Saturday, January 19, 2013

Dragon LVT

This is the Dragon 1/72nd scale LVT, which I built fairly quickly mostly so I could try Vallejo paints on an armored vehicle.  LVTs were amphibious armored vehicles intended to help the Marines invade islands in the Pacific; this particular one is armed with a 75mm howitzer from an M8 and served with the 2nd Armored Amphibian battalion on Iwo Jima.  The kit offers two marking options, but I liked this one, because of the sand and brown camouflage.

It's a nice kit, and quite detailed for 1/72nd scale, especially in the turret.  The tracks are a kind of glue-able flexible plastic (maybe Vinyl, maybe not).  But they're a little too glue-able; I melted the joining areas right off one of the tracks through overzealous use of cement (you can see the gap in the tracks just over the rear return roller).  The Achilles Heel of many 1/72nd scale armored vehicles is the tracks, but the tracks in this kit are quite nice, with detail on the inside and outside, and the proper "scooped" grousers that propelled the thing through water.  There are two quirks with the model.  One is that the antenna bases are missing.  I'm pretty sure these were provided as parts and I merely lost them.  The second is the presence of two holes in the rear doors.  They look like mounting holes for something, but no parts were provided, and they aren't mentioned in the otherwise excellent instructions.  Maybe they're just peep-holes.  I don't know.

I spray-painted it with olive drab (really, Krylon "Oregano") and then brush-painted the rest of the camouflage with Vallejo acrylics.  It took several coats to get decent coverage, and even now, the coverage isn't great.  When I get around to weathering the vehicle, the blotchy sand and brown won't be evident, but if I wanted this model to show a factory-fresh example, I'd need another coat.  Or have to learn how to airbrush Vallejo paints.

The tracks are painted Oily Steel, and I do quite like that paint.  When you first apply it, it looks too thin, like it'll never cover, but it undergoes some kind of transformation as it dries and what looked like poor coverage at first suddenly turns very good.  I approve.

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