by: Gino P. Quintiliani [ ]
introductionTrumpeter has come to the aid of modern builders with their new 2.5 ton LMTV truck. The kit looks to be a great addition to modern stables.
FMTV/LMTV HistoryThe Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV) is a series of fourteen variant vehicles based on a common chassis, which vary by payload and mission requirements. The Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles consists of tactical wheeled vehicles based on a common truck cab, chassis, and internal components and two tactical trailers. The FMTVs, all automatic, come in 14 variations of 2.5-ton cargo and van models and 5-ton cargo, tractor, van, wrecker, tanker and dump-truck models. Eighty percent commonality of parts — same engines, transmissions, drivelines, power trains, tires, cabs — in the new trucks is expected to save the Army millions of dollars in maintenance costs. Lighter-weight construction will cut fuel costs dramatically. The vehicle’s cab-over design — in which engine, fluids and hydraulics are all accessible in one place, under the cab — makes regular maintenance much easier.
The FMTV family is built by the Stewart and Stevenson Services Company of Texas. It is based on the European Steyr design. In October 1991, the Army awarded a 5-year contract, valued at $1.2 billion, to Stewart and Stevenson for the production of 10,843 vehicles. The FMTVs will replace all M35 series 2.5 ton and M900 series 5 ton trucks currently in the inventory.
The M1078 LMTV, Standard Cargo Truck is designed to transport cargo and soldiers. The M1078 has a payload capacity of 5,000 pounds (2.5-ton) and to facilitate loading/unloading, the bed side rails are mounted on hinges and can be lowered. The cargo bed can is equipped with a bench seat kit for transport of soldiers. The bench seats are constructed of a non-wood material and attach to the cargo bed side rails. The seats can be folded down and stowed when not in use. Soldiers are assisted in climbing in and out of the cargo bed area with the aid of a ladder stowed on the vehicle when not in use. A canvas and bows kit is available to keep soldiers and cargo protected from the elements. The M1078 can be equipped with an optional electrically operated MHE crane and self-recovery winch kit capable of fore and aft vehicle recovery operations. The winch has 308 feet of line capacity and 10,000 pounds bare drum line pull at 110% overload.
The Kit The sturdy cardboard box contains 8 main sprues in light gray plastic; a small decal sheet of markings for 2 vehicles; 5 soft rubber tires; 1 small PE fret; a bag w/a sprue of clear parts; and a one-piece molded cab shell. All the above items are individually bagged to keep them from being damaged during shipping. The more delicate parts on the sprues are additionally wrapped in foam to protect them from breakage as well. The multi-fold, 19 step instructions manual and a two-sided, color Paint & Markings guide for 2 vehicle options (1 in sand and 1 in NATO camo) round out the box.
The instructions are clearly written and have good illustrations for parts placement location. The assembly steps follow a logical sequence of the frame; suspension and drive train; fuel tank, battery box, and storage boxes and other small items attached to the frame; wheels and tires; cargo bed; cab, and finally bringing them all together into the final assembly of the truck. There are no paint colors called out throughout the assembly, nor are there any decals called for.
The decals look to be in perfect register with very thin film. 2 marking options are given for a NATO camouflaged vehicle or Sand colored vehicle, both from the 109th Engineers stationed at Ft Leonard Wood, Missouri.
The Parts The individual parts on the sprues look to be sharply molded and free of any flash. The five larger sprues consist of three sprues of suspension and frame parts, one of cab parts, and one sprue for the cargo bed. There are also three smaller sprue which hold the wheel parts and two sprues of benches for the cargo bed. The wheel parts have the nice feature of having the stud holes open on the brake drums, which will easily facilitate leaving a wheel off by adding small rod or wire for the studs. The wheel sprue also includes parts for 6 complete wheels, leading me to believe the M1083, six-wheeled, 5-ton version is in the works as well. There is also a spare wheel without lug nuts and open lug holes on another sprue.
The PE fret is small, but very nice. It includes parts for the mud flaps, a small screen for the air intake, and multiple pieces to detail the crew seats for the cargo area.
The soft rubber tires are well molded and represent the originals well. They do have the prominent side wall stiffening bands on them. Fortunately, unlike the Trumpeter LAV kits, the word “Michelin” and size and rating codes are noticeably added to the sidewalls and look very nice.
The frame and running gear detail looks very good. It looks as though all the individual parts and pieces such as gear box, transmission, transfer case, etc are represented. Shock absorbers, leaf springs, and other suspension parts are well molded as well. The bolts and fittings for the frame are crisp and present too. The bed and its fittings are also well done. There are multiple small PE parts for the details on the troop seats in the rear as well.
The cab exterior is very well done as a one-piece shell. However, the interior details suffer due to this. Most major interior parts are present. The lacking detail is on the cab sides and doors. They are flat plastic, where the actual ones have arm rests, window cranks, and door handles, along with other small details.
Overall the kit looks very nice. The frame, bed, and cab exterior look to be very nicely detailed. Assembly looks straight-forward and with no noted problem areas. The only area I see as lacking is the cab interior. There is no detail on the inside of the doors or inner cab walls. Separate, removable doors would have been nice as well. A full engine and tilt cab like their Chinese Tank Transporter would also have been a nice feature.
Conclusion I highly recommend this kit. The parts are well molded and free of flash. The PE will give it the extra details to make it stand out. I see no major flaws in the kit, its dimensions, or details (with the exception of the cab interior). With minimal work, it looks like it will build into an accurate replica of a M1078 LMTV. Another winner for Trumpeter!