|KIT:||Trumpeter 1/144 LCM (3)|
|NOTES:||Can only be built as American LCM|
Over 8,000 LCM (Landing Craft Mechanized) were built in American yards between 1942 and 1945. LCMs were designed to transport a single tank or other vehicle from the attack transport directly to the beach under assault. The LCM could be either carried on ship davits, or loaded on the decks of LSTs. A key recognition feature of the LCM is the open grid construction in the upper part of the bow ramp. The LCM was used by both the US and Britain in the D-Day landings. The LCM(3)s were also used in large numbers in the Pacific Island campaigns and the crossing of the Rhine in Germany.
The LCM was originally designed to carry the US Army’s standard 30 ton Medium tank- first the M3 Lee, and later the M4 Sherman. However, as the Sherman gained more armor and bigger guns as it evolved, its weight was found to put too great a strain on the boat when beaching and unloading. At the Normandy landings, Shermans were landed from larger landing craft—the LCM was used to carry lighter vehicles or troops. The craft could carry 60,000 pounds of cargo, or 60 fully equipped troops
With a length of only 50 feet, the LCM(3) did not have any accommodations for the crew. The crew consisted of four men—a coxswain, and engineer, and two crewmen/gunners. The boat was powered by twin diesel engines, driving twin props, and it also had two rudders. As a result, the boat was fairly maneuverable. For armament, the LCM(3) carried two .50 caliber machine guns.
The LCM(3) was superceded by the LCM(6). The LCM(6) was basically a “stretched” LCM(3), with an additional six feet added amidships. There is a photo in the USNI book showing an LCM(3) that had gotten the extra six foot section spliced in the middle of the boat. The LCM(3) was used in both Europe and the Pacific, while the LCM(6) was used by the Army in the Pacific. The LCM(6) was used to carry Shermans. The LCM(6) was also used postwar, until replaced by the LCM(8) in the late 1950s.
The kit comes well packed in a sturdy box. The one large and one small sprue are packed in a plastic bag, and the one piece hull is in a separate bag. This kit looks like a miniature version of the 1/35 kit, with an appropriate reduction in the number of parts. The model is a little over 4 inches (10.5 cm) in length.
The kit consists of two sprues, with a total of 48 parts. At first glance, the kit looks like a scaled down version of the 1/35 scale kit. In this small scale, there is no fret of PE parts, which does keep the cost down. A small decal sheet provides a number of letters and numbers to allow the builder to do a variety of boats.
The instructions consist of a single A4 page folded over, printed front and back. There is a sprue diagram, and five assembly steps. Each assembly step is clearly illustrated. There is no color or marking information included in the instructions-except perhaps for the box top art.
The moldings are of very good quality. Because the parts are smaller, there are no ejector pin marks. The small hull is molded in one piece, but has some over-scale welding detail.
The bow ramp can be posed in either the closed or open positions. The kit does not include the thread for the cable—the instructions tell you to “provide for oneself”. The pilothouse detail looks nice, and the two .50 cal machine guns are well rendered, especially considering the scale.
There is a small decal sheet with a variety of letters and numbers. The decal sheet is a scaled down version of the 1/35 scale sheet, but without the UK decals. It looks like you can make a variety of boats just using the kit decals, but there are only markings for US boats.
Landing craft were generally marked with the hull number of the transport they were from. At the Normandy landings, a lot of boats were just towed across the channel, and carried letters identifying whether they were US or British, in addition to a number. The kit decals include the “US” letters for a Normandy boat.
Also included on the decal sheet are the markings for a boat with “P77-A.” A quick web search showed this was the hull number for the Attack Transport USS Crittenden (APA-77). The Crittenden entered service late in the war, and was used at Okinawa and the occupation of Japan. (The same markings are found in the 1/35 scale kit.)
Highly recommended. The detail level is very good, especially when considering that this is a much smaller scale model than the original 1/35 model. For the price, these are nice little boats—I added a pair to my stash, maybe they’ll make nice accessories someday for a model of a larger 1/144 scale RC model of a large transport.
This kit lived up to my expectations—it is a downscaled version of the really nice 1/35 scale kit. It is reasonably well detailed, yet inexpensive enough to make it a nice accessory for use on a larger model.
Trumpeter has also released the LCM in a 1/72 scale model. I would expect it to be as nice as its larger and smaller cousins.
Allied Landing Craft of World War 2, US Naval Institute Press.
Allied Landing Craft in Action, Squadron/Signal Publications.
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