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M923 U.S. Armored Gun Truck Kit

Italeri 1/35 M923 U.S. Armored Gun Truck Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review January 2015 Manufacturer Italeri
Subject M923 U.S. Armored Gun Truck Scale 1/35
Kit Number 6503 Primary Media Styrene
Pros New version Cons See text
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $39.00

First Look

M923 U.S. Armored Gun Truck Kit
M923 U.S. Armored Gun Truck Kit
M923 U.S. Armored Gun Truck Kit

The M939 family of military trucks was developed in the late 1970s to replace the M39 series of military trucks developed in the early 1950s. The M923 is a five-ton 6x6 truck used by the US military and its allies to move personnel and supplies. After the second Iraq war, supply convoys would come under attack by insurgent forces but the only armored escort vehicles belonged to the military police. Soldiers rummaged through the scrap yards and improvised armor plating to provide some protection to the truck drivers. Armed escort trucks, or gun trucks, were also developed from materials on-hand to suppress insurgent attacks. The running joke in-theater was that having to scavenge for scrap metal for protection was 'hillbilly armor' or 'farmer armor'.

Last year, Italeri reissued the M923 'Bigfoot' truck with some new tooling to represent the improvised up-armored trucks and the armored shell on the truck bed to protect the gunner. That version had the hard top over the cab and the improvised front bumper. This kit follows with the open-top cab with gun ring and the improvised armor set. This kit is molded in olive styrene and presented on three parts trees plus one tree of clear parts.

The new-tooled parts in these gun truck releases represent the scabbed-on armor plating applied to the cab as well as the armor shields that surround the bed of the truck. Since this was done in the field, the armor plating was fabricated from available steel sheets that corroded rather quickly and will make for an interesting opportunity to test your weathering skills.

Among the features and options in this kit:

  • Detailed chassis and drivetrain
  • Detailed cab
  • Cab doors are positionable
  • Armored enclosure on truck bed
  • M2 machine gun w/gun ring over cab
  • M2 machine gun with pintle in truck bed

Even with the new-tooled parts, some of the complaints about the basic M923 kits center around the wheels, simplified cab and engine details. The truck bed and rails have wood textures molded into the surfaces but as I discovered during my build review, the bed and rails of the M923 series were metal. Fortunately there are some really outstanding aftermarket resin wheels and detail sets for the M923 to bring this kit up to contemporary standards.

M923 'Hillbilly' Gun Truck

For a look at the build review of the 'Hillbilly' gun truck version of this kit, look here.

My sincere thanks to Hobbico for this review sample!