I have a vested interest in the AFV Club kits of the LVT4. Years ago I made the master for Cromwell Models LVT4 kit, then when the Italeri kit came out I wrote an article for Mil Mod about it, plus made the Cromwell Models Polsten master at the same time (and I have three in abox somewhere). Italeri's kit was a surprise at the time and wasn't too bad, just a little clunky and poorly researched.
So when AFV club announced their kits I was quite pleased as everything they have produced so far has been exquisite in detail. My stash has two early kits and one late. I have the late one partially built, the suspension is on and the cab is assembled and painted. Here's what I think so far:
The standard of moulding and detailing is excellent. The suspension sort of works and actually went together very easily with one exception. Each bogie has a mud scraper as an add on part and boy, is it ever difficult to fit. Lots of cursing and swearing on the first half dozen, then I sort of fell into the groove for the rest. Italeri didn't even bother, just gave you the arms at each side of the scraper but no central bar. The idler assembly is very realistic. While I was in the area I made up the wash vanes: Italeri moulded thick blocks which needed a huge amount of work to look decent, AFV's take is lots of skinny bits of plastic which seems quite daunting even for an old modeller like me. BUT I knocked both sets together is a couple of minutes, dead easy!
The cab area is a beauty. The gearbox and final drives are superb but you will see very little of it when the roof is on. A shame as all the levers and pedals and linkages are there, admittedly a pain to assemble as the bits are really close together. I was going to add all the oil hoses to the gearbox but soon realized there was no way I could fiddle them in with my sausage fingers and failing eyesight! As I said above, you wouldn't see them through the hatches anyway.
So far the painting has just been the cab and walkway areas, which are still sub assemblies. The cab floor is airbrushed in Life Color OD shades, all the rest in Vallejo White, with a spray of AK Satin Varnish. Then AK 045 Dark Brown Wash for the floor and MIG Neutral Wash for the white bits. Taking away the washes with White Spirit (stumping or feathering) soon popped out the detail that AFV Club has faithfully moulded. A little bit of chipping and rusting as this was an amphibious vehicle and in salt water a lot. Most of this is where the crew would place their feet when getting in and out of the top hatches, so gearbox and prop shaft cover mainly.
This one will end up in US markings but one of the early models will get the full British 79th Armoured Div treatment, Polsten on the roof, Kapok floats (they look like matresses in photos), etc.
As the message title says, so far, so good.
as I am a "Buffaloe-Buff", I have your MilMod-article and am very pleased to read your short impressions on the new AFV-kit of the LVT: Thank you! Now I am looking foreward to seeing them finished - especially the British-one!