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Trumpeter 1/35 LAV-R Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review September 2007 Manufacturer Trumpeter
Subject LAV-R Light Armored Vehicle - Recovery Scale 1/35
Kit Number 0370 Primary Media Styrene, Photo-Etch
Pros First mainstream kit of this LAV variant Cons Decals are gibberish
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) $32.95

First Look


The Light Armored Vehicle LAV-25 was adopted by the US Marine Corps before the first Iraq war to provide the Marines with inland mobility. These vehicles entered service with the USMC several decades ago and were subject to a variety of inter-service debates over the mobility. The US Army continued to evolve its M113 APC and was bringing the M2/M3 Bradley fighting vehicles online.

The Marines have taken the LAV into combat in a variety of theaters including the Gulf Wars. One of their greatest assets are their ability to be airlifted by C-130. The Marines still have over 400 LAVs in inventory and the Army has finally come around, buying the next generation of LAV - the Stryker.

Modern armor builders had been waiting for a while for a nice LAV kit to finally hit the streets. ESCI took a shot at it a number of years ago, but what the kit lacked in detail, it made up for in other inaccuracies. Italeri also took a shot at the LAV, but it too had a few bugs, primarily with the too-narrow tires which prompted a number of aftermarket corrections. Trumpeter entered the market with their nice kit released two years ago (reviewed here). Where did the time go?

This new LAV variant, the recovery vehicle, is molded in light gray styrene and presented on four parts trees, plus the upper and lower hull halves, two frets of photo-etch, and a set of tires. This release shares two of the same parts trees as the previous version, as well as the lower hull. What is new here is the upper hull, a new large tree and a new small tree. These new trees contain the revised rear of the vehicle, rear access doors, the service crane, and a number of hull details unique to this variant.

As with the first release, this kit can be displayed with all of the hatches open, but there is no interior provided (nor would I expect one at this reasonable retail price). Nevertheless, there is room for the scratchbuilder or aftermarket companies to develop interiors for these nice LAV kits.

I know English can be a tough language, but how hard can it be to simply copy vehicle stenciling? Evidently Trumpeter has discontinued the use of English-speaking decal artists and these decals are good evidence. Lets look at some examples off of the decal sheet image:

  • Stencil 01: SAFETY CHAIK LUG
  • Stencil 02: TOWZNG POZNT
  • Stencil 09: SERVICK AIR
  • Stencil 12: DCE HANNER
  • Stencil 25: LIFTXNG POINT

And my favorite - Stencil 15: TYRE POESSORE MICHWAY 290 kPq CROSS COUNTRY 180 kPq MOD 103 kPq

This is another nice kit and represents the first time a LAV recovery variant has been released as a mainstream kit. The decals are awful, but we can look for an aftermarket company to fill this need or since these are just black stencils, you can create and print your own on your computer. Just spell-check your stencils or we won't let you forget...

My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!