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: 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.