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Academy 1/72 scale U.S. Ambulance & Tow Truck

Kit: No. 13403
Scale: 1/72
Manufacturer: Academy, from Model Rectifier Corp., 732-225-2100, www.modelrectifier.com
Price: $19
Comments: Injection-molded, 91 parts, decals
Pros: Great subjects, good detail, well-printed decals
Cons: Fit of ambulance side panels and windscreen to cab roof/hood is poor
Academy's growing collection of 1/72 scale ground support vehicles provides handy additions to aircraft displays. The latest in its line is this combination of a Dodge 3/4-ton WC54 ambulance with a small tow tractor and bomb dolly. An unused long tow bar from the tug sprue suggests this part of the kit may be offered again, perhaps as a Navy carrier-deck tug.

The parts are well-molded, but I noticed the triple pair of louvers on each side of the hood were missing from the ambulance. They'd be pretty small, but should be noticeable in this scale.

Assembly is normal (What am I saying? This isn't an airplane!), but I found the alignment of the ambulance-cab side panels with the hood/roof wasn't good. The clear windscreen is molded flat, while the front of the cab is curved. I had to snap the windscreen in the middle to get the fit reasonably close. The other windows fit OK.

The back end of the ambulance features the fold-down bench seats, but no litters. Pressing the wheels to the axles risks breaking the thin and fragile differentials and tie rod (Ask me how I know).

The little tow tractor is a snap, as is the five-part bomb dolly.

Decals are mostly for the ambulance and feature large red crosses. They're designed to fit around the fenders and doors, but they didn't react with any of my solvents and look lumpy over the rear door handles.

If you can replace the windscreen on the ambulance and be more persistent with forcing down the decals, you'll find the set a welcome addition to your airfield dioramas. I spent about eight hours on the trio. A handy reference is: http://home.att. net/~dodgewc54/dodge_wc.htm.

- Paul Boyer

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