JGSDF Light Armored Vehicle

I’d wanted to build one of these ever since riding around in one while in Iraq. Besides being a handy little vehicle (I got to take one for a spin) these are just about the coolest Mad Max looking gun trucks on the road.

Tamiya has done a fantastic job combining a terrific subject with superb engineering and excellent attention to detail. I built the kit primarily stock box with the exception of a few bits from the Lion Roar photo etch set. The kit really didn’t need them to be a first class kit but they did save me time fabricating some tiny bits and bobs.

The real LAVs are painted in a dark green but in Iraq between the dust and intense sunlight fade to a lighter shade (at least the ones I saw did). Tamiya XF-51 Khaki Drab replicated this very well. I post-shaded with this color lightened with XF-57 Buff and heavily thinned with Tamiya lacquer thinner.

The kit comes with the notorious Tamiya signature die cast chassis. It really didn’t present a problem here like it does on some other kits though it does make the undercarriage and interior a little less detailed than it might have been otherwise. The one hitch was copyright data that is prominently displayed just inside the rear hatch. I wanted to display this door open so I had to cover the anachronistic markings since removing them from the metal would be nothing but a big pain. This was accomplished with a folded sun shade made from tissue paper. We used sun shades like this everywhere in Iraq so I thought they would look right at home on this vehicle. I placed similar tarps on the bustle rack for good measure.
The decals are a huge part of the look of this vehicle. The large Japanese flags on the doors jump right out and give the truck a distinctive look. Like all Tamiya decals I found them to be a bit thick and prone to silvering. Luckily, since most of them were perfectly square I could trim them very closely. With a heavy dose of Micro Set they settled onto the surface nicely.

The interior is sparse but since I was building the vehicle with all but the back door closed that didn’t bother me too much. The exterior is quite nice and only needed a few handles and the window pistons to make it pop. I did add a sling seat for the gunner. I made this from brass wire and lead foil.
After applying the decals I gave the whole thing a wash with black artist oils thinned with mineral spirits. I followed this up with mud on the underside and in the wheel wells made from ground pastel chalk and selective dusting with pastels to pick out the highlights.


  1. Excellent work, and an inspiring post!

    I'm about to build the same kit and am currently looking for reference material, superdetailing kits etc. Thanks for the heads-up about the Lion Roar set!

  2. Hi , thats great work.... i search this modell 2Years ago... where i can by this ??? Excuse me for my english ... Who can help me?? Greats Thomsen

  3. Hi ... yes excellent work! Where i can by this ? I search the model about 2 years. Please helb me ... sorry for my english...