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Standard B Liberty Truck with WWI US Infantry (35652) 1:35


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Standard B Liberty Truck with WWI US Infantry (35652)

1:35 ICM via Hannants Ltd.

 

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The Liberty truck was a collaboration between the major US manufacturers and the Quartermasters Corps to reduce the need to carry spare parts for every weird and wacky truck that might find its way into service.  The aim was to cut down on the breadth of inventory they needed to keep in stock to maintain the vehicles, and to reduce the training needed for their mechanics who only needed to be familiar with one main design.  Production began in mid 1917 as American was becoming more involved in the Great War and with very few alterations over 9,000 were made before the ending of hostilities.  The vehicle's engine was also a collaboration and pushed out a staggering 52hp linked to a 4-speed box that drove all wheels, propelling the truck to a break-neck 15mph on a good road, drinking a gallon every seven miles at best, which with a 22 gallon tank gave it a fairly short range.

 

 

The Kit

This isn't a brand new tooling, but was released in 2018 so it's barely out of the "new" range.  This reboxing contains an additional set of US WWI Soldiers with their distinctive "mountie" hats from the era.  It is a high quality kit with a lot of detail that provides a full interior, erected tilt and bare frame options and engine.  The kit arrives in a standard ICM box with four sprues for the truck and two more for the soldiers, plus a clear sprue and decal sheet between the pages of the instruction booklet.  Two additional sheets of instructions are included for the soldiers and their accessory sprue.

 

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Construction begins with the chassis with leaf suspension fore and aft, then spacer rails to join them together, radiator, axles and steering gear.  The rear axle is a substantial chunk and has large drum brakes with a drive-shaft leading to a central transfer box in the middle of the chassis.  Front mud guards, bumper bar with rebound springs are added, then it's time to add the wheels with two singles at the front, and two pairs at the rear all with spoked hubs and moulded-in solid rubber tyres around the rim.  There is a choice of hub caps on the front wheels, then the engine is made up from 11 parts and dropped in place on the chassis behind the radiator along with a two-part manifold and short exhaust pipe that you'll have to take a small drill to if you want it hollow.  The connection to the radiator from the block sprouts from the top of the engine, and at this early stage the gear shifter is installed on the top of the box, ready for the crew cab later.  The cab is formed on an stepped floor part that has tread-plate moulded in, to which the sides, full-width bench seat and the firewall with dashboard and fuel tank are attached.  Two foldable crew steps are stowed under the floor, and the steering column inserts almost vertically into a hole in the floor, then the assembly is added behind the engine allowing the cowling to be fitted together with a perforated grille that sits forward of the cowling by a few scale inches.  The hand brake attaches to the side of the transmission hump, and then it's time for the load bed.

 

The floor is stiffened by five lateral ribs and the front wall is added and braced by the side panels, which also have 4 stiffeners, then two stowage boxes are glued in place under the floor at the front.  The tailgate is made up from two thicknesses and is added at whatever variation of open or closed you fancy, then the whole bed is fitted to the chassis on tabs and depressions to get the correct location.  Back in the cab the steering wheel, searchlight with clear lens and horn are all fitted, the last two on the top of the dash, and two headlamps again with clear lenses are attached to the outside front of the cab.  The area is then decorated with a multitude of grab handles, closures and two towing hooks at the front of the chassis rail.  A starter handle is inserted into the front, and the cab's tilt is made up from three styrene parts with two clear portholes and it too is fitted to the cab.

 

The cover for the cargo bed can be modelled either hidden away with just the framework visible, or with the canvas draped over for a bit of variety.  The framework option is quite delicate, so care will be needed when taking the frames off the sprues to avoid breakage.  There are five of them and they fit at intervals to the sides with a substantial overlap for strength.  The covered parts comprise front section, two sides with the exposed parts of the frames sticking down, a rolled-up rear cover, and separate roof section.  All have realistic drape and creases moulded in, and your only task is to hide the seams before you apply paint, whilst avoiding breaking off the ends of the frames that hang down. 

 

The Figures

Four soldiers are supplied on one sprue with their equipment on another sprue.  They are all standing with one taking a photo of the others on a box-brownie type camera, while the others walk along, only one of which is acknowledging the camera with a wave.  They are broken down into separate heads, hats, torsos, legs and arms, with the arms broken down further where sensible, and the walkers each have a large kit bag that is slung over both their shoulders with rucksack type straps, and over that are their rifles, the slings for which you'll have to make yourself from foil or tape.  The accessory sprue contains a plethora of weapons and accessories, most of which you either won't use or can be dotted around this and any other models of the period you may make, including battle bowlers, pistols, pouches, tools, a Lewis gun and other oddities.

 

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The instructions show the part locations for each sprue and a combined assembly and painting diagram that is covered in little arrows, with the remaining sheet showing construction of the accessories, their painting and even the names of each item on the sprue, which is very helpful.

 

Markings

There are two decal options for the truck, both of which are the same colour, olive green for the body, and khaki for the canvas areas.  The sheet is small and includes a few stencils, divisional badges and a warning to carry no more than 3 tons.

 

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Conclusion

A beautifully detailed kit of an early truck from WWI with the bonus of some very nicely moulded US soldiers into the bargain.

 

Highly recommended.

 

Available from Importers H G Hannants Ltd. In the UK

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Review sample courtesy of

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