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1:35 U.S. Motor Grader and U.S. Army Movers - Double review - Plusmodel and WPP


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1:35 U.S. Motor Grader

Plusmodel
Catalogue #425
Available from Plusmodel for 119,10

 

And

U.S. Army Earth Movers

Part One

(U.S. WWII Dozers, Graders and Scrapers)

WWP

(Wings & Wheels Publications)

Catalogue R075

(ISBN 978-80-87509-29-6)

Available from WWP for 32

 

 

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Maybe it`s a coincidence or maybe not, but this year, as Caterpillar announce on their website, marks the 75th anniversary of the No. 12 Motor Grader.

This machine was originally introduced as the "Caterpillar Diesel No. 12 Auto Patrol" in the summer of 1938, but was soon renamed as a "Motor Grader" just one year later.

Weighing in at 20,360 pounds, the No. 12 Auto Patrol featured a 12-foot blade, had six forward speeds and two reverse speeds. This machine, as well as other auto patrol models, was primarily used in the building of roads and snow removal.

The No. 12 Motor Grader has seen multiple advancements over the past 75 years. Caterpillar introduced articulated frames into its Motor Grader product line in 1973 with the 12G. The 12H increased productivity even further with a new electronically controlled eight-speed transmission and a redesigned cab providing operators with a better view when it was released in 1995.

The No. 12 Motor Grader is currently being produced at the North Little Rock Facility, Caterpillar Brasil Ltd. and Caterpillar Suzhou Company Ltd.

"For 75 years, we have continued to innovate and deliver a superior product - looking back to when the No.12 was created and its evolution over time is impressive," said Pat O'Connell, Worldwide Motor Grader Product Manager. "Cutting edge then and still today - it's exciting to think about what the future holds for our great machines. My personal thanks to the many generations of the global Caterpillar team who have developed, built and supported this highly successful machine."

Only four other machines produced by Caterpillar have ever reached a 75th anniversary - the D6, D7 and D8 Tractors in 2010 and the D4 Tractor in 2011. The No. 12 Motor Grader is the first product that is not a tractor to reach this milestone.

 

In 1939, the Motor Grader had his engine replaced. It was powered  by a 6-cylinder diesel engine CAT D4600 Model 12 of 66hp with type 6M and 70hp with type 9k (info taken from the WWP book).

Check here for more info: http://www.caterpillar.com/en/news/caterpillarNews/h/no-12-motor-grader-celebrates-75-years-of-production.html)

 

Well as you can see on the text, today I`m going to make a double review, for two different items that are connect and should be consider together, because it`s really worth it as you will see.

Plusmodel once again launch an esoteric subject that has been waited for some and a totally new thing to others.

Be honest who every thought to see a Grader tractor on model kit form? Even in resin?

 

Well not me. For two reasons, the first one is to be such an esoteric subject and the second one it will be a complex mechanical engineering machine and in consequence a complex model kit.

On the other hand, WWP launch a book with lots of walkarounds of several dozers and grades.

The first look on both items reveals that quality is the main word.

The Grader has tons of resins parts, all of them, in a quick look in a perfect casting.

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Turning to the WWP book it has a soft cover with a real Cat D8 at present day.

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A brief disclaimer before going: the photos I took of the book are in low quality (iphone ones - to protect copyright).

 

The book paper is with satin finish of very good quality, with more than 300 pictures of the real vehicles and more than 50 war pics.

 

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So are 156 pages of fantastic pictures. The goal of this book is primarily to give modelers a tool. And that`s is totally right It`s a tool and a very useful one.

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This book start with a small history of Earth Movers, giving at the same time, it`s index.

 

So there´s in deep details photos of Clark Airborne CA-1 Dozer, Cleveland Tractor Company M2 Airfield Tractor, Internacional Haverter M1 Crane Tractor, Allis Chalmers HD-15A Bulldozer, Athey 6-ton Tracked Trailer, CAT D-2, D-4, D-7, D-8, LeT LS Scraper, Galion 101 Motor Grader and the last but not the least CAT 12 Motor Grader.

 

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The chapter with the ugly Grader, but so ugly that is beautiful, is from page 136 to 155.

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Also there a very small chapter with only war photos of International Harvester TD-9 and TD-14 Tractors.

 

Some pics for all the info that you can get for this fantastic book.

 

 

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Besides the walkaround with lots of details photos of the restored example that is Marshall Museum at Overloon, NL, you get 5 war pictures with U.S. Motor Grader CAT 12 at works in several environments, photos that I haven`t seen before. Very nice ones.

 

Speaking of war photos, the ones on the book are just awesome, with tons of ideas for vignettes or dioramas, with lots of aircraft on it So lots of projects are popping up on my brain

The chapter is sub-divided in sub-chapter by sections of the Grader, like the front axle, steering and chafts, or engine details, giving the modeler an easy guide to see and help in detail the grader.

 

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As you can see the paper, color and impression quality are at top level.

 

Now, moving along to the US Grader from Plusmodel, in fact if you look to it, is just look like the front of modern tractor with articulate frames and a huge blade to level land for airfields and road surfaces works.

 

One thing is for sure: this is a quite different looks AFV (soft-skin) vehicle and for sure, and just for that is a show stopper.

 

The kit according with the box, has 236 resin parts, one photo-etched sheet and one decal sheet for two schemes.

 

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Ah, and also a CD-Rom that says: U.S grader.

 

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Starting for this one, I really thought that CD brings some pics of the real thing… But no…

Thought still is quite add to the model. Giving the modeler several pictures for the work in progress of the model, it`s real helpful, so it acts like a compliment to the instructions.

 

All resin bits come in several plastic bags and very well wrapped in bubble wrap and all the inside package is well made to protect all the parts from breaking down.

 

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Cracking the box, tons of resin just pop up from the inside of a average size and sturdy box.

The resin is in a light gray color, with their usually casting system.

 

This model has really a large number of very small resin parts, and one of my initial concerns was how was the casting of that small parts… well, being Plusmodel I wasn`t very worry, and I didn`t have any reasons for that.

 

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All the parts are perfectly cast, with no bubbles at all, with some top noch details…

 

Real outstanding if you see the enormity of very small parts… every single part is perfect.

 

Just looking at the box art (with a beautiful model example) lots of small details can be easily detected with a brief look.

 

Even thought, and without fear, Plusmodel give all the life and plenty of details, with tons of small pieces, perfectly cast with no distortion, that bring to life the fantastic grader.

 

The main chassis of the lower frame is in one piece which for me is quite a nice touch, considering that there`s no alignment to be made in a piece that is central to all model balance.

 

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I have seen model (short-run) with this part in several pieces and the modeler just will have a rough time in putting all that parts full aligned.

On the main, the undercarriage has great detail with wheels suspensions, gearbox and transfer case under the engine.

 

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The front axle is full reproduce with all the detail. Well there´s no much in it because doesn`t have springs, so it just axle with two wheels. ;)

Taking of wheels, these are in single pieces, with easy removable resin block, very well ast and lovely detail.

 

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Right behind the front axle and before the blade, there`s a rake for ripping ground.

 

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Plusmodel give here another challenge (besides the all kit being a challenge by its own nature) to the modeler: the rake teeth´s are made one be one… Will not be easy to align properly all those teeth’s.

WWP book really help here because the instructions are a bit omissive in this point about the connections points of the racks.

  

The steering of the “thing” goes through thin cardan shafts alongside the main chassis from the cabin to the top of the central spine frame.

All the entire system was all mechanic with no hydraulics, turning this vehicle very much appreciate by the troops.

 

 

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This systems is easily seen on the several pictures taken form the restored model. WWP give a great attention to the systems and their chafts and steering.

 

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Plusmodel took all the care to deal with it, because is quite visible, and reproduce it with the chafts coming out from the cabin alongside with the steering wheels and cables. Also some wire, four to be precise… not much but its a lot for a AFV… Well it has more wire the my Junkers J.I from WnW. :)

 

The lower frame and the most complex part of this model, is perfectly reproduce, with all the complicated system of the rotation of the blade on a toothed circle with connection with several shaft.

All is obtain with a mix of resin and photo-etched.

 

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The 12-foot blade has its forms spot on, with scale thickness and sharp details.

 

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Beside the WIP pics on the CD, WWP reveals here and again a great help for the modeler with several pictures of the lower frame with different angles.

 

The drivers compartiment is very well detail… there`s no much to see but Plusmodel put all the details in.

 

 

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A crucial help is giving by WWP, concerning the dashboard and other itens paint as no reference is given on Plusmodel.

        

One of the main piece of this model is the big engine that will be wide open.

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So Plusmodel take their time in put all the details they could get on the part of the model.

Just for the engine Plusmodel take four pages of the instructions.

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All the details are there, just need to add some cable wires.

And for that you will really need the US Army Earth Movers book, with great pics of the engine and lots of close-ups for the superdetailers. And this engine is bagain for it.

 

The massive front radiator is very well cast with some lovely “caterpillar” words on the top and side.

 

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The photo-etched sheet comes with the lower and complex system part, one of the most important one, the teeth’s wheel detail.

 

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The decal sheet is a quite small with some markings which have a good color and a very good registration.

 

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Turning my attention to the instructions.

You got a small A5 booklet with satin paper. Nice touch.

 

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All the drawings are very comprehensive and more intuitive. Have been much lucky in reviewing other Plusmodel items in the past and these instructions are better than the others. 

 

Also here you can see how complex this model kit is: 27 pages of instructions.

Two markings options are given: one with an american star and reference number on the central axle. and other with a shamrock

.

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Well, as in some resin kits, and this one is no exception (and for me is and always will a downside) there no references about these vehicles… we have to guess and searching on our references.

Or just have the WWP book. It´s all there.

The first decal option is for the 817th Engineer Aviation Battalion, Italy, 1943.

So the second option is U.S. Grader CAT 12 from 1878th Engineer Aviation Battalion - Okinawa, Ryukyu Retto, May 1945.

Real pics from the actual Grader in WWII.

Left side top photo  is the 1st option.

Right side page, is 2nd decal option.

 

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CONCLUSION

 

Wow long review never expect to be so long And I must say that the WPP U.S. Army Earth Movers was essential to really understand all the complexity of the U.S. Motor Grader CAT 12, and the model itself.

As usually, the quality is present in all Plusmodel items and this is no exception I believe it raise the bar to Plusmodel itself because it`s such a fantastic looking model kit, with some gorgeous details with some tiny resin parts so well cast.This model is not for beginners, not only by complexity of the model itself but also being a resin kit with some measurements of the shaft with lots of dryfitting.The U.S. Army Earth Movers, part I has much more to see, besides CAT 12. But if only for this model, I believe that it is quite essential because it gives several angles of the complex vehicle, essential during the construction of this beast.You can have the model alone without the WWP book, but that`s not the same thing And if you are an AFV modeler, I know for a certain that you will get some of the fantastic dozers that are coming to town from others manufactures, like the D7.  

So I give several thumbs up to both items.

 

Highly recommended

 

Francisco Guedes

 

Our thanks to Petr from PLUSMODEL and Frantisek from Wings & Wheels Publications (WWP) for the review samples and all the support given. To purchase the US Grader directly, click THIS link and for the WWP Earth Movers, click THIS link.

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