by: Rick Cooper [ ]
There seems to be no role that the Willys or Ford Jeep could not handle. I guess thatís why no less a luminary than General Eisenhower listed it, along with the C-47 and the landing craft, as one of the three most important war winning tools in the Allied arsenal.
One of the more important roles for the jeep was as an ambulance able to convey wounded quickly to proper medical facilities. While no actual production of jeep ambulances seems to have occurred stateside they were rigged in theatre to carry up to 4 stretcher cases. Perhaps the most famous were the Holden ambulance jeeps converted in Australia and used by the Marines on Guadalcanal.
Legend Productions has recently released a conversion set for 1/35th scale jeep which will enable the modeler to create a jeep ambulance with the extended wooden frame for carrying two stretchers. This particular version looks like it may have been a Canadian pattern that was probably added at or near the front. While this may well be a Canadian pattern the simplicity of the design would have surely lent itself to others fighting in Europe.
Inside the standard Legend Productions box you will find 40 perfectly cast resin pieces, a photo-etch sheet with about 50 parts, two pieces of brass rod, and a nice decal sheet with numerous medic markings, and a nice full color sheet that serves as both painting guide and instruction sheet.
The resin castings are flawless, with a somewhat soft resin that does give off a rather unpleasant odour when cut or filed. There are two large castings, one for the canvas covered windscreen and a large tarp that covers the front hood. The second is for a replacement rear seat that is loaded with personal gear, duffle, coat, etc. from the crew. Other larger, unique pieces are the two stretchers; one folded up, the other opened and ready for business. You also get resin T latches which are missing on the Tamiya jeep. The remainder of the castings provide the wooden stretcher carrying handles (with two extra in case of breakage or attack of the carpet monster) various bags for the medical crew, helmets, collapsible canvas buckets, a ration type box, metal bucket, 5 gallon gas can with handles, canteens, and a few other small bits to fill the jeep to overflowing.
The brass rods are to replace the frame for the jeepís canvas cover while the decals are self-explanatory. The photo etch pieces provide the metal feet for the stretchers, the mount for the spare tire, brake and clutch pedals, and numerous buckles that can be used for the frame, bags, and shovel/axe stowage and the mounting plates for the T hood latches.
The only real construction for the conversion is the four pieces that make up the wooden frame. That was pretty simple and fit perfectly on the back of the jeep with a small photo etch bracket on each side that helped to keep it aligned. After that I added the large casting for the hood and popped the rear seat casting in just to check the fit. I was more than pleased with how easily each of the drop fit parts did exactly that with no sanding or finessing to get them to fit at all. I used the Tamiya jeep kit #35219 as the base kit and canít really vouch for how well these particular parts would fit with the Italeri or Dragon jeeps, but they I canít imagine they should cause too much trouble.
After that I selected enough of the other pieces to personalize the jeep for its crew and prepared them for painting. The kit does not include anything for straps so I did add lead foil straps to the bags to have some logical way to attach them to the jeep. After it was painted up and given a coat of Future I turned to the decals. The decals are very thin and stick really, really well. The large Red Cross decal for the windscreen caused a bit of panic because it went on crooked and then didnít want to let go. Finally, I was able to finesse it into a more acceptable location but it is still off a bit but I didnít want to push it any more. Bottom line; be careful with the large decal as it may snuggle right down quicker than you want. I used a quick hit of Solvaset to set the decals down nice and tight followed by another shot of Future to seal everything tight.
After that I gave a couple of thin coats of Vallejo Matt Varnish and called it done. I fought the urge to go crazy with the weathering so that you would have more of an opportunity to see the finished product before I had the chance to muck it up one way or another. All in all, a very easy conversion that can be a real eye catcher on your shelf or the contest table. Recommended for anyone who has even a minimum of experience with resin parts.