ARM/AIR: Tamiya 1/48 Scale US 2 1/2 Ton 6 x 6 Truck

Kit Review: Tamiya 1/48 Scale Kit No. 32548: U.S 2 =BD Ton 6 x 6 Cargo
Truck; 115 parts (103 in olive drab styrene, 8 screws, 3 clear
styrene, 1 diecast metal); price US$29.00
Advantages: nice new kit of this popular vehicle in this scale; wide
opportunities for conversiona and use in multiple situations
Disadvantages: diecast metal chassis with screw assembly is
problematic for detailing; truck comes in "as delivered" condition;
Rating: Recommended
Recommendation: for all GMC fans as well as both armor and aircraft
Even though better known as an armor modeler, I have admitted a
secret passion for Korean War era aircraft and have been collecting
them for some time, albeit I have only finished one so far (a Navy
F2H-2 Banshee.) But I have both Navy and USAF aircraft as well as the
"Unified Air Forces" ones too, and as these need to go on bases I have
been seeking useful accessories to set them off on their bases when I
get to them. I have several "Monovell" F-84D and F-84G Thunderjets as
well as F-80C Shooting Stars and wanted a "Six By" to go with them
(converted to the bomb loading version with the modified "A Frame"
crane on the back. Now Tamiya has continued its 1/48 scale kit
releases with this new version of the GMC CCKW-353 in "quarter inch"
and it is a very nice little kit.
One of the best of the recent Tamiya 1/35 scale releases has been
their CCKW truck which is a beautiful replica of the CCKW-353 "soft
cab" long wheelbase variant of the 2 =BD ton truck. I like that kit and
have a couple of them, but I did resent the fact that Tamiya charged
$40 for the kit and then an extra $12 for the cargo to fill it up and
$10 the rest of the details such as the M49 hip ring with M2 machine
gun, cold weather canvas, etc. thus making it a $62 model without any
etched brass or resin. Unfortunately, they have continued this
philosophy over to this model and it replicates the basic kit with
only two "jerry cans" and a driver figure. For nearly $30 they could
have at least provided some optional items for this vehicle such as 55
gallon drums or some crates.
The other really dumb thing with this kit is that like many of the
other 1/48 kits from Tamiya it comes with a diecast chassis for the
model. I have no clue what possessed them to follow this line of
reasoning, but it makes assembly of a "clean" model or any
modifications (such as a CCKW-352 short wheelbase version) nearly
impossible. The chassis is also "filled in" and therefore provides no
open spaces in the boxed-in ladder frame. This makes it easier to use
the provided screws for assembly at least, but a proper model kit
without this feature would not NEED screws for assembly! (I could care
less about "heft" or "scale weight" in a model.)
Once past those two gripes the kit is every bit as nice as its big
brother, and provides the same basic parts albeit on a smaller and
less detailed scale. The troop seats in the rear provide for optional
positions (which like many DML kits lately is not called out in the
directions; if left down the braces under the seats will need to be
added) as does the tail gate. Underbody detail for the cargo body is
much cruder however as it has to provide massive mounts for the false
frame rails (C1/C2) and screw holes for attachment. No erected canvas
is provided and like the 1/35 kit a set of five pre-molded bows are
included for mounting in the stowed position on the front of the body
frame racks.
Cab detail is on a par with older 1/35 scale kits in that it has all
of the lever controls and the wheel but no foot pedals (even absent
from the floorboard due to an oversize mount for the steering column.)
The driver figure appears to be nice but comes with a helmet and
The wheels have been cheapened up as only the front wheels have an
interior side to them, as the rear wheels are simply stuck together
and the spare is likewise missing the backs side. Once again you are
limited to the option of "stick it together or give up." The entire
driveline is one piece less the springs, and each differential has a
massive screw mount attached to it.
The kit comes with two finishing options, both in basic olive drab.
One is for a 1st Army truck company, the 3549th, in Normandy 1944; the
other is a "Red Ball Express" truck from the 3886th Truck Company,
apparently also Normandy 1944.
Overall this kit was a bit disappointing as it is very stripped down
and simplistic; Tamiya has done better and I expected this kit to
fully match the quality of the 1/35 scale one. But it is the only game
in town, and if you only need a "background" item in a diorama it will
certainly fit the bill.
Cookie Sewell
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