Some 640,000 of the Willys MB Jeep were manufactured from 1941 to 1945. These small four-wheel drive utility vehicles are considered the iconic World War II Jeep, and inspired many similar light utility vehicles.
The ‘MB’ stands for Model B; Willys entered Model A into the competition for a 1/4 ton, 4×4 truck and features of their competitors entries, from Bantam and Ford, were incorporated to make Model B. Willys produced 363,000 and because they couldn’t produce enough, Ford also produced 280,000. The Ford produced models are called Ford GPW. The Jeep was used everywhere and for pretty much everything you can think of, with 51,000 being sent to the USSR.. There is no need for me to go any further than this since there are plenty of resources on the internet and many books written about this vehicle.
The Tamiya kit was first released in about 1997, but still stands up well to modern standards. A few of the fine details are missing but this PE set from ET models covers them all and adds more besides. The packaging is the usual ET Models style. The individual frets have a plastic film attached to them so you can cut items from the fret with a knife without the danger of them flying off into the arms of the carpet monster. The 3 PE frets are then taped to a piece of black card. The 2 pieces of rod and the film for the dashboard are in a small separate bag. All the items are then inside another thicker plastic bag which is taped to the header card which displays the details of this PE set. One of the sprues is labelled ‘G M26 Pershing’ and it contains a number of belts, some of which will be spare. However, in the instructions it is mentioned as sprue F.
This set starts under the hood with a radiator fan and 4 brackets made of 1 or 2 pieces of PE each. The next piece is the hood itself, made from 5 pieces of PE and some 0.5mm diameter rod which you will have to supply yourself. Getting the right bend on the hood could be fun as it varies from front to back on the hood. However, you can always use the plastic hood in the kit as a former. Next up is an optional front towing hitch made from 2 pieces of PE; this replaces the front fender. If you don’t want the towing hitch then the front fender is made from 3 pieces of PE. At this stage the finer details of the hood that were missing from the kit get added; 2 rubber stops on the top of the hood and a pair of 3 piece hood latches.
Next we move onto the interior. We start with a new instrument panel made from the film, 8 pieces of PE and a small piece of stretched sprue. You can even have the glove box open if you wish. Also replaced are the foot pedals and gearbox cover with 6 pieces of PE. Various small items are replaced with PE, such as the filler cap, side straps, rear lights, windshield latches, rear towing hitch mounting bracket etc. The rear fender is made from 5 pieces of PE. Subassembly K is the spare wheel holder, which is not mentioned on the larger diagram of where the subassemblies are placed. If you wish to use the rifle holster you will have to source a suitable rifle from elsewhere as it is not included in the kit.
Now we start on the 50 cal. The mount is made from 8 pieces of PE and some 0.4mm diameter rod. The gun itself has 6 pieces of PE added and the ammunition box is made from 5 pieces of PE, some 0.3mm rod and a PE ammo belt.
Finally we move to the exterior to add a few more fittings. The most noticeable item is a wire cutter at the front made from 3 pieces of Pe and mounted on the front fender. You also have new brackets for the tools and exterior items, such as the rear mounted jerrican, windshield wipers and headlights. The wing mirror is completely replaced with 5 pieces of PE and some 0.4mm diameter rod.
Overall this set of PE upgrades some features of the kit and adds new features to it as well. There is some fiddly work in this if you plan on using every single piece of PE supplied and strong magnifiers are a must. This is a not a set that is suitable for your first try at using PE, but if you have a few frets under your belt this set could make your Jeep into a show stopper.
Verlinden WarMachines Plus vol.1 Jeep Willis, Dodge, GMC and Diamond
Thanks to ET Models for supplying the sample set.