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Book Review
The LVT Tech Manuals (Vol 1 & 2) and Plans

by: Jim Rae [ JIMBRAE ]

Originally published on:

This review is actually a 'package' as the subject of all the material within the review is broadly similar (apart from some technical specifications). It was therefore more logical to present this as an encompassing review rather 5 seperate reviews. The logic should become more apparent at the end of the review.
historical overview

The LVT 'AMTANK' was created to fill an important gap in the brutal campaign to retake the Pacific Islands from the Japanese. The AMTANK was a means if bringing in an amphibious, close-support vehicle which could then operate like a 'conventional' armored vehicle.

The AMTRAC was designed primarily to bring in the logistical materiel in a protected/tracked vehicle which offered more protection than the D.U.K.W. Having tracks allowed it to negotiate beaches and obstacles much more easily than a wheeled vehicle.
Introduction: The Publications.

Five publications are the subject of this review, they are:

LP008 - Project LVT's, Volume One - AMTANKS (LVT(A)1, LVT(A)4, & LVT(A)5
LP009 - Project LVT's, Volume Two - AMTRACS (LVT2 & LVTA2)
LP010 - Model Tech Manual (LVT2 & LVT(A)2)
LP011 - Model Tech Manual (LVT(A)1, LVT(A)4 & LVT(A)5
LP012 - LVT Line Drawings (1/35th scale) covering the LVT(A)1, LVT2, LVT(A)2 & LVT(A)4

All of the books/manuals were written by David E. Harper with additional material by Randy Canova
Content and Format

(i) The two Project books each contain 68 pages. The layout is very similar in each volume. Each vehicle is dealt with in a similar manner, firstly there is a well-presented chapter dealing (in step-by-step photographs) of the building of that particular variant. Detailed painting and correction details are comprehensively covered. The conversion kits (for all of the variants) are the Resin Conversion kits from TRAKZ which are also available from VLS. The 'donor' kits are from ITALERI.

The following chapter deals with detail photos (b/w and color) of the variants explored in the book. Following this, the chapter - in Action reproduces some superb archive photos of the AMTANKS/AMTRACS in various theaters of the Pacific war.

The next chapter is concerned with the color scheme of the variants with several (period) color pics, a color chart, and some truly inspiring color profiles of the vehicles. Volume 1, covering as it does more variants, is possibly more complete than the second though it should be stressed at this point, that all aof the books/manuals are designed to be complimentary.

(ii) The Model Tech Manuals, are exactly what they say.. Reproductions of the original technical manuals with the photographs much 'cleaner' than one normally sees in books of this type. It is obvious that someone has taken the time to 'remaster' the photographs as they have a crispness which is normally lacking. All aspects of the vehicles are covered in as much detail as one would wish. Some modellers may find this the perfect opportunity to completely rebuild the original models and turn out a virtual 'masterpiece' , others may simply be content to correct some of the details which the original kits are lacking.

(iii) The LVT Plans Pack Four sheets of scale (1/35th) line drawings comprise this useful supplement. Side, Top, Front and Rear elevations are included on each sheet covering a total of four variants. An incredibly useful 'addendum' to the series.


This was an incredibly ambitious project on the part of Letterman Productions and especially the author, David Harper. For me they have somewhat 'broken the moulds' with this series for the following reasons... There have been several books in the last few years which have concentrated on particular projects. However, few, if any, have produced such a concise quide to the subject as these books/manuals have. This will hopefully spur other publishers into taking such an approach to a subject and with the increase in 'profile' that Letterman are obtaining, this can only indicate a willingness to continue in this vein. The decision to base the conversions around the 'TRAKZ' products is also an interesting departure. On many occasions, books of this type create their projects around long OOP products/conversion sets which can create real frustration amongst modellers, particularly those who are attempting their first conversions.

The good news is that the next volume of the series dealing with the LVT4 is already in preparation and also a similar book on Pacific Shermans will be coming along soon. Hopefully, the D.U.K.W. will be a future subject as well.

Prices: Will vary from country to country. However as a 'rule of thumb' LP008/LP009 are priced at $14.95 each, LP010/LP011 at $9.95 each. The LVT plans pack is $5.95

I would like to gratefully acknowledge the provision of the books/manuals courtesy of VLS Productions Inc.
This is a series of publications designed for the modeler to facilitate building, converting and super-detailing Italeri's kits of the LVT...
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:1
  Mfg. ID: LP008/9/10/11/12
  Suggested Retail: Prices in
  Related Link: Purchase at ModelMecca.com
  PUBLISHED: Jun 14, 2004
  NATIONALITY: United States

About Jim Rae (jimbrae)

Self-employed English teacher living in NW Spain. Been modelling off and on since the sixties. Came back into the hobby around ten years ago. First love is Soviet Armor with German subjects running a close second. Currently exploring ways of getting cloned to allow time for modelling, working and wr...

Copyright ©2021 text by Jim Rae [ JIMBRAE ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved.


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  • Model Tech Manual LVT(A) 1, 4, 5
    by David E. Harper Part no: LP 011
  • Model Tech Manual: LVT2, LVT(A)2
    by David E. Harper Part no: LP 010
  • LVT Line Drawings
    by David E. Harper Part no: LP 012
  • Project: LVT's AMTRACS
    by David E. Harper Part no: LP 009
  • Project: LVT's AMTANKS
    by David E. Harper Part no: LP 008