USMC LAV-25 "Piranha" Light Armored Vehicle

Trumpeter #00349 USMC LAV-25 "Piranha" Model Kit

Copyright © 2011, Jim Lewis/GunTruck Studios
All Rights Reserved Worldwide

Page One
(Updated 1/6/2011)


Awards & Honors

When I bought this kit in 2005, I was pretty excited to have a newly done version of the LAV-25 to add to my collection. Unfortunately, this time was also when it seemed that hyper-critical model kit reviews began to crest on modeling scene, and I let them somewhat curb my excitement. I set the kit aside for a time when I could sit down and devote more attention to it.

I was wrong, and missed out on having some fun back then. A cautionary statement - don't let a negative review dissuade you from building a model kit. It is all about your own enjoyment and personal satisfaction, ultimately. Sometimes, we all forget this - me included...

Finally coming back to it in 2011, I found it not to be too bad at all. A bit more work that I originally anticipated, but really not much more than any other subject I like to model. It is an improvement over the earlier ESCI and Italeri versions of the subject and has a lot of potential for aftermarket or scratchbuilding detailing if you're so inclined to go all out. All in all, it is a fun and cool kit for AFV modeling fans.

I set out in this project using Voyager Model #PE 35078 for upgrading some details of the basic model kit. I had the old AEF Designs LAV-25 Interior Detail Set already, unfortunately due to casting quality, it could not be used for this effort - but does give one an idea of interior components they could scratchbuild themselves. And lastly, I decided I could scavenge some parts from Italeri's LAV model kits in places to otherwise fill the empty interior. Though I purchased the model kit at what I felt was a reasonable price, I would have gladly paid more for Trumpeter to have included even a token interior to go with all the thoughtful inclusion of opened Hatches. My primary reference for modeling my LAV-25 was Ed Gilbert's LAV-25 (Light Armored Vehicle) by Full Detail.

Trumpeter's Instruction Sheets have large view exploded diagrams that are simple to follow. I also like their full-color painting and decaling sheet that comes separately. My kit example was well-packed, no damage, and complete. Some minor flashing is present, and there are mold seams and plenty of ejector pins marks to cleanup over the span of some 291 parts.

Right off the bat, I have to state that clean-up was considerable. Since I decided to put something into the interior of the miniature - I had to fill and remove a lot of ejector pin marks, and remnants of attachment of subassemblies as I went through construction. It tripled the amount of time it would normally take to build the kit, and it impacted my "fun factor" rating. But, I did decide to do this to myself, so I'm not complaining too strenuously.

I ran into a problem properly fitting the Rear Hull Bulkhead (Part #B1) in place with the Lower Hull and Upper Hull halves. I wound up sliding the Rear Bulkhead downward slightly to ensure the upper edges fit properly - leaving a 1mm gap at the bottom sides to fill with putty, and a little lip underneath that would not be seen from casual viewing angles.

Inside the Lower Hull, Trumpeter made the Drive Train Tunnel too deep for the Differentials - the "hump" is about 2mm too high inside. This prevents the modeler from "drop-fitting" some Italeri interior floor components into the Trumpeter model kit. On the plus side, the basic parts aren't terribly complicated, so the modeler can just fashion their own based on the kit parts.

The poly vinyl Tires are nice for the medium, and can be mounted on the Hubs after painting, but the assembly of the complicated suspension calls for careful alignment in the end. The set of front wheels lined up well after basic construction, the rear set of four wheels did not in camber or in line with each other - but minor tweaking can rectify this. Thankfully, you can leave the wheels off the hull throughout the modeling of an interior, so as to lessen the chance of damaging your work through the process.

I started the miniature late 2005 - and got to this stage before putting away. The interior of the Upper Hull called for the most cutting away of the interior braces Trumpeter cast to keep the piece rigid - and both hull halves suffer from ejector pin marks galore. This was the first time I used Tamiya White Putty as a filler - but I never sanded the excess away like shown in the photo of the Upper Hull. I was thrilled to find that when I attacked it this evening, it feathered out nicely and was easy to sand down - like I had only put it down yesterday. I wasn't too sure I liked Tamiya White Putty, but I'm sold now. I can't believe I could sand it smooth after close to six years!

All content Copyright © 1998 - 2012 Jim Lewis,,, and GunTruck Studios. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

Contact GTS

Next Page
Previous Page