Developed by Mr. Andrew Higgins and his New Orleans company, Higgins Industries, on the basis of a flat bottomed boat used in the Louisiana marshlands. The LCVP took part in all of the major amphibious operations of WWII, in Europe and the Pacific. Eisenhower often referred to Higgins as the man who won the war with this boat, which was designed to carry a platoon of 36 men, fully equipped for battle, or a boatload of equipment and supplies, or anything else that may be needed on shore.
This amazing craft made it possible for commanding officers to make planned operations without including the need of capturing ports with wharf facilities to land large quantities of troops, supplies, and vehicles, and keep them re-supplied. This boat was constructed mostly of wood, and proved itself battle tough and ready with more than 23,000 LCVPs built between the years of 1942 and 1945. These tough little tubs continued to be used in service long after the end of the war for many roles.
• Construction: Natural woods (Oak, Pine, and Mahogany)
• Displacement: 18,000 lbs.
• Length: 36’ 3”
• Beam: 10’ 10”
• Draft: 3”aft, 2’ 2” forward
• Speed: 9 knots
• Armament: 2 X 30 cal. Machine Guns
• Complement: 3
• Capacity: 36 troops, or 6,000 lb. vehicle, or 8,100 lb. general cargo
• Power Plant: 225 hp Diesel (Gray) or 250 hp. Gasoline (Hall-Scott) engines
The box and the kit inside...
This kit comes to the modeler in a respectably sized, medium weight cardboard box, lidded style, which is covered in richly illustrated box art. A full blown landing scene under heavy fire is shown on the box front (actually looks to be The Omaha Beach Landing) with supporting text in six languages.
Inside the box you will find 4 big and one smaller sprues of kit parts, a single one piece hull, and a plastic bag that contains the kits decal sheet and two separate pieces of colored twine/string to be used for the boats cabling system. The kit contains 157 parts total, molded in a light gray colored plastic. Detail is good overall, but there are some pin marks present that will have to be addressed, although quite shallow, and not very troublesome looking. Quite surprisingly, there is no flash at all on any of the kit sprues. A large fold out style instruction sheet is included, with clear drawings and well planned diagrams. Paint scheme is clearly marked and labeled.
The main boat hull is of a one piece construction, with a separate front ramp piece. The details molded into the hull are quite good, with well defined weld seams around the forward plate and the separate keel and screw assemblies. On the boats’ side armor panel reinforcements, good rivet detail is apparent mostly, but there are a few rivet heads here and there that are slightly deformed, which shouldn’t be much of a problem either to correct before finishing.
Inside the hull there is good detail, with molded fine wood-grain outer walls of the boat, and a fantastic way of reproducing the exposed rib side panels of the craft. The inner deck walls have separate top and bottom panels with an all open center section, with all ribs (20 per side) added separately from behind, so when you add the well walls to the hull all the ribs are shown exposed...quite an excellent looking interior!
It looks as if some serious attention will have to be paid in the construction of these sides, but each of the ribs are numbered for easier location in the proper place and sequence to follow all of the hull’s contours.
Starboard side of the boat you’ll find the loading ramp’s winch assembly, (which of course is used to raise the large ramp, since the opening system is by gravity), with a sliding pulley assembly that can be optionally placed in the forward position for a lowered ramp, or in the back position for a raised ramp setting, so make sure that you place this part correctly in either circumstance.
The ramp itself is well detailed, and has the forward section made as a separate part, and so is the upper hinged vision hatch. The cabling that is supplied with the kit appears to be accurately sized, but care will have to be taken in the assembly of the rigging as it needs to be done at certain times in the assembly, before the inner well walls are completed and mounted inside. The instruction sheet provided shows the steps necessary and if you’re paying attention you shouldn’t have any problem what-so-ever.
Moving on, the well deck floor has excellent detail on the center panels, with simulated non-slip plate sections down each of the sides, respectively. The lower rear deck, a separate part completely, includes a raised engine compartment and an exposed coxswain’s station. Details here include a separate throttle lever and steering wheel, plus a decaled instrument panel. Directly forward of the station is a separate bulkhead that forms the rear of the well deck and also the front of the engine/wheel house deck.
The upper deck section has the rear deck with long side extensions with numerous small details and fittings attached, which of course includes the two rear machine gunner turrets, each with separate upper and lower sections, plus a really cool gunner seat that can rotate to any position desired by the modeler. Other small details include side hull reinforcement brackets, mooring attachments with rope bumpers, and two buoys on the inside of the well deck. Also note that the large splash guard is a completely separate part on top of the rear deck. Side bilge pump openings have separate lip pieces as well as separate sea hooks that are on the inside deck walls. The two 30 caliber machine guns are well detailed, quite accurate, with separate ammo boxes.
Included in the kit are parts for three separate figures, a coxswain and two gunners. All three are molded in a standing position, dressed in wet weather gear suitable for the time period. The major downfall here is that both gunners are molded identical, but there is hope if you pose the turrets at different angles for a bit more variety. The coxswain figure is molded in a “hands on the wheel” position, and does have different details than the gunner figures, so there may be hope for use of these figures yet. All three figures have separate helmets.
Decals and Markings
The decal sheet provided is quite large, well printed, with good color and minimal carrier films. There is a decent selection of boat numbers for the hull sides and lower well deck floor. The instruction sheet has markings shown for four different boats:
1) US Navy, Tarawa atoll, Betio Island, November 1943
2) US Navy, Iwo Jima, February 1945
3) US Navy, Normandy, June 1944
4) British Navy, Normandy, June 1944 (cool camo-pattern!)
Each variant is shown in five different angle views in the instruction sheet, showing the paint schemes and decal placement, in good illustrations.
Overall, this is a good kit, with accurate representations of the main features done well. Good detail, clean molding, and nice markings all should help the modeler to build an accurate subject with plenty of room for aftermarket additions. The included figures are really not up to par compared to the quality of the rest of the kit, but as stated could be used effectively with a little ingenuity and imagination. This kit looks to be a winner, and should build into a fine representation of the LCVP. I do believe that this kit would also make an excellent dio companion to its big sister, the larger LCM (3)...definitely recommended from this modelers’ point of view.
Many thanks to Testors for providing this review sample.
note from the editor
Appart from this review there are more about the LCVP here in ModelShipWrights and in Armorama.
You can check Thachweave Products (Woven) Fenders
that could add that extra detail and two
Model On Display features with this model:
Ed Sarao's (liberator) LCVP
and Tommaso Porro's (tommaso66) LCVP