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LAV – R Light Armoured Vehicle Recovery (USMC)

Trumpeter, 1/35 scale

Reviewed by Alastair Bowie


Stock Number and Description Trumpeter  kit 00370 - LAV – R Light Armoured Vehicle Recovery (USMC)
Scale: 1/35
Media and Contents: 4 Major Sprues of typical Trumpeter Light Grey Plastic, Two PE sheets; 8 Rubber Tyres, Metal Axle; Copper Wire; Hull Lower and Hull upper assemblies: Decal Sheet & Colour markings Guide. The Kit contains approx 220 parts plus PE and Hoses
Review Type: First Look
Advantages: A good kit of this Marine and Canadian workhorse which has not been kitted before in mainstream styrene. Excellent value for money and a good balance of detail vs build ability
Disadvantages: Decals (see review text)
Recommendation: Highly Recommended
Rating Build ability: NA Detail: 7.5/10 Accuracy: 8/10 Value: 10/10


When the Editor asked me to review this kit I jumped at the chance, having sat my LAV Licence on a ASLAV-R whilst instructing at RAEME Training Centre in the mid-1990s. I have a soft spot for LAV variants being an old 2 CAV Regt Spanner and look forward to any new release of these fascinating Vehicles. Being an Ex Cavalry/Armour Spanner (Radio Mech/Artificer) and having commanded Armoured Support vehicles I look forward to any releases of ARV etc. Suffice to say I couldn’t wait to see this one and rushed over to pick it up.

The Light Armoured Vehicle family of 8 wheeled vehicles stems from a series of designs by MOWAG and covers a variety of different types such as the LAV-25, LAV- Mortar, LAV- Logistics, BISON APC, LAV—Command, LAV- Anti Tank (TOW), LAV- Air Defense, LAV Surveillance, Ambulance and many others. These could be considered LAV II variants and most are manufactured by GM Canada. The design was adopted by the USMC , Canada, Australia (ASLAV) and Saudi Arabia. The design was further evolved into the larger LAV-III and US Stryker AIFV.

The LAV – R is a combat support variant designed to recover disabled vehicles and to perform limited repairs up to power pack exchange. It is fitted with a HIAB crane for MUA (Main Unit Assembly i.e. Power Packs) lift and an internal Straight Pull Winch contained internally. The vehicle's attributes include 8x8 all terrain capability, amphibious and air portability (C130, C17 and even the by USMC Sea Stallion Helos -underslung).

A word of caution to anyone wanting to do an Australian Variant, Australia only purchased one LAV-R of this configuration and this now lives in the Army Logistic Museum at Bandiana. Like the M113 before, the RAEME requirement and role demands two separate vehicles for Repair and Recovery. We have also modified the rear for a larger structure that is the full hull width. The ASLAV R has no crane fitted like the kit one and has large anchor spades for winching operations. I would recommend the linked article by one of Australia’s foremost Armour experts, Paul Handel on the ANZAC STEEL website.

However, the configuration is perfectly typical of a USMC LAV-R, as titled on the box top.


The kit comes well packaged in a sturdy box with the one piece upper and lower hulls and detail parts enclosed in their own divider and the rest of the parts wrapped in the usual plastic bag with the Instruction booklet and coloured Painting & markings Guide. The kit is based on the earlier LAV 25 and shares a lot of common parts in the lower hull but has a different single piece lower to allow for the stabilisers.

The instructions are clear, concise and follow usual Trumpeter layout with a view of sprue layout as is the norm these days.

Trumpeter has the build broken down into 15 Stages with 1-6 having you assemble the lower hull. Steps 7-12 have you assemble the upper hull with Stage 13 being the rear ramp. Stage 14 & 15 has you put together the Hull lower, Upper and rear ramp. When I build this I will ignore that and put the Hulls together with the rear ramp before adding all the finer detail parts.

The Parts

The kit parts are flash free and quite crisp with most knockouts in out of the way places (Well done Trumpeter). Weld seams are extremely well done and realistic as are the moulded vision blocks.


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

Whilst the majority of detail is fine and well done I was a little disappointed by the MAG58/M240/L7/GPMG (call it what you will). It is not up to the fine standards of the rest of the kit and is moulded into its cradle. It’s adequate but won’t set the modelling world on fire (I guess I’m spoiled after some of the latest releases). The rest of the hatches, smoke dischargers etc. are fine.



The external jerry cans were very well done and have PE racks and straps along with separate handles. These are about the only external stowage included.

The crane details are good and they have included fine tubing to replicate the external hydraulic hoses. A fine axle/rod in polished metal is included as the outer jib hydraulic piston instead of the usual plastic piece for these. This should look a lot better than painted plastic. The crane is semi workable/positional as either retracted or extended. Small wire is included to attach the shackles but needs to be bent to shape. This will require patience and fine nose pliers or tweezers.

Photo-etched parts are included for engine deck screen, exhaust screens, cable cutters, stowage straps & mounts, hatch hinges and as optional replacement guards for plastic pieces. The etch detail is very well done and easy to work with. The idea of the optional PE or plastic has a lot of merit but this does not apply to all parts such as the upper hull hatch hinges.



The vinyl tyres are beautifully done and have the characteristic run flat ribbing and what appears to be the correct tread pattern. The only thing missing is the manufacturer's name and model number. The wheel hubs are superbly moulded.


The decal sheet is quite small with a lot of minute stencil information and offers only 1 option, a NATO style 3 colour scheme with no unit markings. I would have liked a few options (Saudi, USMC Desert etc) but these are it.



A close look at some of the stencilling reveals some strange spellings such as Towzing Poznt (Towing point) etc.


Trumpeter's 1/35 scale LAV-R is a great kit which has high levels of detail but does not need a team of watchmakers to assemble the finer details. It will build up into a superb replica of the real vehicle. Thank you to trumpeter for tacklink the rarer subjects such as this one. I look forward to more LAV variants hopefully including the promised ASLAV, LAV-C and maybe a BISON?

Highly Recommended.

Thanks to J.B. Wholesalers for the review sample.