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  1. G-527 250gal Water Trailer ‘Water Buffalo’ (35458) 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd During WWII, the US used two small two-wheeled trailers for transporting additional equipment and other essential stores around the battlefield, towed by trucks and other vehicles that had at least a ¾ ton payload carried internally. There were two major variants, one for carrying many types of equipment and designated as G-518, the other a specialist water carrier that was given the catalogue designation G-527. Its nickname was the Water Buffalo, and it was capable of carrying up to 200 gallons of water, which is an essential commodity for the health of troops, vehicles and has so many other uses it would take up far too much space in this review. In total, over a quarter of a million of all types were made, and they were the most used small trailers by US forces through the war. The main contractor was Ben-Hur Manufacturing Co., which garnered it another nickname, one that was primarily used for the other variants, as ‘Water Buffalo’ is far cooler. The Kit This is a new tool from MiniArt, who are creating new kits at an astounding rate, considering what’s been going on in Ukraine this last year or so. It is accompanied by its stable-mate, and we’ll be reviewing that in due course, but first we have the Water Buffalo that’s closer to the top of the queue. The kit arrives in a small top-opening box with a painting of the subject matter on the front, from the equally prolific Volodymyr Booth, and inside are six sprues of grey styrene, a card envelope that contains a small Photo-Etch (PE) fret and a length of chain, adding decals and the glossy instruction booklet to complete the package, the latter having painting and decaling profiles on the rearmost pages. Detail is excellent as usual with MiniArt, including a full chassis, well-rendered chunky treaded tyres, and even a pair of safety retention hooks that use the chain mentioned above. Construction begins with the chassis, the two side rails having leaf-spring suspension moulded-in, which have the axle retention bolts added to both sides, and the light cluster is fitted on a PE bracket next to the rear suspension mount. The rails are glued to the floor section, which has a large cut-out in the centre, then the shorter front and rear rails are fitted to the floor. Turning the assembly over, the square axle with the lower retention plates moulded-in is laid across the suspension, adding two diagonal I-beams to brackets at the front to create the structure of the towing frame. It is further strengthened by fitting U-bolts under the front of the floor, adding stirrups to the underside of the rear, and a two-part brake mechanism on the right side. The wheels are built from two parts, the larger having the outer hub, tyre carcass and the tread moulded together, the smaller having the opposite sidewall moulded-in. They are put to one side while you build up the water tank. The oval tank is made from top and bottom halves plus front and rear end caps, fitting a hatch with closures and a multi-part hand-pump to the forward end, then lowering the assembly into place on the chassis, where it is supported by sloped risers around the edges of the cut-out. There is a T-shaped set of plumbing with three spigots per side under the front of the chassis, covered by two L-shaped assemblies that mount under the leading-edge, with three bog-standard taps or faucets as our American friends would call them on each side. While the chassis is upside down, the two-part inner hubs are fitted to the ends of the axles, adding a short length of 0.5mm wire to each one, and another length to a bracket under the tank. A pair of mudguards are mounted on the chassis sides on pegs, and a reeled-up hose with separate link to the pump is fixed on the slatted deck in front of the tank. Boxed covers are fitted over the tap block in open or closed position, locking them in place with a long PE hook for the open option that locates in a PE eye that is used on both options. The two-part towing eye is mounted atop the front of the A-frame, and a jockey-wheel is built from two halves plus a yoke and pivot, with an alternate all-steel wheel if you prefer. This can be fitted under the hitch in either horizontal position for travel, or vertically for a parked trailer, locking it in place between two halves of the pivot. Another longer length of wire is fitted along the left chassis rail and hitch frame, dangling down over the hitch, adding a plug for the electronics, which has a hole moulded-in. The safety chains are cut to length, and are each trapped between two halves of their bracket, adding the hook on the loose end after drilling a hole in the part first. Markings There are five decal options on the sheet, and from the box you can build one of the following: US Military Air Transport Service, Andrews Air Force Base, Hawaii, 1949 Unknown US Army Unit, North Africa – Italy, 1943 Unknown US Army Unit, Europe, 1944-45 Unknown Unit, Medical Department US Army, 1942/45 834th Engineer Aviation Battalion of the 9th (US) Engineer Command, Further, Germany, 1950 Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion Whilst it might not be one of the most charismatic of military vehicles, its importance from a strategic point of view can’t be underestimated, as an army without water won’t march very far or last long. MiniArt have done a grand job tooling this kit, and it will make an interesting addition behind your next softskin project, or as part of a diorama. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
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