Skytrex very kindly sent us a few of their landing craft and American vehicles to review and I jumped at the challenge as I’d only ever seen their infantry up close in the past! In the box of models were two infantry assault landing craft and four vehicles based on LVT technology. First we’ll look at the models after assembly; then how the model looks after a few coats of paint.
The LCV infantry assault craft is a nice kit, though the sides seem very bare and aren’t even divided up by panelling or rope and rubber tires to break it up. Where it does get interesting though is the crew figure, hunched and strapped to his steering column for protection as he guides the landing craft in. I really wouldn’t want to be that guy, I’d rather be crew on the second of the landing craft!
Here’s the LCA infantry assault craft! It’s sleek, has more detail on the outside of the craft, a cool set of double doors to help protect the infantry and it has shielded compartments for the crew, who happen to be wearing British helmets. These craft it feels small but I think that’s because we’re used to seeing our 15mm infantry all spaced out on bases rather than crammed in like sardines on boats.
Next one of the earlier models amphibious tractor, the LVT2 and the LVT4. The early LVTs didn’t have rear ramps but still bristled with machine guns to cover the advance of their infantry. One point which is the same for all four of the next vehicles is the block of resin between the tracks. These models are entirely one piece hulls with the tracks included. This means you end up with a base-like section between the tracks from the casting process. What is nice though on the LVT2 is the interior floor detail which stands out to me and sets it apart from the LVT4 which will be familiar to you as the Buffalo that makes its way to the European Theatre in late war, used by British Infantry. It has the rear ramp which greatly improved the combat effectiveness of the LVT but retains many features of the earlier models.
Evolution of the LVT series led to the development of the LVT(A)4 75mm and LVT(A)1 37mm. These tanks could roll up the beach with the other LVTs, DUKWs and infantry off the landing craft. Skytrex sent us one of each. The hulls are based on the earlier models of LVT with no back ramp and have spate metal turrets (and machine gun turrets in the case f the LVT(A)1. These were also quick and easy to put together.
There were two small problems with the models though for the completeness of the review: The machine gun barrels are very fragile and many of them arrived bent. More than one broke during clean up and one was missing, presumably broken during transit. Now I have a spare bits box with spare plastic machine guns in back in Bournemouth so I can replace them but if you don’t, be careful with the guns! The other problem was bubbles in the resin surface or miscasts on some of the raised detail. Every resin manufacturer has these though. A bit of liquid putty and a file will sort this out but for an inexperienced modeller they’re a tricky issue.
Next, I want to report that I enjoyed painting these models. I wanted to paint them nice and bright so spent a day looking in my paint box and on the internet for a good scheme and found lots of blue grey, rusty landing craft and away I went.
I highlighted the models up from a dark grey blue to lighter grey blue and applied final light grey highlights. I also experimented with a few different ways of applying rust with paint, some attempts better than others!
I went for mid war camo USMC uniforms on the crew which as testers for a probably USMC army worked out ok.
There are records of US personnel using British equipment on Wake Island and some other small outposts so I kept the uniforms uniform on both landing craft.
I quite like the quirky LVT2, compared to the LVT4. On the first pic above you can see one of the repair jobs I’ve had to do for now on a machine gun. I can replace the gun later easily enough when I have my bits box.
Lastly the amphibious tanks which make me want more of them. The familiar Stewart and Scott turrets on the LVT hulls makes them look exciting and I suspect they’ll be fun to game with. Hopefully you like the paint scheme and it does Skytrex justice.
These models found on their website all range between £9 – £12.50 which is a good price for these chunky resin and metal models and the few minor miscasts or machine gun breaks don’t devalue these models. These are specialist models that are worth the money.
Easy to assemble and prepare (the resin did not need cleaning)
Nice details and easy to paint panels making highlighting easy
(Whilst I can’t really think of more I just said they were easy to build and paint!
A few minor resin repairs required
Fragile Machine Guns (better than thick guns though)
Resin block between the tracks
I’ll leave you with one final thought… I enjoyed these models so ordered some infantry from Skytrex to go with them. Now I just have to work out what goes in a USMC platoon for Flames of War!
Can’t wait for the Pacific!
Happy Hobby Everyone,