LVTP-5A1 Amphibious Tractor, Personnel

AFV Club Model Kit #35022

Copyright 2000, Jim Lewis/GunTruck Studios
All Rights Reserved Worldwide

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Awards & Honors

Another exercise in fun and relaxation, the US Marine Corps' LVTP-5A1 really makes an interesting miniature to add to an armor modeler's collection. The basic model kit is chock full of detail, not terribly difficult to construct, and interesting to paint and weather. Like my M60A2, this miniature was more of a challenge to paint and finish than to make into a centerpiece article about model kit construction. For information on the real vehicle, and excerpts from the Technical Manual, follow this link or go to the next page.

Okay, okay, the inevitable gripe section. I liked the model kit overall - though I had nothing to compare this giant shoe box to in 1:35 scale miniatures. The level of detail was about all one could ask for, and though a bit pricey, I had no reservations about buying one. It actually has a plus beyond what you get in the box - it inspires you to build more US Marine Corps Amtraks. This is a good thing, as the Amtrak is quite an interesting vehicle historically.

The engineering of the model poses a couple of problems for the novice model builder. The sides of the upper hull trap the suspension arms calling for some forethought in completion. I chose to leave the road wheels off during painting. These can be added afterwards. Likewise for the track runs too - as the hull sides hide the upper runs. I used liquid cement to shape the track sections. When dried, I removed them for separate painting and addition in the end assembly. Naturally, I completed enough of the upper run to wrap around the drive sprocket and idler wheel. I left these parts free to rotate to facilitate adding the upper runs. Once in place, I used a pinpoint of superglue to lock them in place and completed adding the rest of the track run.

Secondly, the model kit engineers designed the upper hull parts to go together in sections - perhaps to best preserve that nice weld bead detail that adorns the real Amtrak. However, the resulting seams between the parts must be filled and sanded away as they are not present on the actual vehicle. Not too difficult of a problem, except for the sheer length of the seams and relative flexibility of the plastic. If you sand too hard, you'll pop a new seam. Also, if you handle the kit roughly, you run the risk of opening a seam. Sanding too aggressively destroys the contour around the 'shoulders' of the Amtrak too. Patience is called for here, and slows down completion somewhat.

Other than that, this is the best paperweight I've ever had! It's one of the biggest models in a collection - dwarfed only by a Dragon Wagon or a Bridgelayer. It isn't dainty or subtle, but it is a cool miniature.

All content Copyright 1998 - 2019 Jim Lewis,,,, and GunTruck Studios.
All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

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