Production of the multi-purpose all-wheel military all-terrain vehicles WC-52 began in 1941. The weapons carrier was equipped with a winch Braden MU-2 with a towing capacity of 3,400kg. To accommodate the winch, the WC-52 was built with a longer frame compared to the WC-51. The winch could be used for various tasks, such as recovery of vehicles. In addition to cargo and troop transport, the vehicle could tow a trailer or a gun weighing up to 2 tons. The nearly 25,000 WC-52 supplied to the Soviet Union under the lend-lease program were often used for towing the ZIS-3 76mm anti-tank gun. From 1942 to the end of the war a total of 59,000 WC-52s were built. They served not only in the U.S. Army but were also supplied to Great Britain, the USSR, China, Brazil, and the free French Army.
This offering from Zvezda arrives in a flip top cardboard tray with and end opening card sleeve. Inside the mouldings are provided in 2 sealed plastic bags, the decals and clear sprue are in a Ziploc plastic bag, and is one of the few aspects of the packaging that I do not like. An examination of the mouldings does reveal some ejector pin marks that may need to be addressed. Access for removal of parts is generally good, and the gates are of a reasonable size to keep clean up relatively easy.
Zvezda as a company have come a very long way as regards plastic kit manufacture. The mouldings are crisp, and the fit of parts of kits that I have assembled have proven to be very good. This release provides a full engine and transmission, but will need the addition of some wires to finish it off to a very high standard. The chassis assembly is a one piece moulding, to which parts are added, and the chassis is one of the aspects that will require care during removal from the sprue. The main chassis rails are separate mouldings, but you have the complete assembly to ensure accurate placement. The detail of the mechanical parts of the model appear to me to be very well replicated and detailed with the addition of wires to represent the various electrical, fuel and brake lines - will lift the detail significantly. The leaf springs will require careful clean up of the seam lines to avoid removing the leaf details.
The cab of the truck again has good detail throughout due to all of the relevant controls being present and the fire wall between the cab and the engine having the relevant detail on the engine side. A fire extinguisher is present inside the cab, and due to the period it is represented I believe this will be brass. I commend Zvezda for having provided the seats with detail so that they a least look like they have been sat on, but this detail could be further enhanced if required. The truck bed is one of those areas where you will need to check for ejector pin marks, but I cannot fault the detail as there are no obvious omissions that I can see. One complaint in the cab area, is that I would have liked to have seen, some decals provided for the instrument cluster. The rear bed of the truck has been provided with wooden rail seats, and a framework for a canvas cover support. A canvas cover made with multiple pieces is also provided, and I am lead to believe from the instructions that this slips over the canvas rail supports and so is more accurate than many options I have seen previously.
The exterior detail gives you the option of the hood being open or closed, and as far as I can tell is an accurate representation if shown open. The mud guards have good detail in their curves, but the lights have not been provided with clear lenses throughout. Moving back to the mechanical aspects the tyres are injection moulded plastic, with good wheel detail. The front axle has been tackled in a way so that the front wheels can be set at the angles you desire. The front radiator grille is an especially finely moulded piece, that will be difficult to beat. A drum winch is mounted at the front of the vehicle, and while not mentioned or provided some form of cable will finish off the item to a higher standard.
A figure of a Russian soldier is included in the release and is an of an especially pleasing detail for inclusion with the model. So far as I can see there is no issues with details on the uniform, and even has the addition of the knee pad material. A water canteen is also provided, and a personal weapon in the form of a PPSh-41 machine gun, with a drum magazine that is moulded separately. Zvezda has provided 2 finishing options for this release - with one being listed purely as Dodge WC 52 U.S. Army and the second option is a Dodge WC 52, Free French Army, 2nd Armoured Division RBFM, Normandy 1944.
This is a very pleasing model release, with one glaring issue - what is a Russian infantry soldier doing driving a truck of the U.S. Forces or Free French Army? I accept that these vehicles were given to the Russian forces as part of a lend/lease agreement, but none of the options reflects that finishing option. As regards the detail of the model itself, it is exceptionally high and in my opinion will be hard to beat for the price.