Airplane modelers have been waiting for a 1/48 US Army Airfield truck for quite some time (I know I have). There were resin conversions available, but for all I know this is the first one in injected plastic and a Tamiya model nonetheless!
Upon opening the box you get to see six sprues molded in dark green, a small clear sprue, a bag with plastic hose and wire, and a small decal sheet. Instructions are typical Tamiya, which is clear and simple to follow with color calls along the way.
From looking at the parts, this kit is a modification or sub-version of a different kit as you get plenty of spare parts. The box says “2 figures” included, but actually there are 3, as a driver figure is included too. It might not have the proper uniform though. This model is a curbside but that is not an issue for “airplane guys” wanting a small vehicle next to the airplanes in the display case or shelf at home.
When studying the instructions it became apparent there would be 3 main sub-assemblies: The chassis and engine compartment, the cab top and the fuel tank. You get the option to display the pumping system, but given that my figure painting skills are very poor plus some ejection pins marks on the inside of the doors, I decided not to show that part.
Assembly was totally straightforward and effortless, which is what you get to expect from a Tamiya model these days. Everything fit perfectly and in some cases glue was not really needed. However I did run into an issue with the engine compartment sides (under the fenders). They did not reach all the way to the chassis frame. I am not sure if this is an issue of the molds or my own fault. It was easy to fix adding some styrene sheet, as shown in the pictures, but still surprising. I would strongly recommend you to do some dry fitting in that area when building yours.
With the main subassemblies ready for painting within 4 hours I’ve applied a coat of Olive Drab and after 24 hrs. I applied a coat of Future to prepare for decals.
The decals perhaps are the low point of the kit. They are a bit thick and I had a bit of silvering in them. I was able to solve the problem by applying some Future on the sides of the decal and letting is run underneath the decal.
The main problem I had with the decals was the white bumper ones. I was not able to get them to conform and overlap gap-free. I actually had to remove them and brush painted the white.
At this point I ran into another issue. The spare tire support frame does not seem to have a clear spot where to attach into the chassis. The instructions show a slot, but the plastic part does not have it. At that point, I did not want to modify a painted and decaled model so mine has no spare tire. Make sure you file a notch in the chassis frame to include the spare tire frame.
Moving into weathering: I’ve applied an enamel wash to highlight detail. Then I got a satin coat in preparation for an “oil dot filter” of yellows, greens and tans to break the overall olive drab finish. Finally I’ve airbrushed some tan on the lower side of the model, to simulate some dust.
I’ve spent about 4 hours assembling this model and about 6 hours painting and finishing it. Other than the issue with the engine compartment sides, this kit is completely trouble free and who knows, it might have been my own fault.
This vehicle is a great addition to my ‘flight line’ of WWII USAAF models. By the way, the last picture shows the fuel truck next to an Academy P-47 for size comparison purposes. There is no airplane included in this boxing, but it would be a natural expansion to see a “combo” of a USAAF fighter and the fuel truck in the future.
I would like to thank Tamiya USA and IPMS/USA for the review model.
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