The United States supplied several thousand Studebaker 2½ ton trucks to the USSR as Lend Lease equipment. The Studebaker was highly regarded by the Russians and was the favorite vehicle for the BM-13 Katyusha rocket launcher. The word, Studebaker, became synonymous in Russian with truck.
- Studebaker CCKW-353 Truck, 2½ ton, 6 × 6, Cargo
- US and Soviet Decals
The Studebaker 2½ ton Truck kit is unique in this scale.
The Studebaker comes in the now familiar Cooperativa box. All the parts were enclosed in a plastic bag, and a small separate sleeve protects the decals. Despite this, several of the railings on the sides of the truck bed were broken.
There are about 65 parts on two trees molded in a soft, uneven mixture of dark and light gray plastic. There is flash on nearly every part. The muffler and winch are flawed as a result of a mold mismatch. Many details are omitted including the headlights, instrument panel, steering wheel, and windshield and windows. There are a pair of parts on the trees which are not mentioned in the construction sequence.
Assembly begins with the chassis and suspension. It took considerable sanding and filing to get the parts to fit together. The various drive shafts were a challenge to install, requiring careful adjustment of their lengths. The wheels are simply butt-joined to the axles. Care is needed to ensure the wheels are level and straight while the glue dries. After the glue had fully set, I used a sanding block to slightly flatten the bottom of each wheel.
I used a Flexi-File to remove the flash between the truck bed railings. More sanding was necessary to get the truck bed sides to match up well. It would have been much less work to use a truck bed from the Hasegawa 1/72 GMC truck – it’s a perfect fit, but lacks the planked floor of the Studebaker.
A little putty was used to hide the seam between the roof and the rear of the cab. Because the kit’s headlight guards were incompletely molded, I replaced them with a pair from an ESCI M6. Headlights came from the same source. As long as you are raiding the spare parts box, you may want to find a steering wheel, too. The interior comes with only a bench seat and a seat back. If you add a windshield, don’t forget the small triangular windows in each door.
The front bumper was much shorter than shown in the drawings in Zaloga’s Soviet Tanks and Combat Vehicles of World War Two, so I replaced it with a length of Plastruct C beam. The winch was too badly mismatched to salvage, so it was discarded. Neither the drawing in the kit’s instructions nor the one in Zaloga’s book show a winch. If the kit’s bumper is attached to the frame, there isn’t enough room for the winch.
After all the effort of getting the kit assembled, it was a relief to move onto the painting stage. The instructions call for either US Olive Drab or Russian Dark Green. I painted the Studebaker with a base coat of Testors Model Master flat black, followed by Testors Model Master Olive Drab. The Olive Drab was concentrated on the center of each large area and only lightly misted in the crevices. I then drybrushed Olive Drab lightened with flat white over the entire vehicle. A few areas of rust were added. The tires are flat black drybrushed with Testors Model Master II Panzer Gray. The doors were given a thin coat of Future to prepare them for the decals. After the decals had dried, the entire truck was airbrushed with Dullcote followed by a a light spraying of brown on the lower part of the truck to simulate dust.
- US Army
- Soviet Army
- Soviet Studebaker with BM-13 Katyusha rocket launcher
If you want a 1/72 Studebaker in styrene, this is the only game in town, but be prepared for lots of extra work to produce an acceptable replica. The excessive flash and poor fit of many of the parts makes this a difficult kit to assemble. Soft details and lack of many smaller details force the modeler to raid the spare parts box. However, while not up to modern kit standards, it does look a Studebaker when completed and fans of small scale armor will want to add one to their collection.
REFERENCE: Zaloga, Steven J., and Grandsen, James. Soviet Tanks and Combat Vehicles of World War Two, Arms & Armour Press, London: 1984.
Kenneth L. Hagerup