Coming in 44 different configurations, Ford’s SuperDuty Trucks are built on separate platforms than the smaller F-150. A Triton 5.4-liter V8 or a 6.8-liter V10 Engine powers these heavy-duty trucks. SuperDuty trucks are available in Regular Cab, four-door Super Cab, and Crew Cab configurations. The profile and appearance is similar to the smaller F-150 trucks, but larger. There are currently twelve generations of this venerable truck spanning the years 1948 through 2009. Vajra Miniature’s F-350 model truck fits into the eleventh generation of Ford F-Series Trucks, built from 2004 through 2008. The Instruction Booklet introduces the modeler to the F-350 SuperDuty COMBATT variant of this truck, and I'll delve into it below.
Brief Introduction to the F-350 SuperDuty COMBATT
Since early 2000, Ford Motor Company has submitted structurally modified and enhanced civilian vehicles to pass a series of desert field trials laid out by the US Army as part of the COMBATT (COMmercially BAsed Tactical Truck) program. COMBATT’s goal being to acquire modified commercially available trucks to replace aging vehicles currently in inventory. The US Army sought to obtain proven civilian designs that were safer and reliable at a lower cost to obtain and maintain over 4x4 vehicles in their inventory. Ford Motor Company participated in the program, along with DaimlerChrysler and General Motors. Though the idea of using civilian-designed trucks for their fleet isn’t new, the US Army approached the COMBATT program a little differently this time around – they explored the advantage of being able to lease the trucks. Leasing allows the US Army to turn in well-maintained vehicles for new ones to keep a more modern fleet, and the truck manufacturer to in turn sell these trucks to the civilian market.
Ford’s submission was based on their popular F-series pickup trucks – the F-350 SuperDuty Crew Cab. In March 2008, the Iraqi Police purchased 2,600 trucks, of which 300 were F-350 SuperDuty pickups, to bolster its patrol fleet in the provinces. This release from Vajra Miniature is representative of the Ford F-350 SuperDuty COMBATT Pickup Truck.
The Ford F-350 COMBATT has structural enhancements and performance improvements raising the truck’s allowable GVW (Gross Vehicle Weight) to 12,700 lbs. It has protective armor panels added to the Underbody as a safeguard for operation in rough terrain.
Ford Motor Company fitted enhanced axles and differentials – the strongest currently available; electronically controlled high-performance dampers (Shock Absorbers); the suspension is traditional spring steel with added airbags and a CTIS (Central Tire Inflation System). The CTIS system is tied to both the Tires and the Airbags on the suspension to automatically control the ride according to the terrain the truck is navigating through.
The wheels on the F-350 COMBATT are mil-spec 37-inch Tires with run-flat capability. The Ford F-350 comes in several wheelbase sizes, 137-inches standard through 158-inches equipped with an extended Cab. The Wheel Track is 80-inches. The Fuel Tank also varies with the configuration of the Body between 29-gallons and 38-gallons.
In the Cab, Ford Motor Company equipped the truck with an advanced GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) Navigation System, night-vision capability and a collision warning system akin to modern back-up warning sensors to aid a driver reversing a vehicle. The F-350 COMBATT can be fitted with Troop Seats and a Canvass Tilt for covering the rear cargo box.
Under the Hood, the F-350 COMBATT has a V-8 Turbo Diesel Engine with either a 5-speed automatic or 6-speed manual Transmission. It is a 4x4, all wheel driven vehicle, capable of handling a 40-degree side slope and climbing a 60-percent grade. The F-350 COMBATT has an upgraded, military electrical system that provides 12V, 24V and 110V AC power. The truck is designed to ford up to 30-inches of water, and operate in temperatures from -50 degrees F to 120 degrees F. The F-350 COMBATT can be fitted with a Winch Kit that can be rapidly mounted to either the front or the rear of the truck.
This truck truly lives up to Ford Motor Company’s legend “Ford Tough!”
What You Get in Vajra Miniature #FF35002
Though the Vajra Miniature kit Instruction Booklet introduces you to the Ford F-350 COMBATT, many of the real truck’s features are internal and underneath the outer body and not readily visible. I included a couple of photos of a COMBATT modified truck, so you can see some differences.
I initially got the impression that this was a miniature of the COMBATT modified truck, but I’m not sure if I am interpreting Vajra Miniature’s labeling #FF35002 as such. The esoteric GPS and CTIS Systems, as examples found on COMBATT trucks, are not rendered in this model, and the Tires are of civilian norm. The modeler will either have to incorporate their own parts for rendering a COMBATT-style F-350 SuperDuty Truck, or wait for aftermarket parts to become available for use. I don't intend to knock Vajra Miniature for not producing the COMBATT-equipped Ford F-350 Truck in this review.
The F-350 series of trucks from 2004 through 2008 (Eleventh Generation) have similar exterior features, and come with a bewildering assortment of trim and fitting options. The Vajra Miniature kit looks much like a 2004-2007 edition F-350 SuperDuty truck with long bed, with contours and wheel rim package that would be commonly used in a foreign setting like Iraq. I had a little trouble identifying all the details to state the year of manufacture. The Dashboard is what's muddying the water for me. Looking closer at the Vajra Miniature truck, it doesn’t have the characteristic channel running down the center of the Hood found on SuperDuty trucks, and the contour of the Front Fender flare doesn’t extend up high enough on that panel, but overall looks the part. A modeler could easily accomplish these cosmetic changes, and they don't detract from the overall miniature's appeal.
Resin: Cast in grey resin, the parts in my example were free of air bubbles, warping and came with minimal flashing. For the most part, the resin pour gates appear to be easily manageable, save for the massive one on the upper body tailgate and on the tires. The tire tread pattern will have to be scribed back in, as too much of the tire’s surface will be affected when the resin gate is trimmed away. The large gate at the rear of the Truck Body (#1) needs to be carefully cut away too. Challenging, though not terribly difficult, the pour gate along the side of the Underbody (#34) calls for the modeler to carefully trim around the fender wells in the process of removal. I plan to take a slow approach here. The Truck Body’s resin allows the modeler to expand it slightly to insert the Underbody – at the front. The rear fender well at the cargo box, however, is more rigid. Some test fitting is called for here to mate the two properly.
Vajra Miniature's Ford F-350 SuperDuty Truck The Ford F-350 is made up of 50 pieces, with three milky-clear resin parts for the two Tail Lights (#4 & #5) and an interior roof insert panel (#20) that has the two Visors and rear cab glass panel all on one piece. I'm inclined to replace the rear cab glass with a different medium when I build the kit. There are three water-clear plastic parts for the Windshield (#W1) and the Door Glass (#W2 & #W3) for each side provided, very thin and blemish-free.
The Cab interior is fully detailed by Vajra Miniature, crisp and sharply rendered. The Seats (#22, #23, #24 and #25) are nicely done, including detail for the seatbelts. I was particularly impressed with the interior Door Panels (#30, #31, #28 and #29) that come with all the detail cast in, including the B and C Pillars with Shoulder Belts.
Goodies Vajra Miniature provides a lot of extra gear and equipment for the modeler to position in the cargo box of their Ford F-350 SuperDuty Truck, or alongside it in scenic settings. I’m sure modelers will find some of the gear familiar, like the pioneer-style backpack that looks just like a Verlinden Productions item, but appreciate it just the same. All are sharply cast and will paint up and finish very well. You get a couple of Spare Tires (that you will want to hide or cut away the mounting lugs), Traffic Cones, a Shovel, various Packs and Weapons, and Water & Fuel Cans.
Decals/Clear Sheet: There are no Decals included with this kit. An enterprising modeler can source an adequate Dashboard Gauge display photo and shrink it down to size for adorning this miniature. The same would apply for the Ford and F-350 Badges found on these trucks, which are understandably not provided in the Vajra Miniature release.
Instruction Sheet: The review sample I received from Vajra Miniature is an early release of the kit, and did not have the Instruction Sheet included. A short note to Vajra Miniature was quickly replied to with link to their color instructions via the Internet. Excellent Customer Service from Vajra Miniature in this instance.
There are sixteen pages in their Instruction Booklet, with color pictures throughout. One page is dedicated to introducing the Ford F-350 SuperDuty Truck as modified for the COMBATT program. Simple part callouts are included, citing part locations on a completed miniature. No assembly sequence or instructions are otherwise given, but I do not anticipate difficulties assembling the miniature. Situations I encounter will be documented in the follow-up construction of this kit.
My initial impressions on Vajra Miniature’s Ford F-350 SuperDuty Truck are very favorable. Having scratchbuilt the Ford F-450 in this scale, I can appreciate the effort and detail Vajra put into this effort. They should be commended for the result. I intend on continuing this review with a follow-on build up of the kit, citing any problems or issues encountered along the way. I don’t anticipate a rough ride.
I recommend this kit for modelers of all skill levels familiar in working with resin kits. It will appeal to both Civilian and Military vehicle modelers, as it fits neatly between either genre. You get a good assortment of extra gear for setting your miniature in a variety of locals and situations. Reading the second page of the Instruction Booklet might whet your appetite for modeling a F-350 COMBATT version of this truck, and it is possible that not all COMBATT truck types have all that extra equipment hanging out all over the place, but you won't be disappointed with what you presently have in hand with Vajra Miniature's kit. Thank you to Vajra Miniature for their swift assistance with the Instruction Booklet and for providing this review sample.
A Build Log will be started soon in the Forums to evaluate the kit construction.
Highs: Generous detailing and extra Gear and Equipment for showcasing the miniature in scenic and dynamic settings.Lows: Odd choice of medium for rendering Rear Cab Glass. Options for modeling COMBATT-modified truck not present in kit.Verdict: Great effort and impressive results. This model appears to be a fun build and potential solid finish.
Our Thanks to Vajra Miniature! This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.
About Jim Lewis (GunTruck) FROM: CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES
I love American AFV's from all eras and researching Vietnam-era Gun Trucks and US Army Pentomic and Atomic Battlefield Ordnance from the 1950's through the 1960's. Avid Sci-Fi fan and modeler as well - Star Wars, Space:1999, and Star Trek are favorites. Owner/Master Miniaturist - GunTruck Studios....
Ford F-350 SuperDuty COMBATT Truck with Canvass Cover and Troop Seats in Cargo Box.
Ford F-350 SuperDuty COMBATT Pickup Truck
Photo provided by Vajra Miniature
Photo provided by Vajra Miniature
Photo provided by Vajra Miniature
Photo provided by Vajra Miniature
Vajra Miniature's Body Shell. No warping and minor cleanup called for. The detail is crisp and sharply rendered.
The resin pour gate in the Tailgate area is quite substantial. I plan to exercise some caution here in removal during construction. The scribing for the Doors is deep and will call for a little cleaning out, but are sharply done. Depressions in the Doors accept resin parts for the Handles - nice touch from Vajra Miniature.
Underside of the Body Shell shows mounting points for the Interior components.
The Underbody is nicely done, and likewise shows no sign of warping. Care is called for in removing the large resin pour gate running the length of the part.
Nicely rendered Underbody details adorn this Vajra Miniature release. The Underbody slips neatly inside the Body Shell. Highlights here include closed-off wheelhouses - which are like getting Sponson Floors included in a Sherman model kit.
Packing Bags containing brass rods and clear parts for the "glass" in the model truck. I almost tossed the Bag with the water-clear Windshield and Cab Door Glass - it looked like nothing was in there. Also, you get a Bag containing lengths of copper rod - for a yet-to-be-determined purpose...
A lot of goodies in here for the truck - amazingly undamaged.
All the extra Gear and Equipment came in this Bag.
Most of the truck parts here. I was impressed that there was no damaged items in any of these Bags. The kit originally came with several thousand tiny styrofoam BB's to cushion them - that static-bonded to any and everything...
Parts #18 (Brakes), #21 Cab Interior Floor, #32 Dashboard, #25 Rear Bench Seat and #2 Front Bumper. All very nicely cast and detailed. It is a shame the Doors are molded integral with the Body Shell, the kit is detailed well enough to be opened up.
#6 Tailgate, #30 & #31 Cab Interior Door Panels - Rear, #28 & #29 Cab Interior Door Panels - Front. I really liked the detail cast here, including the Shoulder Belts on the B and C Pillars.
#39 Muffler/Exhaust Line and #35 Front Differential/Axle assembly. These appear to me to be standard F-350 equipment, and not the beefier units equipping the COMBATT trucks.
#19 Wheels. Minimal flash to clean out of the lightening holes in the rims. All the tires are cleanly cast, round, no warpage and well detailed though a little square in profile. The resin pour gates span a long enough area on the tire tread that will call for rescribing after removal. There's too much tire tread surface left and the remnant will be visible.
#8 Rear Bumper, #10 Grill, #22, Jump Seat, #23 and #24 Cab Seats, #13 & #14 Headlight Units, #33 Steering Wheel, #27 Pedal Cluster, #41 Tailgate Handle Insert, #42 "F-350" Badges for Front Quarter Panels, #26 Arm Rest for Rear Bench Seat, #15 Windshield Wiper Arms. Comprehensive.
#11 & #12 Exterior Rear View Mirror Units, #9 Front Loop Panel, #16 Door Handle Inserts, #17 Cab Roof Console/Rear View Mirror Unit, #18 Brake (extra), #38 Rear Drivetrain, #40 Front Wheel Arms, #37 Tie-Arm, #36 Rear Axle/Differential and #7 Radiator Panel.
Spare Wheels, Assorted Kitbags (some might be familiar), Traffic Cones and Water & Fuel Cans.
Decent Weapons & Fixtures. Cots, Shovel and some more Cans.
#4 & #5 Taillights and #20 Cab Roof/Rear Cab Glass Insert. I am inclined to replace the rear glass portion of #20 later on.
I almost threw these away - as I didn't initially see them in their Bag. Very, very thin, you get a Windshield and glass for the Doors on each side of the Cab. I think Part #20 would be better done in a similar fashion/material.