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Maid of all Trades

US Military Multipurpose 3/4T Vehicle WC-51 “Beep”

Zvezda 1/35, Ref. 3656

As with the earlier Sherman M4A2 and M4A3 releases that I was given the opportunity to review, this new Zvezda offering is very well presented in its strong cardboard box and full colour sleeve showing off, almost obviously, a Soviet vehicle.

Upon opening the box, I see that part E52 (upper chassis) is nevertheless broken in one location ; if this is a ‘common’ issue to all WC-51 kits, do not worry, this should not be too much of an issue for most modellers I know. But it may just be ‘my’ kit that was damaged !

The plastic is, as is usual with this manufacturer, light grey-coloured. Injection rings are present here and there but they all are very intelligently located and all in all very discreet. The parts are all very finely detailed.

The decals bring two choices, that of a Red Army vehicle and that of a Free French vehicle belonging to the 2nd Division Blindée.

The instructions are clear, precise and still in black & white. 37 steps constitute the build. A full-colour A5 sheet offers the painting and decaling information for both options.

There are no photo-etched parts, nor resin parts included here, all we get is plastic ; no frills but frankly, out of the box, this kit is a winner. The front grille is simply amazing!

Interestingly, the cab floor features the location and associated detail for the winch lever… This is good news, Folks, this means that a WC-52 must be on the cards at Zvezda’s ! The tilt is really well represented and the side panels can be shown open or closed. As an option, a Soviet driver is included along with a seat that bears the its body imprint.

For those who cares, this kit is a Dodge WC-51 ‘early production’, as shown by the small petrol tank cap and the characteristic left side-mounted storage box that reaches the level of the driver’s running board and the spare wheel.

If the engine appears pretty complete, some might notice the missing petrol pump on the lower part of the right side of the engine bloc and the missing distributor on its left side between the air cleaner and the oil filtrer. Speaking of the air cleaner, the one offered would be better off fitted onto a later production model WC-51.. But this is nitpicking.. !

The hooks moulded onto the rear body panels should really be replaced with finer items. A few other parts (D16, D20 and D21) are also best replaced since the markings on the jerrycans were not raised as offered, but embossed.

This looks like a most welcome kit, well designed and decently priced at that !

Review by Renaud Labarbe.

Photos by Zvezda and Renaud Labarbe.

Review kit generously provided by Zvezda.

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