AMT 1/35 LAV AT Kit First Look
By Ray Mehlberger
|Date of Review||December 2008||Manufacturer||AMT|
|Kit Number||8673||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Nicely detailed modern U.S. AFV||Cons||No interior details, figures or clear parts|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||Out of Production|
As new tactical requirements develop in modern war situations, so does the need for highly mobile armored vehicles to support these tactics.
In 1981-82, tests were carried out by the U.S. Army for a light armored vehicle (LAV) to be produced for the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps. The winner was the Swiss designed, Canadian-built MOWAG “Piranha”, now designated the LAV-25. It is the first wheeled (vs.-tracked) combat vehicle for U.S. forces since the “Stag” armored car of WWII. It’s main mission is to provide light infantry and reconnaissance forces with the capability to defeat heavy-armored targets a long ranges.
The LAV (Light Attack Vehicle) – AT (Anti-tank) 25 is one of these new generation armored vehicles. The basic LAV platform can be configured to any number of variations to support many roles. With the firing of a TOW missile launcher the LAV becomes a formidable weapon.
Powered by a Detroit Diesel 6V53T turbocharged engine, the LAV can run at 62.2 mph. It has eight wheel drive and four front steering wheels. It has full independent suspension on all eight wheels and can climb a 19.7 inch vertical step or cross a trench 81 inches wide.
Besides going across land, the LAV can cross lakes and rivers, powered by twin propellers at the rear. The LAV 25-AT has a crew of four, a driver, commander, a gunner and a loader. For self-defense, the LAV 25-AT has a m-60 machine gun which fires 7.62mm ammunition. There are also two M257 smoke grenade launchers. The TOW Missile Launcher fires two TOW II ATGM’s (Anti-Tank Guided Missile) there are 14 stowed missiles for later firing.
It has a maximum range of 410 miles. It can be air dropped by helicopter and can be carried anywhere in the world by the C5A Galaxy aircrafts. Truly a versatile, powerful and mobile vehicle, the LAV-25 is a welcome addition to the modern U.S. defense forces.
The kit was produced in 1989 by AMT/Ertl. Ertl is best known as a producer of cast metal farm toys. This has been their main business since 1945 to date. However, they started to do plastic model kits in the late 1980’s and sold Esci kits under their label into the mid 90’s. This kit is an ex-Esci mold. Ertl has discontinued plastic models of armor and aircraft and only does cars and trucks under the AMT banner now. The molding has moved from Dyresville, IA to Mexico and their factory is now a warehouse and discount store only.
This kit comes in a tray and lid type box. The boxart shows a LAV-25-AT that has just landed on a sandy beach and is firing it’s TOW missile launcher. It is in a wave pattern of tan, olive green, maroon and black. No markings appear on it.
One side panel has a color photo of the model made up with the history of the vehicle next to it in English and French. To the right of this is the copyright date of 1989 and Ertl’s Dyresville address, their Canada address and mention that the kit is all produced in the U.S. .
The other side panel has 4 color photos of various areas of the model made up, Showing the tires, the rear entry doors, a close up of the TOW missile launcher and a shot of the top of the vehicle. To the right of these pictures is a list of features in the kit: detailed armament, accurate suspension, authentic decals and detailed assembly instructions, over 105 parts and that paint and glue are not included.
This is one of two models, by the way, that AMT/Ertl sold of the LAV-25, the other one being of just the basic vehicle with a turret mounted M242 “Bushmaster” 25mm chain gun.
The outside of the bottom tray of the box has printed a square with the address of Ertl’s 2 different offices in the UK, the ESCI/Ertl office in Italy, their Canadian office and the Dyresville Iowa office. Below these we are asked to retain these addresses for any help needed with the kit, that the kit is not suitable for kids under 8 years – because of small parts and sharp edges, paint and cement not included (all in 9 languages, including English)
Inside the box are 3 large light tan trees of parts. Two of these trees are in individual sealed cello bags and the third one is bare. The small decal sheet and the instructions complete the kit’s contents.
The instructions consist of a single sheet that is accordion folded into 6 pages of 17 ½” x 7 ¾” format. The length of this is then folded again 3 times.
Page one begins with a black and white illustration of a LAV-25-AT being accompanied by 3 infantrymen on foot. This is followed by the history of the vehicle in English and French (the French obviously intended for selling the kit in Canada). Below this is decal application instructions and general WARNINGS.
Pages 2 through tops of pages 5 & 6 give a total of 5 numbered assembly steps. However, there are individual assembly drawings pictured that amount to 18 actual steps. There are no parts trees illustration in the instructions. However, the actual parts trees are alphabetized and numbers are next to the parts. Problem is, you have a little extra to do finding the part on the tree matching it’s drawing in the assembly step and make sure the number next to it matches.
Across the bottom of pages 5 & 6 is a five-view illustration for the only paint scheme offered in the kit. It is in the 4 color wave pattern already mentioned that the boxart is in. However, you do get a choice of three different USMC black serial numbers to put on the sides and a small black star to stick on the bow and rear of the vehicle. Serial numbers are: USMC 521594, USMC 521566 & USMC 523048. These serial numbers are printed 3 times each on the decal sheet, but the marking illustration does not show where the third one would go on the vehicle.
Large tan letter A tree is the one that has no cello bag in the kit. It holds the top and bottom of the hull and the tires (18 parts) A little flash appears on the sprues, but not on the parts themselves.
Large tan letter B tree holds: the stepped bow armor plate, suspension parts, hatches, 2 propellers, the muffler, rear hull plate, head lights, 12.7mm machine-gun, rear view mirrors etc. (106 parts) Some light flash is on a few parts. Although the 12.7mm machine gun is not shown mounted on the model in the instructions, it can be placed up on the roof on it’s mount if desired.
Large tan letter C tree holds: the TOW missile launcher parts, a roof panel and other small parts (45 parts)
The small decal sheet, already described and a card to send to Ertl and subscribe to their Blueprinter news letter completes the kit’s contents. The Blueprinter, I believe, is no longer offered by Ertl. When it was available it was always just full of model car stuff predominantly and held no interest for me.
This kit is still around at several places on the internet. It ranges from 10 dollars for one offered on eBay, to 15 bucks for one at the Amazon site. I bought mine at the Ertl factory discount store, in Dyresville, back in the early 90’s. I got it for a dollar there, because it was shrink-wrapped too tight and the box was quite crushed.
I recommend it to modelers of modern AFV’s. Those modelers should have a few other AFV kits under their belts before tackling this one. The suspension is quite complex and very detailed. Although hatches can be posed open, there is no interior details and new crew figures are included. The periscope and headlight lenses are solid and no clear parts are provided for them.