|KIT:||Airfix 1/72 LCVP Landing Craft|
Along with the C-47, the jeep, the DUKW, and the Liberty Ship, the LCVP was one of those utilitarian vehicles that formed the backbone of the Allied war effort. The LCVP was designed to carry 36 men or a jeep and 12 men, directly from a transport directly to the beach, unload the cargo, back off the beach and return to the transport.
The design on the LCVP is credited to Mr. Andrew Higgins of Higgins Industries, Inc., New Orleans. Mr. Higgins designed both high speed patrol craft and landing craft of various types. It was Mr. Higgins landing craft though, that made the many D-Day landings possible in both theatres of WW II. The LCVP itself was based on a design Mr. Higgins had perfected in the 1930's. His Eureka model work boat was intended for use in the shallow swamps and bayous of Louisiana. The boat could operate in 18 inches of water while running over vegetation and debris without any damage. Special design features of the hull kept aerated water under the bow reducing friction and swept objects away from the boat preventing fouling of the propeller. With the addition of the bow ramp, the LCVP was complete.
Stephen Ambrose, in an interview with Dwight D. Eisenhower, recorded:
'Andrew Higgins..'..Eisenhower said..'..is the man who won the war for us.' My face must have shown the astonishment I felt at hearing such a strong statement from such a source. Eisenhower went on to explain, 'If Higgins had not designed and built those LCVPs, we never could have landed over an open beach. The whole strategy of the war would have been different.'"
Stephen E. Ambrose D-DAY JUNE 6, 1944: THE CLIMACTIC BATTLE OF WORLD WAR II
Over 23,000 boats were built during the war. Boats were constructed primarily of oak, pine, and mahoghany, and were powered by either a 250 HP gas or 225 HP diesel engine. The diesel engines were preferred by many crews, because of the reduced risk of fuel-fed fires. However, the gas engine had a better power to weight ratio, and was able to run at high speeds for longer periods of time. The LCVP was armed with two .30 calibre machine guns, and was crewed by four men—a coxswain, engineer, and two crewmen.
LCVPs were carried by Attack Transports and LSTs. In addition to its assault duties, the LCVP was used as a tug, liberty boat, water ambulance, ferry, and as a lifeboat. LCVPs were used in all the amphibious operations in World War II. On transports the LCVP could be carried on deck or in single to three-tier davits. The LCVP could be launched when loaded, but only from appropriate davits—most boats were launched empty and loaded by troops climbing down the cargo nets- in the image seen in so many books and films. In late war operations, their use in beaching was simplified: driven hard ashore, they would be nudged off the beach by trucks.
In the 1990s, the Higgins Boat Project was undertaken in the New Orleans area. As a tribute to the men and boats of WW2, a new Higgins boat was built from original plans. A google search will turn up a lot of information…..
This is a new mold from Airfix, first released in June of 2004. The kit was in short supply at first, as most of the kits went into the D-Day combo sets. The kit consists of 83 parts on four sprues, molded in a light gray, with a nice decal sheet and a small coil of thread.
Overall, the moldings look to be a bit soft—the detail just isn’t as sharp as the detail found on the Trumpeter LCM(3) kit in this scale. I was also surprised at the amount of flash on some of the parts, and the rather prominent mold lines on a lot of the smaller parts. The kit does feature a one piece hull, which features some recessed panel lines on the hull that aren’t on the Higgins Project boat.
The detail parts are more of the same- soft edges, details are sparse or missing. The guns are rather plain, as well. The kit includes three figures—a coxswain, and two gunner figures in the same pose. The gunners do have separate arms, so their poses can be varied a little. The figures are typical Airfix, with big sink marks in the chest and rather indistinct faces.
The kit includes a pair of small stands, and some beach obstacles for use in a possible diorama. The kit also includes a small coil of some of the smallest diameter thread I’ve ever seen in a model kit-very nice!
The decal sheet looks to be well printed, and the decals look to be very thin. There are markings for two boats:
(1) PA 26-19, a boat from the USS Samuel Chase, APA-26. The instruction sheet describes this as a boat from Omaha Beach, which is correct, as the Samuel Chase was there. This transport was manned by the US Coast Guard, and took part in a number of landings, including North Africa, Southern France, and Okinawa, so you could say the boat is from those landings as well.
(2) PA 33-4, a boat from the USS Bayfield, APA-33. The instruction sheet describes this one as a boat from Utah Beach, which is correct as well. The Bayfield also participated in the landings in southern France, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. (The Bayfield also served in Korea.)
Recommended. While not as sharply molded as the Trumpeter Landing Craft kit in this scale, the kit still looks to be quite buildable. It is also the best LCVP kit available in this scale, as the only other choice before this one was released was the limited run kits by Armageddon and MAC , at about $35 retail. This kit is quite a bargain, at about $6 in the US. (Squadron is currently selling them for less than $5.)
I hope someone like White Ensign releases a PE set for this kit- you could really build a sharp model with some upgrades.
Higgins Boat Project: http://www.higginsboat.org/
LVCP Page: http://www.geocities.com/eco16thinf/LCVP.html
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