During World War Two, after the entry of the Americans to the conflict, perhaps the most commonly seen vehicle in every theatre of conflict would be the GMC Truck. The Deuce and a Half transported men and material to where they were needed to be in incredible numbers and tonnage. During the course of the World War Two over 800,000 trucks were produced, most of which being produced by GMC. As well as the standard troop and cargo carrying version there were also some specialist versions as well such as the wrecker, water carriers, and fuel carriers; too my knowledge none of these specialised vehicles are currently available in injection moulded plastic but may be available as kits or conversions in resin, Italeri did release a fuel carrier which is not currently available but may be found on places such as Ebay.
Some time ago now Tamiya
released a 1/35th scale model of this mass produced truck which is still the only model available along with an Italeri offering in this scale. This model has not been covered on Armorama before and it was felt that being such a common vehicle during World War Two it was about time that it was. The model produced by Tamiya
covers the standard troop transport version which can also be displayed as the cargo carrying version as used on the now famous Red Ball Express, the Red Ball Express covered a period from August 25 to November 16, 1944 when 420,000 tons of war materials were transported over that period. It is worth remembering that if you intend to model this truck as a part of the Red Ball Express the vast majority of the drivers were African Americans.
The model consists of;
- 5 green sprues
- 1 clear sprue
- Poly cabs for the wheels
- A length of twine
- A decal sheet
- Instruction sheet
- Painting and decal placement guide
The best place to start this review I feel is the instructions; which in typical Tamiya
style and consist of 5 page double sided pull-out. The front page of the instruction shows a built model with all of the text in Japanese. The next couple of pages provide a fair introduction of the vehicle. This is followed by a half page of as I call the doís and the doníts, covering warning about sharp tools and the like; general warnings. The next 6 and half pages cover the construction of the model in 18 stages using the line drawing method as a guide. During the construction stages detail painting is called out and all stages look fairly straight forward.
The kit is supplied with a reasonable looking engine and gearbox, which consists of 8 parts if you include the sump and gearbox which is moulded as a part of the chassis. I suspect there may be photo etched detail sets available to improve areas such as the cooling fan for the radiator, but it is my opinion that with some scratch building in the form of some wiring will make this area look adequate for most.
The chassis of the truck is a single piece moulding which I suspect judging by my reference means the detail is simplified on the sides of the chassis frame; being a single piece does however ensure that it is square as long as the moulding has not become or been distorted. The winch attached to the front of the chassis is overly simplified in my opinion and some scratch work will be needed to bring this area up to a suitable standard for a fair number of modellers. The leaf spring suspension looks to be reasonably accurate as regards the actual spring and number of leaves, however the rear connection to the chassis does not match my reference material.
The drive shafts, axles, fuel tank, and exhaust all look to be well replicated, however finding an exact layout and route of the exhaust was not possible for me to locate, it does however appear to be generally accurate. The wheels in the kit are injection moulded plastic as opposed to vinyl which will please some and dismay other. The wheels are moulded in two halves with the joint being dead centre of the wheel contact face, I feel this is a very good choice and with a small amount of sanding the seam should disappear completely. The tread pattern also looks accurate and while the tyres do not have a weighted appearance they do look the part and should satisfy most without having to go down the resin wheel route. One aspect that I know will disappoint a few members is the fact that the front wheels can only be depicted driving in a straight line and it will take considerable work to alter this.
This model from Tamiya
features the soft top cab and I know there is an add on kit that Tamiya
released which along with a cargo load for the truck has a ring mounted 50cal Heavy machine gun; which does give you another option. The Italeri kit which I have in the house somewhere features the hard top cab, and if I can find it I will look into the possibility of kit bashing the two models together as a third display option. The cab is very basic but then so is the cab of the real vehicle, the seats having some nice subtle crease detail on the base and back which with careful painting should catch the eye. One major detail that has been missed is the raised domed tube that runs down the centre of the cab and between the seats, this is one area where Tamiya
appears to have really messed up as it makes the seats positions not only wrong but also over sized and the various control levers either incorrectly placed or completely absent. One other missing item in the cab is a rear view mirror but that is easily replicated. The rest of the cab is reasonable and ending this area on a high the dashboard looks to be very accurately replicated, the only thing I would have liked to have seen supplied here are the decals that would be stamped metal plates on the dash. While on the subject of the cab it is worth taking a close look the radiator and light guard which in my opinion is a very well moulded part of this kit that is a prominent addition to the model.
The last area of the model to cover is the cargo bed. Tamiya
has made a reasonable effort to replicate the underside of the bed accurately but there is still some detail missing, however with reasonable reference material it will be a reasonably easy job to add the missing details which are minor. Flipping the bed the right way up I noted some very fine wood grain detail on both sides of most of the wooden surfaces, the downside is that there are small ejector pin marks present on the inner faces of the cargo beds sides and on the fold up benches. Tamiya
has provided the option of having the support bars for a tarpaulin cover either in place or stored away; this is something that I was pleased to have as an option.
The plastic castings are typical Tamiya
with very few hurdles put in your way. Yes there are ejection pin marks that will need to be filled for a competition quality model, but for most the only ones I would worry about are those in the wood grain detail on the cargo bed and possibly the ones on the underside of the front wheel arches as these can be seen fairly easily. There are also some flow marks or cooling marks depending on your vocabulary, but these do not seem to have left any deformation in the finished plastic parts. One other thing I should cover here is that Tamiya
has supplied a driver for the truck and by and large the figure looks to be very well detailed for plastic; the face is especially pleasing and would get a very big thumbs up from me except for one thing, the driver is clearly white and as mentioned earlier the majority of the drivers were black and I feel that deserves to be recognised. I guess that is another set of Hornet heads I will need.
One of the highlights of this model is the decals included with the model which despite my wish for decals to go on the dashboard has a plethora of decals to add. I know Tamiya
decals are not the greatest available in the marketplace today but I feel they are thin enough that with a setting solution should be more than up to the job. An inclusion with this kit that I have not been a fan of for some time is the string supplied to represent the cable for the winch; I really do wish that all manufactures not just Tamiya
sourced and supplied a suitable twisted wire cable for the task.
The finishing options for this model are as you would expect very similar looking however four finishing options are included. The four options are;
- 3rd Army 8th Corps 537th AAA Battalion HQ Company No 1 February 1945 Belgium
- 1st Army 3549th Transportation Corps Truck Company No 37 July 1944 Normandy
- ASCZ 3886th Transportation Corps Truck Company No 49 in the Red Ball Express
- 10th Armoured Division 55th Armoured Engineer Battalion HQ Company No 40
I believe Tamiya
has by and large given us a model is well worth adding to your shelf, and that while not a large model it does represent an aspect of war that without would be very slow going if not lost. The moulding is good for the most part as are the instructions from what I have seen with no obvious omissions. There are a few ejector pin marks that will need attention but again these are minimal. I do think it is a disappointing that the figure supplied with the kit is white when the Red Ball Express is the obvious choice for the modeller which were mostly African American drivers. If you only have one truck model this vehicle should be the one represented.
The GMC CCKW
War Department Technical Manual
U.S. WW II GMC Wrecker Trucks, Gasoline Tank Trucks and AFKWX-353 COE Truck
GMC CCKW-353 Lenses
U.S. WW II GMC CCKW