2012/09/11

Amtracks

Of all Armored Personal Carriers employed by the Worlds forces, 2 have fascinated me the most.  The first is the Soviet/Russian Bronevaya Maschina Piekhota (BMP), which I will cover at a latter date.  


BMP-1.

The second and most interesting to me are USMC Landing Vehicle Tracked the LVT, LVTP, and AAV,  The Amphibious Tractor, Amtrack in Marine jargon, started out as a cargo carrier in World War II on Guadalcanal.

LVT-1 on Tarawa.


 The LVT would come into it's own on Tarawa as an Amphibious Personal Carrier and continue in many guises throughout the war.  

This unique vehicle cemented it place in, not only history, but in inventory throughout the USMC's service.  LVT's would return to combat in Korea and a newer version, the LVTP-5 would see combat in Vietnam.

LVTP-5 in Vietnam.


In 1964 the Marines put in a request for a new Landing Vehicle Tracked Personal and in 1967 the first 15 prototype LVTP-7's were completed.  The Marines were so happy with it that they signed a contract in 1970 with FMC (Food Machinery Corporation) for a batch of 942.  Much like all other LVT's the Marines wanted several versions of the Amtrack, but only three types were green lighted, the LVTP, LVTR (Recovery vehicle) and LVTC (Commands Vehicle)

LVTP-7.


Though originally designed for a 10 year service period, it was found that the LVTP-7 was a very rugged and enduring vehicle and in 1977 an SLEP (Service Life Extension Program) was decided to upgrade the LVTP with new engines, fire suppression system night vision equipment and the like.  This was done between 1982 and 1986 and the LVTP-7 designation was changed to AAV-7A1 (Amphibious Assault Vehicle).


Cadillac-Gage turret.
  
When originally built the LVTP-7 was armed with a single 12.7mm Machine Gun turret.  This was remedied between 1987 and 1990.  The new Cadillac-Gage turret upgunned the Amtrack with a 12.7mm MG and a 40mm Mk.19 grenade launcher.   In another effort to give the AAV more survivability an Enhanced Applique Armor kit (EAAK) was purchased from RAFAEL Armament Development Authority and applied from 1991 to 1993.  And in 1997 an upgrade to harmonize commonality between the AAV-7 and the M2 Bradley IFV was undertaken.

AAV-7A1.




The AAV-7A1 has been used by many different nation including Argentina, who used them in the 1982 Falklands war; Brazil, Italy and South Korea are a few other customers.  The combat use has spanned 3 decades, beginning with the 1982 deployment of Argentine LVTP-7 in 1982 to 1983's USMC deployment in Grenada.  The USMC used the AAV-7A1 in Desert Storm, Somalia, Kosovo and again in Iraq in 2004 to present.



The LVTP/AAV-7 in 15mm

So we get to the part, FINALLY!  As far as I know there are only 2 manufacturers of LVTP/AAV-7 in 15mm, QRF and Irishserb's Miniatures.  Here's what they look like:


QRF's LVTP-7 with Peter Pig' USMC.

QRF's LVTP-7 with Flytrap Factory USMC, Rebel Mini's USArmy and Peter Pigs USMC.
So, what do I have to say about QRF's LVTP-7?  Well, it's defiantly an LVTP-7 as it doesn't have any Applique armor and only comes with the 12.7mm MG turret.  This is a nice mold compared to some others from QRF.  It's VERY solid, being done in metal and minimally hollow inside.  I like the tracks as they look like the tracks of the real thing, but the set for the right side are a bear to get placed.  The mold is very crisp, as most detail is not marred or mucked up like on some of QRF's molds.  The only real concern is the mold line around the waist line of the model, it does muck up some of the detail on the rear troop door.  Saying that, the other QRF LVTP-7 I have doesn't have this mold line.  As for scale, the Length is very close at 8.1cm, the big guy is 7.9m.  The Width is spot on at 3.2 cm.  The Height is a little small as the real thing is 3.26m and the mini measures out at 2.5cm.  I think the tracks are a little short and the right side commanders turret is also a little shallow.   All in all is a nice looking model if not small in stature and works for an early LVTP-7.

Irish Serb's AAV-7A1 with EAAK and Upgunned Turret.


Irish Serb's AAV-7A1 with Flytrap Factory USMC, Rebel Mini's USArmy and Peter Pig's USMC.



Irishserb has done a great job with his rendition of the AAV-7A1.  Molded in resin, it's not as heavy as the QRF model and being resin won't handle a fall well, but the mold is very crip and the detail is very nice.  It scales out at 8cm Length, 3.3cm Width and from the top of the Cadillac-Gage turret Height is 3.6cm,  Height from the right side commanders turret is 3.2 cm to, so I'd say Spot on!  As for mold lines, I have yet to find any.  Again detail is very nice and the only criticism I have are the rather plain tracks.  The tracks look very generic with no pads or detail.  At first I thought they were wrong as the tracks have 3 return rollers molded at the top.  Most pictures I have seen have no return rollers, just the running gear.  After more searching, low and behold return rollers: 

Return rollers.

So Irishserb's AAV-7A1 is a great representation of it's big brother.


Comparison Irishserb's AAV and QRF's LVTP.

Same as above.

All in all, both mini are nice with the edge going to Irishserb for measuring out spot on.  Both models fit their perspective Types and will fit for their perspective time periods.  One last criticism I have, of both models, is that none of the crew hatches are molded open.  This can be a somewhat easy remedy with the Irish Reb mini as it's in resin, not so easy with the metal QRF.
Thanks to Brian at Irishserb for this and the extra M2 Bradley, that will be review soon, he sent and to Geoff at QRF for putting out these great mini's!


No comments: