The LVTP-7 series was the third generation of amphibious vehicles used by U.S. forces. It was developed by FMC to replace the unsatisfying LVTP-5’s. The new vehicle entered service in 1972, designated as LVTP-7. It was powered by a Detroit Diesel truck engine. Water propulsion was provided by water jet turbines, which made the vehicles very seaworthy, fast and manoeuvrable in water. If the water drive fails, the vehicles can still use their tracks to propel themselves. The land mobility was much improved and 25 fully equipped Marines could be carried.
The LVTP-7s' were very durable and served very well. In the 1980s, ongoing plans to replace the series were dropped and a Service Life Extension Program (SLEP) was executed instead. Under the SLEP, 333 improved vehicles were ordered and 984 older LVTP-7’s were rebuilt to the new standard LVTP-7A1. The most oblivious differences are the modified headlights and added smoke dischargers. Other changes are a 400 hp Cummins multi fuel engine with turbo charger, revised fuel tanks, improved shock absorbers and ventilation.
With the change of marine doctrine, the designation was changed to AAV-7A1 and the original turret was altered to one from Cadillac-Gage, which mounted a 40mm machine grenade launcher, as well as a .50 cal. MG. A hydraulically powered surf board was added too.
Right from the beginning of the development, the necessity of an engineer version of the new vehicle was transparent and led to the LVTR-7. The vehicle was equipped with a hydraulically operated crane and winch. The cargo space was used to install welding equipment, electrical generator, work benches and tool boxes. Recovery equipment was tied on top of the LVTR-7. That gave the retriever the ability to perform all recovery and maintain tasks needed incl. engine changes. SLEP was carried out to the retrievers to and designation altered to LVTR-7A1. The latest changes carried out were altered exhaust, stronger winch and redesigned crane operator station and a new running gear like that used at the Bradley.
The package comes in a card-board box with a black and white and one coloured photo of an assembled and painted kit as the box art. The parts are packed in a couple of plastic bags and air bubble foiled. It was felt that there were too many parts in a single bag. The contents of each bag were so tightly packaged that it resulted in several broken parts upon arrival.
The content of the box consist of two parts:
1. All exterior parts needed to convert an LVTP-7 or an AAV-7 to a retriever. The old and new style winches, the revised exhaust and crane operator station are also included, but with no interior.
2. The complete modern running gear included tracks with individual links and track pads, which are also available as a separate kit.
The AAVR conversion consists of:
149 resin parts
24 clear green tinted parts for vision blocks
4 PE parts
A length of rope and tubes
The package for the running gear contains:
192 track links
192 rubber pads
72 resin parts
The moulding of the parts as well as the instruction sheet were of fairly good quality. The parts will require the typical effort of cleaning however the reproduction of the details isn’t state of the art. Decals and painting instructions are not provided.
AAVP-7A1 / LVTP-7A1 and variants by Ed Gilbert & Allen Swan published by Full Detail
Highs: All parts are provided to built a early Amtrac or a vehicle currently in service.Lows: Certain details could have been sharper or crisper. Hobby Fan had produced far better quality in the past.Verdict: A good kit overall but it does come with a heavy price tag. Remember, it is a conversion and not a complete kit!
About Harald Haensel (dukw) FROM: NORDRHEIN-WESTFALEN, GERMANY
I live in Germany east of Cologne. Models I already build since my childhood. Thus approximately 35 years. My emphasis are armored and wheeled revocery vehicles, engineer stuff as well as soft skinned trucks. But I even like to build things of mainstream.