|Kit #: MM-R059||
Preview by Will
Alcott - will_alcott(at)yahoo(dot)com
trying to review this kit, we first have to figure out what precisely
this model is supposed to depict. The Caterpillar D7 Crawler Tractor
was first introduced in 1938, and continues in production today. The
various production models were indicated by a suffix letter, i.e. D7E,
D7F. All the models up to and including the D7G were of generally similar
configuration, with a rear mounted drive sprocket. The D7H introduced
an elevated drive sprocket, and was first manufactured in 1985. So this
kit appears to depict a D7G or earlier model.
The kit is labelled as a Vietnam version. I believe the main variant in use with the US Army during the Vietnam war was the D7E, which was introduced in 1961. Confusingly, Caterpillar introduced a new D7E Hybrid in 2009 so Google searching on Cat D7E will likely lead to the wrong version! The kit depicts a protective cage (cab guard) over the driver's position. This cab guard is often associated with the Rome Plow Treedozer, to protect the driver when clearing jungle. However the bulldozer blade depicted in the kit is the standard dozer blade, not the angled 'landclearing blade' normally associated with the Rome Plow. This combination of standard blade and protected cab was seen in service.
appears to be based on a master by Nicolas Pierre-Yves (see http://als.miniature.perso.neuf.fr/bulldozer.html
In the first of those links, the model is referred to as a D8H. So
is this a D7 or a D8? The D8 is generally larger than the D7 and features
7 small rollers (road wheels) and a 6 cylinder engine. The D7 features
6 small rollers and in the D7E and earlier versions, had a 4 cylinder
engine. The kit has a 6 cylinder engine and 7 small rollers. Though
dimensional information on older Caterpillar tractors is hard to come
by, the length of the track on the ground (distance from idler to
sprocket center) of the kit matches the D8.
The kit is packed in a sturdy top-opening cardboard box, with a photo of an assembled and unpainted model on the front. Inside there are two plastic bags, containing 55 grey-green resin parts.
Casting quality is poor to mediocre. Parts such as the suspension, engine area and inside of cab roof have large amounts of excess resin. Unless the driver's seat is supposed to be equipped with a throw cushion, there are blobs of unwanted resin there as well. The resin is quite brittle and thin areas such as the cab floor have crumbled away on my sample.
34 of the parts make up the track runs, which have links of inconsistent width. Several of the individual links had broken loose. The suspension is greatly simplified - the rear mounted drive sprocket lacks any teeth, and the rollers are not really depicted. Fitting the suspension units to the body may prove a challenge, given the mating surfaces of both are highly uneven.
The main body of the tractor is cast as a single part, including the radiator, engine and driver's seat. The 6-cylinder engine looks OK, though much of the detail seems to have been sourced from an ESCI M4A1 radial engine.
The mesh detail on the front of the radiator is OK, but inconsistent in spots. A nice touch is the inclusion of a driver figure, clad in baseball cap and short sleeves.
single double sided A4 sheet provides 4 small shots of dozers in action
in Vietnam. Interestingly, none show the same slatted cab protection
as provided in the kit. The instructions also show a photo of the parts
and then 8 small and not particularly clear photos of the kit under
assembly, with one photo of the finished model.
A short history, assembly advice and painting guide (paint it olive drab) complete the instructions. No decals are provided.
Overall I would not recommend this kit. Building an accurate Vietnam-era D7 or even D8 from this kit will require substantial scratchbuilding and correcting of kit parts. Given the premium price Model Miniature charge for this kit, I would have expected a lot more.
Preview sample purchased by the author.