M151A1 Utility Truck

Kit #: PS720151 Preview by F. Giovagnorio

This kit lets you build the M151A1 MUTT utility vehicle, which served the US Army since the Vietnam war up into the 80s, when it was completely substituted by the newer M151A2. S-Model released both versions, and the A2 was reviewed earlier (see here). I can confirm that they are the same kit, with the exception of the hood, which in this kit is supplied separately in a small plastic bag, while the A2 hood is removed from the sprue. This makes the whole process easier and cheaper for S-Model, but it is the major source of inaccuracies of the kit, because differences between A1 and A2 versions go beyond the hood alone. Since sprues, PE sheet and decals are exactly the same (with the said exception of the hood), I am not going to duplicate pictures of content, which you can find in the A2 preview.

Exactly like the A2 kit, this kit includes 2 full vehicles too, as every S-Models kit, each containing 38 parts, a small PE fret and a decal sheet. Optional, and welcome, parts include an extended deep wading intake and muffler, and a choice of an M2 50-cal or M60 7.62 mm machine gun for the pintle mount. The M2 is rather nice (but it is let down by the horriblly flat PE grips), however I have never seen any M2 mounted on an M151 (much popular choices were the M60 or even the old M1919 .30 cal); unfortunately, the M60 is almost unusable, being practically bidimensional, so it is necessary to find one elsewhere (in the ESCI/Italeri M113 kit, for example).


The utility of PE parts, as it happens in most S-Model kits, is questionable: probably S-Model thinks that "small parts = PE parts", which is not true, at least in this case, because almost every part supplied in PE was not flat in reality, for example the transmission shift lever (PE9), the 4-wheel drive lever (PE5), the parking brake lever (PE3), the mirror (PE7), frames for seats (PE1/2). Marginally useful, because it was flat, is the guard for the driving light (PE6). Come on S-Model, you have showed us many times that you can make perfectly dimensioned smaller parts in plastic ...

The minimal decal sheet is the same as the A2 kit: white stars only, no serial numbers or unit codes provided, which is a shame.

Now for the good news: if you are prepared to do some scartchbuilding, you can obtain a very nice and cheap 1/72 model of an M151A1 MUTT, because the dimensions are correct and every important bit is there. Here is my list of recoverable/unrecoverable errors, which is very similar to the one you can find in the A2 preview:

  • the undercarriage is largely wrong and oversimplified: the anterior steering system is missing some important parts and the rear suspensions are closer to the A2 style but nowhere near the A1 system. Correcting this error would be a long and tedious work, a pointless one unless you are reproducing a flipped-up vehicle;
  • the A1 steering wheel should be larger, with thinner spokes: the one supplied (24) is the smaller A2 type. Again, correcting it would not be easy;
  • tyres look too thin and the thread is not close to the real one;
  • the exhaust pipe is too short;
  • service brake and clutch pedals are missing;
  • the windscreen is rudimental, no wipers or glass are supplied and must be built from scratch;
  • the rear spare wheel should be mounted with the inside out, not the way it is mounted in the kit;
  • the T-shaped hood latches are missing;
  • the radio, while substantially good, has a plastic defect on top of it;
  • the headlights are moulded solid, and must be replaced somehow or the final model will suffer a lot from it.

To sum things up, do not be focused on errors alone, most of them can be corrected to have a very fine reproduction of a widely used vehicle which was not available in plastic in this scale beforehand.

Preview sample purchased by the author.

This model can be purchased from Tracks & Troops

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Article Last Updated: 15 August 2016