Japanese Light Armoured Vehicle
Tamiya, 1/48 scale
Reviewed by Luke Pitt
This new 1:48 scale Tamiya kit of the Japanese Light Armoured Vehicle is in fact the Komatsu LAV (Light Armoured Vehicle) which is in service with the Japan Ground Self Defense Forces. Introduced in 2002, the vehicle was deployed in the Iraq War. The LAV is produced by the Komatsu Defense Systems Division in Komatsu, Japan. The vehicle bears a passing resemblance to the Panhard VBL (which in this reviewer’s mind is almost like an armoured sport car), that is in service with the French Army.
The kit comprises 82 parts in dark green plastic, 9 parts in clear plastic, and a decal sheet accompanied by a first rate instruction sheet.
The molding is first class, with no cleanup needed except for a few fine molding seams. The detail is so fine in places it defies belief. For example, the small rivet detail of the body sides is quite simply breathtaking. The tyre tread pattern with its distinctive bias ply tire is reproduced in a clever way. Each wheel is providing in front and rear sections onto which four tread sections are placed around the rim. This will look familiar to anyone who has seen Tamiya’s 1:32 Mosquito as the same method, is employed.
The chassis is a one-piece plastic molding onto which are attached the front and rear suspension units, and which in turn are made up from separate drive units. The large body molding is a state of the art affair but, unfortunately makes no provision for any of the crew doors to be modelled in the open position. This is a shame as the interior is fairly well kitted out. The crew seats have nice details, with the rear seats having separate cushions with detail on the back plates.
The clear sprue includes windows and headlight lenses.
The exterior details on this kit are superb, take for example the “stowage rack” the thin round pipe that make up this rack are really impressive.
The roof has separate weapons ring in which the well-molded machine gun can be mounted.
A small but rather nice decal sheet is provided. This includes the dial faces for the instrument panel as well as markings for three brown and green Japanese camouflaged examples.
To my mind, this is one of the best 1:48 scale armour releases produced by Tamiya to date. Basically it looks like a pantographed version of their 1:35 scale offering. After putting a few of the main body parts together for this review, I can report the kit just clicks together. Tamiya is the master of what I would describe as “detailed simplicity” and this kit is further evidence of that.
Text by Luke Pitt