ET Model is a relatively new company from China that is focused on the production of PE and resin sets. Since the release of the LAV-III from Trumpeter, we did not have to wait long for an AM company to release a PE set for the kit.
The kit contains a three eight frets of photo etch, plus 2 resin jerry cans, 3 antenna bases, and a tow cable nicely packed in a plastic bag. The PE frets are taped onto small pieces of cardboard to protect them from damage. The frets are 3 large, 3 medium and finally 2 small ones.
The two jerry cans have a resin pour plug located at the rear which will have to be removed, but the handles and caps are nicely-cast.
The PE can be used to update the following parts of the LAV-III:
• Suspension cover
• Spare wheels basket
• Rear basket support
• Both pole racks
• Tool rack
• All inside details for the hatches
• All turret basket grills
The suspension cover
The suspension cover is well-rendered, and the thickness of the PE part is better than the plastic one provided by Trumpeter. Moreover, the details of the bolts are presented, and are pretty close to the real ones.
Spare wheels basket
The attachment points of the basket are done in PE, but you have the choice of using the ones from Trumpeter provided in the kit, or the replacement parts from ET Model. The ratchet strap-down is also provided to secure the spare wheel. It is worth noting that the ET Model upgrade gives you the choice of 3 different registration plates for the LAV-III. The details are good, and they will easily replace the horrible one in decals.
Rear basket support
Eight pieces of PE are used to replace the plastic parts G29 G15 G17. The details of such support are outstanding, thought some work is required to achieve these nice results. The rear antenna mount is provided as well. Surprisingly, the rear box is only upgraded with a top cover and some tie-downs. The two racks for the jerry cans are better depicted than the one from Trumpeter, though it also provides PE pieces for two small tie-downs.
The ones present in the Trumpeter kit are molded in one piece, therefore, the pole quantity cannot be changed or removed entirely as seen in vehicle in the field. The ET Model PE part replaces easily the plastic one, so you will need to fill up these racks with 1 mm diameter rods. No jig is provided to cut such rods, and they can be tricky to make all the same length. But the results will be great, since you can leave these racks empty. Much more freedom for the modeler is always welcome.
The plastic tools suffer from lack of details, and the thickness of such parts is way too big. So the PE ones provided in the upgrade is much better, both in terms of dimension and details. The extensive use of tie-downs will improve the final appearance of the rack, too. But special work is required to remove the plastic part, since mention of it is missing in the instruction set. A final touch is the small lock provided for better realism.
The winch and pulleys
The main components of the winch can be replaced by the upgrade’s PE parts. All pulleys and attachment points are done in different parts, and the final aspect is really outstanding. Overall this is a “must-have” element, but again, it requires extra work.
All the hatches can be detailed with small PE parts like grab handles. For the driver’s hatches, the periscopes can be done in PE. Additionally, the upper protection plate is provided.
Turret basket grills
Trumpeter provides these details in PE, but the ET Model ones are better in term of details, though the difference is pretty slim. It’s up to you to decide which ones to use.
Besides all these detail upgrades, a tow cable is provided with the correctly-sized attachment point. ET Model’s cables for the grenade launcher are smaller than the ones from Trumpeter, and a complete ammo box is provided for the MG, along with all the light clusters. Of course, all engine cover grills are provided by ET Model, and numerous tie-downs can easily replace the plastic ones in the kit. The hull number is embossed on a very small engraved plate, but the final touch is a small maple leaf provided as a stencil.
The instructions are printed onto three A4-sized sheets.
The set is quite impressive in term of quality, and it will address all the issues from the Trumpeter kit. It is not for beginner, and the instructions could be better. It is a pity that no aluminum barrel is provided, nor turned metal grenade launcher.
A Build log
has been started on the forums to evaluate the set further.