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Glaurung 12-17-2018 07:13 AM

LVT-4 Water Buffalo
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I'm starting a new thread with a model I've been building a while now. It's AFV Club's LVT-4 Early version with few extras such as Voyager basic set, Eduard interior set, Aber metal barrels for machine guns and AFV Club aftermarket tracks.

At the first stage, most of the cockpit was completed.

When it seemed to be ready for some paint, I took some time to pay attention to some reference material in hand and it appeared that many of the interior elements are still to be added before I could reach for the airbrush.

So here we go:

Gear selector had to be scratched as well because original broke in two and half of it went missing.

Until next update,

Gopher 12-25-2018 03:31 AM

Nice start!
Waiting for more )

mike walsh 12-27-2018 06:59 PM

Excellent attention to detail Kristjan.

Keep the images coming.


Fledermaus 01-02-2019 06:54 AM

great job so far Kristjan love this super detailing work :thumb:


Glaurung 01-13-2019 05:09 PM

Than You, everyone.

Now the interior, seen on previous post has been painted and weathered. I made a few photos of radio also, because it sits on its locker and although its hatches are open, it will be sparsely seen. Sides of the hull are not glued on yet, because I plan to fill the side compartments with some random stuff, and these are not ready yet. Dashboard is another thing yet to be made. Otherwise the drivers compartment is finished.

Glaurung 01-26-2019 06:38 PM

Little update about my LVT build.

To complete the interior, I've also finished the dashboard with gauge cluster. Instead of going with AFV Club's clear sheet with dials, I chose decals from Archer Fine Transfers. These were covered with Micro Kristal Klear.
I added a sloppy cable as well inspired by some photos I have. It seemed to be nice detail to add.

Side compartments were filled with some random stuff - mostly jerry cans.

Next step will*be gluing the sides on, so the hull will finally be shaped up.*

Glaurung 01-28-2019 06:02 PM

Continuing with Water Buffalo.

So Finally the hull has been glued together. It fitted quite nicely, only problem there was that left hull side piece was warped and I did notice it just after it was painted and weathered. So there was no way I could use hot water to straighten it and only thing to do, was just to glue it on with patience, step by step and and to hope it will come up alright. And luckily enough, it did. Next thing to do was to add dashboard and cables to connect it with electric box.

Even though the sides fitted nicely, the belly side of the vehicle needed some filler and sanding. I added strip of resin welding just where front and aft part of the chassis joined together to sort out the gap and minor unevenness of the two parts.

I also started with side sponsons. AFV Club offers only two variants of additional armor - nothing at all, or full side plating. Since my vehicle was only partially armored, armor plates and fittings had to be scratch built. Bolt detail are still to be added to armor plate fastenings.
Track tensioner cover plates were replaced with Voyager ones and these went on, after some altering, just nicely.


Glaurung 02-10-2019 07:58 AM

Hi again!

As the hull is together and most of the interior finished, I'm continuing with roof.

I'm planning the middle section of the roof to be detachable, so I added 2 magnets on both sides of the cabin walls. Sometimes glue doesn't hold magnets enough and they tend to fall of, so I secured them with Tamiya Epoxy Putty. Roof itself has steel strips added to the respective corners.

To deal with the large part of upper deck, I first removed plastic fenders and then cut the piece in three.

Here are the upper section of roof glued on to model and Voyager etched fenders added.

And here are the fenders gently beaten up.

Fenders had to be secured underside using styrene angles on inner edge. In real life there were no such supports and I hope to hide these under the mud or something like that.

The detachable section has been glued together of five pieces. I added weld details using Archer's resin weld beads. I also replaced original bolt detail with flush screw heads on the edges. Headlight guards had to be made of scratch because the ones in Voyager set are 1mm too high and look off. Antenna base is from Aber too.

The inner side of the roof is detailed with welds and bolt heads. Its not accurate, but should be enough to look convincing.

And that's how it sits on its place. Even though the lower corners aren't held by magnets, the upper part holds it quite firmly.

The rear lights are molded in one piece to hull details and are opaque. I figured I could do better by drilling these out and replace them by transparent ones made of transparent sprue sections.

Here's the overall look to the model right now. I have few question marks concerning the antenna used on real vehicle. To make rear ramp openable with its cables, has to be figured out as well.


Glaurung 02-11-2019 04:26 AM

Shortly after the last update I posted here, I studied the photo further and discovered that the co-driver's hatch on my model is on the different position than showed on the photo. Looking the photo it appears to be on the same line to the driver's hatch, while on the model it is located slightly backwards. There was a slight inner dilemma, whether I should address this problem, or ignore it, but I felt brave and after a considerable amount of exacto-blade terror on the part, I relocated the hatch to the correct position. After that there were a lot of filling and sanding and then restoring the bolt heads and weld beads that were destroyed during the process.

On the photos the cut seems to be empty, but it is actually transparent super glue and there's no gap there.

mech 02-12-2019 09:52 AM

Hi Kristjan

I have been following your build and you are doing an excellent job on it.

By moving the co-drivers roof hatch forward you have made a true LVT-4 early. The roof hatch was moved back when the machine gun was put in and the view visors in the LVT-4 late.

I'm not familiar with the AFV club LVT series, but I read they are excellent kits. All my kits are Italeri LVT and I used them to scratch build a lot of different versions by chopping them up to do it.

If you like LVT's have a look at my scratch built LVT's in my web page.



Glaurung 02-13-2019 02:23 PM

Hi, mech. Thank you for your comment.

That's an excellent gallery you have there. And the fact, that most of the models are heavily or totally scratch built is hands down impressive. Very nice and thorough collection of different types of LVT too. The AFV Club kit is excellent in detail- and engineering wise and seems to be correct at most parts as well.

I have few photos of vehicles with early armored cab without machine gun, but with co-drivers hatch moved backward, so AFV Club was basically correct there. There were so many different cab variants and different additional armoring variants that it's somewhat confusing.

Since you seem to be familiar with LVT family, I would be glad if you'd give your opinion on co-drivers hatch on the BW photo above. All the early cab LVT's seem to have periscope and its plexiglass dome on the front of the hatch. But on the photo I 'm not able to spot it there. It seems to be in the middle of the hatch (like in later version cab) instead. Did they have different types of hatches on early cabs that had different periscope positions? Or is it possible, that the hatch was replaced with late type hatch for some reason?


mech 02-13-2019 05:07 PM

Hi Kristjan thank you very much for the compliment.

When I enlarged the picture to before distortion the periscope looks like it's in the middle and possible that the dome is on because it seem brighter like refraction of light, I can not say 100%.

I have some pictures from Holland of British lend lease that shows both hatches forward and domes on forward periscopes. That's both sides.
I have pictures From the TM with and without domes.
As far as I know when the machine gun was added the hatch was moved back and the the periscope was moved to the center of the hatch. that was to give the co driver room to look and fire the machine gun.
Did you know that the domes used to fog up some times and eventually they removed them, when I do not know.



Glaurung 02-14-2019 03:58 AM

Thank you, Ralph.

Here is one of the photos, taken in Italy, that shows vehicles, with early armored cab without MG, but the co-driver's hatch is moved back.

I didn't know about the fog problem of the domes, only seen that some vehicles have them removed. I'm planning to use both domes on my model however, because most of the Pacific theater vehicles I've seen, seem to have them on. And I like the look of the transparent domes as well of course.

Do you happen to have any photo, that shows early armored cab with hatches forward on the same line, but co-driver's periscope in the middle of the hatch? It would be really helpful to have something to prove this kind of configuration if I'm going to it.

mech 02-14-2019 09:08 AM

Hi Kristjan

I spent some time looking through all the pictures that I have and I can not find any pictures. It could have happened during the change over to armored. Not everything was documented with pictures or it could have been done in the field for some reason, replaced a damaged one by the crew from a badly damage LVT-4 armored.



Glaurung 02-28-2019 04:22 AM

Thank you, Ralph

So, moving on with my LVT.

I added driver's visor lever to the cab and two styrene hooks to the front edge of the roof to hold it down. So I'm finally ready to paint it and be over with interior part of the build. The first paint also reveals, how the hatch surgery went, so I hardly can wait for it.

I oxidized the inner sides of the fenders using Ammo's Photoetch Burnishing Fluid. The idea is that the paint on the edge is likely to wear off while moving roof on and off all the time. Oxide keeps it dark and is more durable than paint.

I completed both tracks as well. These are aftermarket AFV Club plastic tracks and they're very delicate and accurate. Only problem with these was that even though AFV Club had several spare links in the box, there were exact amount of linking pins, and as I lost one of those, I had one short to finish the tracks. I tried to contact with AFV Club and their European retailer, but with no result, so the easiest thing to do was to clone the missing pin myself.

I also added front additional armor plate and reproduced front mooring bollards using 0.8mm brass tube.

That's it for now.

Til' the next time,

Glaurung 04-10-2019 04:11 PM

Teeny tiny update of my build.

The roof of the crew compartment is internally painted and weathered. I airbrushed a coat of primer outside as well to see, if my surgery on the hatch needs some additional filling and sanding, but it seems okay to me.


Glaurung 04-14-2019 03:50 PM

Hi again.

There's a little update on the rear ramp. The purpose is to have the rear ramp movable so I could display it either way. For that I first drilled the hinges out, then I added magnets to hold the ramp closed in the up position. To deal with the cable, I made a little winch mechanism that is hidden in the left side of the hull. The winch is operated by a little crank just like on the real thing. I added 12 grams of soldering wire inside the ramp before I sealed it to make it heavier and therefore add some tension to the thread. The one I'm having on it now is temporary only for testing purposes - final one will be bit finer.

Thanks for watching,

Fledermaus 04-15-2019 08:46 PM

Hi Kristjan

Excellent work on the hatch surgery ,:thumb: the working hand cranck in a nice touch, great work there also. This is getting better with every update ,:cool: cant wait for more


mike walsh 04-18-2019 06:38 PM

I only echo Abdin's words,

Excellent effort on detailing and Painting Kristjan.



Originally Posted by Fledermaus (Post 107882)
Hi Kristjan

Excellent work on the hatch surgery ,:thumb: the working hand cranck in a nice touch, great work there also. This is getting better with every update ,:cool: cant wait for more


Glaurung 05-05-2019 01:24 PM

Thank you, Abdin and Michael.

So, getting on with cargo bay area. Grab handles and -railings has been reworked according to early model LVT's.

Voyager set has brass details to replace the kit's water boxes. However they appear to be little too wide and the assembly is bit tricky, so I decided not to use these. There plenty of photos of LVT-4's without these water boxes.

I moved pike pole to the back of the cabin roof and made new holders using brass tubes.

.30 cal and .50 cal machine guns are assembled as well.

And this is how the model looks right now:

Glaurung 06-14-2019 02:55 AM

Moving on with this thing.

I don't have many pictures of all the stuff I plan to place in the cargo hold, but here's some .30 cal ammo boxes to show:

However, there's a lot of stuff to paint and weather separately. Guns obviously, but gun mounts, .30 and .50 ammo boxes, jerrycans, hatches and drive sprockets as well:

Tracks have been primered and painted as well, but they look too silvery to me right now, so I'll have a light coat of dark metallic paint on them before weathering.

And the vehicle itself has a base coat on. There were a lot of doubt of what shade of Olive Drab to use, but I finally went with the Mig acrylics and it seems pretty good to me.

'til next time,

Glaurung 06-16-2019 11:49 AM

Hi again.

So I have the decals and final coat of satin clear added. I used Bison Decals 35187 sheet. Decals for my vehicle were bit oversized compared to the photo, but since I really didn't have any other option I decided to use these anyway.

Most of the separate stuff has been painted as well.


Glaurung 07-06-2019 08:29 AM

Hi again,

Washes and oils are added. I tried to make it a bit more worn and rusty than I usually do. These vehicles were made of mild steel and were used in sea water and moist environment. The photo of the real thing show a pretty faded vehicle as well.

And all the other little bits to this model. Of course I won't use all the oil cans here - it would look like a moving gas station - but I made few more to choose from later.


Glaurung 07-16-2019 04:04 AM

Tracks are now finally on. But these turned to be real nightmare to handle. After I applied oils and pigments, the tracks, they became very fragile and literally started to fall apart even to the slightest touch. After many moments of despair and thoughts of considering Friuls instead of this crap, I somehow finally managed to glue these on. Then I added superglue everywhere I could to reinforce the tracks as much as possible.

There's not much left any more. Cargo area needs some more work and then final touches.

Thank's for watching,

Glaurung 07-18-2019 06:49 AM

And It's finally finished.

USMC LVT-4, Okinawa, april 1945.

And some closeups:

Thanks for watching, Kristjan

mech 07-19-2019 07:36 AM

Hi Kristjan

I'm impressed, excellent job. Are you thinking of adding figures and making a diorama for it. I really like that you made the ramp workable and the removable hatch to see all the interior work.



My scratch builds web page

Glaurung 07-21-2019 05:56 PM

Thank you, Ralph.

I,m sorry to say that no figures or diorama are planned for this model and I really didn't concerned either from the very beginning. One reason for no diorama is that I planned to display it side by side with my LWS model that has no diorama either. It is somewhat interesting to see these vehicles together - two different approaches for a pretty similar purpose - german one is a total failure, as the US one is a success.


Fledermaus 07-25-2019 06:23 AM

Krisjan excellent work :cool: :thumb:


Gopher 07-28-2019 05:21 AM

Great work!

MZsolt 07-31-2019 01:22 AM

big wow
Kristjan, that is an amazing finish (again)! Glad to see that finally you won and not the crispy-cracky tracks :)
All along the build I admired the subtle details what you were doing - really great job, congratulations!
I have a question though. What color did you use for the gunmetal? I struggle with that always and yours seem so realistic.
Many thanks!

Glaurung 08-03-2019 12:52 PM

Thank you all for kind words.


Originally Posted by MZsolt (Post 107914)
I have a question though. What color did you use for the gunmetal? I struggle with that always and yours seem so realistic.

I use Testors Gun Metal for base coat and then add Humbrol Gun metal by brush. The Humbrol paint I have is as old as dinosaurs and is actually dried out. I pick few dried bits every time I want to use use this and with adding couple a drops of enamel thinner it'll be usable again.

MZsolt 09-02-2019 08:18 AM

Thanks for the explanation! I have testors metallic gunmetal, I use that with brush and with very little polishing but yours is far nicer :)

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