Landing Craft, Tank LCT (5)

Black Cat Models, 1/350th Scale, Resin

Reviewed by Devin Poore, June 2019

The LCT(5) (Landing Craft, Tank, Mark V), was a follow-on to the earlier versions, Marks I-IV. Originally a British design, with the LCT(5), the United States became involved with the design and construction. Nearly 500 Mark 5s were built during the war, mostly during 1942. Used to deliver troops and armor, they served in both the European and Pacific theaters. Superceded by the Mark 6 later in the war, most Mark 5s were disposed of at the end of hostilities in 1945, most being scrapped, but with a few making their way into the private sector.

Black Cat Models has released two versions of the LCT: the Mark 5, covered here, and a Mark 6, what will be in a follow-on review. The kits are multi-media, with resin cast hull, tanks and treads, and smaller parts done as 3D printed resin, photo etched brass, and even a turned-brass flagstaff. A sheet of decals and comprehensive instructions are also included.

The hull comes as a single piece, cast-resin. It appears to have been cast in a two-part mold, as detail is excellent on all sides, even down to the miniscule lifering straps. My example does have one or two minor blemishes, one looks to be a bubble/void that has come to the surface, and the other looks as if the piece suffered slight damage either from being dropped, or maybe from rattling around during shipping. Both are extremely minor. There are two small casting gates on the bottom of the flat hull, that will sand off easily. 

Several print and web sources state the length of the LCT(5) at 114 feet. That converts down to 3.9" in 1/350th scale, which is exactly what the hull measures.

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The bag of resin pieces contains two more part for the ship itself. The steering shelter, or bridge if it were on a larger ship, is a single piece of cast resin. Attached to a small casting block, all stubs are on the flat bottom of the structure, and thus easily sanded smooth. The resin parts bag also has the ship's bow door, with a casting block likewise attached to the flat bottom of the piece. 

The remainder of the cast resin pieces are for the M4 Sherman tanks, and the M7 Priest mobile howitzers. There are 4 Priest hulls and 2 Sherman hulls. Each comes with two sets of treads for each hull, which are slightly different between the two chassis, so take care to match up the right ones (the instructions point them out). All of these small pieces are on easily-removed casting blocks, and are as finely detailed as the ship's parts. I do have several small pin-holes in the tread castings, but all of those are on the tops, which will be covered by the chassis skirts, so they won't be an issue. 

The remainder of the kit's resin are made up of 3D printed parts. These are extremely fine, and have to be seen to be believed. I've been working in CAD design and printing for a few years now, using SLA, DLP and CLIP based liquid resin printers, and I've never seen anything like these Black Cat Models parts. The 20mm barrels are .010" in diameter, and the vent cowls are so thin as to be translucent. There are also no layer lines at all, so finish sanding won't be an issue. The only issue is that most of the smallest parts, such as the 20mm guns, ventilators, chocks, etc. are cast on a single, small wafer, which may make removal tricky. The print supports are very thin, though, so it shouldn't be an issue to get a blade in there to cut them free. The only real issue I see with the quality of the parts is on the two M4 Sherman turrets, which have a bit of warpage on the gun barrels. 
A single sheet of brass contains the ship's railing and a couple of ladders. There are other pieces on the fret that are not called out in the instructions, and thus noted as not needed for this build, so I assume I'll see them during the coming Mark 6 review. 

Also included is a small bag with a turned brass flagstaff from Master Models. This piece is so tiny that I first missed it. (seriously, it's barely visible in the photo the to right) 

Instructions are on 8 pages, front and back, small format. The cover has a brief history of the ship , and a duplicate of the box cover art. The following page has an inventory of the kit's parts, color coded to denote if they are cast resin, printed resin, or brass, and denote the number of each included. Actual assembly steps are covered on only two pages, but that seems ample. There are no written instruction, but color-coded CAD perspective drawings, that show the placement of all the pieces. The final three pages of the instructions give plan and profile drawings of ship and armor with color recommendations and decal placement.

Decals are provided on one small sheet. US codes and hull numbers are provided for the ship, as well as small white stars for the armor.

Black Cat Models has released a unique subject, and done an amazing job with it. The resin cast parts are very high quality, and the 3D printed resin accessories are the best I have ever seen. Barring any unforeseen issues, this model should build quickly and easily, and look fantastic when complete. I also want to thank Black Cat Models for making sure that the delicate 3D printed pieces are well protected, double-sided-taped into a plastic blister pack, so that they don't slide around during shipping. 

Highly recommended.

Thank you to Black Cat Models for the review sample.