The 4 ton Diamond T trucks had seen a lot of use in WW2. It is also the bigger brother of the 2 and a half ton GMC better know as the “Deuce and a half”. The Diamond T chassis has seen a lot of modifications to it as well as a lot of designations. Short wheelbase cargo truck (968), Wreckers (969A), pontoon carriers, personnel carriers and cargo vehicles. (970, 970A, 975) And the bigger trucks like the 980, Prime movers and tank transporters.
The kit that is shown in this review deals with the Diamond T 970 a 6x6 4 ton long wheelbase (172 inch) cargo truck. Although the box says the designation was pontoon/cargo truck this is not completely true. Mainly it was a cargo truck and if it was carrying a pontoon then the cargo was a pontoon.
It is pretty hard to find reference material on this vehicle. Real models includes a Cd-rom with pictures of the truck but more on this later. The Diamond T saw action in almost all allied campaigns and was even lend-leased to Russia.
The kit comes in a sturdy box of approximately 29 cm long, 16,5 cm high and 6 cm deep with a picture on top showing the company name, kit number, 3 pictures of the finished kit from 3 different angles, and then the name of the vehicle that is inside the box and the quotation “full resin kit with CD-Rom inside”…. Very promising!
Opening the box you will see 4 Ziploc bags containing 125 resin pieces. All moulded in a light green coloured resin. A build description and a Cd-Rom. No photo etched parts, No wire, No Decals.
For convenience I gave each bag a letter.
Bag “A” Holds 12 pieces:
Chassis, drivers compartment, cargo-bed with sidewalls, drivers seats etc.
Bag “B” holds 13 pieces:
The hood (bonnet), fenders, engine, tool rack, rifle holders with or without rifles, part of a drive shaft etc. etc.
Bag “C” holds 12 pieces, which are the wheels of the vehicle including the spare wheel.
Bag “D” holds 88 pieces
Basically the rest of the vehicle, axles, transmission, drive shafts, leaf-springs, steering wheel, bumpers, lights, radiator, suspension parts and all other bits and bobs to complete a very nice model of a very impressive truck.
The casting is very well done and shows all the detailing that went into the master. In short, the detail is of a very high standard. The parts are cast in such a way that the pouring blocks are small and easy to get the part off with just a minimum of cleaning and sanding. Not much flash between the parts and only some minor sanding needs to be done. When looking over the parts I could only discover a minimal number of air bubbles. Most of these can be found on the wheels of the vehicle and on the surface that makes contact to the road. Also the winch of the vehicle has some chips on the rim of the spool. One tip that I would like to give you is hold the thinner parts to the light. Especially the sidewalls of the truck bed as that will show you some air bubbles that are captured in the part itself, these need some careful treatment, although the locations of these do not require any sanding it might happen that they come though in the painting/weathering process.
There are more of those parts that have this same thing but when you hold it in the light they will show up. I noted only three mould mistakes on one of the sidewalls of the cargo bed which can be hidden away by putting stowage in front of it or filling it with putty and do some sanding. The other two are both on the front wheels. Again only a bit of sanding is required. Cables and such that are shown in the instruction sheet have to be done with copper wire.
The instruction sheet
The instruction sheet is a very well known example of the standard quality of resin manufacturer’s instruction sheets. I wish that that could be meant as a compliment nowadays but even though we are living in 2006 the instruction sheets are something that does not seem to be moving along. Well no exception here. The instruction sheet consists of 5 pages with pictures of the model being built in several stages and pictures of the finished model. This is not in all cases clear and the quality of the prints is not of that high quality either.
The first two pages show all the parts in the kit with their part numbers. The first page also “shows” also the first building stage namely the chassis. Shows is a very big word here because basically it shows you a picture of a finished and possibly primed chassis complete with all the wheels on showing lines that are connected to part numbers going to locations in that picture. The rest of the instruction sheet is built up out of these pictures. Another thing is that not all the parts in the kit are noted on the instruction sheet. For example you get a tool rack, and yet the instruction sheet seems to deny any existence of it, and really does not show where it needs to be placed. The same thing with the rifle holders and a couple of other parts. Most of them can be located and placed when you study the pictures, but surely it would be nice to have their location indicated on the instruction sheet?
Well I have to say that my expectations were very high for the CD-rom. I expected to get a good amount of pictures to add to my reference library of this vehicle, especially since reference material about this truck is not that widely spread. I have to tell you that I was actually a bit disappointed about the contents of the CD when I placed it in my PC. The CD holds two folders of which one are detail shots of various Diamond T trucks, most of them can be found on the Internet too, (at least that is where I found most of my Diamond T pictures), the other folder has pictures of the built model.
Some information can be retrieved from this pictures but it surely doesn’t help that half of the 43 pictures are exactly the same, vague, low quality pictures the instruction sheet is made of.
Further on the CD you can find a 2005 Real Models Catalogue.
Although I have mentioned some negative points in this review, I have the feeling that this kit will eventually built up in a really nice and impressive model. The casting and the detail of the kit make up the disappointment of the instruction sheet and the CD-rom. When dry fitting some parts I could not find major problems. Although the instruction sheet is not clear, with a little more study of the pictures you should be able to locate all the parts except the tool rack and the rifle holders.
About the references to do additional detailing. Luckily, for the front of the vehicle you can use walkarounds of the open-cabbed 968, 969 and 975, because they all share the same cab and same engine, only the wheelbase or/and the back differs. Also a lot of information can be retrieved too.
I would recommend this kit to everybody who wants a good, accurate and representative model of one of America’s heavy cargo trucks.