With the new Trumpeter LAV-25 kit just hitting the shops many a modeller will be looking at the other major users of the type being Australia (ADF) with the ASLAV-25 (and variants) and Canada with the Bison/Coyote (and variants) which have a number of major and minor differences from the LAV-25 of the USMC.
The main external and visual difference is the large Michelin XML Tyres used on the ADF and Canadian vehicles with the ASLAV also using an exhaust similar to that on the Bison which is shorter than that on the LAV-25.
The wheels are cast in a light cream resin with very good rim and central hub bolt details but don't include the tyre valve recess. The sidewall detail is nicely done but the ‘Michelin' embossing is a little heavy while the correct tread pattern is also well defined.
The standard of casting is very good with just a relatively small casting block to be removed that only leaves a small scar that can be positioned at the ground contact to hide effectively. There were a few small air holes either side of the casting block but these should be well out of sight once the model is finished.
One thing missing is the spare wheel which is fitted to most Canadian Bisons/Coyotes while the ASLAV-25 has a dedicated spare wheel mount of the rear door and you can't really make an ASLAV, Bison or Coyote without it.
To fit the wheels to the Trumpeter kit you will need to add a small axle to the back of the resin wheel hub as the Trumpeter wheels use an axle on the wheel to fit into a hole in the axle arm while the Italeri kit has the axle arm fitting into a hole in the back of the wheel, but this minor alteration is very easy and shouldn't cause any issues.
Conclusion:These wheels have well done tread and rim/hub details with virtually no cleanup required for quick and easy replacements and will certainly look good on the model. The one drawback with the set is the lack of ninth spare for as mentioned you can't really make an accurate ASLAV, Bison or Coyote without it and you will have to find one from somewhere for your model.
A quick comparison with the Maple Leaf Models Michelin XML Tyres (Set #MLM1001) sees the sidewall and embossing details better defined on the MLM wheels with the rims on the MLM wheels also having the valve stem included.
The MLM wheels do require a lot more cleanup with the inside shoulder detail compromised in a few places due to this while the HF wheels are quite clean and free of any blemishes but overall the detail on the MLM wheels is better defined after cleanup.
Of course the big difference is again the ninth spare wheel in the MLM set with the HF set only having the eight main wheels. Both sets of wheels are the same diameter and rim size and will certainly look the part as these ‘fat' wheels make the Aussie and Canadian vehicles look “meaner” than the thinner tyres of the USMC LAV-25s.
Thanks to the Australian Hobby Fan distributors JB Wholesalers for this review set.
Page Created 29 August 2005