|KIT:||Italeri 1/35 DUKW w 105mm howitzer|
|NOTES:||Upgraded from initial release.|
See my preview of the 1/72 scale version of the DUKW. See Scott’s build article on the M2 105mm Howitzer for info on the included gun kit.
Modelers had wanted a 1/35 scale DUKW for many years. There was a lot of excitement in the modeling world when Italeri finally released one in 2002. The kit could be used to model all but the early production run—the first few thousand DUKWs had a vertical windshield, like those seen on 2.5 ton trucks. The windshield design was then changed to the angled windshield, with the triangular side windows. Kit number 6392 featured the far more common angled windshield.
In 2004, Italeri followed up their first DUKW kit with another- the subject of this preview. While the first kit had generated a lot of press and general “buzz” on the modeling discussion forums, this release of the DUKW seems to have generated little fanfare.
As great as the first kit was, there were a few minor complaints. First, the kit built a very plain vehicle-- there were no accessories, cargo, rear canvas cover, or figures. Second, the kit did not include the wheel well covers, which reduced the number of vehicles that could be modeled.
Italeri’s second DUKW kit featured some changes from the first release. The most obvious change is the addition of the M2 105mm howitzer as a load for the vehicle. The new kit also includes the wheel well covers. DUKWs were built with these covers, though many vehicles saw them removed in the field. Now that they are part of the kit, you can model nearly any DUKW except the early production types.
The kit includes the sprues from Italeri’s M2 105mm howitzer kit. This kit was originally sold as kit number 319, and included three US Army artillerymen. The gun is an older mold, but is pretty detailed, with lots of small parts. As is often found on older molds, there are a number of ejector pin marks that will have to be dealt with. Also, the figures are fair to good in quality, and in poses designed to go with the gun on the ground. I doubt they’ll be of much use as passengers in the DUKW. (The howitzer kit was reviewed by our intrepid editor here- this is the same kit that is in the DUKW box.)
The inclusion of the Howitzer involved more than just tossing the sprues from that kit into the box. To Italeri’s credit, they really integrated the howitzer into the model. When DUKWs were used to carry these howitzers, the cargo bay had to be cut away a little to allow the axle of the gun to fit. Italeri has provided new sidewall pieces for the cargo area with the necessary cutout to accommodate the gun. The kit also includes tan thread to use for the ropes that tied the gun down in position.
The DUKW comes on three large sprues and one small one. The howitzer adds two additional sprues to the box. The kit is molded in an olive drab color. There are over 130 pieces for the truck, with another 90 or so for the howitzer. (Scott’s review of the gun kit has all the gory details….)
The kit includes decals and painting instructions to do one of three vehicles. They are:
(1) The DUKW featured on the box art, a US Marines DUKW from Iwo Jima in 1945. The vehicle is a dark tan, with green and sand splotches. This vehicle has no markings on it.
(2) A US Army vehicle from 1945 in Germany, in overall olive drab.
(3) A US Army vehicle from 1945 in Germany, with slight differences in markings from the first one.
Colors are given by name and FS number in both Model Master and Model Master Acrylics. The decal sheet looks like a good one. In addition to the main markings, it also includes decals for placards, and independent serial numerals. This would allow you to build several vehicles, each with unique numbers.
I have my usual complaint about Italieri US WW2 vehicles-- Italeri doesn’t give any unit information with the markings. The subjects are simple labeled “US Army, Germany 1945”, for example. It does make you wonder where they came up with the markings.
Highly Recommended. If you’re only going to buy one DUKW kit in 1/35 scale, this is the one to get, IMO. It offers everything the first release of the kit had, plus the howitzer and extra parts. Retail price is the same as the first release.
If you don’t want to use the howitzer as a load, there are a number of aftermarket cargo and supplies sets. ADV/Azimut, Blast, Verlinden, and Trakz all offer a canvas cover, if you’d like to go that route. Also, one in four DUKWs carried a .50 caliber machine gun, the same as the one found on the 2.5 ton truck, so you could probably use the Tamiya upgrade parts to add this mount.
A quick web search will turn up kinds of information on the DUKW. I got some of the history info from the Wisconsin Duck Tours website:
There are lots of great pictures of DUKWs out there on the web. One of the neatest I found was a picture of two DUKWs tied together with wooden beams, to allow them to bring a standard 2 ½ ton truck ashore. In the back of the truck was a Jeep. That’s a piggyback-piggyback!
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