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DUKW Detail Sets

Royal Model 1/35 DUKW Detail Sets First Look

By Cookie Sewell

Date of Review June 2004 Manufacturer Royal Model
Subject DUKW Scale 1/35
Kit Number 352, 353, 365 Primary Media See Below
Pros Very neatly upgrades the Italeri kit with all of the bits necessary as well as dress up the cargo bay Cons Not cheap; will not convert the kit to the early production version or provide for it
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) See Below

First Look

One has to have sympathy for those that dare. Many modelers wanted a kit of the WWII GMC DUKW amphibian in 1/35 scale, but for years the big companies met their pleas – and dozens of surveys – with stony silence. But finally, one company took the bit and produced a kit to meet the need.

But the company was Italeri, one which peaked as the best model company going in the late 1970s and early 1980s with kits like their M47 and Leopard 1A4. Since then they have been willing to do kits no other manufacturer will touch, but the results have been somewhat erratic.

The bottom line is always a driver, and in the case of Italeri lately it has been trying to get a good, all-purpose kit to the market that meets the mass market desires but still is good enough and accurate enough to please more sophisticated tastes. Translation: if you don't do much – or don't do multimedia – at least do what you do make right.

I can imagine their surprise when they heard some of the reviews on the internet of this kit. The most stunning one I saw was one that went on for what amounted to five printed letter-size pages of defects, errors and omissions. But nearly all of them were so petty as to befog the mind. I served in US Army tactical units for nine years, becoming intimately familiar with the DA2404 Discrepancy Repot or "gig sheet", which listed every thing wrong, missing or broken on a specific vehicle. Even the worst of one of my "hangar queen" Gama Goats at Fort Hood only ran 2 ½ pages.

There's always room for more details, to be sure; but why would any manufacturer want to produce kits when there is some oaf out there who will crucify the kit for this sort of petty failings?

Needless to say, for those who do want more details there are companies that rise to provide them, and now Royal Model is offering three sets to really dress this kit up. The first two kits cover the detailing – Part 1 covers the external upper decking of the vehicle, and Part 2 covers the cargo bay and interior. The stowage fills up the interior bay.

Note that none of these kits do two things: they do not give the option to convert the kit to the early model vehicle with wheel skirts and a vertical windshield, nor do they provide parts or "skinning" to convert the inside of the cargo bay to a visible plywood interior. The latter is a moot point anyway, if either this stowage set or another from a different company or the spares box is used.

Part 1 upgrades the following areas: windshield, wave-breaker, front deck, air intakes and exhaust, tie-downs and tie hooks, the external rim around the cargo bay, the rear engine deck and winch area, and the engine deck. New blades are also provided for the propeller, but installing them looks to be something of a challenge!

Part 2 upgrades the following areas: the driver's compartment, air exhausts and grilles behind the personnel compartment, the interior details of the cargo bay, and the dashboard.

The stowage set consists of separate and "group" parts, and provides 12 US style "jerry" cans, three 55 gallon drums, four crates, one open crate of potatoes, three rolled canvas covers, one folded cover, several canteens, small crates and packs, and a barracks bag.

Detailed directions are included for Parts 1 and 2, but none for the stowage; nevertheless, the boxtop illustrations show about what colors the items should be painted as well as the suggested places for stowage inside the cargo bay.

Overall, this is a very nice and complete set. If nothing else, it tells the whiny critics of minutiae to stuff it.

Thanks to Bill Miley of CMD for the review samples.

  • No. 352, DUKW (Part 1); 295 parts (259 in 0.005" etched metal, 20 in 0.010" etched metal, 12 in grey-green resin, 3 in clear acetate, 1 length of steel wire); price $43.00
  • No. 353, DUKW (Part 2); 130 parts (117 in 0.005" etched metal, 212 in grey-green resin, 1 in clear acetate); price $25.00
  • No. 365, DUKW Stowage; 20 parts in grey-green resin; price $29.00