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S u m m a r y

Stock No. & Description: Kit No. 6384; LVT-(A)1Alligator
Contents and Media: 149 parts (145 in light olive drab styrene, 4 vinyl)
Price: USD$29.95
Scale: 1/35
Review Type: First Look
Advantages: First kit in styrene of this vehicle; Reasonably well done moldings cover the basic shapes; and the overall impression is correct
Disadvantages: Some shortcuts taken with smaller parts; stiff tracks not popular with many modelers
Recommendation: Recommended for all Pacific War US armor fans


Italeri's 1/35 scale LVT-(A)1Alligator is available online from Squadron.com

Reviewed by Cookie Sewell


F i r s t   L o o k


Italeri  – love ‘em or hate ‘em – deserves credit for at least trying to come up with kits that have been ignored by other model companies. AMTRAC and AMTANK vehicles sat high on many modelers’ want lists for years with only the sorry Nitto/BlueTank/fill in the blank kit of an LVT-(A)5 for sale in 1/35, and the slightly better but woefully smaller Adams/SNAP/Lifelike LVT-(A)5 in 1/40 scale. Italeri came out with a 1/35 LVT-4 and immediately got hit with a hail of criticism, mostly over soft details, stiff tracks, and the fact they used a post-war Italian vehicle for their prototype which had a totally different interior layout from US WWII models.

What people tended to miss – as is all too usual with modelers in this day and age of instant gratification – is that someone HAD listened and done up a reasonably decent kit for under $30 US. A certain Japanese company most certainly would have done better, to be sure; but their kit undoubtedly would have gone for $55 or so, but that is a moot point as they have never done one.

Undeterred, Italeri has now released the early AMTANK, the LVT-(A)1. This kit shares the inside hull details and running gear with the first release, but then has two new sprues with a new upper hull/fender section, new rear end, new case mate, twin MG tubs, and the turret based on the M5 design less the radio bustle. Based on the kit design layout (an LVT-(A)4 with the M8 75mm HMC turret has already been announced for 2002) it is likely that Italeri also plans to do the early model LVT-2 and complete the series.

Individually, this is one of the better recent Italeri kits, and has very nice weld beads on the angled parts of the casemate and other components. A gridwork floor is included for the rear tub machine gunners, but it is somewhat spoiled as Italeri has one-piece .30 machine guns with mounts and no ammo boxes. The main turret comes with separate hatches and a fairly well done 37mm gun and .30 co-ax for the turret interior; however, no seats or basket are provided. Provision is made to either make the vehicle as an early model or add the bow gun as needed.

Decals are provided for two different vehicles, but are very spartan and most modelers will want to investigate other color options. The directions state to paint the vehicle olive drab, but many photos of US Army vehicles painted gray are available and this would be a more striking scheme. Check with Steve Zaloga’s books from Concord and Osprey on US amphibians or Jim Mesko’s “US AMTRACKS in Action” from Squadron/Signal for good references to colors and markings.

However, overall this kit is not bad, and a few bits from the parts box and some “sweat equity” will yield a nice model for less than a third the price of a resin one.

Cookie Sewell

Review Copyright © 2002 by Cookie Sewell
Page Created 29 January, 2002
Last updated 22 July, 2003

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