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HEMTT Gun Truck Kit

Italeri 1/35 HEMTT Gun Truck Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review April 2014 Manufacturer Italeri
Subject HEMTT Gun Truck Scale 1/35
Kit Number 6510 Primary Media Styrene
Pros New tooling for this version Cons See text
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $61.00

First Look

HEMTT Gun Truck Kit
HEMTT Gun Truck Kit
HEMTT Gun Truck Kit
HEMTT Gun Truck Kit

The Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck (HEMTT) is family of heavy duty trucks in service with the US armed forces. The HEMTT entered service with the US Army in 1982 as a replacement for the M520 Goer. The basic HEMTT series is an 8x8 prime mover that has a 10 ton cargo capacity. The truck chassis is produced by Oshkosh Truck Corporation and is used in the civilian world as an airport firefighting vehicle. In military service, the chassis is fitted with different tanks, pallets, or boxes to define its mission. The HEMTT is currently fielded as:

  • M977 cargo truck
  • M978 tanker
  • M983 Patriot/Pershing prime mover
  • M984 recovery vehicle
  • M985 cargo truck
  • M1120 load handling system

With over 13,000 HEMTTs in service today, this heavy hauler will continue to support the troops for years to come. I had the opportunity to see ( and photograph) an M1120 HEMTT demonstration and was curious what sort of kits might be available for the HEMTT series. I remember that Italeri had released a few kits of the subject several years ago, and after a session with Google, I found the M978 tanker and the M977 cargo truck from Italeri in styrene and a truck in 1/72 from Academy.

Italeri has reissued their M977 and M978 periodically and here is a new variant, actually two, in this release. This kit represents one of the many improvised gun trucks that were fabricated in the field to provide convoy security escort duties in Iraq. This kit is molded in gray styrene and presented on six parts trees plus one tree of clear parts.

What is really nice about this release is that the new-tooled parts represent the scabbed-on armor plating applied to the cab and engine 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
  • Driver's door is positionable
  • Load handling crane
  • Can be built as M977/M985, up-armored M977/M985, or up-armored M977/M985 gun truck
  • Two M2 machine guns w/mounts
  • Two Mk.19 grenade launchers w/mounts
  • Optional over-cab turret ring
  • Cargo bay boarding ladders
  • Ammo cans, water jugs, field packs and helmets are included

Even with the new-tooled parts, some of the complaints about the basic HEMTT kits center around the wheels, simplified cab and engine details. Fortunately there are some really outstanding aftermarket resin wheels and detail sets for the HEMTT to bring this kit up to contemporary standards. We'll take a look at some of these in an upcoming build project.

Kudos to Italeri for not only reissuing the HEMTT, but also giving us a gun truck version!

Thanks to MRC for the review sample.