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Tamiya 1/48 scale U.S. 2 1/2-ton 6x6 airfield fuel truck

Kit:32579 // Scale:1/48 // Price:$37
Easy build; great fits; terrific diorama potential; figures
No pedals; fit issues with the doors
Injection-molded, 151 parts, wire, vinyl tube, decals

Based on GMC’s 6 x 6 CCKW truck, the 750-gallon fuel truck supplied avgas to single-engine fighters at Allied airfields during and after World War II. (Bigger aircraft were usually serviced by large, semitrailer tankers.)

Tamiya modified its terrific 1/48 scale soft-top cargo truck to produce a kit that should be a hit with aircraft builders. New parts include a gas tank and a hardtop cab with separate doors and windows. 

The chassis goes together quickly, but I left the wheels off for painting. There’s no engine, just an oil pan molded with the one-piece frame.

I built the tank next, but left off the hose reels and pump-compartment front and doors. I airbrushed the reels, pump, cab interior, wheels, and chassis with Vallejo olive drab primer before proceeding. 

From there construction ran smoothly. The cab looks good with steering wheel, shift levers, and dashboard with decal instrument panel. But there are no pedals, a strange omission since the doors can be posed open.

The hoses are made by threading copper wire through thin-walled vinyl tubing to give it rigidity and flexibility. One hose gets wound around a reel and glued to a nozzle stowed on the compartment wall. The other is designed to run out to a nozzle being held by a figure in coveralls and cap.

After attaching the cab and tank to the chassis, I tacked all of the doors in place and masked the windows. Vallejo olive drab paints sealed with Pledge FloorCare Multi-surface finish prepared the way for decals. You get a choice of two USAAF trucks in France in 1944. The decals laid down perfectly with help from Micro Set and Micro Sol. 

I hand-painted the tires and details, then sealed everything with Vallejo matte varnish.

The wheels attach to the axles solidly and the vehicle sits perfectly on all 10 tires.

The windshield pops into the cab so well that it didn’t need glue, but the side windows do. Attaching the doors revealed the only fit problem. I could not get them to conform to the frames. I think the problem lies in slight warping of the cab. I left one door open.

The instructions indicate that the upper door of the hose compartment should be closed and the lower two left open with the hose running out of it. I couldn’t find any photos showing refueling, but the placement of the nozzles and the bar on the inside of the cross member made me think the hose is more accessible from the top. So, that’s how I posed mine.

The two new figures assemble quickly and the painting instructions are easy to follow. A seated driver figure left over from the cargo truck is included on the sprues, but is not shown in the instructions.

I spent about 10 hours on the fuel truck, and it could be a neat weekend build for you. There’s a lot of potential for dioramas with this model. I recommend it to fans of softskins and aircraft modelers of all experience levels.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the October 2014 FineScale Modeler.


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