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U.S. Military Bulldozer

Mirror Models Ltd. 1/35 U.S. Military Bulldozer Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review April 2015 Manufacturer Mirror Models Ltd.
Subject U.S. Military Bulldozer Scale 1/35
Kit Number 35851 Primary Media Styrene, Photo-Etch, Metal Springs
Pros Beautiful detailing Cons See text
Skill Level Advanced MSRP (USD) $79.95

First Look

U.S. Military Bulldozer
U.S. Military Bulldozer
U.S. Military Bulldozer
U.S. Military Bulldozer
U.S. Military Bulldozer

Mirror Models Ltd. is back with an interesting new kit. This is the Caterpillar D7 bulldozer circa World War II as used by US military forces around the world. These bulldozers were used extensively by US Army engineers and the US Navy Construction Battalion (Seebees) to carve out roads, base perimeters, runways, and other essential earth moving duties needed to support combat operations.

The early D7 dozers still have the signature earth-moving blade, but the hydraulics to lift the blade were still a number of years away. This dozer had an overhead framework that mounted pulleys and cable runs to connect the blade to a winch mounted on the rear of the dozer. The operator used the winch to lift the blade and gravity to lower it again. These dozers were also used as prime movers for artillery pieces and vehicle recovery though the blades were removed for such duties.

This kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on 10 parts trees plus five trees molded in rust-colored styrene, three frets of photo-etched details and two metal springs. Considering that this is a very small model in 1/35 scale consisting of over 600 parts, you can see that this is quite a detailed model. There are a significant number of small parts which might make this kit more complex than it really needs to be.

Among the features and options in this kit:

  • Very detailed diesel engine
  • Detailed chassis and drive train
  • Detailed roller and drive sprocket assemblies
  • Choice of exposed or covered spring tensioners
  • Individual track link assemblies
  • Detailed dozer blade and mount
  • Detailed winch system with 'cable' routing instructions

Painting instructions are provided using MIG paints which may be of use to some modelers but paint equivalents using other (more readily available) paints would be useful. The color profile included in the kit is for a US Army example which you'll want to check for yourself as these tractors were usually delivered in the same early olive drab green carried by the tanks and trucks delivered to Europe. If you're going for the south Pacific theater, you'll want to shift to a Marine Corps or Navy olive drab. The other color profile shows a typical Caterpillar Yellow dozer as it would appear after the war. Truth be told however, you could paint this tractor hot pink and after a thorough wash and weathering exercise (earth movers get dirty!), no one will be the wiser.

This kit is a beauty and offers the experienced modeler with some breathtaking details plus an excellent opportunity for weathering. This kit has over 600 parts in the box for a subject that isn't much larger than a small truck, so this won't be a weekend build nor is it recommended for modelers that are not comfortable working with lots of tiny parts. If you're looking for a different kind of tracked project for your bench, look no further!

My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!