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In-Box Review
US Army Staff Car Model 1942
  • Tam_US_Staff_Boxtop

by: Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]

The Staff Car arrives in a tough, attractive conventional box, and the immediate surprise is just how simple the kit is. Tamiya’s Staff Car is far more basic than other kits in the series, such as the German Steyr, and comprises just:

32 x grey styrene parts
6 x clear styrene parts
1 x metal chassis/floor and a screw to attach it
Decals for 2 x versions

The moulding is typically good for a new Tamiya kit – crisp, without flash or sink marks. The body shell is an impressive piece of moulding and the curvaceous shape has been captured with multi-part moulds with just the faintest hint of mould-lines to remove on the front wings. Sadly, as with all the kits in the series, the door are moulded closed.

Assembly should be a breeze with so few parts – this really is a weekend project, even for a notoriously slow builder like me! Interior detail is limited to a pair of full-width seats, steering wheel complete with gear shift etc. and a dashboard. The inside of the bodyshell is featureless and the one-piece chassis/floor has no pedals or other interior details.

The wheels and tyres are nicely moulded, as is the radiator grill. The bonnet (hood) is a separate part, but there’s no engine included in the kit. Rounding things off, there’s a neatly detailed driver, with separate arms, head and torso. The officer’s uniform is crisply defined and will repay careful painting.

Instructions and decals
Tamiya’s instructions are always good, and with a simple model like this there’s not much scope for confusion about what fits where. The assembly is almost self explanatory and Tamiya include matches for their own paints throughout.

Decals are included for a US Army vehicle and also a civilian version. Strangely, no painting details are given for the latter, beyond a small note at one stage that reads "Paint as you like..." and a single, small, front view on the side of the box. The decals are nicely printed with quite a matt finish. They provide stars and serial numbers for the Army version, and registration plates for the civilian car, but there's no speedometer for the dashboard.

So, a nice, but rather basic kit that will certainly prove useful. If the half-documented civilian vehicle is something of a mystery, then Tamiya’s pricing policy is an even greater one. The UK price of £15.99 is really too high for such a basic kit, much more expensive than the similar Citroen staff car, for instance. To make matters even more confusing, Tamiya have issued the same model in a double-pack with their old, but still excellent, P-51D Mustang for only £10 extra. Whether you regard the car or the plane as the “bonus” - that’s an excellent value set.

I bought my model at HobbyLink Japan as part of a larger order, which brought everything down to a much more reasonable level, being just over half the UK price.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
Highs: Beautifully moulded. A well sculpted driver figure. Easy construction.
Lows: Simplified detail and poorly documented civilian option.
Verdict: A useful kit, but rather pricey n its stand-alone form compared with other kits in the range.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:48
  Mfg. ID: 32559
  Suggested Retail: 1,700 Yen
  PUBLISHED: Sep 06, 2008
  NATIONALITY: United States

About Rowan Baylis (Merlin)

I've been modelling for about 40 years, on and off. While I'm happy to build anything, my interests lie primarily in 1/48 scale aircraft. I mostly concentrate on WW2 subjects, although I'm also interested in WW1, Golden Age aviation and the early Jet Age - and have even been known to build the occas...

Copyright ©2021 text by Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


Hi all, Before leaving for some well deserved holidays, I wanted to build something easy. I chose Tamiya's US Staff Car and added the Hauler Set. The kit is probably one of the easiest in the Tamiya 1/48 scale armor range. I think it's perfect for a "weekend" project... Now I just have to find an aircraft to accompany it... Happy holidays, I will be back in three weeks Jean-Luc
JUL 01, 2009 - 03:56 AM
Hi Jean-Luc nice little project ... I have the P-51 combo kit so I have some company for the staff car Have a nice vacation in southern France .... and maybe we can finally work out a "modelmeet @ Marc's" when you are back all the best Steffen
JUL 01, 2009 - 04:01 AM
Hi Steffen, In fact, the Staff Car is from the combo kit and I will probably build the P-51 when I'm back... I will let you know when I make a visit to Marc again. Bis bald! Jean-Luc
JUL 01, 2009 - 08:47 AM
Hi Rowan. I really like your reviews. The photos are nice and clear and well lit, what type of camera are you using? This would fit well in a nice dio.Wingman out.
JUL 01, 2009 - 09:08 AM
Hey Jean-Luc. Good job, really like the shading. Have fun on vacation, Wingman out.
JUL 01, 2009 - 09:11 AM
Really nice job Jean-Luc.
JUL 01, 2009 - 03:17 PM
In regard to the colors, didn't the Navy (US) paint their staff cars of the period 'gray?' I'm thinking that I"ve seen photos of gray staff cars along piers in naval photographs of the time. A great dio would be with a C-47 and the staff car. Very nice build on the green aArmy staff card. Fine review, also. Thanks, Matt
JUL 01, 2009 - 04:22 PM
the UK distributer for Hauler is Lou Stener Armour Models i can't comment on ordering from them as i keep meaning to but other projects seem to get in the way. I'm away on a course for work in Leeds at the moment and found a Model Zone yesterday which happens to have the Mustang/Staff car combi kit, so it looks like it could be going home with me before the end of the week
JUL 01, 2009 - 08:50 PM
I've finished my course today and when I got home and opened my bag mysteriously there was a model kit of the 1/48 Mustang and Staff Car
JUL 03, 2009 - 07:42 AM

What's Your Opinion?

Click image to enlarge
  • Tam_US_Staff_Body_1
  • Tam_US_Staff_Body_2
  • Tam_US_Staff_Parts
  • Tam_US_Staff_Clear
  • Tam_US_Staff_Chassis
  • Tam_US_Staff_Decals
  • Tam_US_Staff_Radiator
  • Tam_US_Staff_Seat
  • Tam_US_Staff_Dash
  • Tam_US_Staff_Wheels
  • Tam_US_Staff_Hubs
  • Tam_US_Staff_Driver