November 2020



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General Dynamics LAV-25

US Marine Corps, Afghanistan, 2015.

Trumpeter 1/72  with  various accessories

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Have a look at many more of my AFV models on my AFV pages

In the late 1970s, the USMC looked to move its forces to a lighter an more mobile posture, better fitted to the anticipated brush fire wars of the coming decades.  As part of this it adopted a developed version of the Canadian Piranha 6x6 light armoured vehicle, itself based on the proven Swiss MOWAG design.  The resulting lightly armed 8 wheeled design was to be amphibious and capable of carrying in a C-130 for rapid deployment.  It was equipped with a M242 Bushmaster 25 mm autocannon, two M240 7.62 mm machine guns, and two 4-barrel smoke grenade launchers.

LAVs entered service with the USMC in 1983 and first saw combat in the US’ 1989 Panama invasion.  They remain in widespread service, including deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan. Surplus vehicles have been supplied to the US Army for its own Airborne Division rapid deployment units.  Up-armoured and improved variants are now in service and expected to remain so into the 2030s.

Building the Trumpeter LAV-25 Kit:

This is my second LAV-25 build using the Trumpeter kit - the first I did in normal colours and markings, so this one I have done in a desert scheme.  They were bought as a cheap job lot, with several parts missing. With a little innovation, I have managed to build both. This one was missing one wheel, so a replacement was cloned up using my silicon moulding material and some Milliput putty.

I have added a few accessories in the form of resin rucsacs and white metal ammunition boxes as well as adding some extra fuel and water jerrycans.

With my previous LAV-25 build, also from the Trumpeter kit

Force Protection Inc. Cougar MRAP

US Marine Corps, Afghanistan, 2015.

4D 1/72  with  various accessories

The Cougar MRAP was developed in response to an urgent USMC requirement for a protected Heavy Engineer Vehicle for use in Iraq and Afghanistan, where allied forces were coming under increasingly effective attack from improvised explosive device (IED) attacks.  Developed initially by FPI in response to a 2001 British Army requirement, the vehicle was further developed to meet US needs in a number of roles, with the first entering service in 2004, 6 months after it was ordered.  

Built around easily replaceable chassis and drive train components, the Cougar gives protection against small arms, land mines and IEDs.  Composite side armour gives conventional protection while a V-shaped underhull directs mine and IED blast saway from under the vehicle. Shock resistant seating and full harness seatbelts give added protection to crew and passengers, whilst dual air-conditioners allow troops some respite from desert temperatures.  

Available in 6x6 and 4x4 variants, over 4,000 were fielded by US forces alone and have saved many lives.

Building the 4D Cougar MRAP Kit:

Several of these 4D “Puzzle Model” kits are regularly advertised on e-bay.  In general they look to be crude and intended for snap together builds, perhaps for wargaming purposes.  

This one looked a little different, so at £10 outlay, including postage from China I felt it might be worth a look.  I was pleasantly surprised by what arrived. Very nicely moulded, with what appears to be acceptably accurate detail (including an interior). It assembles easily, perhaps not entirely snap together, but as good as most AFV kits that I have built.

My only minor criticisms would be the detail on the tyres (overdone) and the lack of real windows/clear armoured plates on the machine-gun turret.  There are also no decals, although these would be pretty minimal in any event.  

I suspect that the kit draws heavily on CAD files derived from one of the very similar 1/35 kit s on the market (perhaps Meng’s) as the detail and layout is spookily similar (albeit with many fewer parts!!).  I had hoped to use it as a basis for a British Mastiff kit, but although it would provide a goosd basis, the changes would be very significant, and are currently beyond me.

Definitely a nice kit,  and I wonder when/if we will start seeing it in Trumpeter or Revell boxes?