GMC 353

1/35 Kit #35015
Review by Terry Ashley

Image of finished model courtesy Calibre35

The Vehicle:
One of the many uses and configurations seen on the GMC 6x6 CCKW 353 chassis was the Mobile Workshop. There were two types on workshop bodies fitted to the 353 chassis, the rigid type ST5 and the collapsible type ST6.
There were also a number of types of Workshop vehicle such as General Automotive Repair, Small Arms Repair, Artillery Repair, Instrument Repair, Machine Shop and Welding and Tool repair. Some of these had variations to the interior layout which should be noted when checking reference photos.
All Workshop vehicles did not carry the front winch sometimes seen on standard GMC.
The Workshop body was also fitted to both the steel cab CCKW 353 as well as the open cab version but was never fitted to the shorter wheelbase CCKW 352 chassis. The body was fitted lower on the chassis than the normal rear tray and required the redesign of the fuel tank and spare wheel storage racks.

The Kit:
This new conversion set from Calibre35 is designed for the Tamiya GMC 6x6 Truck (kit No.35218) but if you have the older Italeri steel cab GMC lurking in the kit cupboard this could also be used.

The set consists of 53 cleanly cast pieces in a light cream resin and a further 6 in clear resin plus a short length of copper wire. There is also a large etched fret with the window mesh and another large sheet of clear photo film for the window “glass”.
As a bonus there is a mini CD with reference photos of the Workshop Vehicle which is a nice inclusion, the photos on the CD are the same as those in the Wings and Wheels Publications GMC book (see below) so if you don’t have this book these will be very handy.
The standard of resin casting is simply superb without a blemish to be seen anywhere and quite frankly is some of the best resin casting you will see anywhere today. As usual you have the casting blocks to be removed before assembly and this should not present any problems.

The largest piece in the set is the main body which is in one big hollow casting.
This casting is stunning to behold, not only is it cleanly cast with only a few under surface air bubbles on the inside ceiling (check these with a strong light before trying to fill as only one small one actually broke the surface in one of the ceiling light fittings, how’s that for nit picking?)
The casting is large measuring 103mm long, 68mm wide and 62mm deep yet is perfectly square without the slightest hint of warpage, a superb effort in a piece so large. Not only is this perfectly cast but the walls are of uniform thickness without the usual difference in thickness often seen in large resin parts, they are also commendably thin to represent the thin sheet metal they are and not great lumps of armour plate.

Click for additional views and description of main body parts

The interior also has excellent details included such as the ceiling electrical ducting and separate clear parts for the 6 ceiling lights, details on the side and forward walls and indentations to accept the clear window sections as well as the electrical sockets and wiring above the widows to result in what must be one of the best single castings yet seen in a resin set.
The clear windows and etched screens can be assembled either open or closed as you wish to add a bit of animation to the model.
The workshop floor is another large piece which includes the large storage lockers and drawers with separate workbenches and other small fittings, some small etched parts are provided to add to the detail. Additional workbenches are included for the interior fold up benches and the exterior bench sometimes fitted.
The two asymmetrical rear doors are separate parts to allow to be shown open and the rear steps are made up of another 6 pieces.

The under body pan (part 32) is a separate part that fits to the body floor (part 35) and includes the new mountings for the spare wheel and new fuel tank, this in turn is attached directly to the Tamiya kit chassis with small resin parts provided for the attachment points.

You will have to remove the excess casting resin from the bottom of the main floor (part 35) by carefully sanding on a flat piece of wet and dry paper in a circular motion, but take care when doing this so as not to take off too much resin and also not the damage the part by putting too much pressure when holding the part by the two side lockers as this can result in it snapping in two.

The Instructions:
These are in the form of clear drawings with all the parts called out by number to make the part placement easy to see.

Some thought will be needed as to when to attach the windows and etched screens during painting. Obviously you will fully assemble and paint the interior before fitting the floor section to the main body and it may be an idea to add the windows after painting the interior (before attaching the floor) and painting the screens separately and attaching later.

Image of finished model courtesy Calibre35

In all a superb resin update/conversion from Calibre35 with the standard of resin casting lifted to new highs with the large body casting.
This set is not for the inexperienced modeller but should be fairly easy to assembly if you plan the construction before hand with the aid of the clear instruction drawings.
The inclusion of the reference CD is nice and adds to the growing reputation of Calibre35 in providing what the modeller wants in their update sets.

Highly recommended.

Click on Thumbnails to view the resin bits
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Instruction Sheets
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Reference Mini CD included with Calibre35
Workshop update set.

The CD has 38 Colour and 26 Black & photos from the WWP GMC book.
The perfect reference for building the kit even if you don't have some of the books listed below.


GMC CCKW 353 & 352
Special Museum Line No3
Wings & Wheels Publications.
Published by RAK, Czech Republic.

Superb photo coverage of the interior and exterior of the Workshop Vehicle.

book “The GMC 6x6 and DUKW
A Universal Truck”

ISBN 0 85429 860 6
By Jean-Michel Boniface
Jean-Gabriel Jeudy Published by Haynes Books.
In depth reference for the GMC and DUKW. Covers all variants including the Workshop Vehicle and post war civilian use. Invaluable.
book Ground Power Magazine #67 12/1999
Includes interior shots of the Workshop vehicle.
Issues #65 and #66 also have detailed coverage of the suspension and cab applicable to the Workshop Vehicle.

Thanks again to Gilles from Blast Models for the quick delivery of my order for this set.

Page Created 2 July 2003

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