The Canadian Coyote LAV is further proof that the Canadian Forces never buys any AFV off the shelf. The Coyote uses a variety of improvements over the basic LAV 25 to make it a potent vehicle in the world of battlefield reconnaissance.
Until recent years modelers have had no choice but to scratch build a Coyote using a LAV 25 kit if they so desired to add one to their collection.
Coyotes without the add-on armour were deployed to Eritrea, Bosnia, initially to Afghanistan, and while training in Canada.
forges on with modern Canadian armour conversions and a spin off of the previous Uparmoured Coyote conversion kit with the release of the Canadian Coyote Unarmoured conversion kit, RM35143.
Modelers of the Coyote should be aware that this conversion does not include the surveillance suite telescoping mast. The completed project will build into a Coyote that can be depicted as having the mast stowed or one of the earlier Coyote versions that did not have the mast fitted.
Very smartly, Real Model takes advantage of combining the conversion parts included in the kit with the Trumpeter ASLAV 25 kit. There are many parts of the ASLAV kit used during the conversion process to come up with the Coyote model.
The Coyote conversion comes solidly packed in a Real Model cardboard box. The box top shows an image of a real Coyote during the first couple of weeks in Afghanistan in 2002. The box top also includes small images of the photo etch frets and the resin parts. Parts are all packaged in zip lock bags and, along with the instructions, they all fit very snug in the box during shipping.
In order to discern the parts a little better I have provided the part name and the corresponding part number. The Coyote conversion kit consists of the following:
3 x photo etch frets
8 x resin wheels (4 x front, 4 x rear)
1 x resin spare tire
2 x resin rear hull doors (parts 2 & 3)
1 x resin rear hull piece (part1)
2 x resin fuel tanks (parts 14 right & 15left)
1 x resin C6 GPMG (part 18)
1 x resin machine gun mount arm (part 20)
1 x resin machine gun arm turret mount (part 16)
2 x resin head lights (parts 23)
1 x resin spare tire rack (part 13)
1 x resin exhaust (part 6)
1 x resin exhaust pipe (part 8)
1 x resin laser warning receiver (part 22)
2 x resin taillights (part 11)
2 x resin turret hatch stops (part 12)
2 x resin signal lights (part 10)
1 x resin drivers windscreen mount (part 5)
2 x resin mirrors (part 21)
1 x resin fan intake cover (part 7)
2 x resin turret sights (part 9)
7 x resin antenna mounts
1 x resin right rear hull antenna (part 19)
2 x resin turret hatches (part 17)
2 x resin plastic water cans
4 x resin 25 mm ammunition cans
3 x resin driver periscopes
The instructions for the Coyote conversion are comprised of 11 single sided sheets. The title page shows images of the resin parts with associated numbers and a colour image of a completed Coyote conversion before painting. Page two shows three images of a Coyote conversion build with some indicator arrows and numbers for the relevant conversion parts on the hull. There is also a colour image of a real Coyote showing the left signal light guard and mirror frame. Page three shows two close up views of the turret of a Coyote build with arrows and part indicator numbers. There is also the beginning of the photo etched parts instructions showing part assembly and diagram placement images.
The Eduard instructions are very well done and with the large amount of photo etched parts included the modeler should take the time to study the instructions and follow the assembly process. Page four shows left and right side colour images of a completed Coyote build with arrows and part indicator names to show the general placement of the parts. Page ten shows six colour images to indicate the placement and assembly of the turret rack details and the spare tire rack. There is an important note to the modeler on this page to remind the modeler to assemble the turret baskets in the Trumpeter ASLAV kit.
The Real Model conversion provides additional photo etched details for the kit baskets. It should be noted that the three turret images on page 10 are actually of a LAV III and not a Coyote. This is not designed to confuse anyone as both the Coyote and LAV III use the same turret. Finally page eleven shows two colour images of actual Coyotes. The first images shows a Canadian Coyote deployed to Afghanistan in 2002 before being fitted with the add-on armour. The second image shows a Canadian Coyote during mobility trials moving over a concrete obstacle.
While the instructions are overall simple and effective, the modeler must have in depth accurate reference material if they are going to tackle this conversion. Some of the parts placement is vague or non-existent such as the taillights, signal lights, or the drivers windscreen mount.
There are drawings and images of the signal light guards and mirror mounts included, but there are no dimensions provided for how big each part should be made. A simple 1/35 template drawing of the guards and mirror mounts would have solved this issue.
The colour images of the built up Coyote are very nice and offer good reference to the modeler, but they appear to be based on a master build and not a build simply using the conversion set. Some of the images actually show a Coyote build with the add-on mounted while the other images show all of the add-on armour mounts added to the Trumpeter hull and turret. There is no mention of the dimensions or locations of the add-on armour mounts and the modeler is left guessing without handy reference material. While the build images do show lots of detail they also show some additions such as a putty mantlet cover and some visible anti-slip surfacing added. This might be confusing to some modelers expecting to see those parts or at least direction as to how to achieve that in the instructions.
The biggest and most obvious omission in the kit instructions is the lack of information regarding the placement of the multitude of add-on armour mounts. The add-on armour mounts are not included in the conversion set and they are critically important in building an un-armoured Coyote. The add-on armour mounts need to be added to both the hull, turret, and on the larger stowage racks on the hull.
Understandably, a conversion like this is reducing the cost by utilizing a base kit such as the Trumpeter ASLAV and as a result the add-on armour mounts cannot be included. The add-on armour mounts can be made by the modeler by using thin tube styrene rod and cutting them to the correct size. But what is that size? A multi-view template of the Coyote showing the placement of the add-on armour mounts would have taken a bit more to produce, but would have greatly increased the successful, accurate, and timely building of this conversion.
The Michelin XML tires and wheels included in the conversions are well done. The tread pattern is well defined and there is a slight, weighted sag look to the tires. The hub bolt pattern is correct and there is a small valve stem present on each wheel. The spare tire is equally as detailed with only minor flash present in the bolt holes.
One feature that is visibly missing on the tire surfaces is the raised MICHELIN lettering. This may be due to copyright issues. There is fine raised lettering and numbers on the sidewall for the technical tire data. The eight wheels are designed to simply mount on the Trumpeter suspension parts, but modelers must take note of the distinct mounts on the back side of the wheels. Four of the wheels are specifically for the four rear mounts and four are specifically for the four front mounts.
As the conversion combines the resin and photo etched parts with the Trumpeter ASLAV kit, the amount of resin parts is actually reduced considerably due to the similarities between the Australian ASLAV and the Canadian Coyote.
All of the resin parts are cast very well. The detail is excellent and there are only minor blemishes that can easily be touched up with a touch of putty and some fine sanding. Parts are attached to casting blocks and some careful sawing and sanding will clean them up.
If the modeler uses the images in the instructions and takes the time to study the excellent walk around images of the Canadian Coyote taken by Canadian modeler Dan Hay on Prime Portal they will be able to assemble the conversion with relative ease. There are no tricks to the conversion parts and they either add detail, replace kit parts, or combine with the photo etch parts to provide the appropriate conversion parts from the ASLAV details.
LAV-25 Coyote Recce Vehicle Walk Around
LAV 25 Coyote Walk Around
Photo Etched Parts:
This Coyote conversion has a few hundred photo etched parts. Some of them are large and some very small, but they all provide an excellent sense of realism to the Coyote build. There is an excellent level of detail in the parts as they have been produced by Eduard for Real Model. From the engine grills to the multiple stowage racks, to the machine gun mount and finally finishing with the delicate tie down loops, all of the photo etched parts provide this conversion with a great sense of scale accuracy.
I want to start off by saying that Real Model has done an excellent job in providing the modeler with a conversion that is full of details. Combining the conversion parts with the Trumpeter ASLAV to create the Coyote was a smart move for Real Model to reduce the cost in producing the conversion, and in turn reduce the cost to the modeler. The level of detail and the quality of parts provided in the conversion is top notch.
Where the conversion lacks is in the instructions. Including information to the modeler about the placement of the add-on armour mounts would have made the instructions complete and a much easier conversion process. The images used in the instructions are good, but they should show only the parts used in the conversion and include top and rear views of the build.
I will finish this review with giving this conversion a very good rating. Real Model has developed this conversion with the modeler in mind. The conversion cuts costs by utilizing the Trumpeter ASLAV kit, but it does not cut the quality and workmanship in the parts provided. Real Model has now quickly provided the modeler with three different conversions for the Canadian Coyote. This type of conversion kit variation can be expected in larger aftermarket producers, but when a small company such as Real Model with Miloslav Hraban at the helm to dedicate time and effort to produce what modelers are asking for it is even more impressive. It is an excellent time for modelers interested in modern Canadian AFVs and I very much expect that this will continue for some time into the future.