Tamiya 1/35 'Jeep' Willys MB ¼ Ton 4x4 Truck Kit First Look
By Ray Mehlberger
|Date of Review||April 2008||Manufacturer||Tamiya|
|Subject||'Jeep' Willys MB ¼ Ton 4x4 Truck||Scale||1/35|
|Kit Number||35219||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Popular U.S. Army soft-skin subject||Cons||Prominent “T”shaped latches for hood|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$19.50|
Without a doubt the Jeep Willys MB occupies a significant position in the whole automotive history. The origin of the Jeep vehicle dates back to early 1941, when U.S. forces ordered the Willys, Ford and Bantam companies to develop prototypes of a small sized multipurpose 4-wheel drive vehicle. During the early stage of WWII, Germany had achieved outstanding successes by using motorized troops with their “Blitzkrieg” tactics. It became a pressing need for Allied nations to possess tough and reliable vehicles with excellent cross-country ability.
In November 1941, the U.S. Army, with alterations on the front grille and hood to the Ford design, chose the Willys vehicle as the basis for the mass production model. This marked the birth of the Willys MB (Model B) that provided unmatched ability to transport Allied troops during the conflict. The early Willys MHB had a welded, slat type front grille. Due to the necessity of increasing production, the U.S. Army ordered Ford to join the mass production, using the Willys MB’s blueprints. It was designated the GPW, and a simple, pressed-steel front grill was introduced. As a means of transit for soldiers, it played an important role in bringing the Allied victory. It was also used for liaison, command, communication and sometimes even as an ambulance or a light firearms carrier. Production reached approximately 640,000 units by August of 1945.
Tamiya is a prolific model company based in Shizuoka City, Japan.
This kit comes in a small tray and lid type box, with one of Tamiya’s signature boxarts. This consists of a painting of the kit subject against a chalk white background usually.
The boxart shows a Jeep MB in overall olive drab with a driver figure in it. It is in the markings for a vehicle assigned to the 5th Armored Division, 95th Armored Field Artillery Battalion Service Company No. 4, Summer 1944, Normandy. It has the serial number U.S.A. 20122371-S in stenciled white letters on each side of the engine hood. There are small white stars on each side, just behind the rear tires. The markings on the front and rear bumpers are all in white also and say: 5 triangle – 95F, then a small star, SV-4.
A side panel has a 3-view color illustration of another Jeep assigned to ASCZ 3886TH Transportation Corps. Truck Company No. 2 in the “Red Ball Express”. This one has a white sign low on the grille that has “Convoy Commander” on it in black letters. It is also in overall olive drab with small white stars on the sides just behind the rear tires. The white stenciled serial number on the sides of the hood is U.S.A. 0532458-S. On the front and rear bumper, also in white is ASCZ 3886TC, then the little white star, TRK2.
Both these markings are on the decal sheet. The kit has a copyright date of 1997 and is aimed at modelers 10 and above.
Tamiya obviously reached a licensing agreement with the Chrysler Corporation, because this sentence appears on the box and the decal sheet:
“Jeep” and the Jeep grille are registered trademarks of Chrysler Corporation U.S.A. and are used under license”
Inside the box are 2 olive drab trees of parts in stapled shut cello bags, a small clear parts tree in it’s own cello bag, a single olive drab bottom of the body part in a cello bag, the decal sheet, instructions and a single sheet that has “important information concerning this kit” printed on both sides in 13 languages, including English.
The bottom tray of the box has 9 black and white boxarts of other AFV kits, 5 boxarts of figure kits and one of a weapons set that Tamiya markets. Two of the side walls of the tray have black and white illustrations of a compressor and airbrush and paints that Tamiya also sells. So, the tray is catalog for them.
The instructions consist of a single sheet that accordion folds out into 8 pages.
Page 1 begins with a black and white photo of the model made up in the boxart scheme, followed by the history of the Jeep in English, German, French and Japanese.
Page 2 starts with general instructions, illustrations of a few hobby tools, a Tamiya paint listing and cautions in the same 4 languages. The bottom of the page gives the first 2 assembly step drawings.
Pages 3 to 6 give a balance of a total of 13 assembly steps. There are no parts tree illustrations in the instructions, which seems to run through a lot of the Tamiya kits that I have reviewed lately.
Step 11 is assembly and painting of the driver figure.
Step 12 is where you opt to have the hood open or closed. There is an engine in the kit that can be seen if desired.
Step 13 is assembly of the .30cal machine-gun and its pedestal, if you opt to install it.
Pages 7 and 8 have 5 schemes as 3-views.
- The first scheme is the boxart one (already described above) However, the picture at the head of page 1 of the instructions shows that this one also had a large white star in a circle on top of the engine hood
- The second scheme is the one on the lid’s side panel (also already described above)
- This a Jeep assigned to the 7th Armored Division, 814th Tank Destroyer Battalion Reconnaissance Company No. 22, January 1945, Belgium. It has a wire cutter mounted on the front and the .30cal machine-gun mounted in it. It is in the usual overall olive drab with the little white star on the sides behind the rear wheels. It carries the serial no. U.S.A. 20516267 on the sides of the hood in white stenciled letters. On the bumpers, front and rear, is 7 triangle –814TD, then a little white star R22
- This a Jeep assigned to the 2nd Infantry Division, 38th Infantry Regiment HQ Company No. 17, May 1945, Czechoslovakia. It is in overall olive drab, with the little white star behind the rear wheels on the sides again. It has the white stenciled serial no. U.S.A. 20321727-S on the sides of the hood. On the front and rear bumpers, in black letters this time is 2-38-1, then a black shield with a white star on it H17
- This a Jeep assigned to the 5th Army, 101st Military Police Battalion, C Company No.1, 1945, Italy. It is in overall olive drab again with the little white star inside a circle behind the rear wheels on the sides. It has a light blue stenciled serial no. U.S.A. 20220584 on the sides of the hood. Just below the windshield, in white is the words MILITARY POLICE with a circle insignia that is divided into 4th’s between the two words. The front and rear bumpers have 5A-101P, then a little white star in a circle C-1
Olive drab letter A parts tree holds: engine parts, the vehicle’s frame, drive shafts and axles, muffler, steering wheel shaft, fuel tank, radiator, rear body panel, fire wall, seats and their supports, dashboard, windshield frame, hood, front bumper etc. (36 parts)
Olive drab letter B parts tree holds: Jerry cans, leaf springs, shift levers, fire extinguisher, wheels, grab handles, tow hook, an M1 carbine in a scabbard, windshield wipers and motors, the seated driver figure, headlights and their guards, a shovel, axe, wire cutter (optional), tow bar (also optional), tire pump, 30cal machine gun with it’s pedestal (optional), .30cal ammo can, Thompson machine-gun in scabbard etc. (56 parts)
The seated driver figure is divided into separate torso, arms, legs, head and steel helmet. He assembles into a very relaxed looking pose.
Clear letter C tree holds the windshield parts and the headlight lenses (4 parts)
The single olive drab lower body part and the decal sheet completes the kit’s contents.
On the decal sheet, in addition to the markings already described above, are decals for some black data panels with white lettering and the dashboard instruments.
The only thing seen missing in the kit was the very distinctive T shaped latches for the hood and windshield lockdown.. These, possibly, could be scratchbuilt from stretched sprue I suppose. They are very noticeable on real Jeeps and should appear on a model of a Jeep. Purists might want to add a distributor and some wiring to the otherwise great engine.
This is one neat kit of the famous WWII Jeep. A softskin that no U.S. Army collection should be without. Very highly detailed and highly recommended.