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Tamiya 1/35 scale U.S. 2 1/2-ton 6x6 cargo truck

Kit: No. 35218
Scale: 1/35
Manufacturer: Tamiya, imported by Tamiya America, 2 Orion, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656-4200, phone 800-826-4922
Price: $38
Comments: Injection molded, 197 parts (8 vinyl, 1 string), decals.

While tanks and aircraft receive most of the glory of combat, supply is the most important part of any campaign. Perhaps the most famous of the World War II Allies' supply vehicles was the GMC 2 1/2-ton truck, nicknamed the "Jimmy" or "deuce and a half." More than 800,000 were built in various configurations. They carried supplies and personnel on all fronts, and many continued service after the war in both civilian and military roles. The 6x6 refers to six sets of wheels, all six powered.

Tamiya's kit features the tarpaulin style or "soft" cab, wood cargo body, and Timken split axles. The kit can be built without the front winch. A nice touch is a complete engine, although the hood doesn't open. If you want to show the hood up, you'll have to scratchbuild the area between the fire wall and the dashboard. Another option is a complete brake drum for modeling the truck with a wheel removed. The cargo-bed cover bows can be displayed stowed or installed on the cargo bed.

The truck has three major subassemblies: chassis, cab, and cargo bed. The frame is one piece. This, along with the drive train that has nearly all of its components in one molding, ensures the chassis will be straight and true. All of the chassis parts fit well.

I added the engine to the frame before painting the model. Tamiya supplies several decals for the dashboard, but I was surprised no markings were provided for the instrument faces. The cab interior showed a few ejector-pin marks, which I removed by scraping with a curved No. 10 blade. I left off the hood, grille, dashboard, seat cushions, windshield, rifles, and steering wheel until after painting.

I built my truck without the side hood pieces (D5 and D6), to show off the motor. If you choose to install them, you'll find they fit well. I built the winch version of the truck, but didn't add the wire spool and the wheels until painting was complete.

The cargo bed goes together easily. You can build the fold-down benches either up or down, and the tailgate is operable. To add the tarp bows to the cargo bed, remove the bottom portion of the bows and glue the upper portions in place on the cargo bed. I had to re-glue them several times, as the bows popped off during handling. The major assemblies fit together easily.

I painted my truck with Floquil olive drab enamel. The tires received weathered black (a dark gray) and the engine details semigloss black. The reflectors and taillights on the cargo bay were painted with Testor chrome silver, then given a coat of Tamiya clear red when the silver was dry.

The winch-cable string is fuzzy and too thick for scale, so I replaced it with fine wire. Many photos show the cable attached to a couple of feet of chain that was wrapped around the tow hooks on the front bumper. I replicated this with Hudson & Allen tow chain.
The kit provides markings for six different vehicles. The ones I chose snuggled down fine with an application of SuperSol.

A smiling driver looks good in the front seat. I painted him with an enamel base coat, then finished with artist's oils.

It took me only about 15 hours to build my truck, mainly due to the excellent fit and simple color scheme. Even a beginner modeler would have few problems building this kit. The finished model scales to the dimensions given in The GMC 6x6 and DUKW, A Universal Truck, published by Motorbooks International. It's good to see a model of one of the less glamorous, yet important subjects.

- John Plzak

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