Trumpeter 1/35 M1078 Light Medium Tactical Vehicle (LMTV) Kit First Look
|Date of Review||April 2009||Manufacturer||Trumpeter|
|Subject||M1078 Light Medium Tactical Vehicle (LMTV)||Scale||1/35|
|Kit Number||1004||Primary Media||Styrene, Photo-Etch|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||$79.95|
The US Army started the process of replacing their M35 and M939 trucks with a newer design that could meet contemporary mission requirements including the ability of fitting inside the C-130. In the latter half of the 1990s, the Army put out a requirement for a new family of 2.5 and 5 ton trucks and a company in Texas now known as BAE Systems Mobility and Protection Systems won the contract.
Now known as the FMTV (Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles), the basic design is scalable from the 2.5 ton M1078 to the M1093 5-ton truck, plus no less than 13 other variants that use a common chassis design to perform different missions. For you armor history buffs, this name ought to sound familiar, the M1078 series is a derivative of the Steyr truck used by the Austrian military. The M1078 is powered by a 275 horsepower engine that burns JP8 (jet fuel), has an automatic transmission that powers a 4x4 drivetrain for maximum on and off-road utility.
I am really impressed with the subject areas that Trumpeter will create kits including these soft-skinned military trucks. This is kit 1004, you'll recall that kit 1003 was the Soviet-era Zil-151 truck kit that was beautifully detailed. Trumpeter does no less with this release.
Molded in light gray styrene, this kit is presented on eight parts trees, plus a separately provided cab, one tree of clear parts, one fret of photo-etched details, and five rubber tires. According to the specs, there are 430 parts in this kit.
The kit starts off with the chassis frame which gets built-up with the body mounts, suspension, drive train, exhaust system, fuel tanks, stowage boxes, etc. Interesting that the engine in this kit is represented by a single part that reflects the underside of the engine.
Since the FMTV series are based upon a cab-over design, there is no hood to open in order to reveal the engine - Trumpeter would have had to engineer a tilting cab to show off the engine. Instead, they've provided lots of detail only in areas where it will be visible and didn't waste effort on details that will be obscured.
The cargo bed is surprisingly detailed given that it is a low-sided box bed, but Trumpeter has captured the details here as well.
The cab is also nicely laid out though the cab doors are molded shut. I feel a little surgery coming on here. The three-place cab has nice detailing which needs to be shown off. The top of the cab has a gun ring blank molded in-place so you can grab a gun ring out of a HUMVEE kit as the specs say that the FMTV uses the same mount.
Markings are provided for a European and a Desert schemed examples.
While this subject might be boring to the Sherman and Tiger modelers out there, this kit is a blank palette from which you can have some fun. Just like all of the variety of configurations that the original M998 HMMWV and its subsequent variants, as well as the variations of the basic Oshkosh HEMMT trucks, this M1078 already has numerous configurations to explore.
I'm not certain if Trumpeter is going to offer the longer chassis with the second axle in a 6x6 configuration, but there are certainly areas for the scratchbuilders and aftermarket houses to explore. The images of the up-armored FMTV give some interesting ideas as well.
In any case, whether you build the kit straight out of the box or strike out into some scratchbuilding, this is a nice kit from which to start.
My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!