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Thunder Model U.S. Army tractor

FineScale Modeler reviews the 1/35 scale military tractor kit
RELATED TOPICS: MILITARY | CONSTRUCTION
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During World War II, the U.S. Army used several models of Case tractors for construction and maintenance. Thunder Models kit includes two cleanly molded plastic trees, a small photo-etched (PE) fret, and four vinyl tires. The instructions are clear and uncluttered, but there are a few places where parts go unnumbered; fortunately, they are easy to find. A color guide showing one civilian and two military tractors refers to Ammo of Mig Jimenez paints.

I started by building as many subassemblies as possible including the motor, gas tank, differential. Once those were together, construction progressed quickly.

Step 1 requires hex bolts (Part X1) to be shaved off the sprue and glued to a connection between the engine and transmission. I used a hex punch-and-die to make them from sheet styrene instead. The instructions recommend a string or wire to replicate the fan belt, but I used masking tape. 

I was worried about the rigidity of the thin PE footplate supports, but once bent, they performed perfectly. Rather than gluing the supports to the plates as shown in Step 7, I attached them to the body first. This made aligning the parts easier. I glued Evergreen square strip to the body and quarter round to the supports. This modification provided more gluing surface to attach the footplates.

The hole for the seat spring was too far back, so I filled it and drilled a new one.

The decals were a little thick, but went down without silvering. The gauges were hard to see on the decal sheet, but once they were in place over a black undercoat, the detail showed up well enough.

I spent just 12 hours building and painting the tractor, and it would make a great change of pace kit or weekend build. Painting and weathering brought out the detail. This little model will turn heads.


Note: A version of this review appeared in the May 2017 issue.

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