Anyone modelling this classic wartime vehicle, regardless of scale, can learn much from the publisher's splendid new hardback.
The term ‘legend’ is bandied about a little too often these days. However, one war machine that truly deserves the moniker is the Willys Jeep. Produced in thousands, the 1/4-ton off-roader was employed in every theatre during World War Two. As such, it’s an enduring modelling subject, via classic 1/35 kits by Monogram, Italeri, Heller and Tamiya (including the amphibious GPA) but also newer toolings by the latter manufacturer, Dragon and Meng. There are also Bantam BRC-40 kits in 1/35 scale, from MiniArt… and healthy aftermarket activity too.
If you’re tackling any of these, or even the 1/16 Takom example, Crécy Publishing’s new 192-page reference book is packed with detail ripe for modellers. Part of the company's Blueprint series, it’s based on an original Haynes item from 2010, but includes much new content and imagery. The full history is told here, through the vehicle’s development and prototypes, narrative on Bantam’s British Reconnaissance Car and Ford GP examples, production machines, the GPA and even French post-war, licence-built Hotchkiss versions.
Useful photos grace almost every page and modellers can glean a feast of detail – both from period images and shots of restored Jeeps. Particularly interesting are the views of field-modified examples with makeshift armour, long-wheelbase Jeeps and the like. Most of the wartime images are splendid, offering clarity, structural/equipment nuances and ideas for possible diorama/vignette work. Some are real gems, including those showing ambulance conversions, and a line-laying car operated by the Royal Signals. It’s a shame that more images of SAS and Long-Range Desert Group Jeeps aren’t provided, but there is a handful of period/restored studies to enjoy at least. A real belter on page 115, in full colour, shows a US Jeep parked on a road in an Italian town, and the weathering cues are superb.
Many owners of restored Jeeps are known to seek the utmost accuracy, so the various photos of such machines are welcome… and offer clear views from different angles. There are also close-up period/modern shots of sub-assemblies… different radio antenna mounts, radio gear, the engine, suspension and brakes, interior, wheels, tools and much more. Portions of the text offer the soldier and mechanic perspectives, and there is also a look at foreign equivalents, such as Germany’s famous Kübel/Schwimmwagen, post-war successors in the US (M151 and others), and overseas machines. Even post-war civilian Jeeps are covered, for a fully rounded examination of this world-famous vehicle.
Yes, there have been larger, more exhaustive books about the Jeep – but this Blueprint effort offers reams of detail at a relatively wallet-friendly £27.95. If you’re a military modeller keen on the subject you’ll struggle to put it down… and it’ll be open constantly during any build project. It’s available direct from Crécy Publishing.
Enthusiasts’ Manual – 1940 Onwards – Ford, Willys and Hotchkiss
By: Pat Ware
Format: 290 x 224mm