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US Tow Truck G506 (38061) 1:35


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US Tow Truck G506 (38061)

1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd




The Chevrolet G506 truck formed the basis of a range of 4x4 load-carrying vehicles that were capable of carrying up to 1.5 tonnes of cargo, men or equipment.  They were initially made under the 4100 code, then were renamed as the 7100 series, and usually had a standard enclosed cab, with a 3.9L straight-6 engine under the bonnet, and a four-speed “crash” (non-syncromesh) gearbox putting out a little over 80hp through all four wheels.  It rapidly became the Allies’ standard light truck, and served in substantial quantities on the Western Front, the Soviets on the Eastern Front, and the forces fighting Japan in the Far East.  There were plenty of variants, some in US Army service, others in USAAF service, with almost 50,000 of two specific types, the G7107 and G7117 sent over to the Soviets in large numbers under the Lend/Lease program.


Following the end of WWII, many were mothballed, and sold off into civilian service, where the went on to give good service over a long period.  The type with a crane mounted on the load bed was frequently seen towing broken-down vehicles throughout the USA, having found their way into the ownership of garages and recovery services for a knock-down price.  They were usually brightly coloured with large signs on the doors telling potential customers who they were, and how to get in touch should they ever need to engage their services.  As time went by, they gradually wore out, repair became more expensive, and newer more effective vehicles came to market that permitted the towing of larger vehicles and their recovery from difficult places, such as in the ditches at the side of the road, or down a hill where the victim had eventually come to rest.  Some still survive of course, and can be seen at rallies and get-togethers of like-minded enthusiasts.



The Kit

This is a reboxing of a recent tooling from MiniArt, and is a full interior kit, with engine, cab, load area and crane all included along with some very nice moulding and detail, particularly in the cab and those chunky tyres.  It arrives in one of MiniArt’s medium-sized top-opening boxes, and inside are twenty modular sprues in grey styrene, a clear sprue, Photo-Etch (PE) sheet in a card envelope with some metal chain within, a decal sheet and glossy instruction booklet with colour profiles on the front and rear pages.




















Construction begins with the ladder chassis, which has leaf-springs fore and aft, cross-braces and rear towing eye fitted to create the structure, then has the fuel tank, PE rear bumper irons folded around a styrene jig, and axles installed, before the brake drums/hubs, battery and external brackets are added to the chassis rails.  Later on, and pair of rear light clusters are mounted on the rear of the chassis rails on PE brackets.  The transfer box and drive-shaft join the two axles together, and a steering linkage and box are inserted into the front of the chassis, then the engine is built up based on the straight six-cylinder block, with carburettor, dynamo and transmission added, plus the pulleys and fan at the front.  The engine is fitted to the chassis, and at the rear a short additional chassis rail and spare tyre on an angled bracket are attached to the frame at the rear behind the fuel tank.  More control linkages and a first-motion shaft are joined to the rear of the engine, and a substantial number of brackets are fitted to the chassis rails under the load area.  The exhaust and its manifold slip into the underside of the chassis from below at a later point.


The crew cab is next, beginning with the firewall and forward sidewalls.  The roof and windscreen frame are moulded as one, with a headliner insert and rear-view mirror that are inserted within, and the three-part radiator housing is made to be used later.  The firewall and roof are joined with some of the dash pots fixed to the engine side of the firewall, while the doors and their interior cards are assembled with their handles and window winders, plus the clear window glass that can be posed open or closed as you wish.  The dashboard inserts into the front bulkhead with seven decals for the instruments and stencils on the glove box.  The diagonal foot panel is joined with the firewall and decked out with three foot pedals and the steering wheel on a long column that slides through a hole in front of the pedals. The driver and co-driver share a bench seat that is made up on the floor from back, cushion and a C-shaped surround that fits round the rear of the cab back wall, with small ovalised window and PE mesh grille fitted later, while the remaining vehicle and crane controls are added into the centre of the floore.  The roof and firewall assembly are fitted, with the doors installed within the frame in the open or closed position.  The windscreen is two panes of clear in a styrene frame that is posed open or closed later on.  The cab and radiator are both placed on the chassis and the engine cowling side panels fit between them with front wing/fender included on the sides.  The headlights and sidelights are added onto the fenders, the main lamps having clear lenses.  It’s time for the wheels to be made up, with a choice of singles or doubles at the front, each wheel made from two parts each, and twin wheels at the rear, made up much earlier in the instructions for some reason.  Each wheel slips over its respective axle, with the hub projecting through the central hole.


The afore mentioned windscreen has a pair of PE brackets and styrene wingnuts that are installed either vertically for closed, or at an angle for open, with a scrap diagram showing the correct orientation of the various parts.  PE windscreen wipers hung from the top of the frame, then the front grille is built.  You may have noticed that this doesn’t appear on the sprues, and there’s a good reason for that.  It is constructed completely from PE, and two more jigs are included on the sprues to assist with obtaining the correct shape.  The lower rail and curved side panels are made up on one jig from a single piece of PE, while the centre panel is folded up on another, then they’re joined together ready to be attached to the front of the engine bay.  There are two brackets stretched across the front of the radiator that are glued in place before the bumper/grille is added.  The hood/bonnet can be fitted open or closed by inverting the clasps and in the open option, a PE stay is provided.  A PE number plate holder is placed under the front lip of the right fender.


The winch is started by creating the mounting arm with motor, then the bobbin can be created either with a two-part styrene representation of a full reel, or an empty bobbin that you can load with some of your own material or leave empty.  It is offered up to the arm and secured in place by adding the short arm that mounts the other end of the axle, before being fixed to the underside of the vehicle at the front, with a protective C-shaped bar over the front.  A short take-off shaft and linkage is also added under the chassis to provide motive power to the winch.  Once the winch is in place, the monolithic front bumper iron is fixed to the front of the chassis rails, and has a pair of hooks and a PE bracket fitted to the top surface.


The load bed floor is a single moulding with a ribbed texture on the underside, and a thick rear section with hooks, separate rear lights and moulded-in reflectors.  The shallow sides and front have separate frames, plus four lateral supports under the bed.  A double-width stowage box is made up with lift-up lid and grab handle over the top, for later positioning at the front of the load bed. The load bed is joined to the chassis along with the exhaust system, which is held in place by PE brackets that are details in scrap diagrams, and a fuel filler pipe is inserted into the narrow gap between the cab and load bed.  A further support for the spare tyre and two vertical mudflaps are installed along with a number plate holder under the right rear of the floor.  The included chain is used to make up a final section of the towing rope on the winch, and has styrene hooks at each end, but you must supply a short length of rope or cable to join it to the winch from your own stocks.


Construction of the crane begins with the cropped A-frame that holds the gearing and forms the base of the crane, with PE cogs and supports fixed to the styrene parts as work progresses.  The jib is equally simple, consisting of curved angle-iron with a pulley at the end, and more PE cross-braces along its length.  The jib attaches to the top of the base and is held at an angle by two sliding braces, which on the real thing are adjusted by sliding past each other with pegs holding it at the required angle. If you want to adjust the angle of your model however, you will need to cut and adjust these yourself.  The remainder of the chain is wrapped around the cylinder at the apex of the crane's base, then threaded along the jib and over the pulley at the end and finally down to the hook, back again and up to the last hook at the very end of the jib.  A large winding handle is fitted either to the top bobbin or by using an additional long rod to the small cog at the bottom of the gear set.  a PE maker's plaque on the side of the A-frame reads "Weaver Auto-Crane, Weaver Mfg.Co., Springfield Ill USA".




There are four markings options on the decal sheet, all of which are different colours.  From the box you can build one of the following:

  • Texas, 1940s
  • Nevada, 1940s
  • Ohio, 1940s
  • Kansas, 1940s






Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt/gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas.




We seem to have been blessed with new kits of Chevrolet G506 truck variants in 1:35 recently, which must have been pretty common in Post-War America.  Great detail and some cool decal options.


Highly recommended.




Review sample courtesy of


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Neat truck, couldn't imagine trying to steer it with duals on the front unless your moving. I've driven a non syncro bus before('37 Twin Coach), takes getting used to and you can't downshift. I knew a guy who had a similar wrecker on a 34 Ford of the same size that was still using it into the late 90s at least, might still be. He could pick up a big Caddy no problem. These are geared very well.

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1 minute ago, busnproplinerfan said:

couldn't imagine trying to steer it with duals on the front unless your moving.

Looks like a recipe for massive arm muscles, doesn't it?  I thought I was seeing things initially :lol:

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That is a weird looking setup with those front wheels.  Having said that, I will probably get one, just for the crane unit and the photoetch.   Another fine and extensive review Mike, thanks.



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