SKYBOW 1/35 U.S. 3/4 TON WEAPONS CARRIER WC 51/52 "BEEP"
The "Beep" 3/4 ton WC series weapons carrier was one of the most famous lightweight military trucks of WWII. Although both Dodge and Ford produced prototypes, Dodge became the main producer in the U.S. and Chrysler produced them in Canada.
This solid little truck replaced the lighter 1/2 ton series. Its lower, wider design made it readily distinguishable from its predecessor.
There were no less than 248,634 WC's produced between 1942 and 1945 comprising several body variants....including ambulances, carry alls, command cars and...later...the 6 x 6 personnel carriers. By far the most common version was the weapons carrier, which reached a total production of 182,655 vehicles.
The "Beep" was used, primarily, for transporting squads of G.I.'s with light weapons. Although generally unarmed, some of them were fitted with pedestal mounted machine guns for special purposes....like convoy escort duties.
After seeing service in all theatres throughout WWII, it was eventually replaced after the Korean War by the tougher M37. This was destined to be the last of the 3/4 tonners in the U.S. Military transport fleet.
WHAT'S IN THE BOX?:
Last month, in the February issue of INTERNET MODELER, I did an in-box review of Skybow's 1/35th scale WC57 command and reconnaissance car kit. Following closely behind that kit, Skybow has released another variant on the same chassis. This one is the 3/4 ton 4 x 4 weapons carrier with a M24A2 pedistal truck mount for a .50 cal machine-gun (which is optional if you want to install it).
There are eight olive drab colored trees of parts. Each tree is individually bagged in re-sealable cello bags. Boy...could Italeri take a page from these people on this!! It is a great idea and the re-sealablity of the bags makes parts organization a snap as you build this kit. The earlier command car kit was this way too. So, it seems to be a constant with Skybow kits. Nice touch Skybow.
A ninth cello bag holds the clear parts and a length of white nylon
string to use for the winch cable (the winch is also an option, if you
chose to install it or not).
The instructions is a stapled booklet of 12 pages. Page one gives the history of the vehicle in English, Chinese, and Japanese. (the kit is produced in Taiwan). The top of page two gives the explanations for the international assembly symbols and the paint number chart. From the bottom of page two to page ten are 22 assembly steps. Pages 11 and 12 give the three paint scheme and decal drawings.
Markings are provided for:
A WC51 (without the winch) of the 3rd Army, 391st Infantry Regiment,
France (no year is given)
A WC52 (with the winch) of the 82nd Airborne, France 1944
A WC51 (without the winch...but with the M.G. mounted) of the 6th
Army, 15th Armored Division, Italy (no year is given)
This decal sheet is new to this kit...and NOT shared with the earlier command car kit.
As you probably already guessed, this new kit shares some COMMON parts trees with the Skybow WC56/57 command car kit. These are trees "B", "E", "F", and "H". Also, the poly caps, clear parts and white nylon string are the same in both kits.
Trees "C", "D", and "J" are brand new.
Tree "A" holds the engine, radiator, exhaust pipe and muffler,steering column, leaf springs, axles, suspension parts etc. (59 parts here)
Tree "B" has the fenders, hood parts, jerry cans, fire wall, windshield frame, dash board, two different grill options (whether you install the winch or not), steering wheel etc. (62 parts)
Tree "C" holds the vehicle's rear floor bed, side panels, stake sides, tarp supports etc. (19 parts here)
Tree "D" contains the .50 cal. machine-gun parts and its pedestal mount and ammo can. (nine parts on it)
Tree "E" is the wheels and tire parts (23 pieces)
Tree "F" is the tool rack and tools (just five parts here)
Tree "G" is the clear winshield panes and headlight lenses (four parts) The wench cable string is included in the same cello bag as this tree.
Tree "H" is the vehicle's frame (just this one part)
Tree "J" is the seats, driver's compartment floor, control levers, running boards, seats support base, a new windshield frame (to be used instead of the one on tree "B") tail gate doors (two options of these...if you want to mount the M.G. or not) etc. (21 parts on this tree)
No figures are provided.
This is a very well molded, highly detailed kit...as was it's predecessor. A group of G.I.'s or a cargo load would really enhance this kit nicely. I suspect that some will become available from one of the after-market boys.
Very highly recommended. However, with all the small parts in this kit...I would say this is not for the novice. Modelers with a few softskin kits under their belts should not have any problems though.