ARM: Review - Italeri 1/35 scale Chevrolet 15 CWT - Limited Edition

Kit Review: Italeri 1/35 Scale Kit No. 6233; Chevrolet 15 CWT Truck -
Limited Edition; 168 parts (155 in olive drab styrene, 10 in black
styrene, 3 in clear styrene); price US $35
Advantages: old friend makes a welcome reappearance; molds appear to
have been cleaned up a bit
Disadvantages: Expensive kit for value received
Recommendation: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: For all Commonwealth and softskin fans
Italeri is re-releasing some of their better old favorites that have
not been seen for some years as "Limited Editions" this month. This
kit is of a WWII Canadian-built Chevrolet 15 CWT 4 x 4 GS truck (even
though the directions and box blurb have it as a "4 x 2" it is a 4 x
4.) For anyone not familiar with British-style rating systems the
truck is rated as having a capacity of 15 hundredweight in cargo cross
country, or about 1,680 pounds (762 kg.) The US Army would simply have
called it a 3/4 ton 4 x 4 truck.
Ah, the joys of oft-traveled kit molds and their reappearance. I
recall when this kit came out back in 1975 from Peerless Max that it
was head and shoulders above many other kits on the market at the
time, and actually better in many respects than the Tamiya Ford "Quad"
which came out at the same time with their 25 lb Gun set. Over the
years the molds have moved around a lot - first to Airfix, then
Italeri, then Bilek in Poland and now back to Italeri where they have
been cleaned up and show they still produce a very nice kit.
Compared to the first release, the molds as noted look very clean and
the kit is relatively free of ejection pin marks. Some are cleverly
concealed (such as the one in the center of the "starburst" stiffener
pattern on the inside of the doors but some are in truly awful places
- two of the five wheel/tire parts have them right on the mold line
for the side wall right above the size markings on the tire, so will
be nearly impossible to cleanly remove. Most are relatively well
designed but the then typical for its day erected tilt has a nasty
mold line that runs around the front end, but anyone wanting to use it
should be able to clean it up without too much grief. Missing from the
kit are "Curley, Larry and Moe" - three rather portly and unimpressive
figures that were apparently supposed to represent a Commonwealth
solider, an Australian with ANZAC campaign hat, and a Sikh in a
turban. No loss.
I recall this kit as being a joy to assemble other than Peerless had
a truly nasty mold release agent which took a lot of scrubbing to
remove. The latest Italeri version has none of that and the parts are
crisp and clean.
The chassis does not come with an engine but has many very nicely
done parts to it, and the front wheels may be posed if the modeler is
careful about assembly and has some modeling experience. The tie rod
ends, shocks and drag links are all separate parts. The leaf springs
have a centerline seam and some minor sink marks, but these aren't bad
for a 32-year-old kit. Oddly the kit comes with a full radiator, even
though the solid grille makes it sort of redundant.
The cab is the Canadian Military Pattern (CMP) No. 13 ("backward
slant windshield") type and is nicely done; this feature was shared
with two other kits using this basic chassis and produced by Peerless,
with one having a full cab and the other a "Quad" type body. The new
one is identical to the original and has a false hood, turn signals,
mirrors, separate seat brackets and seats, and control levers in the
cab; pedals are "molded on" and should be added. Clear windows are
provided for the windshield and side vents, but the rear window here
has a pass-through panel (part 90B) which appears to be correct. The
windows are fixed and will take work or replacement to move if
desired, and the screened vents are solid.
The body is a British "GS" (General Service) type or cargo body in
American parlance, and comes with four padded seats, three top bows,
four stowage bins with separate lids, a spare tire mount and holder,
and the aforementioned plastic tilt. The tail gate may be made to work
with care as may the spare tire brackets.
Three finishing schemes are included, and what I believe to be new
decals (or at least redone ones) are provided for them. One version is
Australian Army (the box art for this release) with an early war
roundel on the roof listed to be in sand yellow, but oddly enough (and
with many recent Italeri kits!) the box art shows it in khaki drab;
one is British in a two-tone camouflage scheme of dark green and sand
yellow; and one is Canadian Army in dark green and black (not "Mickey
Mouse") camouflage. I am not sure on the units but the selections seem
far more complete than most Italeri offerings.
Overall this was a nice kit when it came out and it does not appear
to be too badly dimmed with age. The price of course is now a lot
more, but then again it would seem a good deal over some of the
earlier re-pops as it has been cleaned up.
Thanks to Bob Lewen of MRC for the review sample.
Cookie Sewell
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