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Italeri 1/35 2.5 Ton DUKW 353 Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review December 2006 Manufacturer Italeri
Subject 2.5 Ton DUKW 353 Scale 1/35
Kit Number 6446 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Nicely detailed hull, drive train and cargo compartment Cons
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $42.00

First Look


The DUKW (pronounced 'Duck') was a simple solution to a logistics problem - how do you get supplies from ship to an inland supply point without simply dumping stuff off on the beach? The answer was to use the same technique as moving supplies from one point to another on land - use a pick-up truck. In this case, the GMC 2.5 ton pick-up truck. The chassis and drivetrain were modified and adapated to a truck-like boat hull, enabling the DUKW to swim like a landing craft and drive on land as a 6x6 heavy duty off-road vehicle.

The Model 353 DUKW prototype was delivered in mid-1942 and after a series of suitability tests, an initial order for 2,000 examples was placed a month later. In all, GM produced over 21,000 DUKWs during World War Two, and some of these were even pressed back into service during the Korean Conflict.

Italeri has re-released this kit with a new parts tree containing 55 gallon drums, cargo boxes, a gun ring, and cargo bed bows for a canvas top. While no top is included, such a part would best be done as a vacuform anyway.

The kit is comprised of four trees of olive drab styrene parts, one tree of clear parts, and the decal sheet The molding is flash-free and I don't see any ejector pin marks on the hull or body that would be seen after assembly. Nice.

Assembly appears to be straightforward though given the size of the major parts, a little patience and dry-fitting will ensure a good solid hull.

As with the previous releases, the GMC drivetrain is nicely replicated under the hull replicating the powered front and rear axles.

The kit provides painting instructions and decals to replicate a US Army DUKW from Italy, 1945 or a USMC DUKW from Iwo Jima in 1945. The Army DUKW is Olive Drab whilst the USMC example wears a tri-color camo scheme. Both provide some great opportunities for weathering.

This latest installment in the DUKW series is definitely welcome as this version represents the reason for the DUKW's existence - hauling cargo.

My sincere thanks to MRC for this review sample!

For a look at a full-scale DUKW, click here.