by: Seb Viale [ ]
The LAV III armoured vehicle (AV) is the latest in the Generation III Light Armoured Vehicle (LAV) series built by General Dynamics Land Systems, entering service in 1999. It is based on the Swiss MOWAG Piranha IIIH 8x8.
It was developed in Canada and is the primary mechanized infantry vehicle of the Canadian Land Force Command and the New Zealand Army. The United States Army uses a more lightly armed LAV III derivative named the Stryker. The LAV III and the Stryker have also been referred to as Land Assault Vehicles.
The LAV-3 would incorporate the turret and the same weapon system used with the LAV-RECCE Coyote but with a few modifications. The LAV-III is equipped with a daytime optical, Thermal Imaging System (TIS) and Generation III Image Intensification (II). The LAV -3 is equipped with a Tactical Navigation System (TacNav) to assist them in navigation and target location tasks. The LAV III is equipped with a LCD monitor directly connected to the vehicle's external cameras, providing real-time images of the battlefield for the infantry section that it carries in the rear and the hull was to be much higher to better protect the crews inside from explosives with the shape of the hull which is designed to move the blast away from the bottom of the basic armor of the LAV-III, covering the Standardization Agreement STANAG 4569 level III, which provides an all-round protection against 7.62x51mm NATO. Ceramic appliqué armor (MEXAS) can be added, which protects against 14.5x114mm heavy caliber rounds from 500 meters.
The LAV-III can also be fitted with cage/ slat armor, which provides protection against shaped charges, and a nuclear, biological, chemical (NBC) filtration system accompanied with a GID-3 chemical detector and AN/VDR 2 radiation detector systems.
The LAV-III has a two-man turret, armed with the M242 Bushmaster 25 mm caliber chain gun and coaxial 7.62-mm machine gun C-6. One more 5.56 mm or 7.62 mm machine gun is positioned on top of the turret used by the crew for close protection. The LAV-III also has eight WEGMAN 76-mm grenades in two clusters of four launchers positioned on each side of the turret. The grenade launchers are intended for smoke grenades, but can be fitted with High Explosive grenades.
The LAV-III is powered by a 3126 diesel engine built by Caterpillar, developing 350 horsepower, and can reach speeds of 110 kilometers per hour. The vehicle is fitted with Michelin tires fitted with run flats and an 8x8 drive for cross country traveling. The LAV -3 is fitted with a modern anti-locking brake system (ABS) and a traction control system (TCS).
The Lav-3 entered Canadian Service in 1999 and has seen service around the globe in United Nations Missions in Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kosovo, Bosnia Herzegovina, Haiti and NATO missions in Afghanistan.
This kit from Trumpeter Models represents an early version machine as used in Bosnia, but with some work the modeler can turn it into the version used in Afghanistan.
The kit comes in a 41x26x8 cm sturdy box with nice box art. The kit contains 478 light grey plastic parts on 9 sprues (2 transparent ones), four PE sheets are also included as well as 9 vinyl tires. Bonus parts are the mask for painting the driver’s windshield, pre-cut straps and finally some MRE, soda and water boxes.
The sprues are a mixture from previously released Trumpeter kits along with new ones for this kit, and can be summed-up as follows:
•The suspension and gearboxes as well as the hubs are from the M1126 Stryker (kit number 00375) in sprue A.
• Sprue B is also from M1126 Stryker (kit number 00375) covering common details on the upper hull.
•Details of the turret are included in sprue C and they come from the ASLAV-25 (kit number 00392).
• Sprue D is new and gathers all the features of the upper hull specific from the LAV-III.
•Sprue G is new and comprises all the details from the rear doors and the rear bustle rack box.
•Sprue H is new and is used to build the turret.
•The upper hull is also new.
The instruction set is typical from Trumpeter in B&W with clear, exploded view drawings comprising 24 steps to complete the LAV-III. Color and decal guide are printed in color, as always, and no problem can be found here. Trumpeter provides extras in this kit like soda boxes, meal boxes, and two different road signs and vehicle markings.
This kit is based on the new tooled M1126 kit from Trumpeter. The lower hull, sprue A, sprue B are from the M1126 kit. The sprues are nice, especially the new ones for this kit. The details are crisp with no ejector pin marks visible after building. Special care will need to be taken while working on the turret bins, as well as the spare wheels basket. In my review sample, all the small and delicate parts were intact. Trumpeter provides two brass wires in order to build the spare wheel basket and the tow cable.
This is a large tub with indentations for the suspension components and includes details on the hull sides which are cleanly rendered by the use of multi-part moulds with the lower front hull plate a separate part, as is the rear hull plate. The front tie downs are not horizontal so you need to correct this issue. Trumpeter should re-tool the lower hull to match the specifics of the LAV-III.
All the suspension components are independent with the four gearbox differentials and the short drive shafts. The gear boxes are made of 4 pieces and you need to follow carefully the building order since part A8 can’t be glued after.
The wheel mounts, axles and steering arms are nicely depicted, but you cannot adjust the angle of the front four wheels since they are fixed in place and it would take a bit of work to alter the angles of the wheels if you wanted to depict the steering, but you can find enough builds on internet to address this issue if you decide to tackle this. The special cover for the hub is new and the details are pretty neat and dimensionally accurate.
Details on the rear doors is quite well done with most features included, as well as separate door latches with inside details on the ramp and door. There are also some pin marks which will be difficult to clean off since they are on the middle of raised details, but since an interior is not included, you will most likely keep the rear door closed.
On each side are the large can racks, which are provided in plastic or etched parts. Etched straps are also included for the fuel and water cans, but there are no attachment points on the rear panel to attach them. One of the most striking lack of detail here is the fact that the fuel cans have only two handles.
Separate taillights and towing shackles are present, although the taillight detail is a little basic since the lower part should be rectangular; it is round in the kit part.
The spare wheel basket is nicely done with tiny plastic parts, special care needs to be taken while working with it; numerous PE parts are used to depict the basket. The result is truly outstanding. It is only missing the small piece of metal used to attach the ratchet tie down, but nothing critical.
The tires are vinyl with the tread pattern pretty well done without a prominent seam line. The sidewall details consist of raised section ribs with the Michelin X logo and dimension charts embossed onto it.
Unfortunately, details on the hubs are the same as usual, no improvement has been attempted by Trumpeter here.
The errors can be listed as follows:
The outer ring of bolts are too big and positioned too far inboard while the central hub is too small and is not raised, finally the outer “star” ribs is too big. The separate ring is far too thick and the inner oval cut outs too small for what are very basic representations of the LAV-III wheels. Moreover, no drum brakes are present on the inner part of the hub. But in reality, with the presence of the armor plate on the hub, these discrepancies will be covered.
Assembly is straightforward with the wheel rims fitting perfectly into the vinyl tires.
This is a newly tooled part with good, clean and crisp surface details included. Most of the additional items such as all hatches and equipment are provided as separate parts for better definition, the two rear upper panels are also separate to again allow the details to be better represented. No anti-slip coating is represented, but with up armor ceramic plates. The angle of the rear compartment doesn’t match the angle. Some extra work needs to be done if you want to depict the UN vehicle presented in the color chart and/or the most recent LAV-III deployed in Afghanistan.
There are many sub-assemblies built separately and then added to the hull such as the hatches and the turret. All of the hatches show inside details like closing handles, but they all come with huge ejector marks, some filling and sanding will be required if you want to portray them in the open position. The hinges are not attached to the bottom of the hatches and need to be glued afterward making the work tedious.
A great addition is the winch, completely detailed with capstan and drum for cable, but all these nice details are covered at the end of the build which is a pity.
The upper top of the winch is typical from the LAV-III, but generally the LAV-III does not come with a winch. The winch is only issued to 2 of the 4 per platoon. So you well need to scratch the bolt head on the front hull as well as the winch fair lead on left rear upper hull, which is present on the winch version. There are photos from Afghanistan with this fitted, but not fitted with the winch, so research will be needed. Surprisingly, Trumpeter failed to add the cover of the solar cell on the LHS of the hull, you can fix this with a small piece of tissue.
The head light clusters have all the parts, with the base plate being a complicated molding. It is only missing the cover from the horn on the RHS light cluster (part B68). L Cable connectors found on the new ESV kit are present here. It seems that parts B38, B39 appear to be too short, as the area where the head light goes should be longer.
All the tie downs are obviously in plastic and cannot compete with PE ones. On the left and right rear sides are the pioneer tool racks with the tools nicely done and include the clips and brackets molded with the tools. The pioneer tool rack appears to be too long, so it may need to be re-worked.
The driver hatch can be fitted with the armor glass windshield, and in order to help the builder during the painting process you can use the mask, but remember that these windshields have not been used in Afghanistan.
The large rear bustle rack is also separate, made up of numerous parts each to render better definition. The jerrycan racks are done in PE at each end, but remember that these boxes are not fitted to the ones deployed in Afghanistan, as they affect the rear sight of troops that are standing in the upper hull hatches.
This is mainly a new sprue, with the turret coming in two pieces. The up-armored add-ons are present. The turret baskets are from the ASLAV and take special care here since small plastic parts are used.
The turret crew hatches are off centered enough. For an Afghan version do not use the crew windshields, although these would be applicable for a Bosnia version. The 7.62mm gun mount for the turret is incorrect and will have to be corrected, once again research will have to be done. The M242 chain gun is provided as 2 styrene pieces which lacks crisp details and was bent in my review sample.
Trumpeter provides two marking options, both based on early examples. These are for the standard CARC painted version and a version used on United Nations Operations in Ethiopia and Eritrea.
This is a very welcome kit of a Modern Canadian Armored vehicle. But, you will have to do your research as there are some inaccuracies with the kit. If you want a kit that builds up nicely OOB and looks the part this will do. But, for the builder that shoots for accuracy some research will need to be done to depict an Afghanistan vehicle.
Overall kit detail is great, although some extra work on the angle of the upper hull will need to be taken care of.
Trumpeter did not provide a metal barrel as shown in their other recent release.
This review was a joint effort of Anthony Sewards and Sebastien Viale.