WWII US Navy LCM (3) Landing Craft
1/35 Kit No. 00347
Review by Terry Ashley
The Landing Craft:
The LCM (Landing Craft Mechanized) saw more than 8,500 were built in American yards between 1942 and 1945. As Britain had no tank-carrying craft lighter than LCT (Landing Craft Tank), LCMs were also readily adopted by the Royal Navy.

LCMs could be either carried on ship davits, or towed across the English Channel. Due to the danger of swamping in rough seas, most LCMs were towed across the Channel and not loaded with troops until the morning of D-Day. LCMs could be readily identified by their unique perforated bow ramp.

As tanks grew larger and heavier, the LCM(3) was developed with a longer hull and greater buoyancy, which allowed a 30-ton tank to be carried. They could also handle up to 30 tons of largo or 60 troops. The LCM(3) had a crew of 4 men and was armed with two 50-caliber machine guns.

The LCM(3) was not designed for the crew to live aboard and it remained dependent upon a parent ship over long periods of time. As well as taking part in the D-Day landings LCM(3)s were also used in large numbers in the Pacific Island campaigns and the crossing of the Rhine in Germany.

The Kit:
While Italeri were the first to announce a plastic LCM(3),but Trumpeter are the first to release their kit which follows the recent Verlinden resin and etched metal offering (#1869) for enough LCM(3)s to stage your own beach landing.

The kit consists of 161 parts in light grey plastic plus 22 etched parts in thick gauge brass with a length of twine and a short length of wire and plastic tubing plus the decal and instruction sheets.


The standard of moulding is excellent as we have seen from recent Trumpeter kits with only a minimum of pin ejector marks mostly in places that won’t be seen after assembly with the kit including a full hull and alternate parts to build a US or British LCM(3).

The large hull is moulded in one piece with separate screws and rudders and features some nice weld seam detail on the hull sides but lacks the typical dimpled panel effect often seen of serving LCM(3)s but this can easily be added using the technique described by Marcus Nicholls in Issue 102 of Tamiya Modelling Magazine.

The well deck has a full length floor section with centre bolted inspection covers and raised non-slip ridges while the walls have excellent rendered weld seams and bolt head detail on the round covers and separate outer reinforcing braces for good detail definition. The rear well bulkhead has the four separate US style central steps/grips or a very delicate ladder for the British version which requires you to open up the appropriate locating holes in the bulkhead.

At the front is the large ramp which has the main ramp with separate front section with raised ‘bow’ plus a four part hinge assembly that will operate once assembled if you are sparing with the glue. There are additional detail parts to add to the ramp as well as the two side winch assemblies with rotating pulleys (again if you don’t glue them) and the winch cable from the twine supplied.

The upper deck which goes along either side of the well deck and rear engine compartment has excellent tread plate pattern included as well as separate bollards while the raised rear deck section has again excellent tread plate pattern and bolt head details with additional separate parts for the inspection panels hand rails and nice open air funnels. The wheel house is made up of the four sides and open roof with a separate entry door but there are quite a few pin ejector marks on the inside of the walls which should be easy to remove and on the interior is the main control box with engraved instrument dials and wheel, there is also separate parts for the US or British version.

The four large lifting attachment points on the hull sides are from etched metal for nice details of the holes and additional etched reinforcements on the lifting eyes.

A standout feature of the kit is without doubt the two .50cal machine gun mountings, with the pedestal mounts from two plates of etched metal with lightening holes included along with the large gun shields. These have to be bent to shape with two subtle bends and a full sized template is included in the instructions to get the right amount of bend.
Added to the excellent pedestals are two of the nicest plastic .50cal machine guns I’ve seen in a kit for a long time and easily the equal of the recent Academy .50cals, the detail on the guns and the barrel cooling jackets is excellent with separate ammo feed cover, rear firing handles and cocking lever as well as a multi part ammo box again with nice details plus a short length of nicely rendered .50cal ammo belt to finish off what will be very impressive assemblies when completed.


There are numerous other details added around the sides and upper decks to finish off the model including six nicely rendered rope bump stops plus as a bonus two German angle iron beach obstacles to add to your beach diorama.

The decal sheet is well printed with a selection of typical white markings but no specific details are given for applying the markings with only one boat shown in the instructions and in colour on the box sides, all markings are for LCM(3) used during the D-Day landings.


While there aren’t a lot of parts to the kit it has plenty of details included and as mentioned the superb machine gun pedestal mounts and .50cal MGs are almost small kits in themselves and the inclusion of the alternate parts for a US or British versions will see the kit have wider appeal. The full hull will no doubt see many a diorama with the boat loaded onto an M26 Dragon Wagon as depicted in the MMIR Dragon Wagon Book.

It is difficult to see how Italeri are going to better this kit, but we will have to wait for the final say but this new kit from Trumpeter will certainly be a winner.

Highly recommended.

The Sprues:

Instruction Sheets
Click for larger view
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WWII US Landing Craft
in action #4017

Squadron Signal Publications
ISBN 0-89747-451-1
Dragon Wagon
A Visual History of the US Army's Heavy Tank Transporter 1941-1955
Ampersand Publishing
Issue 102
LCM(3) Diorama
Thanks to the guys at Rainbow Ten for the usual prompt delivery of the kit.

Page created 8 June 2004

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