The ¼ ton 4X4 light truck, popularly known as the jeep, is one of the most familiar and iconic vehicles of WWII. The history of this vehicle begins officially in July of 1940, when the US Army issued a formal requirement for a general purpose ¼ ton, four wheel drive truck. A history of the development of the vehicle can be found here
. Of note is the fact that although Bantam BRC developed the first prototype, there were concerns that they lacked the ability to produce the vehicle in adequate numbers and as a result, their plans were delivered to both Willys Overland and Ford Motor Company. The Willys vehicle was formally accepted as the MB, but due to production demands, Ford was asked to produce the vehicle as well, as the GPW (general purpose, Willys design). Both manufacturers had some distinctive features on their vehicles. To simplify interchangeability of parts, the Army specified standardization of construction. Both Willys and Ford initially had their names stamped on the rear of their respectively produced vehicles, which the Army also ended. Bantam ended up making trailers to be towed by the vehicle they had created, while the few vehicles they produced were sent via lend lease to Great Britain and the Soviet Union.
The Jeep has been presented in kit form in 1/35 scale by Italeri, Tamiya (two versions) and most recently Miniart (Bantam BRC) and Dragon. With the exception of the Miniart kits all have represented the Willys version. Now, Bronco has released a new version of the ¼ ton 4X4 truck as manufactured by Ford Motor Company, and as a bonus, it includes a trailer and crew.
First, the kit is labeled as the GPW ¼ ton 4X4 Utility Truck (model 1942) with 10-CWT trailer & Airborne crew. The box art shows the vehicle as used by the 82nd Airborne division in Normandy in June, 1944 with three soldiers (one strongly resembling John Wayne). The trailer depicted is actually a Willys MB-T or Bantam T3 ¼ ton trailer. These were used by Canadian forces who classified them as 10-CWT.
Inside the box the sprues are all carefully packaged to prevent parts breakage. Inspection of the sprues showed no parts breakage and all parts clearly defined. I did not see any deformities or sink marks. There were no ejector pin marks that I could see on any surface that will be visible. While some were concerned that parts count and complexity would be excessive, this is not the case. Sprue breakdown is as follows.
sprue. Frame, leaf springs, seats, hood and some body parts. There is a standard windscreen frame and a second covered with a tarp. The rear panel has Ford in script writing. The gas tank is also a separate item.
sprue. Engine, radiator, suspension, three options for the steering linkage, allowing to be posed straight or turned left or right, two different steering wheels and the drivers pedals.
sprues. Labeled Da
, Db (red indicator)
, with one D
(X2) is the wheels, shock absorbers, brakes and Thompson SMG in a scabbard. Db has support weapons, with a folding-stock M1 carbine, M1 Garand, Browning .30 cal M1919, barrel for the Browning M2, plus ammo boxes, mounting brackets for the guns and a bumper two bar to connect two jeeps when towing heavy loads. Db (red indicator)
has a second M1919 and mounting bracket assembly. Dc
is the clear sprue, with the windscreen and headlight lenses. The windscreen has the wipers molded in place. The single D
part is a slide molded M2 receiver.
sprue. This is the ¼ ton trailer, with a single piece frame, separate bed and sides, detailed suspension and connectors.
part is the main body. This is carefully molded, with a small mold attachment point on the floor under the front passenger seat. All details are neatly done, including snaps around the door cutout and mounting base for the T handles for the hood.
sprues are the same ones from the previous M24 release, consisting of Ga
sprue with tarp and duffel bags, GB
sprue with four Jerry Cans and Ge
sprue with spare ammo boxes (.50 cal boxes marked not for use).
sprue is the three figures, all molded very well, with no deformities present. There was a slight amount of flash present on these, but it will clean up easily. The helmets include netting covers. They appear as good as any other plastic figures I have seen.
Additional parts are a metal etch fret (P
) and a piece of string for a tow rope.
paint and markings
Decals include markings for two vehicles, both assigned to the 82nd Airborne division, as well as stars for the trailer and division patch and flag decals for the figures themselves. The decals are clean and in register.
A paint guide is included at the beginning of the instructions with Mr Hobby, Hobby Color, Humbrol and Tamiya paints called out.
Instructions are printed in booklet form with line drawings showing assembly and drop boxes for sub assemblies. Construction is in 17 steps, with optional assemblies shown in the next five steps. The trailer assembly is in five steps and figure assembly and painting is shown in one step. A painting guide at the end of the instructions shows the trailer and two marking options in monotone olive drab. In addition to the positionable wheels and covered windscreen, options for the kit include placement of a pedestal mount for a machine gun on the center floor of the vehicle, addition of a .30 cal MG on the vehicle frame at the front passenger seat, a wire cutter for the front bumper, hood and tool box covers posed open, and a tow hitch in place of the front bumper.
Based on this site
here are some features regarding this vehicle. The Ford script on the tail panel was discontinued in July of 1942. There is no trailer plug receptacle hole. If you add one you will need to reposition the tail lights. A round muffler was also used until July of 1942. The gas tank doesnt quite match photos of the small mouth tank. The torque reaction spring on the left front leaf spring appeared in July 1942. A pancake style air cleaner was used to May of 1942. Rubber hood blocks were used to September of 1942. These are official dates, and there could be some variance depending upon stocks in the assembly lines. A Jerry can rack could have been added in the field, along with a bolted in reinforcing plate on the rear panel. There are no data plates for the trailer and no shipping stencil or data. For details, this kit surpasses every other release to date. If you want more, it appears the Minor model workable leaf springs will fit this kit, and I believe other etch sets will work as well. A build review will follow to show how it all goes together, but I am very happy with what is in the box.
An additional reference can be found here
or by searching online for 1942 Ford GPW. I purchased this kit from Lucky Model online for $31.99 before shipping. Prices can vary significantly so shop around.