ARM: Review - ICM 1/35 scale Studebaker US6 WWII Army Truck

Kit Review: ICM 1/35 scale kit No. 35511; Studebaker US6 WWII Army
Truck; 206 parts (200 in grey styrene, 6 clear styrene); retail price
estimate as US$34
Advantages: first kit of this well-known truck in styrene in this
scale; quality much better than some previous ICM offerings
Disadvantages: tire tread pattern based on postwar and not wartime US
tire patterns; some parts broken in transit (but saved by cellophane
bag)
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all WWII US and Soviet truck fans
As the US began to ramp up for WWII, the major automotive
manufactures in the US ceased production of passenger cars early in
1942 and turned their efforts into producing military vehicles. These
included GMC, Ford, Dodge/Fargo, White, Diamond T, Mack, International
Harvester (IHC), and Studebaker. Of these companies, GMC, IHC and
Studebaker concentrated their efforts on all wheel drive (6 x 6)
trucks in the 2 =BD ton capacity range. (Note that the rating is based
on off-road, not highway, cargo capability.) The most famous of these,
the GMC CCKW design and its related vehicles, was the most widely
produced and best known.
The IHC effort, the M-5-6, was primarily used by the US Marine Corps.
The Studebaker truck, the US6, was only used by stateside US units.
However, the Studebaker was produced by both Studebaker and Reo for
provision to other nations via Lend-Lease, and as such became one of
the most popular and widespread of all of the American trucks. There
were more than 193,000 US6 models built by Studebaker as well as
22,000 more by Reo.
(Note that after the war Reo got the main contract for the =93new=94
standard 2 =BD ton truck, the M35, and positions reversed with
Studebaker building those trucks up into the early 1960s.)
All three cargo truck versions used nearly identical cab and body
designs on their own proprietary chassis and engine combinations.
Externally the easiest way to tell them apart was by their front
fenders: IHC used a gracefully curved fender, GMC one with a shallow
curve and a sharp bend downward, and Studebaker a flat fender with a
near 90 degree bend in it.
Most of the trucks provided to the Soviets were the Studebaker US6
design. As such, they were somewhat humbling to the Soviets, whose own
trucks of the period were about 10-15 years behind the US ones. The
Studebaker came with all wheel brakes, three driven axles, a 320 cid
Hercules JXD engine producing 87 HP, and a five-speed transmission
with dual range. (The Soviets adopted this design in their postwar
ZIS-151 and ZIL-157 series trucks.)
While kits of the more famous GMC CCKW have been around for over 30
years (coming from Peerless, Italeri, Heller and Tamiya) until now
nobody has done the Studebaker. ICM has now produced a kit of this
truck, and it is an excellent effort which is much better from a
technical point of view than previous ICM kits.
The breakdown of the kit is very similar to the Italeri GMC CCKW and
ZIS-151 (BM-13 =93Katyusha=94) kits with a few twists. While the chassis
comes in multiple parts (rails and braces are all separate parts) the
complete driveline with axles comes as a single unit; this obviates
having to assemble and align the various drive shafts and universal
joints, which does make assembly a lot easier. Ejection pin marks are
still with us, but are either small or easily removed so quality is
far better.
The kit comes with a complete engine as well as a cab interior. The
tailgate may be left operating, and the troop seats may be placed
either folded or in use. Also, five top bows are provided and may be
rigged or stowed as the modeler sees fit.
The one bugaboo with this model is that for some reason ICM did not
realize that US =93snow and mud=94 tires used on tactical vehicles used an
odd-even staggered rib pattern on the sides and not a symmetrical
pattern. The ribs are only slightly staggered, and as a result look
too symmetrical. While this is not correct, and some reviewers have
fallen all over ICM for this mistake, when you look at trucks with
these tires unless you are sitting at an angle or head-on for the most
part you can=92t see it. There are after-market correction sets for the
purist, but if you don=92t replace them it won=92t be the end of the
world.
Finishing instructions and decals are provided for six different
vehicles: 3rd Belorussian Front, Lyublin, summer 1944 (Zh-4-32-15);
2nd Ukrainian Front, Prague, May 1945 (K-23-026, =93Forward for Our
Victory!=94); 2nd Ukrainian Front, Prague, May 1945 (N-95-824); 1st
Polish Army, Germany, May 1945 (G0-05-21); 1st Czech Army Corps.
Czechoslovakia, May 1945 (CS-01-597, =93Pravda Vitezi!=94); and 8th Air
Force, USAAF, England 1944 (USA 4215859). Of these the latter is
missing its bumper codes.
Overall this is one of the best efforts so far from ICM and a handy
kit. It is also currently popular for conversions, as a number of
modelers have pulled that old Italeri BM-13 kit out of the closet and
swapped the cargo body and the rocket launcher assemblies around to
get a true wartime =93Katyusha.=94
Cookie Sewell
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AMPSOne
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