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USMC Wayne's Tarawa LVT
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ACTION FIGURES AT WAR

USMC Wayne's Tarawa LVT

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DeSimone’s LVT-4 is decidedly undersized (due to shipping considerations) but let me say…wow!

It’s still a monster, sturdy and lightweight, a completely adequate starting point for additional modification, as well as for something pretty special for hauling my 2nd Marine Division over Betio’s coral atoll.

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The LVT-4 was first used at Saipan in 1944, and was by far the most numerously produced version of the LVT, with 8,351 units delivered.

LVT-1 and LVT-2’s were used at Tarawa. The LVT-4 was a remodeled LVT-2, with the engine moved from the rear of the vehicle to behind the driver's cab, yielding a larger cargo area and allowing a rear loading ramp to be installed.

The engine was also moved forward and a large ramp door was added in the rear, so troops didn't have to disembark by jumping over the side and cargo could be loaded/unloaded more easily.

The LVT-4 was first used at Saipan in 1944, and wa

My DeSimone LVT was purchased via Buy It Now on Ebay, for $99. UPS shipping added $33.00. There were three .50-cal MGs included, but no ammo or mounts, and they need a bit of work to be put to use. Maybe later.

In the meantime, I borrowed a couple items from other pieces to “complete” my LVT for this season’s series.

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The .50-cal came from my modern Hummer, via my Stuart and 21C 82nd AB jeep, where it originally came from. The lifejackets are from Cotswold and were most recently hanging off the seats of my Navy destroyer twin 40mm cannons.

The rest of the stuff is from the local hardware store, my parts box, or the www (the pin-ups in the troop area).

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This winter, I figure to cut out the crew compartment, “open” the hatches, add a couple seats for the driver and radioman, and put the motor in back.

It’ll still be undersized, but a closer approximation to an LVT-2.

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I don’t know what the maximum GVW is of this baby, but I only loaded her with 10 Marines, to make it easier to shoot a couple Gates of Hell, Tarawa 1943 episodes. I imagine it could easily hold 20 fully equipped troops.

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As I was between photo stories, I thought I'd complete the modifications I originally planned, when I first got this puppy.

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Since my LVT is supposed to be an LVT-2, I added two inches to the back end, and put the engine back there, where it belongs.

I also borrowed the .30 cal from my Stuart...until I can find another one.

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DeSimone's LVT is supposed to be an LVT-4, but it really is a semi-fictional piece. My engine compartment is also semi-fictional, as the engine compartments I've seen are all flat.

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I opened the crew compartment, added seats, and now have a place for the driver and radio operator.

Since the crew is probably typically slobs, they threw their life jackets on the floor of the troop compartment.

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and the final, overall, result, with my "Paintshop" background in place.

In one of my Tarawa posts, someone commented on my Paintshop techniques.

Not me. Mine is all smoke and mirrors.

So that this...

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Becomes this

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This...

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Becomes this

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and this...

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Becomes this

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