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Fine Molds 1/20 US Army 1/4-ton 4x4 Truck Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review September 2011 Manufacturer Fine Molds
Subject US Army 1/4-ton 4x4 Truck Scale 1/20
Kit Number 82001 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Nice Detailing Cons Some simplification to support motorization or illumination
Skill Level Basic MSRP (Yen) ¥3040 (About $39.50 depending on exchange rates)

First Look


The Willys General Purpose vehicle (abbreviated GP and pronounced Jeep) was developed in response to a 1940 US Army Quartermaster's Specification for a four-wheel drive scout vehicle that could disengage the front wheels when needed, could reach 50 mph on prepared roads, had the capability to tow, could mount a 30 caliber machine gun, was powered by at least four cylinders, and weighed no more than 1275 pound. A number of designs were submitted, three were selected for trials. The Ford GP and the Willys MA were two of the finalists, though in 1941, the Army opted for a single design. This was the redesigned Willys MB, which both Willys and Ford would mass produce.

The Jeep became an icon for battlefield mobility in all theaters of operations, including many US allies. While produced for service during WW2, the Jeep would soldier on into the 1950s until replaced by the M38 Jeep (a militarized version of the Willys CJ-3).

Fine Molds released the US Army 1/4-ton 4x4 Truck in 1/20 scale. I spotted this kit on HobbyLink Japan's website and the photos looked promising. The title is about as descriptive of this vehicle without actually saying 'Jeep' and having to deal with the licensing lawyers. To make matters more interesting, Fine Molds also released a photo-etched detail set for this kit reviewed separately.

The kit is molded in olive drab green styrene and presented on five parts trees plus a single tree of clear parts. The kit won't go together as fast as this full-sized Jeep comes apart and reassembles, but it will be a fun.

The kit comes with two booklets, the first is the assembly instructions which walk you through the assembly of the tub (body), axles, chasis, engine, drivetrain, and final details. The instructions show you the process clearly with subtitles in English and Japanese. The second booklet is a full color walk around of their reference - Fine Molds used their own GP Jeep as a kit reference.

While the full scale Jeep MB isn't complex, Fine Molds has simplified some of the parts so that this model could be either motorized or lit (the battery holder on one of the sprue trees gives that purpose away). The detailing is sharp in most areas, but the bolt heads and the lug nuts on the wheels and other parts of the vehicle are a bit soft. In 1/20 scale, you may want these fasteners more pronounced so I'll simply remove the rounded parts and replace them with some aftermarket resin bolts and lug nuts.

The kit provides marking options for three examples:

  • US Army Jeep from New Guinea, 1943
  • US Army Jeep, 981st Engineer Maintenance Company, Luxembourg, 1945
  • British Army Jeep, North Africa, 1942

The decals include the all-important instrument faces and placards that are quite prominent in the vehicle, especially in this scale.

This is a nice-looking kit and would make a nice display model for the Jeep fan as well as the armor modeler.

My sincere thanks to HobbyLink Japan for this review sample!