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Trumpeter 1/144 LCAC (Landing Craft, Air Cushion)

RELATED TOPICS: MILITARY | OTHER
Kit: No. 00107
Scale: 1/144
Manufacturer: Trumpeter, from
Stevens International, 856-435-1555,www.stevenshobby.com
Price: $35.95
Comments: Injection-molded, 281 parts (42 photoetched, 1 vinyl), decals
Pros: Great subject, fit, and detail
Cons: Can't be built deflated with ramps down
Trumpeter is certainly not afraid to stray from the "normal" subject range for new kits, as shown by its release of a 1/144 scale LCAC (pronounced "El-Cack"). Designed to speed troops and equipment ashore, the LCAC's unique amphibious abilities have aided survivors of natural disasters such as the 2004 Asian tsunami and Hurricane Katrina.

Trumpeter's novel kit includes a highly detailed rubber skirt molded in the inflated position. This is one thing I would change about this kit; it's not possible to model the LCAC with the ramps down (though I understand Trumpeter probably had to pick one way or the other for cost reasons).

The rest of the injection-molded parts have good detail, and there are numerous photoetched-metal screens as well. A simple interior is included, but considering the scale it is quite adequate; it even includes the overhead switch console. I could not determine how this would fit along with the windows, and the instructions did not help, so I left mine off.

A handful of parts are not used or mentioned in the instructions, including two photoetched-metal platforms that look as if they might be replacements for the injection-molded platforms aft of the rotating exhaust housings.

I built the numerous deck housings and fans as subassemblies, since the overall fit is so good. Take care choosing which parts to join, as the port and starboard deck housings are not the same. There are many details to be added, most of which I left off until after painting.

The only problem I encountered during assembly was self-inflicted - I didn't pay attention and rotated one of the deckhouse ends 90 degrees. They are not symmetrical, so I needed a little filler to compensate. The rest was trouble-free, leaving plenty of time for painting.

The color and markings sheet is printed in color - but it indicates silver overall, which is incorrect. I found it easier to use the Internet as my color guide, as there are numerous shades of gray to this seemingly simple shape. I left all the deck housings and fan subassemblies off the deck for ease of painting. Testors dark gull gray was the main color, with anthracitgrau gray for the darker areas. The deck was painted RLM 73 green.

After I put the airbrush away, I started applying decals. These are excellent, although you should not apply the decals to the rubber skirt until you are done handling the model as they have a tendency to come loose, even after a generous coating of decal-setting solution.

After decals, I installed all the deckhouses and myriad details. Touch-up and weathering followed. I attached the rubber skirt using the tabs and slots molded in by Trumpeter. The fit here was slightly loose but acceptable. The last step was mounting the photoetched-metal windshield wipers on the cupola and pilothouse.

In summary, this kit was a delight to build and finish. I recommend it highly to armor and naval builders, and airplane builders will enjoy this different kind of "air craft." Now let's see … where is the nearest air hockey table?
- Chuck Davis

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