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Tamiya 1/35 scale Willys Jeep MB 1/4-ton

Kit: No. 35219
Scale: 1/35
Manufacturer: Tamiya, imported by Tamiya America, 2 Orion, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656-4200, 800-826-4922
Price: $18
Comments: Injection molded, 133 parts, decals.

The Willys MB and Ford GP were the original production models of the now famous Jeep. Though the Willys and Ford versions had differences, the parts were interchangeable. Production ran from 1941 until the end of the war in 1945 with 350,349 Willys versions made.

Tamiya's well-molded kit represents a late-production Willys MB. Extra parts include a .30-caliber machine gun on a stand, holstered Thompson submachine gun, front bumper wire cutter, and front tow bar. The hood can be mounted open or closed, and the windshield can be mounted up or down. One relaxed driver figure is also included.

The two-page, 13-step instructions were easy to follow, and some parts are named as well as numbered. Color references are to Tamiya paints only, but the names of the colors are also provided. You get a choice of five machines on the crisply printed decals.

Assembly was straightforward with no fit problems. I liked the fully detailed engine and the one-piece frame and drive train. Under-frame assembly was a simple installation of the axles, then leaf springs on top: No messing with alignment or axles out of true.

The tires and wheels are molded in styrene instead of vinyl. The front and rear tires use different hubs, so be careful. I painted the model Polly Scale acrylic olive drab overall before attaching the body to the frame. The seats received a lighter o.d., then a dry-brushing with khaki. I used Humbrol panzer gray on the tires, then washed them with diluted India ink.

After a coat of Polly Scale, the decals laid down nicely with a little help from Micro Sol. I wrapped up assembly with an application of Polly Scale clear flat and gray pastels to simulate dust and dirt.

The kit scales well with my reference, Thomas Berndt's Standard Catalog of U.S. Military Vehicles 1940-65. I spent six hours building and painting and am pleased with the results as an out-of-the box kit. Its accuracy and ease of construction make it an excellent choice for modelers of all skill levels.

- Phil Kirchmeier

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