Dodge WC-62 1 1/2-ton Squad Personnel Carrier
"Squirt"
761st Tank Battalion (Colored), Coburg 1945



Skybow #TP3504 WC-62/63 Personnel Carrier Model Kit

Copyright 2009 & 2011, Jim Lewis/GunTruck Studios
All Rights Reserved Worldwide

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In 1941, the US Army changed the standard organization of the Infantry Squad from six to twelve men, and required a new vehicle to transport them and their associated gear / equipment. Dodge, having already designed the successful 3/4-ton WC-51/52 "Beep" for this role, decided to create a larger vehicle using the already proven design and components in answer. The new truck would be the same Cab as the WC-51/52 up front, but the rear cargo box was lengthened 49-inches and a third axle added to accommodate the doubling of payload, and was designated WC-62/63. The Squad Personnel Carrier was used by all US Forces in WW II. Designed as an Infantry Carrier, the truck found use in many general purpose roles.

The WC-62/63 Trucks are identical; WC-62 is the basic truck without a Winch, WC-63 is the truck equipped with a 7,500-pound capable Braden MU2 Winch (with 7/16-inch wire cable) and split front bumper. It is slightly longer at 225-inches as compared to 215-inch long WC-62. The WC-62 weighed 6,925-pounds. The WC-63 weighed 7,175-pounds. Interesting features of these trucks are found in their cargo beds - they came in a "short" and "long" bed configuration, as nicknamed by collectors and restorers later on. The early vehicles were equipped with a "long" bed, as evidenced in photos where the left side of the cargo box extends forward nearly touching the Spare Tire carried over the Driver's Running Board - making ingress / egress of the truck there not possible. It matches the configuration of the right side. The "short" bed left side is shortened, leaving a space behind the Spare Tire that allowed the Driver to get into and out of the truck.

The Cargo Beds also came in different variations as well as the "long" and "short" nicknames:

1: Early Production Models = Wooden Floor and Metal Sides. Sometimes the wood was marine-treated and some White Oak that was very durable.

2: Late Production Models = All Wood Floor and Sides, except for the Wheel Arches. This is the type provided in the Skybow model kit.

3: All metal Floor and Sides. This was from a vehicle that saw service Post-WW II. The metal Floor was removed, and had the original Floor intact underneath. It is possible that the all-metal Floors were Post-WW II service.

The WC-62/63 used the same Engine, Powertrain, and equipment fittings as found on the WC-51/52 Trucks. It possessed fine cross-country mobility and stability, and could be equipped with a Weapons Ring and Cal.50 Machine Gun. The 6-cylinder engine could provide a 50-mph top speed on improved roads, and a range of 240 miles. Approximately 43,000 of these truck types were produced between 1943 and 1945.


Unable to resist the calling, I pulled the miniature truck back out and looked it over. I wanted to go back add some little items to it that I put aside in effort to get it done for the Track-Link.net Holiday Challenge. This would be small details missing from the basic model kit, as well as a cargo load and crew. I was going to rig up a Radio Set and fittings as I've never seen one done in miniature for the WC-62/63, but set that aside for a future miniature after I completed it. It was too much for this project.

I decided to continue my idea with a general service vehicle in the 761st Tank Battalion, and set on an idea where they'd be moving through the vicinity of Coburg with the 71st Infantry Division. I had a bunch of gear lying around and opted to model a Supply truck transporting a Large Wall Tent and associated gear with a Driver and NCO. I was going to add an Infantryman from the 71st Infantry Division walking alongside, and included a spare ammo box pressed into service for holding liberated war souvenirs collected along the march. I thought it might work for a simple, non-combat setting, on a patch of wild grass. This is a former award plaque with a section of Heki Summer Grass laid down on it. I coated the Heki Summer Grass sheet with a 50-50 mixture of White Glue and Water and then sprinkled a generous helping of Heki Wild Grass over it to create the multi-length result. Simple and very easy to do. While it was drying, I set the miniature truck into position, and the glue holds it lightly but securely in place.

I must say at the outset that fitting figures after the miniature truck is built is not the most intelligent way to do things...

Little features like the missing bolts on the Front Bumper, Trailer Safety Eyebolts on the rear crossmember, Jerry Cans & Holders, Windshield Wiper Motor power cables and Handle on the Glove Box were fashioned, painted and finished separately - then added and blended in with the completed model.

The Windshield Wiper Marks were airbrushed using a mist of Polly Scale Flat. I rendered the Windshield Shipping Decal out of a scrap US Flag and section on the reverse to represent the Vehicle information and Fording Instructions. Instrument Panel Gauges are Archer Fine Transfers applied wet-style and coated with Krystal Kleer.

The Driver is from HobbyFan's WC-62/63 Set - and actually does not fit in the position. I am beginning to wonder what Driver Figures really do fit the intended 1:35th scale vehicle they're sold for. I also tried the MiniArt Driver Figure from the Bantam BRC-40 kit too, just in case, but he doesn't fit here either. I worked with the HobbyFan Figure a bit, and got him in there, but he certainly looks like a "big guy" behind the wheel.

I still haven't settled on the 71st Infantry Division soldier, but I am leaning towards one of the Gen2 Figures from Dragon. They've got a lot of great detail and equipment - like little models all onto themselves. I have one kneeling the the grass that I like more than one standing - and I might use that one to complete my idea.

All Gear and Equipment were painted and finished separately too, adding them to the miniature truck in stages. I tried using straps from GCLaser for the first time here for Kitbags hanging from the Bench Rails. A large Fire Extinguisher Bottle was added for a splash of color, and a vertically mounted Rifle Rack at the Driver's Running Board for interest. Skewers trimmed to size became the necessary two-section Tent Poles, and a couple of short-sized PSP Plates rounded out the equipment added to the truck.

The standing NCO is the figure from MiniArt's Bantam BRC-40 Jeep. This is a pretty nice figure that I couldn't resist using here for my project. He fits with a little modification and positioning here. Both Figures have insignia and division patches from Archer Fine Transfers and are painted with Vallejo Acrylics.

Skybow's (now AFV Club) rendition of the Dodge WC-62/63 is a excellent scale miniature. Chock full of details, it doesn't beg for aftermarket detail sets to provide a great result. Comparing it to the older Peerless/Italeri version isn't useful, though that kit was good in its day, this effort is superior all around.

It assembles and finishes quickly, though it is a bit more than a weekend model project. It does have a quirk that is even present on box top photos - the assembled model doesn't have all six wheels sitting firmly on the ground. It is a irksome characteristic of the model kit, and the three examples that I've built all suffer from the same malady. Somewhere along the way, the Frame tends to warp a little bit, lifting one of the wheels up. I've even cemented the Frame to the Cargo Bed early on in attempt to counter this problem, with no success. In fact, the Cargo Bed was a bit wonky too and I didn't notice it until well into the project! Oh well, I've got nothing but time in the future to keep building 'em, eh?

When I set out to build this model kit, it was in participation in a 2008 Holiday Challenge over on the Track Link modeling website. A modeler was sponsoring a fun activity where participants were to select a subject that they could build and complete over the Christmas Holiday (December 20th through January 4). I decided to enter because I simply cannot seem to finish anything quickly. I chose this kit because it had been staring at me from the shelves for some time - and I thought I had a good shot at completing it on time. I planned to build it, with virtually no extra detailing and effort that bogs me down. Well, I stuck to the idea, mostly...

I put it together quickly, and paused to add some Air Valve Stems to the tires using brass rod, and cleaned up some visible and pesky ejector pin marks. I stopped short on electrical wiring and brake cabling - and other AMS-inducing details. This was when I began to take notice of the Frame's tendency to warp, even after gluing it securely to the Cargo Bed. An annoyance to be sure, but I pressed on. The model kit glues up well, accepts fillers well where needed - a joy to build.

There isn't much to complain about, and you don't have to wrestle it into submission. If I could have asked for any more out out the kit would have been deletion of the polycap system for the wheels. Using it leaves them loose and difficult to align properly. Who really needs rolling wheels on a static display model anyway? Figures that actually fit would be a bonus. I can't believe I just wrote that - as I wouldn't have said that ten years ago. But, most importantly, an option to model the earlier "long" cargo beds would have been really great to get in a single kit.

The details provided in the Skybow kit are beautiful, most of the details found on the real truck are reproduced here in miniature - but there are some missing. I passed on these - but would address them later on after completing the miniature by the deadline. Again, I don't always seem to choose the easy way when it comes to finishing a model.

In finishing my miniature WC-62, I choose to do a general service vehicle in my favorite WW II Tank Battalion, the African-American 761st. I nicknamed my truck "Squirt", not after a truck in the unit, but after my wife. I don't really know if there ever was a 761st TB vehicle named "Squirt", but that's okay, it is within the spirit of the unit.

I painted the miniature with an overall primer coat of Tamiya Acrylic XF-1 Flat Black, and used a color coat of Polly Scale USAAF Olive Drab. The National Insignia are Archer Fine Transfer dry-transfers applied wet style using their wet paper medium. The codes and "Squirt" logo are done with Railroad Scenics dry-transfer lettering applied both wet-style and dry-style depending on location and access on the miniature, within the range of registration numbers for trucks produced in 1945.

The miniature was then weathered with applications of MiG Productions Europe Dirt, since I was choosing to model a relatively new truck issued to the 761st Tank Battalion during their refit / resupply in Feb-March 1945. The Skybow model kit features are of a WC-62/63 "short bed" truck as produced in 1945 - so it is appropriate for this idea. It would show wear, but not the extreme and unrealistic weathering so popular in magazines and across the Internet today.

I added a couple of MV Products Lenses for Headlights and a disc of .010-inch mirrored plastic sheet for a Rearview Mirror that you can see yourself in and called it a project. I finished it just before 6:00 PM on January 4th - making it across the finish line in the nick of time. I was so happy that I managed to make it.

Imagine my surprise when it was selected as the Third Place winner for the Holiday Challenge at Track-Link.net! I was satisfied with the effort and put it away in my display cabinet to move on to other things - until it began calling me...

In November 2010, my miniature was awarded Second Place in the first "Art of War" Internet Photo Model Contest held at AFV-News.com and sponsored by Military Modelcraft International Magazine. It will appear in a future issus of MMI Magazine, according to the editor.


In August 2012, I decided to go back and change the finish on my WC-62 Squad Personnel Carrier. It was a quick, three day, exercise in cleanup and finishing to improve the miniature and place it on a new display base.


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All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

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