As H-hour drew near, Marines climb down rope nets slung over the sides of their transports boarding box-like landing crafts bobbing with the waves. Soon the overburdened amphibians will be taking its cargo of ammo, fuel and seasick men into the unknown.
The imagery is cliché. But it is difficult to describe the Pacific campaign of WW2 without conjuring a mental picture of the AMTRACS (Amphibious, Track). It was these vehicles that made the Pacific island hopping campaign attainable. The capture of those islands allowed American bombers and escorts to operate from airfields within striking reach of Japan; ultimately leading to Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
A common misconception was that the tracks were designed for operational
flexibility. While LVTs were utilized inland on certain occasions, such
as the Philippines, Okinawa, and Holland, it was never the designer’s true
intend. The tracks were adopted as means of enabling the craft to cross
very shallow waters where assault boats stand a good likelihood of becoming
The Kit (Italeri 1:35)
The LVT-4 was one of the more successful designs in a long series of AMTRACS. Entering service in early 1944, it saw service throughout the Pacific, NW Europe and finally Southeast Asia during the immediate Post War period. Until now this venerable machine was only available in 1:72 scale. Italeri’s decision to produce a 1:35 version was highly welcomed and eagerly awaited by many.
Overall, the main components are clean and crisp requiring little clean
up. However, if the kit’s instructions were followed verbatim, one would
end up with a hybrid vehicle from the French Indochina conflict of the
Backdating this model to a more generalized WWII era troop/cargo transport
isn’t difficult. Best of all, all one need is a tube of putty, a few pieces
of scrap sheet styrene, a selection of sandpaper, and a shape knife. The
main steps were:
The list may appear long, but it is actually a lot of fun. It is also an excellent introduction to conversions for those who desire to try their hand at this particular aspect of model building.
AMTRACS IN ACTION. Mesko, Jim, Squadron Signal Pub., 1993.
AMTRACS: US AMPHIBIOUS ASSAULT VEHICLES. Zaloga, Steve, Osprey, 1987.
UK Military Modelling - Kit review.
Track-link.net review - A very good review of the kit with additional information on how to correct the model’s shortcomings.
UK Military Modelling 2000 Home Page - Photos of a museum example.
article on Squash Casting - A article explaining “Squash Casting.”