Darren Baker takes a look at the 2nd release of the LARC-V in 1/35th scale and this time we get the Modern Version of the model from Gecko Models. Here is hoping they decide to release versions in service with other forces.


The following introduction is as supplied by Gecko Models.

Development of the LARC-V (Lighter, amphibious re-supply, cargo - 5tonnes), started during the 1950s. It had a aluminium hull, and was powered by a Cummins V8 diesel engine of 300 horse power. This gave it a maximum land speed of 30mph, and a water speed of 7.5Knots. The 144 gallons of fuel carried, allowed an unloaded land range of 335miles, and a sea range of 110miles. It could climb a 60% gradient. The LARC-V entered service in 1963, and from 1965 was used in the Vietnam War, where it was used to re-supply ammunitions to the Da Nang airbase. Nearly 1,000 LARCs were built, and although about 500 were lost at the end of the Vietnam War, the remainder lasted in service for a long time, and were useful enough for the US Navy to introduce a service life extension program (SLEP) which saw nearly 50 survivors rebuilt with new hydraulic transmission, new electrics and on board systems. The first of these re-built LARC-Vs entered service during 2006. LARC-Vs are/were also used by the armed forces of Argentina, Australia, Germany, The Philippines, Portugal and Singapore. Surplus examples are used by NGOs for disaster relief and by private operators who use them for fishing and duck tours.


This offering from Gecko Models, is packaged in a flip top cardboard tray and an additional card lid featuring the artwork. The packaging did its job during postage, as despite crush damage the model itself has arrived as intended. The sprues inside the box are packaged in several plastic bags, with clear parts and decals protected in separate Ziploc bags. An examination of the kit parts, reveals no concerns other than the requirement for care when removing small pieces. 

The hull of the model is a single piece moulding which I believe must be slide moulded, as I believe it would be hard to provide the moulded detail in any other way. Most of the guts of the vehicle are hidden away, to protect them from salt water and make the vehicle more streamlined. Propulsion on the land is via 4 wheel drive using wheels and tyres that are the height of the average man. Propulsion in the water, is provided by a large centrally mounted propeller turning the propeller at the rear of the vehicle. The propeller is protected on the land, as it is enclosed in a casing with expelled by the prop going past a vane mounted in a box structure. The prop-shaft itself is exposed, but being inside a  a recessed arch which should provide sufficient protection. The wheels of the model, are all injection moulded and multi part, this has enabled a good level of detail, and in a form that will please most  modellers. You need to remember that there is no suspension, as that is the purpose of the tyres. The tyres are weighted which is a nice inclusion on a military vehicle that is usually overlooked.

Where the upper and lower halves of the hull meet, a rubber bumper seal is present and being moulded as separate parts, could I believe be added after the main painting is done and so making the detailing of the rubber easier. The upper deck is provided in four main parts, with the loading area being split into two parts. The engine cover and exhaust, are well represented with separate hatch covers, although obviously no detail is within. The loading bay area of the vehicle, now has rigid side protection rather than the canvas sheeting used in the original version. Looking at images of the vehicle, it would appear that these side panels are not always in place, and as such it is unclear to me how they are attached. At the centre rear of the loading deck is a robust metal column, which I believe is for securing the load. At the front of the loading deck is a large storage box, which butts up against the cab. 

The front portion of the vehicle is well represented, with good and minimal used of photo etch parts, three jump seats at the rear. The pilots position has decals provided for the instrument dials, and where the cabling runs down from beneath the console - However, I have seen more wiring present than is indicated/provided here. Good quality thin plastic glazing is provided not only for the windows, but also lighting lenses. The roof hatch on the cab is a separate part, as is the hatch furniture. Gecko Models has gone to a lot of work to provide fine parts, with great finesse, such as twin wiper blade arms made of no less than three pieces. But, it would appear, that some thought has gone into making the model as buildable as possible, regardless of ability. 

Provided with this release, is a rigid inflatable that is made up of a high number of injection moulded parts. That will provide a high level of detail, but will require care to make sure all of the parts correctly locate, and I strongly advice that you follow the instruction closely, and allow cement to cure before rushing through with the build. Once the inflatable horseshoe is assembled and the floor is in place, there are other nice details provided by Gecko Models, most notably the carrying handles. Four paddles are included in the kit. There is a large cylinder mounted at the rear of the inflatable, which I believe is provided as an air propulsion unit. 

Two finishing options are provided for this model, both of which are basically a tan colour, with no details provided on the units they represent. An on-line search will reveal much more colourful vehicles in service with the Australians, and you may wish to present your model as one of those. However, I suspect that Gecko Models will release alternate options in the future.


There are not that many changes between this release and the original of the LARC-V, however there are enough to warrant the new model, and the inclusion of the inflatable is a nice touch. I will say that I wish Gecko Models had provided a pilot figure, as it is something they do exceptionally well, and would have added to the appeal of the kit. The other two crew members, could realistically be obtained from any set that you prefer. A well packaged, well designed and appealing release of a model most would not have expected to be made available. Makes you wonder of the bigger brother may be on their way!



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