Peolini Design 1/48 Dodge WC 54 Ambulance

KIT: Peolini Design 1/48 Dodge WC 54 Ambulance
KIT #: ?
PRICE: $83.00 MSRP from
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Resin multimedia kit.


Dodge WC-54 was based on the well known ¾Ton Dodge T214 "Beep" (Big Jeep) chassis, which for this purpose got a longer wheelbase and adjusted suspension. The closed sheet-metal body was made by Wayne Body works. It offers room for a driver and four to seven patients plus a medic. If the fold-away bunk stretchers are used, four patients can be transported. The WC-54 was also used, for purposes like as a radio van for the Signal Corps. over 23,000 were constructed.

The ¾ ton Dodge Ambulance WC-54 of World War II had a much stronger chassis then its predecessor, the ½ ton truck WC-27. This included a heavier frame, springs and axle assemblies. The engine, transmission and transfer case were basically the same, a 230 cubic inch six cylinder L-head engine producing 76 horsepower. This basic engine was available in passenger cars until 1960. The rear gears had a much lower gear ratio to improve off-road performance. The truck was wider and had much better ground clearance. This unit was similar to the ½ ton in that the chassis was the same as the other trucks in the three-quarter series, as were the 1/2 tons. The bodies and equipment were nearly the same in both trucks. TheWC-54 used the longer wheelbase and different springs also.

The masonite interior side paneling, metal roof paneling and honey-comb insulation were retained. The folding bench seats, stretcher brackets and storage compartments were in the rear. The wheel wells in the rear of the body were much larger due to larger tires. Four litter patients could be carried. The double rear doors and folding step were used. The dome light and roof ventilator were on the top of the vehicle. The folding front bucket seats, driver’s spotlight and large water heater under the dash panel were still there.

This vehicle used combat wheels and was built without the front mounted winch. The driving controls were the same as the other ¾-ton trucks. No partition was used between the front and rear compartments inside. The spare tire was also carried on the left outside of the body, in the recessed panel just behind the drivers door. The rear body floor was metal with linoleum covering. The rear springs also were changed for a smoother ride. Although the 3/4-ton trucks looked nearly the same has the 1/2-tons they were really completely different with interchangeable parts. In 1944 the WC-54was follow-up by the WC-64KD


The kit comes in a very sturdy cardboard box and is superbly packaged to prevent damage by interleaving the kit parts between layers of bubble wrap. There are two major bags of resin. One has the chassis and the roof section while the other holds all of the rest of the resin parts. The resin is very nicely done with all of the doors and cargo walls having detail molded on the inside. This is in case you wish to cut the rear door section and have this part open. I found little in the way of molding glitches aside from the spare wheel, which had a huge air pocket on the tread where the sprue gate would normally fit. It should be able to be covered up by the spare wheel well on the body side.

In addition to the resin parts, there are cast metal bits as well. These parts cover a variety of items from the leaf springs to the excavation tools, mirrors, head lights and other pieces. Along with all these parts, there is also a very nicely done etched fret by Aber. This includes door handles, front grille screen, steering wheel, bits for the jerry cans tool case and a number of other rather small pieces. The set also includes a small acetate sheet on which are marked all the clear bits. This and a set of window masks are not shown in the pictures. Two large pins are provided for the steering shaft and gear shift.

Instructions are excellent. There is a large parts page showing all the various bits as well as the decal sheet. each of the construction steps includes painting information and these steps are particularly well drawn. As some pieces need to have holes more fully drilled to be attached, this information along with the drill size (in millimeters) is provided for us. Typical of Army vehicles, you can have this in any  color you want as long as it is OD. Decals are very nicely done and appear to be ALPS printed as they are on a continuous carrier. You may want to underlie the large Red Cross areas with white paint prior to using these markings as ALPS decals can be a bit transparent. Three very poor, out of focus color photos are included to help with colors and markings placement.


It seems that 1/48 is finally getting its due when it comes to vehicles. I'm very pleased to see this particular vehicle done as it was a mainstay of US military operations in both WWII and Korea. Not only that, but my father owned one of these when he was based on Crete in the early 1960s. Too bad he didn't bring it home!


April 2008


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