Hobby Fan
U.S M51 5ton 6x6 Dump Truck
Hobby Fan 1:35th
Kit HF-055
Review by Terry Ashley

Hobby Fan has released a couple of extensive truck conversions in the past for the M984A1 Recovery (#HF007) and M936A1 Recovery vehicle (#HF012) as well as the full kit for the big M911 Tank Transporter (#HF005) and has now released another full resin kit featuring the M51 5ton 6x6 Dump Truck with winch.

The kit consists of 171 finely cast parts in light yellow resin plus parts from the AFV Club M35A2 2 ½ ton Truck (kit #AF3504) for the clear windows, etched radiator screens, a length of fine chain and decal sheet.

Hobby Fan
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Detail definition of the resin parts is excellent despite the use of a “softer” type resin which is very easy to work with and is almost pliable with some of the larger parts but although it is easy to cut while trimming the casting blocks care is needed to ensure you don’t remove too much resin for the part proper.

There are the usual casting blocks to be removed and no other blemishes such as air bubbles were evident apart from some very minor resin film on some parts although the large casting blocks do look daunting at first glance. There is some minor warping on a few parts due to the softer resin more than anything and while this may be fixed on some parts as they are glued together a quick dunking if warm water will fix any others but there is nothing that would pose real problems.

Care is needed on some parts while removing the blocks as they are near fine details and there are also some very small and finely cast parts but again the softer resin makes the job that much easier.

The lower chassis and suspension is very detailed with many separate parts such as the two full length chassis frames and cross members plus the gear box, drive shafts and separate differentials on the two rear and one front axles. These are mounted on separate leaf springs which have good definition of the springs and the front steering is actually workable due to separate outer axle sections and axle hubs. This will allow the front wheels to be positioned at any angle for some animation to the finished kit.

Steerable front axles
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A the front is the winch and front bumper with separate shackles front and back plus chassis mounted fuel tanks and storage boxes and the large rear support box for the dump tray which has hydraulic pistons that have the larger sections hollowed out with the piston rods fitting inside and can be extended or compressed depending if the dump tray is raised or lowered and you only need add the hydraulic plumbing to finish this off.

The wheels and tyres are nicely cast with excellent tread pattern on the early rounded shoulder types with later trucks using a more square tread pattern on the shoulder. The hub details is also nicely done but watch the differences between the front and rear wheels as well as the inner and outer rear wheels as the instructions aren’t that clear on assembling these.

The front cab is made up of many separate parts with interior details including the driver’s and passenger’s seats, foot pedals and gear levers as well as nicely engraved instrument panel plus of course the steering wheel and column.

The front engine bay has separate sides, upper hood which is fixed in place and the front radiator with separate grill work to which can be added the etched screen if desired. The two fenders are in one piece with the lower sump of the engine included with separate lights and guards. The characteristic big air cleaner of this series sits on the right fender while there are separate “T” handles and small grab handles on the hood and separate doors on the cab that can be shown open if you wish to show off the interior. The mounting frames for the door rear view mirrors are cast extremely thin and are very well done but of course quite fragile and you may wish to use these as templates to make the frame from wire for more strength, but the resin frame will do perfectly well if care is taken during and after assembly.

The windscreen has indentations to take the clear plastic glass panels and there is also an upper canvas cover to add if required for an enclosed compartment.

Mounted behind the cab is the spare wheel and pioneer tools which are cast separate from their mounting.

Dump tray:
This is again made up of numerous parts with the large floor section to which is added the sides and large front panel with the forward facing guard over the cab with the rear gate being movable to show open or closed as desired. The underside pivot points for the tray and hydraulic cylinder attachments are movable allowing the tray to be raised or lowered for different situations.

The tray floor and separate cross members had some slight warping that will need straightening before assembly but this is only minor and easy to deal with due to the resin used.

The details on the tray side walls are well done and there are additional grab handles and reflector fittings added to the sides to finish off the assembly.

Two double sided A4 pages have full numbered parts layout for easy identification and also have shaded areas showing the surplus resin to be removed which is helpful. The assembly sequences are exploded view drawings which are quite good for a resin kit and clearly show the location of the numbered parts in all but a few areas such as the wheels.

The decal sheet from the M35A1 kit may not be applicable as far and unit numbers go but it has some stencilling and other markings that will come in handy.

In all this a nicely detailed kit with very clean resin parts that are easy to work with and although there are quite a few parts assembly is fairly straightforward and follows logical steps.

Experience working with resin kits will obviously be helpful and of course cyanoacrylate would be the chosen glue with the thicker type being better suited to most areas for greater strength and a bit longer curing time.

The inclusion of workable steering and dump tray elevation are nice inclusions for a resin kit which usually just have fixed assemblies and will allow some nice animation to be included in the model and of course this kit could provide the basis for any M54 based truck conversion.

Highly recommended for Modern vehicle fans.

Resin Parts
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Hobby FanThanks to Hobby Fan for the review kit.

Page created 7 August 2005

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