Home  |  What's New  |  Features  |  Gallery  |  Reviews  |  Reference  |  Forum  |  Search

Willys MB Jeep
Detailing the Tamiya 1/35th Willys MB JEEP: Kit No. 35219
With the Eduard Detail set No. 35 176

by Terry Ashley

Willys MB Jeep

Terry Ashley is a fellow-Aussie modeller who is webmaster of the excellent Perth Military Modelling Society site. HyperScale is very pleased to present Terry's latest work. You can see more of Terry's models, as well as reviews, galleries and more feature articles, by visiting the PMMS Website.

There are five images of Terry's Jeep in the text of the article, and three more thumbnails at the bottom of the page.


B a c k g r o u n d


The new Tamiya Jeep is a real gem - beautiful detail, the usual crisp Tamiya mouldings and ease of construction. Straight from the box it builds into a really nice kit.

There are a few jeep etched detail sets about, some released earlier for the Italeri and other kits, but which could be used equally as well for this kit. The new set from Eduard is designed for the Tamiya kit and is a vast improvement over the earlier Jeep set Eduard released some time ago (#35002).


T h e   T a m i y a   J e e p   -   K i t    N o .   3 5 2 1 9


The kit comprises 94 parts in olive drab plastic and 4 clear parts (windshields and headlights). The decal sheet has markings for 5 vehicles all from the ETO. The driver figure included has a nice relaxed pose, certainly an improvement on the static figures of the past. Detail on the kit is excellent including an engine, it is the basic engine block and larger accessories and has room for additional detailing. Included are optional parts for the front bumper with the "A" frame tow bar or the standard bumper and a nice .30cal M/G with mount for the rear compartment. Two notable omissions are the brake and clutch pedals and the "T" securing handles for the bonnet and windscreen. Without doubt it is the best Jeep kit available in 1/35th today.


E d u a r d   U p d a t e   S e t   N o .   3 5 1 7 6


A word on working with etched metal

These are the methods I use with etched parts, but are by no means the only way. As with other aspects of modelling, whatever technique works for you, then go for it.

To remove the parts from the frame, I use a sharp No.11 X-acto blade and a piece of clear perspex as the cutting board (any hard surface will do.). When cutting small pieces, place your finger on the piece to avoid the dreaded "ping" into modelling oblivion. After removing the part, hold it in a pair of good quality flat nosed tweezers and file off the join mark with a fine needle file. No matter how close you cut the part, a small mark will remain to be filed away (again take care not to launch the part into cyberspace with the tweezers).

To bend larger parts, I position the part between two 12" steel rulers held together with spring clamps and using a third 6" steel rule, bend along the fold line. Ensure you keep even pressure along the fold line when bending to get a clean bend. For smaller parts I hold with flat nosed tweezers along the bend line and use a No.11 blade to expert even pressure while bending (you could also use another pair of flat nosed tweezers). For bending curves, always use a former to get an even curve, either by making a purpose built former or something like a paint brush handle to achieve the curve. For larger pieces requiring bending you could anneal the metal by heating it first to make it more pliable.

Attaching the etched parts, I use Cyanoacrylate (Super Glue) for most part, or white glue for very small parts or those around aircraft canopies. Eduard has just released a Cyanoacrylate especially formulated for etched metal, which I have found to be very good. Other types are "Zap-a-gap" and "Flash". It’s best to use a Cyanoacrylate designed for model usage than any hardware type.

Alternatively, the etched parts could be soldered for a permanent join. This may be tricky in some circumstances, but may be worth investigating.

This new set has approx. 205 etched pieces and a small clear film for the instrument panel dials. The quality of the etching is first class, with three levels of relief on some parts. The latest sets from Eduard are a step up from earlier sets in terms of quality. They also now have a coating of nickel alloy (or similar) as an anti-corrosive measure, which give them a steel appearance as opposed to the older brass colour.

Most parts have engraved bend lines for precise bending, while some of the parts are extremely small and need care when removing from the frame and during handling.

The instruction sheet is well laid out and easy to follow, making assembling the parts a breeze. See the notes in the side-bar on working with etched metal.


C o n s t r u c t i o n


I will step through the Tamiya instructions describing the kit construction and the Eduard parts added plus any additional detailing with plastic card, sprue etc. The kit is built without the engine, as the Jeep will be incorporated into a diorama at a later time without this feature.

The chassis and suspension in Steps 1 to 3 was built basically stock without any problems. The chassis is moulded in one piece, allowing precise location of the axles and springs. The rear bumper guards were replaced with the Eduard parts carefully bent to shape using a former made by sticking two bits of plastic rod together ensuring both guards were the same shape. The exhaust pipe was also drilled out. I also chose the "A" frame towing bar for the front bumper to give different appearance. The kit frame was replaced with etched brass from the ABER Jeep detail set, as this option was not included with the Eduard set. The ends of the tow bar were drilled out as these are hollow tube on the real Jeep.

Step 4 begins the body construction. I left the radiator and headlight assembly off until after painting, which also meant painting the engine hood separately. The rear body panel had the spare wheel mount replaced with the etched metal part after carefully bending to shape. The major addition here is the driver’s foot pedals on the engine firewall (part A5). Firstly I drilled small holes for the brake and clutch and inserted a small length of stretched sprue, to this I glued a small square of plastic card. The accelerator was also a piece of card. Added to these were the etched pedal faces (I found it easier to add the pedals from card first, than trying to attach the etched pieces directly). I also added the side support detail in the front cab from etched parts from the Verlinden jeep set.

Also provided by Eduard are two nice non-skid foot plates for the cab floor. The side safety belts are also provided and these were bent slightly to represent natural sag and attached to the side panels just behind the seats. The small fire extinguisher has an etched cradle, which was fitted to the extinguisher after it was painted.

The seats in Steps 5 and 6 were assembled as per the kit instructions, but left separate until after final painting. Eduard gives you a complete instrument panel to replace the kit part with the usual printed film for the instrument faces. I didn’t use this as I had stated assembling the kit before the Eduard set was released. The kit panel was detailed by adding the two attachment eyes for the safety straps from thin wire and the hand brake lever from the Eduard set. The instrument panel was attached to part 35, this then glued to the bottom body shell. No filler was required as it fitted perfectly.

The chassis was securely glued to the body shell in Step 7 and the wheels assembled in Step 8. These two steps are straight forward. I did add tire valves to the rims with thin wire inserted into pre-drilled holes. I didn’t attach the wheels as called for in Step 9, but left these separate until all painting was completed, including the spare.

In Step 10, the body hand holds and towing pintle were added as per instructions. The supports for the canvas top were carefully removed from the frame using an X-Acto #11 blade. These were replaced with the Eduard parts. Take care when bending the main side supports, it’s important to get the angles right as the thin metal doesn’t give you many chances to re-bend without breaking apart. The rear kit jerry can and holder were discarded and replaced with the etched metal holder and a Jerry can from the new Tamiya Allied Vehicles Accessory Set (#35229), the strap was also from the Eduard set. It is easiest to bend the can holder using a spare jerry can as a former. Finally the etched aerial mount bracket was added to the rear corner of the body, with the aerial base being a Verlinden resin item.

The windscreen assembly in Step 11 has a number of improvements. Firstly I carefully cut away the moulded on wipers and replaced these with the Eduard parts. The screen opening guides (parts B44 & 45) are also replaced with the etched parts as were the mounting brackets for the M1 Garand holder on the windscreen frame. I cut away the moulded on holder from the kit M1 and replaced this using the etched metal piece provided, again carefully bent to shape. The kit M1 had a sling added from thin paper strip and then placed in the new etched holder. The small Eduard wing nuts were added to the windscreen pivot points in pre-drilled holes. Care should be taken here, as these parts are rather small. Finally the kit supplied clear windscreen (parts C2) were replaced with thinner clear sheet, these being left off until after the painting was completed. The whole windscreen assembly was also painted separately from the Jeep body.

In Step 12, I first replaced the kit headlight guard with the etched Eduard part and added the wiring from thin wire, again into pre-drilled holes. The hood and windscreen "T" attachments were added from the Eduard set. To give a better three dimensional appearance I ran a bead of white glue along the parts, when dry, it gives a raised profile. The moulded on bracket on the shovel was cut off and also replaced with the etched part. The shovel handle and axe tie downs were added from thin wire, the securing straps are provided as etched parts. The tools and hood were again left off and painted separately.

Finally the kit .30 cal machine gun mount was replaced with the etched parts in Step 13. The mounting post was also detailed using etched parts and thin rod. Etched supports were also added to the mounting post.

Assembly of the kit itself was very straight forward, the fit of parts was typical Tamiya with no traps or surprises encountered. With the Eduard update set, you only need use the parts you want to add, even using only a few parts will enhance the kit, while with more added the detail will obviously be enhanced.


P a i n t i n g   a n d   F i n i s h i n g


The model (and parts kept separate during construction) were airbrushed with Humbrol Super Enamel Olive Drab (No.155). When dry, the decals were applied. All decals are the rub on type so it is not necessary to gloss the model first. The only water slide decal was the data blocks on the dashboard glove box. This was applied with white glue after soaking off the decal in the usual way. This method is useful for small decals on vehicle models as it eliminates any silvering without having to gloss it first.

The large hood star is a Verlinden item, while the rest of the markings are from the new DecalStar Jeep dry decal sheet. DecalStar is a new decal manufacturer from Japan producing small decal sheets mainly for German armour apart from the Jeep set. The markings are good quality and come off the backing sheet with very little pressure, therefore care is needed not to loose them before they get to where you want them. By leaving the hood separate, it was easy to apply the "USA" and vehicle numbers. I fact the numbers came off the backing sheet with finger pressure alone, which was very handy to go around the curve of the hood.

After the decals were applied, I gave the model a final coat of clear Matt to seal the decals. Being rub-on, I could do this as soon as the decals were on, without the need to allow the decals to dry (as with waterslide decals). After the Matt had dried (at least 24hours), I attached all the separate assemblies (seats, windscreen, jerry can, spare wheel, hood and tools) before final weathering was done, except for the wheels, which were left till later so I could add the dust etc. to the wheel wells. I also masked off the wiper pattern on the windshield with masking tape cut to shape. Pat the tape a few times on your finger to reduce it’s stickiness, this makes it easier to remove later.

I then gave the model a wash of thinned Raw Umber Oil paint to highlight the detail. The dust effect was airbrushed on using a suitable earth colour (this colour depends on the terrain it will be displayed in). The word here when airbrushing dust and dirt is ‘subtlety’. Don’t over do it, or you’ll only end up with a brown Jeep. Once this was dry I gave a final light drybrushing with a lighter colour to highlight some of the raised detail, again subtlety is the key.

The kit was a joy to build, as are all of Tamiya’s recent armour releases. I also intend to build another Jeep with full engine detail at a later date.



R e f e r e n c e s


  • The Complete WW2 MILITARY JEEP MANUAL: Brooklands Books
  • Essential Military Jeep: Bay View Books
  • War Machines Plus Volume 1: Verlinden Publications
  • Military Jeeps 1941-1945: Brooklands Books
  • JEEP goes to War: Bison Group


Model, Article Text and Photographs Copyright 1998 by Terry Ashley
Page Created 07 October, 1998
Last Updated 26 July, 2007

Back to HyperScale Main Page

Back to Features Page