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In-Box Review
135
M520 Goer
M520 8 ton 4x4 Cargo Truck with Winch
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by: James Bella [ C5FLIES ]

introduction

The idea for a large payload, go-anywhere truck was born in the mid 1950's by the U.S. Army. In the Summer of 1960, the Caterpillar Tractor Company was issued the contract to design and build prototypes of what would become the Goer. These 8 ton, high mobility cargo trucks were fitted with articulated steering and the ability to be amphibious.

The Summer of 1966 brings us to South Vietnam, where 19 pre-production Goer's were deployed. Their main task was to resupply remote bases that other vehicles had difficulty getting to, or could not get to at all. Through deep sand, mud and water the Goer proved to be a reliable vehicle to get through these extreme conditions.

The Goer did not have a traditional suspension as this was carried out by the large, low pressure tires. These 18x33 tires also propelled the vehicle in the water. Steering was performed through two double acting opposed hydraulic cylinders.

In the late 1970's, a replacement was sought for the Goer within the high mobility tactical truck program. By the mid 1980's the Caterpillar Goer was replaced by the Oshkosh HEMTT .

The Goer truck variants are:
M520, 8 ton 4x4 cargo w/wo winch
M877, 8 ton 4x4 cargo with material handling crane w/wo winch
M553, 10 ton 4x4 wrecker
M559, 2500 gal. 4x4 fuel tanker w/wo winch

This kit from Perfect Scale Modellbau is of the M520 with winch.

contents

Packed in a very sturdy box, and further contained in four zip style bags protected by bubble wrap are:

▪ 97 Resin pieces
▪ PE fret
▪ Decal sheet
▪ Clear plastic for windshield
▪ Poly rod for axles
▪ Instructions and parts list

The instructions are covered by three pages and include B&W, color photos along with line drawings. The steps look clear and assembly should be straightforward. I'd like to see pdf instructions on the website with higher res photos to aid assembly, but that's just a suggestion.

review

Wow. Upon opening the box that's the first word that came to mind. This is a very impressive kit with many large sized resin pieces. Flash is at a bare minimum and the casting is crisp and clean. There are some pin holes present, although these are easily dealt with. There is no warping of the parts, even on the large flat sides of the cargo section. Unlike my first review of a PSM kit, broken parts are nearly non-existent and easily repaired. Dry assembly of some of the major components showed that fit was excellent, this kit should be a real pleasure to build.

Decals are provided for marking three separate vehicles and include gauge faces for the photo etch dashboard. A deck screen, 2 part windshield wipers and mudflaps are also included on the PE fret. Enough clear plastic is included for the windshield, and the rear windows of the soft top. No material is provided for the windshield supports, so you will need to source this yourself from styrene or brass rod. You will also need some 1mm styrene rod for the steering assembly pivot joint between the cab and trailer. The articulated steering appears to be workable via the 2-part cylinders and pivot points.

The interior of the cab is detailed well enough, although there is room for further detailing if so inclined. The winch is a work of art with the cable very well portrayed. One glaring omission from the front of the tractor module is the dual air horns...none are included. These should be fairly easy to replicate using stretched sprue cut to a trumpet shape and mounted next to the right hand headlight. Two cans are included for the water can (on the right) and the fuel can (on the left). On board tools come complete with their rack. The air hose/electrical bundle that connects the tractor and trailer has a bit too many separate lines in it and might be best replaced with wire (3 air lines, 1 electrical cable). The soft top is very well done and should look great when painted and weathered.

The side doors of the cargo area are molded closed, while the rear door is provided as a separate piece. This may be possible to pose open with some added surgery to the latch if this is something that you'd want to do.

The wheels and tires are superb, and huge! It's noted in the instructions that there may be a gap between the tire and rim, which there is. A strip of .010 Evergreen filled it perfectly. The lugs on the rim hubs are squared off, these should be more of a rounded triangle so a bit of shaping will be necessary. The pre-production rigs, I believe, didn't have these lugs at all so they can be shaved off...but check your references first.

Measurements for the full scale Goer:
Height- 133.8"
Width- 108"
Length- 380"
Weight- 24,597 lbs.
Weight w/payload- 40,567 lbs.

conclusion

A stunning kit that should be welcomed by the Vietnam era and later modeler. The resin used by PSM is some of the easiest I've worked with, combined with the minimum amount of clean up, should make this a real gem to build. The kit is well detailed enough right out of the box, although there is room for more detailing if desired.

This one is highly recommended for all with an interest in this subject.

Hopefully I'll have this built at the beginning of the year to see how everything fits together.

Recommended reference:
Tankograd American Special #3018 M520 Goer/M561 Gama Goat


SUMMARY
Highs: Well detailed, beautifully cast, minimum amount of clean up.
Lows: No air horns included, could have thrown in the styrene rod for windshield supports and pivot joint.
Verdict: A very well done kit by PSM which should build up fairly easy. Well worth your consideration.
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 35070
  Suggested Retail: ~$156 US
  Related Link: PSM Item Page
  PUBLISHED: Dec 02, 2012
  NATIONALITY: United States
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 86.44%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 87.69%

Our Thanks to Perfect Scale Modellbau!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About James Bella (c5flies)
FROM: CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES

My main interest is 1/35 scale WWII armor, Axis and Allied, and will occasionally branch out into other areas. The builds I have done so far have been pretty much OOB, and considering what most newer kits include, that is usually more than enough for me. Even though my projects do not always end up ...

Copyright 2018 text by James Bella [ C5FLIES ]. All rights reserved.



Comments

James Bella says...no, force of habit Pascal, that looks real good built up. Yeah, I missed the hub size but now that you mention it they are visibly too small.
DEC 01, 2012 - 05:56 PM
And here is a nice mag from Tankograd to go with: itLINK Go the kit myself, great quality .... as always from PSM The mag is also very, very good if you need some ref on the M520. Cheers Christopher
DEC 01, 2012 - 06:06 PM
Nice review, James. PSM is carving out a real niche with its resin kits. Nice to see this one reviewed.
DEC 12, 2012 - 06:43 AM
Thanks to you Bill, and PSM, for giving me the opportunity to review this one. Its a real gem of a kit and should build up very nicely as can be seen in Pascals photo.
DEC 12, 2012 - 12:57 PM
we had the vehicles in the 3ID while i was in germany. it was fun to watch them bounce down the road when they were empty. best to stay out of their way too. this model would look great painted in winter MERDC
JUL 03, 2016 - 09:55 PM
Nice bump! I wonder how the kit compares to the Commanders Model one? LINK Cheers, Christophe
JUL 03, 2016 - 10:33 PM
Nice write up! The things you learn by just reading the reviews here. I have never heard of this truck before but you MUST see it in action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nv8Q1xVPBgg Jeff
JUL 04, 2016 - 01:54 AM
Jeff, thanks for that video link. Very interesting rig! Terry
JUL 04, 2016 - 10:45 AM
The GOER was an interesting vehicle. We had three versions in tank battalions in the 70s & 80s, cargo, fueler and wrecker. The cargo and fueler versions were assigned to the support platoon under the S-4 (Logistics) Section of battalion staff and the wrecker to the maintenance platoon in headquarters company. Advantages: large cargo/ fuel carrying capacities, especially for tank ammo and were extremely easy to back into parking spaces in the forests in Germany. Trying to back a 5-ton cargo truck with trailer in the forest was much more difficult. And yes they could swim. Disadvantages: the air in the low pressure tires were THE suspension! When a GOER was loaded it could keep up with a tank battalion on a road march (even trails) but, if they were empty they bounced all over the place if not on hardtop. I know I rode in an empty cargo version and had to hang on to keep from getting thrown out of my seat. Yes they can swim, but where you can swim them is limited. We could not swim them at Fort Polk, LA because the underwater slope on the edge of the lake used for that type of training was too steep. If all four wheels cannot touch bottom at at the same time a GOER cannot drive out of the water. It is a 4x4 but is too heavy for just the front axle to get traction. We also buried a full fuel Goer (2500 gallons) up to the belly at Peason Ridge on Fort Polk. It had rained for days and the driver cut the corner of the tank trail. Really not his fault as 27 other vehicles (tracked and wheeled) ended up stuck in the wet Louisiana mud.
JUL 07, 2016 - 12:49 AM
   

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