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U.S. 1-1/2 Ton Personnel Carrier
BIG SHOT

Skybow

 

S u m m a r y

Stock No. 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)
Price: USD$28.00-$39
Scale: 1/35
Review Type: First Look
Advantages: Nice, light rendering of this kit, much superior to the Peerless Max/Italeri/Bilek one; nice options and choices
Disadvantages: Like the original, only a limited selection of what to do with it once built!
Recommendation: Highly Recommended for US Army WWII softskin fans and some French in Viet Nam, as well as some really narrow options in other countries

 


Skybow's 1/35 scale WC 63 is available online from Squadron.com

Reviewed by Cookie Sewell

 

F i r s t   L o o k

 

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 Sewell
Page Created 27 April, 2002
Last updated 22 July, 2003

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