Academy 1/72 US 2 1/2 Ton Cargo Truck

KIT #: 13402
PRICE: $19.00
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Tim Gillis

In brief: What is now commonly known as the GMC CCKW "duece and a half" origanaly began as the ACKWX
A 1940 model year
C conventional cab layut
K front driven axle
W Both Tandem axles rear axles driven
X Non standard Driveline, Timken supplied

353 being the chassis code

This early series was basically a warmed over civilian version. October of 1940 saw the introduction of a fully developed production model and the "A" was replaced with a "c" to denote the 1941 Model year, and remained as such throughout it's production. During the production runs of both the ACKWX and the CCKWX both the long and short wheel based trucks carried the Chassis code 353 and it wasn't until the introduction of the CCKW that the short wheel based versions were known as the "352".

In late February, 1941, the CCKW went into production. The lack of an X denotes the introduction of a "standard", or GM produced, drive line, commonly known as the Banjo type. Prior to this the only available 6X6 driveline was supplied by Timken, and was known as the split type. After february 1941 production was split evenly between both the CCKW and the CCKWX, however, from that point onwards, the X was dropped, and it became documented as the CCKW regardless of the which driveline it was produced with.

The Black out lamp, which was the reason for the introduction of the asymmetrical bush guard, which was first introduced as a field installation kit in july of 1942, was introduced on the production line around february of 1943. A point of interest relating to this is that in the summer of 1942 it was ruled that Manufacturers had to delete all external trade marks from army contract vehicles, so only a small amount, Approximately 10,000 trucks, had the asymmetrical bush guard with the CMC logo attached, both open and closed cab. Most of these can be found in pictured in Italy.

The one of the most noticeable changes to the CCKW was from the closed cab to open cab models. A less noticeable, yet equally significant change was the elimination of the all steel cargo box to the wooden version, which was introduced in september of 1942. These were transitional changes, The open cab commenced production in august of 1942, and the last closed cab rolled off the line in late april of 1943 at the same time as the all steel cargo box.
One of the lesser known changes which has it's own significance, is the different versions of steering wheels introduced during the production of the CCKW. There was the original 3 spoked hard black rubber version produced from the 1940 ACKWX until september 1942, which was then supplanted by a 4 spoked thick wooden rim version with a one piece cast hub and spoke assembly. This was only produced for 4 months and was replaced by a cheaper thin wooden rim with stamped steel spokes that were riveted to the hub. This last version remained the standard for the rest of production.
There are many many other changes that occurred throughout the production run of the CCKW, many of which are not visually obvious.
The GMC CCKW, or as it's more commonly known, Deuce and a half, played a significant role in the supply chain during WWII and korea, it also served in various other roles such as fuel/water tanker, dump truck, maintenance vehicle, fire engine, and surgical unit to name a few.

The kit comes in four sprues, 3 molded in dark green and 1 in clear, with one decal sheet offering 2 options. The molding is reasonably good, having a minor seem to be removed from all the parts, and some sink marks. The ejector pin marks being strategically located so as to be easily cleaned up if they can be seen at all. The clear pieces for the windows, while smooth, are somewhat concave. Three of the sprues, including the clear one, are dedicated to the construction of the truck, and the forth one is for the cargo. There are all the pieces to construct the truck with, or without either the ring mounted machine gun and the winch, how ever one so chooses. The cargo sprue contains a rather nice array of parts, 3 fuel drums, 2 different types of jerrycans 3 of each, 9 wooden boxes in 3 different sizes, 4 machine guns in 2 types with 2 folded and 2 extended mounts, and 3 bomb supports, without bombs.

The decal sheet contains 2 options, one from the 369th Field Artillery, 98th Infantry Division which apparently was stationed in Hawaii until it moved to Japan after hostilities ended, and the other for a truck in the Red Ball express. Both are apparently accurate.

As for accuracy I can only say that it measures out well to the actual wheel base.
Once I opened the box and began to examine the parts a few issues with the details became obvious, first, there is no representation of the lug nuts that hold the wheels on, secondly, the Asymmetrical grill is reversed with the black out lamp on the wrong side, and last but not least, the windshield is molded with squared off corners. This last thing is the one that really detracts from the over all appearance. As I had bought this kit as a test bed to practice new ideas/techniques I decided to not to worry so much about these and just go with it to see what the end result would be. The details are crisply molded, but a bit clunky, and the cargo box has what should be a representation of the steel strips holding the wood flooring in place raised quit predominantly, but for the most part things are presentable for this scale.

The sink marks were limited to being smaller ones on the frame and in the cargo bits, however there was a couple that happened to be in the rear springs right between the tires. These proved impossible to correct completely, but a little weathering did go a long way to covering this up. The chassis assembly went together without any difficulty, the entire driveline, without the engine/transmission, being molded in one piece, with the exception of one half of one differential cover. The parts for the winch are separate, and require no modification wether or not they are used, just glue them to the front of the chassis. I had decided I just wanted to build this as a basic truck so I left them off. A nice touch is that a prominent frame cross member has it's upper portion molded as a separate piece while the bottom is molded into the frame, keeping it 3 dimensional and at the same time keeping things simple.

This is not a curbside kit, the engine looks the part and has an adequate level of detail for the scale, it consists of 3 pieces, the block, the intake/exhaust, and the fan pulley assembly, with the oil pan/transmission being molded as part of the frame. The only issue here is that the hood is molded as a part of the cab, however if one wished to one could open it up and add a bit of detail and be quit satisfied with the result.
Once the frame was assembled I moved on to the cab. The interior detailing as quit well executed, with a very nice dash board which by all appearances is fairly accurate, in fact it is almost a shame no decal for the instrumentation was supplied. The seat is more then adequate, although the levers are a bit oversized, if one wanted to these could be replaced. In fact, if one wanted to go to the trouble to open up one or both doors there is no real need to add anything as it is very nice right out of the box. The engineering is such that opening the doors would not be that difficult should one chose to do so. There are a few ejector pin marks in the floor of the cab, 2 of which are covered by the seat, the other 2 are easily removed.

Where things start to fall apart is with the windows, these are very thick and distorted. In fact I sanded them down quit significantly to eliminate as much of the distortion as I could and there was still a fair amount of plastic left, almost to much. Also the protrusions are smaller then the area in which they were designed to fit, not significantly, but enough to be easily noticed. I did decide not to install the door windows, however not because of any of the issues I had with them, as that was adequately dealt with for my taste, but because I felt I wanted to expose the interior.

The cab assembly itself consists of 6 pieces, excluding the windows, including the radiator, which is nicely represented. It is a bit fiddley but not to difficult to piece together, the lower back of the cab being a separate piece which allows for the body line of the cab to be well represented. I first added the seat and levers to the cab flooring, then the dash board to the upper cab. Once tis was all in place I added the lower back piece to the cab being very careful to keep the door jam straight. Then I painted all the interior details, and then added a bit of weathering. After I had finished cleaning up and futureing the clear bits, I added the front and rear windows and then the steering wheel. The flooring was then glued to the fender assembly along with the radiator, which helped keep things ridged. At this point I added the sides to the upper cab assembly. On test fitting the upper cab to the lower fender assembly every thing fit together very well, and I set the upper cab aside and went to work on the fender light assembly. This is another place that has some issues. Each side is molded as one piece with the signal light, headlight, and, on one piece Black out lamp molded on a strip. the slot in which this fits is much to large and require filling, not an easy task. Also the Black out lamp is molded to go on the right side when it should be on the left, and it is undersized. There are a number of ways this could be dealt with, however I chose to leave things as they are and used a couple of coats of Mr. Surfacer to fill the gaps. Looking at the way the grill is molded, turning it around could be done, but a bit of work would be required to scrap the bars down to a presentable appearance given the slight bevel to the molding and the very flat inside of the grill. I left the grill off until final assembly, the last thing glued to the cab was the rear view mirror. At this point I masked off the windows, filled the cab with kleenex and set it aside for painting.

There is no canvass covering supplied for the cargo box, and the cover supports are molded as one piece, which could be separated if one desired. I just left them off although on a test they fit vey well. There is the option to have the seats folded down, and the tail gate can be open and closed after assembly, which is a nice touch. All the parts are there for the ring mounted machine gun, and there is a circle scribed on the inside of the cab to cut out if one choses this option, however the raised lip for the hole in the cab is not included, but easily scratched if one desired to add it. The Machine gun is nicely molded and going by the fit of the rest of the kit should present no problems if one desired to install it. The box itself went together without any issues, and it was time to paint.

I admit I'm a color freak, I've done all the internet research on Olive drab that I can. Tamiya Olive drab XF-62 seems to be the color of choice, so that's what I went with. although olive drab tended to fad rather quickly I opted to just go straight form the bottle. Painting was easy as the whole thing is all the same color, which is not a bad thing. Next I gave it a clear coat and applied the decals. These are actauly very good, and nothing at all like their earlier ones. They are very thin and quit opaque, they laid down quit well and really didn't require a softening solution although I used one anyway. I then covered these in a clear coat. I chose to use the stars without the circles, but to my mind the one on the hood looked a bit to large so I ended up cutting out the one in the circle and used that one instead.

Next I painted some testors silver onto all the lights and the rear view mirror, and added some clear yellow and red to the marker and signal lights. I then applied a matt coat and moved into the weathering stage. I've been trying some ideas using pastels, dry brushing and mixing with water, clear coats and other colors of paint. I think this is reasonably effective in 1/72. First I randomly painted the chassis in rust, after which shaved a bunch of medium grey pastel from the stick and mixed up a concoction of pastel and polyscale flat base with a little polyscale mud to no great precision. In order to get a bit of texture to this I would dab the brush into the pile of pastel and dab this onto the chassis and under the fenders. Next I dry brushed some grey pastel over this then applied a flat coat. With the upper surfaces I did a bit of a "panel line" wash to bring out the door and hood joints and the planking. At this point I decided to try out some Vallejo paint to see if I could create a more worn look to the cargo box so I started carefully dabbing and streaking some of the wood color I had on hand. An then I dry brushed some rust on the metal strips in the box and then dry brushed Vallejo steel over that, and did another panel wash. Once all that was finished I gave it a flat coat and removed the masking and Kleenex. I am personally quit pleased with the results.

To finish it off the grill was added to the cab which was glued to the chassis and the cargo box was glued to that after which an imaginary tour of Europe was embarked upon.

All in all I would have to say that this kit is a nice Kit that could have been a great kit. The chassis alone is really well done and could easily be used to enhance other kits. Setting aside the lack of lug nut detail, and even the reversed grill, the representation of the front cab/windsheild is it's greatest failing. Eduard has an etch set for this which would probably go a fair ways to resolving that, if one cared to spend the money, but at this time I cannot say how well. It's just to bad that the folks at academy did not spend a little extra time to improve these things. The fit is excellent, it is a very well engineered kit, and I have to say that all in all I really enjoyed building it.

From what I've found as mentioned in the history section, this truck represents one that was built in around september of 1942, with the Timken split drive line, a field installed Black out lamp/grill, and the wooden cargo bed.

A PDF copy of "The CCKW in detail and the Collectors Syndrome" By Bryce J. Sunderland, as found on the internet, and various other internet sources.

Tim Gillis

October 2011

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