DeSimone's LVT

Home | 1/6th Vehicle Projects | Photo Stories and Dioramas | James DeSimone Vehicles | My Custom and Kitbashed figures | The Armory | Dad's WWII Pics | Related Links

A Review of James DeSimone's LVT


All pictures below are thumbnails.  Click on them for larger pictures.

Click on picture for larger image
Lee Emery better not see this civilian in the LVT!

Click on picture for larger image

Click on picture for larger image
A jeep will fit but is still a bit to large for the LVT

Click on picture for larger image

Click on picture for larger image

Click on picture for larger image
A size comparison with a SOTW jeep

Click on picture for larger image

Click on picture for larger image
Desimone's LVT in his 'Playroom'

Click on picture for larger image
Stickers included with Desimone's LVT

Click on the links below to see other custom LVT's!

fusilier1944's LVT

Plastic Panzer's Customs

Johnny's LVT

LVT Spotted at the Orlando FX 2005 show

Adoda's LVT

USMC Wayne's Tarawa LVT

Treadhead99's Tinian August 1944 LVT



James Desimone is known for being a vintage collector of GI Joe.  He has a real love of the toy that goes far beyond what most collectors do, it borders on obsession and James himself is the first to admit that.  One of the things that James does for income is he creates toy vehicles.  His first vehicles were mostly copies of the early 1970s toys created by Irwin and also Hasbro's Desert Jeep but he has since been coming up with original pieces like his PBY Pibber, Chinook Helicopter and his most recent The Batmobile (how cool is that?).  The process he likes to use is called Rotomolding and is very similar to the blow molded vehicles that Sunny Smile made.  While his vehicles are not of the accuracy and detail as the 21st Stuart Tank or the Scout Car, his vehicles are very rugged toys.  Desimone vehicles are made to be played with and can be kitbashed and accessorized.  Desimones LVT is also only $75.00 vs the original 21st Century cost of the Stuart of $200 and the Scout Car of $120.


If you are interested in getting one of these, you can contact James Desimone directly and either pick it up at one of his shows or he will mail them out.  He does not have online ordering capabilities but here is his email and website.

Click here for James Desimone Website

James Desimone's Email Address is:

Review of the LVT


First question is most likely, what model LVT is this?  There is a clue on the sticker page included with the LVT.  It says LVT-4/911, but although there are many very good LVT websites on the net I was unable to verify with photographs as to which verision it is.  I can say I recall an early Airfix model kit done in 1/76th scale that looked a lot like this one.  Since I could not pinpoint the exact model, I was not able to get proper dimensions for an LVT either so I cannot gauge what the correct scales are.  I can say this is a very large vehicle, bigger in fact than the 21st Stuart which is correct in 1/6th scale.  The Stuart measures 29" long and 15" wide.  This LVT measures 35" long by 17"-18" wide.  In 1/6th conversion that means a vehicle 17.5 feet long by 8.5 to 9 feet wide.  I may be wrong but either this actually pretty close or not to far off in size accuracy.  During my visit at Desimones house this last weekend it was mentioned that shipping restrictions were considerations in size. 


By the nature of the molding process used this is not that accurately detailed.  However I must say it is very impressive in that this has to be one of the most well thought out and created vehicles.  With all it's faults in accuracy, it is very well molded and made to stand up to lots of hard play.  In simple WOW factor, it's way up the chart and would make a very impressive display or diorama.  The color used is pretty close if not dead on for the USMC Forest Green.  I also asked James if this can float.  He told me he tried it in a pool with a 25 pound weight in it and it did float much to his amazement.  I have not tried this myself yet and I doubt it would look as realistic, as the real one was nearly flush with the water and the rear door in Desimones is not watertight but then again floating is something most will not try.  Still its nice to know it can if I get the urge.


Most of Desimone's recent vehicle releases require assembly but this one is already assembled and ready to play with.  The rear door is fully functional.  A simple latching system could be made to keep it closed and will probably be one of the improvements I do to this vehicle first.  Also included is a .50 caliber machine gun mounted in the front of the vehicle.  There are mounting spots in several more spots and would just require drilling a hole in the proper spot to do so.  The tracks are working also and snap in place.  These are not the signature tracks with the cupped edges for water propulsion but that does not detract from the look of this vehicle at all. 


The real LVT could carry a jeep or 18 to 24 fully armed soldiers depending on the model.  This particular model was used in both the Pacific and Europe for beach landings and to cross the Rhine River in Germany where lack of useable bridges made a water crossing necessary and were in fact quite a surprise to the Germans.  I tried to put a SOTW and a Hasbro Willys jeep in the back but the interior is just not long enough to do so.  The 5 Star Jeep might fit though without a gas can or spare tire in the rear but I cannot say that for sure. My pictures show a SOTW jeep in the back and next to it for size comparison.  As you can see it can even hold the average sized Chihuahua.  Eyeballing this vehicle I can say the ramp is not quite done correctly and rear looks a bit odd but again that does not detract from the usefulness at all.  From the front or at an angle, this vehicle looks awesome.


If it were not for the sheer size of this monster, I would consider getting another one.  Two of these with Marines pouring out the back would make a dynamic diorama.  However with my vehicle collection nearing (or maybe even way over by now) 100 vehicles, space is a major consideration.  One very good point in favor of this vehicle is you can store a ton of figures in the back so it would not only take up much less space on the shelves but look even better doing so.  Crewing my vehicles is one method I use to limit the space it takes up.  Being molded of the type of plastic that this is, the problem of different types of plastic fusing together is eliminated.  If you are like me, you put a crew in your Stuart to display it.  Be sure you remove the crew from time to time as the boots and other parts will literally fuse with the plastic the Stuart is made of.  This is a common problem with plastics and created melt marks on lots of vintage toys.