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In-Box Review
U.S. Motor Scooters
U.S. Motor Scooters
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by: Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]

The people of the Isle of Wight, home to Castle Aeroscale, like to think we know a thing or two about motor scooters; after all, every year thousands of enthusiasts head to the Island for their annual scooter rally. But one vehicle which I've never seen among the rows of cherished Vespas and Lambrettas is an American Cushman.

To someone like me who associates motor scooters very much with the Italian post-war vehicles that were and are so popular with Mods, it's a real eye-opener to discover that a whole family of these nippy and basic little machines served on U.S. miltary bases and airfields around the time of WW2 in both 2- and 3-wheeled forms in a wide variety of roles, offering a simple and economical alternative to cars and trucks.

In kit form
Plus Model have spotted a yawning gap in the range of airfield vehicles available in 1:48 and have released a series of quite delightful little resin kits of Cushmans in various forms which will be really useful for vignettes and dioramas.

Five kits are available so far, some falling under the Plus Model banner, while others are part of their AeroLine range. Despite this distinction, all will fit in very nicely with aircraft themes.

The kits arrive in clear blister-packs with a foam insert to protect the contents, which are also bagged to stop them rattling around in transit. The resin parts are still attached their casting plinths, but the attachments have been quite small, so preparation should be pretty straightforward. Casting in each of the sample kits is essentially flawless, with nice crisp details and just a little flash to clean up here and there. Also included in each kit is a small set of neatly etched brass parts and a sheet of decals, plus a length of wire in some cases.

Item #4011 U.S. Scooter package delivery
This is a 3-wheeler with a large box-pannier between the two front wheels. It comprises:
9 x grey resin parts
26 x etched brass parts
A length of copper wire
Decals for 3 x colour schemes:
1. U.S.A.F. radio shop in overall orange-yellow
2. U.S.A.A.C. flightline in overall olive drab
3. Douglas Aircraft Co. in overall grey.
Price: $19.40 / 13.60 Euros

Item #4012 U.S. Scooter solo
This is a 2-wheeler much more as you'd expect a conventional scooter to look. Not surprisingly, it's rather simpler, comprising:
5 x grey resin parts
7 x etched brass parts
A length of copper wire
Decals for 3 x colour schemes:
1. Unidentified in overall orange
2. U.S.N. in overall light grey
3. U.S. Army in overall olive drab.
Price: $16.40 / 11.50 Euros

Item #4013 U.S. Scooter sidecar
Back to three wheels, this time with a container mounted as a side-car. This kit comprises:
7 x grey resin parts
8 x etched brass parts
A length of copper wire
Decals for 3 x colour schemes:
1. U.S.N. in overall light grey
2. U.S. Army in overall olive drab
3. Airfield service in deep yellow with black checkers and Gulf logos
Price: $20.00 / 14.00 Euros

Item #AL4027 U.S. Scooter with crew
Again a 3-wheeler, this time with a padded bench seat mounted between the front wheels. This is the most elaborate of the kits and comes complete with a woman driver and standing pilot as her passenger. The figures are very nicely sculpted and detailed. The driver is perched with one foot on the ground and has a separate right arm, while pilot has a parachute pack to attach. My only slight concern is that the driver could be a tad shorter - the male figure scales out at 6ft and the female is pretty much the same, so she's a big lass. The kit comprises:
16 x grey resin parts
26 x etched brass parts
Decals for 2 x colour schemes:
1. Flight operations in overall dark blue
2. U.S.A.F. flight service in overall olive drab
Price: $27.90 / 19.60 Euros

Item #4011 U.S. Scooter fire fighter
The final kit is very similar to the sidecar, but this time is fitted out as a fire fighting vehicle with a rack of four extinguisher bottles in the sidecar. It comprises:
12 x grey resin parts
7 x etched brass parts
A length of copper wire
A length of lead wire for the hose
Decals for a single colour scheme in overall red
Price: $21.20 / 19.60 Euros

Each kit comes with a neatly drawn set of instruction sketches. If these are used in conjunction with the clear colour photo provided of each finished model, most modellers should have few difficulties. The decals look pretty good, but some of the small multi-colour insignia are a tad off-register in the sample sheets (the tolerances are so tight, it's a shame they didn't print the colours separately to overlay on the model). Luckily most of the items are single colour and look nice and thin with crisp printing.

I'm really impressed by Plus Model's Cushman scooters. All in all, these are some of the cutest little models I've seen in ages. The excellent casting and quite simple construction should make them ideal for newcomers to the dark art of multimedia kits, and they'll really help bring airfield dioramas and vignettes to life. Recommended.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
Highs: Very well cast and nicely detailed. Complete with etched parts and decals.
Lows: Some of the smaller multi-colour decals are slightly off-register.
Verdict: These are great little kits, simple enough for modellers new to working with resin and etched parts, and will be great scene-fillers for aircraft vignettes and dioramas.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:48
  Mfg. ID: See Text
  Suggested Retail: See Text
  PUBLISHED: Nov 28, 2013
  NATIONALITY: United States

Our Thanks to Plus Model!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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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.


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