U.S. 1-1/2 Ton Personnel Carrier
u m m a r y
||Skybow 1/35 Military Series No. TP3504
|Contents and Media:
||256 parts (245 in light olive drab styrene, 6
black vinyl caps, 4 clear styrene, 1 section of nylon string)
||Nice, light rendering of this kit, much superior
to the Peerless Max/Italeri/Bilek one; nice options and choices
||Like the original, only a limited selection of
what to do with it once built!
||Highly Recommended for US Army WWII softskin
fans and some French in Viet Nam, as well as some really narrow options in
scale WC 63 is available online from Squadron.com
As the US spun up for WWII, they had just introduced a new, more
tactically focused and purpose built series of 3/4 ton 4 x 4 vehicles to
supplant and replace the 1/2 ton 4 x 4 series from the late 1930s. The WC-51/52
Weapons Carrier variant was designed for a squad of 8 men (6 in troop seats and
2 in the cab) and was a very powerful and handy vehicle for its size. But when
the Army announced that it was going to upgrade the size of a squad to 12 men,
it seemed too small.
As the 2 1/2 ton trucks were deemed too big, and were finding too many other
functions to fill, Chrysler responded by creating what they felt would be a good
stand-in for the 2 1/2 ton class truck. By adding four more feet to the WC-51
body, and an extra driven axle and new suspension, they felt they had a sure
winner that would meet all of the requirements. The new truck was designated the
WC-62 (w/o winch) and WC-63 (w/winch). The rollout prototype in 1943 was dubbed
the "BIG SHOT" in large print on the sides of the body, and ads from the Fargo
division of Chrysler even showed it carrying 16 troops (albeit when compared
with the scale of the vehicle, they all would have had to be four feet tall...)
The WC-62/63 should have been a great gap filler, but in reality, they were
found to have a lot of shortcomings. The WC-51 weighed 7,050 pounds and the
winch added 300 pounds to that number. They had an engine that produced a net 76
HP but could easily move the vehicle around. But the WC-62/63 weighed in at
10,225 pounds/10,525 pounds respectively, but had the same engine. Even adding a
two-speed transfer case did not help it out, as it was clearly underpowered. On
paper the two were interchangeable, but in the field the WC-62/63 quickly found
itself an orphan.
While it had been suggested it could replace the GMC CCKW in most functions, in
reality it was ill-suited for most of the tasks handled by the larger truck.
Being slower and less maneuverable than the 4 x 4 was not to its advantage,
either. The result was that while over a quarter million 3/4 ton based vehicles
were built, only 43,000 of these were built and most of them were quietly dumped
after the war ended.
The only real function it found was as the prime mover for the M1 57mm antitank
gun, the US model of the famed British 6-lber. This was only in infantry
regiments and divisions, as armored units used either M2 or M3 halftracks for
that function. Other than that, it was usually a "hack" used for "trash hauling"
– rations, personnel transfers, laundry, mail, etc.
Having said all that, it had a certain charm and was (to me at least) one of the
best looking of the WC-51 family. Skybow has continued the great job they
started with the WC-51/52 "Beep" kit and the WC-56/57 Command Car kits in this
one, and it is another beauty.
The kit replicates the original in that it pulls most of its parts from the
previous kits – the clear parts and sprues A, B, E, F, and J are straight from
the WC-51 kit. It also includes the same two sprues for the .50 caliber and its
ring mount. But the kit adds a new chassis, a new body, a supplemental
suspension sprue with two more wheels and a third axle, and a sprue with two
very nicely done injection molded canvas roofs for the body and cab.
I looked over all of the parts with this kit and the only comment I have is that
if the body canvas is used, there are no bows for it. These will have to be
added from bent Evergreen or similar strip, and 0.020" x 0.060" is about the
right size for them. These go on the inside of the canvas, so most modelers
probably won't even bother.
The kit comes with a very nice instruction booklet, which having built the
WC-56/57 kit, MUST be followed to ensure you drill out the holes needed for the
version you have selected. Three sets of markings are included: a truck from a
Quartermaster truck company, one from an corps level artillery battalion in the
3rd Army, and the prototype at rollout (BIG SHOT). The first two are "hacks" and
can be stuffed to the rafters with odds and ends, so they offer a lot of
possibilities as is for diorama builders.
The only really sad thing is that the old Italeri M1 57mm gun is currently out
of production, as it would make a great lashup with this nice new prime mover!
Cookie Sewell AMPS
Review Copyright © 2002 by Cookie
Page Created 27 April, 2002
Last updated 22 July, 2003
Back to HyperScale
Back to Reviews