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US Diamond T 969A Wrecker

Mirror Models Ltd. 1/35 US Diamond T 969A Wrecker Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review September 2014 Manufacturer Mirror Models Ltd.
Subject US Diamond T 969A Wrecker Scale 1/35
Kit Number 35802 Primary Media Styrene, Photo-Etch
Pros Beautiful detailing Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $94.95

First Look

US Diamond T 969A Wrecker
US Diamond T 969A Wrecker
US Diamond T 969A Wrecker
US Diamond T 969A Wrecker
US Diamond T 969A Wrecker

Diamond T started operations at the beginning of the 20th Century as a motor car manufacturer before it found its niche in the truck market. Before the US entered World War II, Diamond T was retained by the British Purchasing Commission to produce their model 980/981 trucks to serve as 12 ton prime movers for the British Army to haul tanks in North Africa. As the US started to prepare for the war, Diamond T was contracted to produce a range of support vehicles including the Model 969A wrecker.

The Model 969A was based upon a 4 ton chassis powered by a 106 horsepower gasoline engine. The gantry mounted on the truck bed was rated at 3 tons which allowed for the recovery of trucks and scout vehicles leaving the job of tank recovery to larger recovery vehicles. Over 6,000 Model 969A wreckers were produced during World War 2 with hard-top cab production running between 1940 and 1942 and switching to a soft-top cab from 1942 through 1945.

Mirror Models Ltd. is a model company based in Ireland and like most other model companies these days, has their kits produced in China. We've received some feedback from earlier Mirror Model first-looks and the one distinction that should be made is that these kits are indeed for experienced modelers as they don't assemble like a Tamiya kit, more like an early Trumpeter kit, but like those early Trumpeter kits, the models go together nicely using good modeling skills. With each release, the instructions and design gets better and this release is no exception.

This kit is one of two model 969A models released by Mirror Models with 35801 representing the later soft-top version. This kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on 10 parts trees plus one tree of clear parts, and three small frets of photo-etched details. According to the specs, there are around 570 parts in this project.

Among the features and options in this kit:

  • Detailed engine and transmission
  • Detailed engine compartment
  • Detailed chassis and winch
  • Detailed suspension, transfer case, and drive train
  • Detailed cab interior
  • Cab doors are positionable
  • Detailed air compressor
  • Detailed recovery gantry
  • Positionable stabilizers

The instructions are better than previous releases and consist of 20 pages of drawings with a few photographs to walk you through the assembly process. The one element missing is a diagram showing the layout of the parts trees so you can more easily identigy which of the trees your next part(s) will be found. You can find a PDF version of these instructions on their website..

Aside from the instructions, this kit should be an AMS modeler's dream as all of the basics are here inside and out. The real question is what sort of story do you want to tell with this model? You can build a factory-fresh example or a war weary vehicle or something in-between. The model would look great by itself but it would also make a great centerpiece for a diorama or vignette. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!