Italeri has added to their growing renditions of Marine Corps Landing Vehicle Track kits with their kit # 6470 LVT (A)-2 “Saipan”. First accepted into service in 1944, 450 were used during World War 2 in support of the various amphibious landings in the Pacific theater. Armed with a combination of .50 and .30 calibre machine guns, it had the capacity of carrying an additional 18 combat equipped Marines.
The instructions are clear, the diagrams ample and the assembly sequence easy to follow. There are 170 light gray plastic parts displayed on three sprues, making for a relatively light parts count as a result. Many of the parts are obvious carry-over parts from previous Italeri LVT kits and there are no figures provided.
Italeri’s LVT 4 kit contains a nice wooden floor however this kit does not have one. The tracks are in two pieces of flexible vinyl that will require joining together to make a single track per side. I had high hopes that Italeri would have provided a better set of track. Alas, they continue to use the same two piece track that I have found impervious to gluing. I rely on a hot knife to melt them together. The challenge is to correctly perform two melting operations on each track. Take your time with this step. Unfortunately, there are just not a whole lot of economically attractive alternatives to using the kit supplied track.
The decal sheet provides two sets of markings along with the two different paint schemes. One represents a vehicle from B Company, 2d AMTRAC Battalion employed by the 2nd Marine Division during the 1944 invasion of Saipan. The other allows you to escape applying the standard Navy blue-gray paint and instead put on a camouflage pattern and decals for a vehicle from the 4th Amphibian Tractor Battalion used at Iwo Jima in February of 1945.
The kit includes a choice of mounting either two .50 caliber or two .30 caliber machine guns. I would recommend that you stick with mounting one .50, but there are two gun shields provided along with mounts so you can easily add another weapon system if desired. Molding is generally good with only minor flash and pin marks throughout the kit.
This is a very reasonably priced kit for the subject and I am looking forward to putting this baby together in the near future. The tracks are a let-down but the rest of the kit is promising, especially for those interested in WW2 USMC gear.
Highs: Clear, crisp molding without undue flashLows: Terrible trackVerdict: Good kit, easy to assemble and a unique addition to a collection of USMC vehicle from World War II