U.S. Jeep 1/4 Ton 4x4 Truck Willys MB
Modeling the U.S. Army in WWII

and MM115A with figures

This is one of the first kits I bought when I got back into modeling in 1990. Even then it was old and had been eclipsed by the jeep and trailer set from Italeri.

This 1970s molding comes from "back in the day" when Tamiya shipped sprues to the USA, where Model Rectifier Corporation (MRC) packaged them for the domestic market. Some boxings included separate figure sets with the vehicles, such as seen in the MM11A box above. The other novelty of MRC boxing was being able to read the side panels of the boxes in English.

This was one of those weekend kits I used to enjoy. Build on Saturday. Paint on Sunday. Decals on Wednesday. (Then came weathering on Saturday. And then photoetch had to come after Saturday, but before painting that used to be on Sunday, but now might be in the middle of the week or the next weekend. If I'm not doing research. Or waiting for that upgrade set to arrive.)

This jeep was offered with four integral figures, three manning the vehicle and one standing and presumably giving directions ("Them krauts is just around da corner."). The figures were a little more substantial in size (thicker, not taller) than the additional set of "fighting men" from kit 35013. I think I'd already gotten these four extra figures as they were separately boxed, and used these for conversions, as there was not much on the market back in 1990.

The jeep itself was much better than its chief rival, Monogram's offering with the 37mm anti-tank gun, which was scaled at 1/32. Tamiya included an engine, a pedestal mounted .50 machine gun, and the option of an extended canvas roof. The 1/4 ton trailer was very similar to Italeri's. There were some additional accessories to fill up the trailer, including a 60mm mortar, jerry cans, cable reels, tarps, and a box. There was also some generic radio that was probably based on a post-war type. The decals gave a wide range of options, including military police markings that could be used with three of the four unit designations, and medical markings for two designations.

Overall, the quality was acceptable for the time, but the jeep looks chunky today, certainly without the finesse of Tamiya's 1997 product.

If you see one of these on the shelves or eBay, its real value is as a youngster's project, collector's item, or pure nostalgia. For serious modeling, look for Tamiya's later version, or Italeri's if you want a trailer.



Modeling the U.S. Army in WWII © 2002—2007 Timothy S. Streeter