Trumpeter 1/72 Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) Kit First Look
|Date of Review||September 2008||Manufacturer||Trumpeter|
|Subject||Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC)||Scale||1/72|
|Kit Number||7301||Primary Media||Styrene, Rubber Skirt, Photo-Etch|
|Pros||Very nice detailing||Cons|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||$99.95|
During World War Two, US and allied forces relied on the landing craft to make the transition from ship to shore in the least amount of time with the least amount of vulnerability. The problem then was that these early landing craft couldn't always reach the beaches and would have to drop troops and vehicles in the water. Their slow speeds also made them vulnerable to shore batteries and machine gun nests.
Decades later, technology has provided a unique solution, the LCAC - Landing Craft Air Cushion. An LCAC can lift the heaviest battle tanks and 'fly' them ashore. There isn't an issue with reefs, marshes, or swamps, the LCAC can float over all of them and take troops and equipment to the hard ground, unload, then fly back to the amphibious asssault ship for the next load.
The LCAC can loft a 60 ton payload at 40 knots, all riding atop an air cushion that is contained with a rubber skirt that has little or no draft.
A little over a year ago, Trumpeter introduced the first styrene LCAC kit to the world. This first release, in 1/144, was a very nice rendition of the jet-powered surface transport and even featured a rubber skirt. I noted that on some of the chat rooms, folks were wishing that Trumpeter would produce this in 1/72 scale. For those of you who've wanted a larger LCAC, your wait is now over!
Trumpeter's newest LCAC is definitely a good-sized kit as you can see in the top image - the rubber skirt alone is a little over 13.5 inches long. The rest of the kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on eight parts trees, plus separately molded main deck and deck underside plates. A large fret of photo-etched grilles and a huge sheet of decals round out this kit.
As with the smaller scale cousin, construction starts on the main deck and works its way up. As with the previous kit, all of the various deck structures mount to the plate, and these house the four turbine engines and ductwork that drive the two main propellers and gimbaled 'thrusters'.
Unlike the previous kit, this one is large enough to have a flight deck inside the main structure that has three crew seats, instrument panel, and other visible detailing.
Detailing is rounded out with all of the various antennas, light fixtures, ladders, and upper-level walkways.
The specs say that there are 338 parts in this kit, and I can believe it with all of the detailing that Trumpeter has provided here, but even so, this is not a complex build as each of the deck structures are individual models/modules that can be assembled and detailed separately, then installed altogether on the main deck when ready.
This release provides markings for LCACs in the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force with six different hull numbers and all of the markings and stenciling to detail this craft. I'm not sure when the US LCAC will be released, but aside from the hull numbers and flags, you can render any of the US craft easy enough.
Once again, I'm impressed! I didn't see much of any nit-picking on the first release and Trumpeter has really stepped up the detailing in this version. I am almost frightened at the thought that this might be scaled up once again to 1/35th scale. No, I haven't heard of any such intention, but wouldn't a 1/35 LCAC look good as a display base/vignette for several of your Strykers, Humvees, or LAV-25s?
My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!