Cutting Edge Models
Australian ASLAV-25
Conversion Kit

Cutting Edge Models 1:35 Scale
Review by Terry Ashley

The Set:
With the immanent release by Echelon Fine Details of an Australian ASLAV decal sheet, I thought I’d invest in this resin conversion set from Australian company Cutting Edge Models (nothing to do with the US company of the same name) designed to convert the Trumpeter LAV-25 (kit #00349) into the ASLAV-25.

The set consists of 51 parts cast in white resin plus a sheet of plastic card and a small decal sheet with markings for three vehicles.

Decal Sheet
Cutting Edge Models

Also included is a CD ROM which starts with an impressive Flash movie with Flash menus to get to the content which starts with an introduction from Paul Handel and Brett Green, a good start one thinks.

The CD has a history of the LAV-25 evaluation leading to the Australian acquisition of the ASLAV based on the Canadian Bison as well as detailing the modifications on the ASLAV. Also included are three view drawings showing the ASCAM scheme as well as separate .jps files on the CD which you can print out to use as guides for painting.

There is also a step by step Flash guide to assembling the relevant parts of the Trumpeter kit and adding the resin parts as well as scratch building other details as indicated such as the water screw guards.

Also included are a few reference photos of the ASLAV-25 which mostly come from the Anzac Steel website as does the history and development info which I presume is the extent of Brett and Paul’s involvement?

As well as the impressive CD presentation there is also a Flash driven Cutting Edge Models website with all the bells and whistles to compliment the conversion set.

So apart from the CD ROM and Website let’s see what you get in the conversion set.

The 51 parts are cast in a white resin which makes it hard to see the details so care is needed when cleaning up to not remove too much of the part in the process.

Most of the parts are cast onto a large flat sheet which means you have to carefully sand the excess resin away on a flat surface such a glass but care is again needed not to remove too much resin. The quality of the resin casting is average at best with quite a few air holes, especially the wheels which we will get too shortly.

The level of detail is also very basic with parts such as the Driver’s hatch being devoid of any detail at all, no outer latch, no bolt heads on the hinges and no detail on the inside if you want to show this open. The large exhaust muffler is again very basic in detail completely missing the small securing brackets on the right side and the wrong shape of the lower bracket as well as the pipe being too short plus the head lights are cast face down meaning when you have removed the excess resin the front is completely smooth lacking any lens detail at all as well as the mounting post in the wrong place.

Resin exhaust and Driver's hatch compared to real items
note missing details on muffler and hatch

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Cutting Edge Models
resin kit headlight (left) after removing from backing sheet
note, complete lack of detail and large air holes to be filled

Cutting Edge Models

Most of the other parts are marred by one or more air holes and the three jerry cans have the grab handles filled with excessive resin and it will take quite a bit of effort to clean out the handles and would be easier to cut them off and use the handles from the Trumpeter kit.

The MAG 58 7.62mm Machine Gun supplied also has excessive resin flash to be cleaned and has a number of air holes making it not that useful.

A feature of the ASLAV-25 is the rows of tie downs along the hull sides and included in the set is a two part template/jig that can be used to make the rows of tie downs from thin wire. But be quick as the resin jig will soon be destroyed in the process of pressing the wire into the soft resin recesses but you should be able to make the four rows needed.

Also included is the large covered storage box seen on the right hull of ASLAV's serving in Iraq and this was about the only part in the set not marred by air holes.

The Wheels:
And so to the largest parts of the set, the wheels; the ASLAV is fitted with the wider Michelin XML tyres with a more aggressive tread pattern than the standard LAV-25 wheels and you are provided with nine resin wheels but unfortunately these are next to useless.

For a start the wider rims for the Michelins result in the centre hubs being recessed into the rims and the resin hubs are just reproductions of the standard Trumpeter kit wheels completely missing the recessed hubs and the tyre details around the shoulder are again completely wrong for the Michelins being those of the standard LAV-25 tyre.

The wheels are cast in a flat mould resulting in the back sides being smooth and devoid of any detail with separate thin discs added with the locating lug to fit to the kit axles and this not only results in square corners of the tread but no inside wheel rim detail at all.

The tread pattern is riddled with large air holes and in some places there are more air holes than tread blocks with every wheel having air holes to different degrees.

So with the wrong hub and side wall detail and the lack of rear rim detail plus more air holes than in a price of Swiss cheese the only real use for these wheels is to throw at the neighbour’s cat when it strays into your yard.

Images of 4 resin wheels showing the many air holes and flat insides
Also note incorrect hub profile and lack of detail on tyre shoulder.

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Comparison with the Hobby Fan (left), Maple Leaf Models (middle) and real ASLAV wheels (right)
Note correct hub profile and shoulder detail

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I won’t waste my time going through the assembly as the set is simple not worth the effort I’m sorry to say and if as much attention had been given the detail on the parts as well as the casting processes that has been given to the CD and Website we would be far better off.

The only positive of this set is you can use some parts as patterns to make your own or to detail up those provided to an acceptable standard but for the price you would expect a bit more basic detail and then you have you so source accurate wheels elsewhere.

You would be far better off using either the Hobby Fan (set #HF 804) or Maple Leaf Models (set #MLM1001) Michelin XML tyres which have the correct hub profile. But here are a couple of issues with the HF and MLM wheels in that the ASLAV tyres don't have the Michelin embossing on the sidewalls but it's easy enough to cut this off plus a bit of old fashion scratch building to get a better result.

Not recommended, save your money.

Resin Parts
Click for larger view
Cutting Edge Models
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Thanks (I think?) to my Credit Card which I can hear screaming in the background for the review set.

Page created December 22, 2006

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