US Dozer Le Tourneau
Kit: WES 48086
Caterpillar RD-4 Bulldozer
Wespe Models offers their Caterpillar RD-4 bulldozer in three scales: 1/48, 1/50, 1/72, and 1/87 (See Click here for additional images for this review
below). The Caterpillar RD-4 was introduced in 1936 and widely used in civil and military construction. The U.S. Army designated the vehicle was Tractor, Light, Caterpillar Tractor Co., Model D4
, with an Ordnance number of G-151. An RD-4 bulldozer weighted almost 8 tons, was powered by a 4-cylinder 44-bhp engine D4/D4400 312 CID diesel (with a 2-cylinder 10-bhp starter engine) driving a 5-speed transmission with clutch/brake steering and mechanical braking, and rode on 13-inch tracks. The business end featured the R.G. LeTourneau WC4 Angledozer blade. This blade was raised and lowered via cable control. A version mounting a crane was also produced. Other widely used Caterpillars bulldozers were the D-6, -7, and -8. These machines made possible the rapid building of bases and airfields essential to the Allied victory in World War 2. Some were armored against small-arms fire.
This Wespe Models 1936 Caterpillar RD-4 is made with 76 parts:
- 71 buff color resin
- 4 metal rods
- thread for the cable.
The above does not include a small baggie of spare parts that is also included. The parts are separated from their pour block and packed loose in a zip lock bag. Two Xeroxed sheets showing the parts are in the box. These parts are well packed in a sturdy full flap tuck top box. A photograph of the kit is secured to the lid.
Most of the parts are crisply cast. I found no sink holes, air holes nor noticeable seam lines. Only a few parts have flash and it is not significant; it is thin and snaps off easily.
However, the tracks have areas that did not completely cast. Perhaps these can be convincingly sealed with putty or ‘super glue’, or hidden by weathering with mud. Additionally, the back of the dozer blade looks like it did not cure well and has hairline cracks along the inside of the frame. I do not see them from the front.
A sticker on the box states the parts are cleaned for assembly. I assume this means obvious flash was removed. Itty-bitty flecks of resin fell out of the parts bag and are on some parts, such as the D4/D4400 diesel. They should wash off easily.
Instructions, Painting, Markings
The instruction sheet is a piece of paper with an exploded diagram of the assembly process. Some parts are multiples -- like the four headlamps -- and the number of individual castings is noted for some, but not for others. Nor does it mention that some parts attach on both sides. This isn’t a problem for experienced modelers but could frustrate low-timers.
Building the model seems fairly straightforward. Most components are shown as sub-assemblies. No assembly sequence is suggested, nor is there any painting guidance.
Caterpillar’s signature color is yellow, while a military dozer would be olive drab or the appropriate service color.
The kit does not include decals or information on markings.
Wespe Models have produced a model with remarkable detail. Fine detail is delicately cast. Bolts and rivets adorn the chassis that appears convincing heavy. The D4400 engine is an impressive casting; a gas filter, manifold, air filter, and a couple other accessories are separately cast. That big LeTourneau blade has fine teeth cast onto the bottom.
The operator seat looks pretty comfortable! Nine separate control levers, pedals and sticks are provided to control the dozer.
The tracks are four pieces per side, with curved segments around the sprockets and idler, and straight pieces in between. The track has detail on both sides.
Wespe Models has provided an exciting vehicle for your quarterscale military or civilian construction needs. Great detail and good casting suggests this will be a quick build. A minor issue is that there appears to be a discrepancy with the designation of this model; photos show that the configuration of the gantry structure and winch makes this bulldozer a D-7. The D-4 configuration was in the shape of a ‘V’, with a large winch on the rear. (Please see a discussion here: Armorama discussion
) This fact does not detract from this model, though. The main concern is the tracks, which seem incompletely cast.
Overall I think this model will build into a good looking, attention grabbing model. Recommended.
Wespe Models of Ploiesti, Romania, produces a huge selection of exciting, unusual and exotic high quality resin models in all the popular scales (model railroad scales in parentheses): 1:24 (G), 1:32 (Number 1), 1:35, 1:48 (O), 1:72, 1:76 (OO), 1:87 (HO), with ships in 1:250 and 1:500. More than 100 models are available in both 1/48 and 1/87 scales. The fascinating subjects are specialized, significant, important vehicles popular amongst modelers, yet not prevalent enough for the big injection model makers to cut tooling for. These subjects not only include the menagerie of foreign vehicles captured and impressed by the Wehrmacht, but include rail guns, S-Boats, U-boats, panzer trains, military buses, and construction machinery. Countries represented are Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Romania, Russia, Spain, and the United States.