1941 Model 1.5 ton Military Truck

If that title/name is frustratingly vague for you, I’ve got a fun story for this one.  I have to start by saying I’m not really in to trucks, but I do like building and having a variety of vehicles and service equipment in my display area.  I think it adds visual interest to have more than just row on row of airplanes.

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After the jump, I’ll tell how I learned something interesting about this non-descript truck.

Combining what I already knew with what was said on the instructions for this Tamiya kit was simple enough, the Soviet Union was building this American designed truck before the war.  The German attack of June 1941 had a devastating impact on every corner of the Soviet economy and industry.  Where military trucks in particular were concerned, it meant they needed more of them than ever, but strategic materials were in short supply.

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So this truck was re-engineered to be as simple and spare as possible.  The front fenders were replaced with a simple strait form; the running boards were replaced with wood; the rear of the cab and all of the bed were replaced with wood; the doors and cab roof were replaced with canvas; and the right headlight and bumpers were deleted (!).

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Well cool.  A wartime emergency project that will look right at home on my shelf.  It was noticeably on older and simpler design than American military trucks of the war years, more like a product of the 1930s than the 1940s.  I didn’t give it much more thought than that, as I said, I’m not really that in to trucks.

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So the day after I finished this model, my wife and I were at Greenfield Village for their annual Ragtime Music Festival.  I was enjoying a beautiful Sunday afternoon watching The River Raisin Ragtime Revue (tell me you can guess where this going…) when I noticed an older truck sitting across the street.  Among the fun things about Greenfield Village is the old vehicles driving all over; they give rides in Model Ts and most of the service vehicles in the village are Model As.  So I’m looking at this village Model A and thinking “wow that grill/radiator looks just like the one on the truck I just built; hmmm, and so do the headlights, except there’s two of them…”  And so did the cab, except it was all metal; and so did the suspension; and what I could see of the frame…

Gee this looks so familiar...

Gee this looks so familiar…

 

Okay, so now I know the Soviets were building Model A trucks all through World War II (actually until 1950!).  I have to think they at least restored the missing headlight once the emergency passed.

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How does all this tie back in to an annoyingly vague title for this post?  Well there’s been a big issue in the world of scale modeling for the last several years; manufacturers of the original equipment are demanding fairly large licencing fees from the model companies to do models of their products.  And the model companies do whatever they can to get around those fees.  It may be possible Ford could come after Tamiya for selling an “unlicensed” kit.  But I’m betting Tamiya was very careful about checking all the rights issues for this particular vehicle.  And they were careful not to use words like “Ford” or “Model A” anywhere in the product description!

It was also a really nice kit and a fun build.  And fun discovering by accident what exactly it was.

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About atcDave

I'm 53 years old and live in Ypsilanti, Michigan. I'm happily married to Jodie. I've been an air traffic controller for 30 years; grew up in the Chicago area, and am still a fanatic for pizza and the Chicago Bears. My main interest is military history, and my related hobbies include scale model building and strategy games.
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2 Responses to 1941 Model 1.5 ton Military Truck

  1. Theresa says:

    Ford was very big on helping the Soviets build an automobile factories and industry.

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