It is actually 4, but who's counting. I HATE PE. So if I can get away without having to use it, I don't use it. One thing that Trumpeter did get almost right was the head light mounts and indicator mounts. The indicator mount is about 1 mm too high and the large front facing indicator is a bit out of shape and the mounting point for the back of the head light is wrong. But with this kit and every other one I have done, where do I stop when it comes to making it as accurate as possible and fix every part of the base kit????. At the time I scratch built the parts for this one, It was based on the Trumpeter LAV-25 kit and not the ASLAV kit. Then when the ASLAV kit hit the market I added a few things and removed a few things. As it was I could have added another 20 parts to the kit, but then the price really starts to get out of peoples reach.
This kit is currently being remastered (as is the PC) with a few new parts (headlight cluster etc) and even more detail. I did this kit almost 3 years ago and my casting has vastly improved since then from bench drop pouring to vacuum and pressure as has my scratch building ability. For instance, the barrel is now one piece, the headlights will be replaced with the same ones as the Fitter, and the periscopes will be done in clear resin. I don't intend to replace the kit PE headlight mounts, because as far as I'm concerned they are good enough.
Seems I have perhaps struck a raw nerve, certainly not my intentions to do so.
It is interesesting to point out the differences between the three (of the 4 available) Conversion kits I have done. I will at the end of the builds, add a debrief/ review of the 3 kits and compare certain elements. This is important if anyone else was to choose to do a Diorama with 2 or more Australian Lav's, as inconsistencies will show when two vehicles that are supposed to have the same item have obvious differences in the modelling.
That is the reason for highlighting the headlight assembly. In a multi vehicle diorama setting it does'nt matter whether the headlamps are scale perfect nearly as much as them all being the same. For example, if I had to build two Abrams tank for a diorama, I wouldnt put an Academy and a Tamiya kit side by side as there would certainly be differences in thickneses, shapes, size and contour that would be apparent- matters not which one is the right one, just that the two are the same.
So, if I had realised way back when I started these 3 that one of them did not have the same headlight asemblies as the other two, I would never of fitted the unique parts, rather I would of used the comman parts to all three.
The same issue is encountered with the change in brushguards and prop guards, when placing one kit that has whitemetal , and one with resin items. It does'nt matter which is more accurate, as long as the three are consistant.
I think it is really important for the purchaser to be aware of these differences so they can plan thier build to accomodate them. Also because the after sales service from ACM and MH is good enough that you can easily ask for a replacement part to be supplied individually in the style desired. Might not always get it, but doesnt hurt to ask.
I have avoided the prop guard issue by not fitting any to any of the 3, but If i did want to fit it to the two without Bar Armour, I would use the kit supplied parts to prevent the differences between the resin and whitemetal being apparent.
I did not do this on the headlight guard - I built the PC without the fitters vehicle in my possesion so did'nt know of the changes to parts - But a single conversation to Jason at ACM and I have a replacement set on the way to make it consistant ! Brilliant.
I will photograph (as best I can) the 3 prop guards to help explain what I mean. I have to consider the following in a Diorama model - Do not make the audience ask questions that have no answers. If one vehicle has prop guards, and the other 2 don't, well that might be a scene that is common as muck in overseas deployment patrols, but to the layperson for whom the diorama audience is aimed at, seeing two vehicles with missing guards while one has them might well have them asking why, and without technical explanation, making suppositions like perhaps the modeller forgot to add them? or things like that. This goes for any difference between the vehicles.However, Generally the Audience at a competition for example has reasonable appreciation that as the standard of the build goes up, the reliability of it's accuracy does as well. Not many people invest years building something to have not checked for accuracy / feasability along the way.
As for the comments regarding what does one leave in and take out when making a kit, or how accurate a component or sub assembly needs to be, I'm certainly no expert vendor. Rather my expertise lies in being a consumer of the products and I know that if I want improvements, then I have to swallow differences between generations of editions. But will have to plan my build around accomodating these difference for the overall benefit of a multi vehicle diorama, so no one asks innocently "why is that bit fatter than that one?" and walks away not remembering the good things of the diorama, but the questions raised by bad planning.
Hope this helps in understanding the reasons I pointed out my surprise at finding no headlights in the conversion kit. It's not a criticism of an otherwise supremely competent product, but an informed observation that does have value when taken in context. Having the history behind developement and the manufacturers decisions reasons certainly helps us understand why it is this way.
Always appreciated to have such comments.