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In-Box Review
135
LAV III-TUA
Real Model Canadian LAV III-TUA
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by: Andreas Elesky [ TANKLEADER ]

Introduction
The LAV III TUA (Tow Under Armor) was designed as a replacement for the Canadian M113 TUA’s. The idea was to take the Kvaerner (Eureka) TUA turrets and add them onto a LAV III hull. As part of this upgrade the turrets were also modified with the Improved Target Acquisition System (ITAS) which also included an improved fire control system. This new system would allow the turret to fire all current and future versions of the TOW missile system. Then in the early 1990’s disaster struck and Canada’s Department of National Defense (DND) slashed the purchase of the original LAV III order in half and the first casualty of this was the LAV III TUA. The story doesn’t really end here as Canada then decided to purchase the Mobile Gun System (MGS), which made additional LAV III hulls available for the Eureka TUA turrets.

Canada’s plan for the LAV III TUA was to make it part of a three-part fire support plan which would consist of the LAV III TUA, MGS and the Multi-Mission Effects Vehicle (MMEV) which was to be based on the LAV III hull and utilize the Air Defense/Anti-Tank missile (ADATS), but the MMEV and MGS vehicles were cancelled in 2006.
With the cancellation of MGS and MMEV the new plan now called for building 71 LAV III TUA’s which were to be fielded to the Canadian Infantry Regiments.

Testing was conducted by Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians) or LdSH(RC) during the spring of 2006. Eventually this plan also changed (we all know that no plan survives first contact) based on experiences gained in Afghanistan and the need for heavy armor (Leopard C2 tanks). DND now decided that only 38 LAV III TUA’s would be built and the remaining 33 chassis would be converted to LAV III TUAV which will mount a remote weapon station (RWS) made by Rheinmetall of Canada. The 33 LAV III TUA’s are meant to be fielded evenly between the following three Canadian Infantry Regiments, The Royal Canadian Regiment, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry and the Royal 22e Regiment.
contents
The Real Models LAV III TUA kit arrives packaged in a sturdy cardboard box that measures 6 1/2” x 11 1/4”.

The contents are packed in six plastic zip lock bags and include:

• Five sheets of photo etch
• Ten resin Michelin XL tires
• Bag of assorted hatches and parts
• Machine gun parts and antenna mount
• Two sheets of Canadian ration boxes and water boxes
• Large resin upper hull
• Five lengths of two different size brass rods.
• Instructions

Overall the packaging follows the same layout as previous versions of Real Models LAV III’s.
review
Upper Hull:
The main resin upper hull piece is a high quality green resin with no noticeable bubbles. Something that could be improved on the upper hull is the bolt head detail for the add-on armor. The detail of the bolt heads for the add on armor is weak, in places missing all together. If the modeler wants to improve the detail you will need to replace what’s there with hex rod and sheet styrene. The other issue with this kit is that it depicts the LAV III TUA with add on armor mounted. Only one vehicle had the add-on armor test fitted to see if it could be done, fielded versions don’t have this modification. This essentially leaves the modeler with a one off version of the kit.

TUA Turret:
The Kvaerner (Eureka) TUA turret is represented as one resin piece with just a few minor burrs that need sanding. Each TOW swing arm and launcher is composed of three pieces of photo etch and two pieces or resin. Various other photo etch parts make up the access panels, laser warning device, brackets and wire cutters. The turret is also covered with the add-on armor which shouldn’t be present. Since the main part of the turret is one resin piece it can only be displayed with the turret in the stowed/traveling configuration.

Photo Etch:
There are five high quality Eduard photo etch sheets that make up the majority of items needed for the upper hull. The largest and most prominent and complex piece is on sheet four part 169. Study this part and plan your folds carefully or you will be left with some unsightly gaps. Once completed it does make for a large and striking assembly. Those that built either the Canadian LAV III or NZLAV will be familiar with this part. The rest of the photo etch isn’t too complicated and are straight forward in their assembly instructions.

Other Details:
There are two sheets containing Canadian style ration and water boxes.

Decals & Painting Guide:
Another item that is noticeably missing is any kind of decal sheet for this vehicle. Making a few phone calls to friends in the Canadian Armed forces I was told that the only makings on the vehicle are the Tactical Number and the Canadian maple leaf however, there are tons of markings for tie down straps, equipment locations and parts nomenclature which need to be sourced from other decal sheets or after market companies. These markings need to be in both English and French.

Instructions:
One weak point of the assembly instructions is the lack of identifying donor parts from the AFV club kit. There is only one mention of a donor kit part to use for this build and that is on the first page of the photo etch instruction guide to parts. According to this guide the only donor kit part used is E8 (Rear Ramp). By carefully scrutinizing the instructions you can pick out which parts need to come from the donor kit.
Conclusion
This should build into a fine rendering of a modified LAV III TUA used by the Canadian Forces but not an accurate example of what’s actually being used. The resin one piece upper hull will make for an easy assembly, but then is lost correcting the bolt head detail. We now have a resin conversion of a limited production vehicle filling a unique niche for the Canadian Army. Real Models conversion is a must for those looking to build all the different variants of the LAV III/Stryker series of vehicles.


Andreas has started a Build Log on the Forums to evaluate the kit construction.


SUMMARY
Highs: Cleanly molded resin without any noticeable bubbles. Great photo etch set with extra tie down straps.
Lows: Single piece resin turret limiting your display options. No decals for tie down locations and tool call outs. Bolt head detail that needs to be replaced.
Verdict: A great conversion for a unique vehicle that may not be around too much longer. Recommend.
Percentage Rating
70%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: RM 35129
  Suggested Retail: $140.00
  Related Link: Real Models
  PUBLISHED: Oct 31, 2008
  NATIONALITY: Canada
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 75.00%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 87.50%

About Andreas Elesky (Tankleader)
FROM: VIRGINIA, UNITED STATES

I am primarily an Armor Modeler that is in temporarily separated from his stash. I am a retired United States Marine that is currently working for a major Defense Contractor. Armor models are my passion and I dabble in Aircraft as well. If you have any questions related to Marine Tank or LAV que...

Copyright ©2019 text by Andreas Elesky [ TANKLEADER ]. All rights reserved.



Comments

Andy, my bolts no weak. You have on LAV III very big bolts. Dimension bolts - 0.5 mm x 0.2 mm. I agree that on right side missing in front parts some bolts. Next bolts no missing, but on this position modeler place PE parts. I make off model with add-on armor because this is better for build and for finish. I make off turret in this position because I have photos only with this position. Decals? If i make of decals sheet with all stencil date and marking, many modeler tell me that model are expensive. Decals sheet is plus 10 - 15.-$ . Miloslav
OCT 30, 2008 - 08:43 PM
Miloslav, Please don't take offense at the review, by weak I'm describing that the detail on some bolts is missing, you have the washer there but no bolt head. This could be a one off situation but it's what was there. Now, I have the luxury of having actual vehicles to crawl on and measure for references to what I build or say. I mentioned the decals because other's had brought this to my attention as well, is it a real drawback? not really if you have spare decals laying around in both French and English. Is the add on armour wrong for the kit, no since there is a vehicle that was actually fitted with the armor as a test and that the studs are in place to have it added. It also doesn't matter where the photo etch brackets and boxes go since they can be relocated to any positon on the vehicle that the crew wants them placed. Tanks Andy
OCT 30, 2008 - 09:18 PM
Andy I do´t make off all new hull without add-on armor because this is very expensive master and for that reason expensive model. I make off this as type for battle situations. Many stencil date no look under armor only on rear parts. For location position matter on stowage boxes are sign on PE Parts. Miloslav
OCT 31, 2008 - 05:06 AM
   

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