The VTLM (Veicolo Tattico Legerro Multiruolo) Lince is a protected multirole vehicle developed by Iveco Defense. Its design addressed the evolution of the conflicts which required to better protect the crew of light vehicles against new threats. Thus the VTLM is built on the basis of an armored cabin protecting the crew against shell splinters, mines and small caliber weapons.
Its design retained existing components like the engine and the transmission. This allowed to reduce the development costs and now facilitate the maintenance.
Prototypes were achieved in 2001 as a Iveco Defense private venture. As soon as 2003, the Italian army ordered 60 vehicles mainly to perform a series of tests. In 2004, a further order for 1150 vehicles in the armored version was placed.
The VTLM has a crew of 5. It can be armed with a MG up to 0.50 cal on a ring mount. In the Italian army, the machine-gun is the 7.62mm MG 42/59. A remote weapon station can be installed to increase the gunner protection.
The VTLM was deployed by the Italian army in Afghanistan and Lebanon. The other user countries are Belgium, Czech Republic, Croatia, Great-Britain, Norway and Spain. The export denomination of the VTLM is LMV for light multirole vehicle. In the British army, it is called CLV for command and liaison vehicle.
The resin kit is produced by MMK and comprises 101 resin parts, 2 photoetched parts sheets, 1 transparent plastic sheet, 1 decals sheet and a CD-ROM for the instructions. Since the kit was first released, MMK has uploaded to his website a full instructions booklet in the PDF format.
The cast is satisfactory even if in some places some flash remains. Some air
bubbles are present too. The engraving is decent. The main problem is the
accuracy. MMK simplified many parts and made huge mistakes like with the winch,
the bushguard and the front side windows shape.
The fit is not easy due to the lack of positioning holes or tabs. It is advised to test-fit the assembly before gluing the parts.
The photoetched parts are made by Eduard. The small color sheet mainly contains the safety belts and the dashboard. It also comprises the rear lights. The large sheet helps detail the exterior with several small grilles, some mesh for the bushguard, the weapon support and the antenna brackets.
The decals sheet is of high quality and enables to represent three vehicles in Afghanistan, one in Eufor service and one under the UN colors.
The CD-ROM contains several pictures of work in progress which is not enough for the average modeler. Fortunately, the PDF file is fairly decent. It comprises 14 pages. The first one presents a diagram with the kit parts. The both clear parts #C1 and C2 present on the diagram were not in the box. The two last pages are dedicated to the five possible decorations. The assembly is split into 53 steps.
It starts with the interior, that is the dashboard and the five seats detailed with photoetched safety belts. One must thoroughly clean the resin parts to facilitate the fit. The large pouring lugs at the back of the rear seats require some attention to be removed.
The main following steps deal with the assembly of the rear axle under the
hull floor. The protections #26 are hard to place. The marks molded on the
siderails do not match those on the protections. The flash on the wishbones must
be cleaned to allow a perfect fit. The Y-shaped parts #35 and 36 must be cleaned
too to fit on the positioning marks.
The exhaust pipe must be installed after the brake air bottles unlike what the instructions tell you to do.
The next step addresses the front axle which is more complex than the rear one because it is hard to reach the contact points of the suspension parts.
Now, it's time to
interior and glue the cabin onto the chassis. There are no marks to help place
the front seats. At the rear, the central seat is easily placed and the side
ones are glued using your logic to let room enough with the central one. The
reinforcing bar #9 must not be glued as per MMK instructions. It must sit at
mid-height of the front seats and not flush with the head-rests.
After gluing the floor to the cabin, you have to place two triangular parts #30 behind the rear wheels. Because of the siderails and the brake air bottles, I didn't manage to do this without cutting the parts in their length and then glue the both halves.
Once the cabin is assembled, the windows are set in place. MMK provides resin templates which are wrong shaped. So you have to take your own measures
before cutting the windows in the clear plastic sheet. Then they are glued with
white glue. Several small photoetched grilles are glued. There is no mark to
place the one close to the windshield and it is too short. The grilles at the
front of the hood are nicely etched but two of the resin holes which receive them are
too large. To conclude with the grilles, MMK gives only two for the bumper
instead of three.
The footsteps are ill-shaped and the anti-slip mesh is wrong.
The diameter of the tires is not right. So I replaced the wheels by new ones made by Djiti.
The next steps deal with numerous
photoetched parts. On my model, I only glued the mud flaps, the antennas brackets
and the wheels shocks stowage cage. The exhaust extension has not been used.
The antennas brackets are not the right shape. They should be longer and more angled to the rear. The wheels shocks cage is wrong too. Moreover MMK tells you to glue it the wrong direction.
The tail lights come as color photoetched parts. I preferred painting the inner lights instead of gluing the parts depicting them.
The frames around the windows are too thin. I gave them more thickness by adding styrene strips. The frames for the front windows are slightly too short. So there is a gap you need to fill.
On the right side of the front bumper, a photoetched tubular antenna support is glued. The resin antenna base is too thick to fit the hole. Some sanding is required.
The assembly is close to completion.
The ill-shaped rear mirrors are glued. The headlights parts #C1 and C2 missing
in my box, I replaced them by spare Centurion headlights which I sanded to get
the right diameter. The small lights are clear sprue bits.
The bushguard is oversized. It has to be shortened both in height and length. I didn't not shorten mine enough in height. The winch support is wrong too. The two support bars should be parallel. The lower bar should be attached to two eyes welded to the siderails. MMK also omitted these eyes. Consequently, the ends of the lower bar "rest" in the air.
To finish, you just have to build the weapon mount. It comes as a photoetched part which shape is once again wrong. I chose notto use any of the three MGs provided by MMK (a M2 MG, a MG 42/59 and a PKM).
The decoration is for a UNIFIL VTLM.
On a white base, a wash of Tamiya grey panel line accent is applied in the
recesses. The product is diluted as I found it a bit thick to properly flow out.
The weathering is done with various shades of earth and sand sprayed mainly over
the lower part of the vehicle. Some mud spatters were made with an old toothbrush.
The UN letters come from the decals sheet. The registration plates were picked in a Echelon set dedicated to Leclercs in UN service. They come in two parts, a photoetched plate on which you apply the decal. I used two plates free of numbers and added the required ones.
I only mentioned the main problems of the kit. Many details are wrong or omitted. Moreover, depending on the user country, there are more differences. The model can serve as a base for an Italian vehicle but is not correct for a Belgian one. It is advised to have a good documentation to upgrade or modify this kit.
As a conclusion, if this model resembles a VTLM, it really is disappointing.