Armored ¼ Ton 4x4 Truck with Bazookas
Arguably the most recognizable Allied vehicle of World War II is the timeless and versatile ¼ Ton 4x4 Truck, a.k.a. “Jeep.” While used for a myriad of tasks by Allied ground forces, scouting and reconnaissance were near the top of the list. Some variants of recon Jeeps were outfitted with .50-caliber machine guns, some with armor plate, and some with dual bazookas in lieu of the .50-cal – the latter during the Battle of the Bulge in December, 1944, and serving as the subject of this kit.
Dragon’s little armored bazooka-toting ¼-tonner is a compact package of modeling art. The 4 sprues and body of light gray and the single sprue of clear styrene parts are nicely detailed and very crisply molded with virtually no discernible flash. The hefty fret of PE, including the armor plating, straps, and hood and windshield latches, is very crisp and fairly well matched to the kit. A small sheet of decals is also provided.
Assembly of the kit was very straightforward, with some minor issues with assembly illustrations and sequence, common to many Dragon kits. Care was needed mainly in the assembly of the front suspension, as the instructions showed the axle resting on the vehicle frame when it should be attached to the leaf springs, as was the rear suspension in the prior step. Also unclear in Step 6 was the assembly sequence of the jerry can and its retaining strap (add the strap prior to adding the can’s handle), and in Step 9 regarding the actual placement of the bazooka pedestal and its braces.
Despite the issues with the instructions, the kit’s engineering really is pretty solid, and the build clipped right along without significant fit issues. The little 4-cylinder engine is very nicely done, and is a model in and of itself, comparing very nicely to photos of the 1:1 prototypes. The PE, though a bit hefty, cuts and bends well, and captures some of the finer points of detail. Only cautions here are:
- The front square of armor plate is a tad large (I could not find any reference photos where the plate overhung the front bumper or extended above the hood. I trimmed mine down just a hair to fit between the bumper top and the hood bottom.
- The crew compartment armor “wrap” doesn’t quite fill the gap between dashboard and the front edge of the body behind the front seats, which appears to be the attachment point in reference photos. As a result, there’s a small gap between the front outside corners of the enclosure’s front plate and the dashboard. I chose to leave the gap, as I had painted the armor insert separately from the vehicle body and did not wish to backtrack with a fill and blending. Besides, one could make the case that the wraps were “drop-ins” hastily fabricated and installed at field depots, and may have had gaps in places.
- The 5 top frame tie-down straps on the back of the vehicle need some fairly intricate and consistent bends to provide some degree of consistency along the span of the frame. In hindsight, I should’ve reduced the folding profile provided in Step 6 to 1/35 scale to serve as a template to ensure uniformity among the 5 parts.
Painting and Finishing
All of the PE parts were primed with Tamiya Metal Primer, and the plastics were primed with Tamiya Gray Primer. Model Master Acryl Olive Drab FS 34087 served as the base color, and was modulated with a 1:1 mix of Model Master Acryl US Army/Marines Gulf War Sand. Tires were done in Polly Scale Grimy Black.
Decals were floated directly onto the flat finish, buffered by a puddle of Future, and then sealed with Future once dry. The kit decals were well printed and settled right down. The front armor plate decal was from an AK Interactive set, and applied flawlessly.
A wash of Windsor and Newton Raw Umber and Turpenoid got things rolling on the weathering process, followed by some Grumbacher pastels used to simulate dirt and grime, and then lighter pastel shades were drybrushed for a dusting effect. The model was then sealed with Model Master Acryl Flat.
Conclusion and Recommendation
Dragon again has done an excellent job in replicating a classic military vehicle in 1/35 scale in its Armored ¼ Ton 4x4 Truck w/Bazookas. I highly recommend it for modelers of intermediate and advanced skill levels, but it could still be faithfully executed by beginners with a few solid builds under their belts – but the smaller PE bits may be a little frustrating for rookies.
Thanks to Dragon USA for another great review sample and to IPMS/USA for the opportunity to do the build and share my observations and opinion.