the ideas of Lt. Col. Earl Hancock “Pete” Ellis and others, became interested in the machine after learning about it through an article in Life magazine and convinced Roebling to design a more seaworthy model for military use. After more improvements, made difficult by Roebling’s lack of blueprints for the initial designs, to meet requirements of the Navy, the vehicle was adopted as Landing Vehicle Tracked, or LVT.

The Kit

This is another plastic model kit that could make a great weekend build or a break during a long more complex build. Don’t expect miracles on a $6.99 1/76 scale model kits. This is not my scale of choice but I must admit that I’ve had a great deal of time building it.

As with the Higgins Boat also from Airfix, there is room to add some scratch built details. Be ready as well to deal with ejection pin marks. At the end you have a pleasant looking model kit to add to your shelf. The kit includes also the tiny Willis Jeep model.

Painted with Tamiya OD Green using an Aztek Airbrush. Weathered with Vallejo Pigments.