KIT: Italeri 1/72 DUKW
KIT #: 7022
PRICE: $11.00 MSRP
DECALS: four options
REVIEWER: Bill Michaels
NOTES:  Includes parts for simple, robust drivetrain for wargaming, or more accurate scale drivetrain parts.


 The DUKW is one of the unglamorous workhorses that were key to the Allied war effort.  (Other notable ones are the C-47, Jeep, and Liberty Ship.)   The DUKW was an amphibious truck that could be used to ferry supplies directly from transports to the beach to points inland.    

 Nicknamed “Duck”, the DUKW’s nomenclature comes from the following.  D is for the first year of production (1942), U is for Utility vehicle, K means six-wheel drive, and W means dual rear axles.  The Duck could carry 5,000 pounds of cargo or 25 troops, and was rated for 50 mph on land and 5- 6 knots in the water. 

 Ducks were used on all the major landings throughout the war.  For example, over 2,000 ducks were used at the D-Day landings in Normandy.  Over 370 were used when the Allies crossed Rhine in 1945.  During the landings at Sicily in 1943, Ducks were used to avert a major supply problem, when rough conditions prevented the LSTs from being able to beach to unload their supplies.  The supplies were loaded into Ducks, which brought the supplies ashore and delivered them to the troops 20 miles inland.

 Over 21,000 Ducks were built from 1942 to 1945.  A large number went on to various uses after the war- in both government and private ownership.  Many major cities around the world have outfits offering “Duck Tours”.   For example, here in Boston, a Duck Tour takes you through the streets of Boston, and then into the Charles River.    

As I recall reading somewhere, once:  “The Duck may not be the best looking boat on the highway, but it is definitely the fastest truck on the water!”


Modelers had wanted a 1/35 scale DUKW for many years.  There was a lot of excitement in the modeling world when Italeri released their 1/35 scale DUKW in 2002.   They followed it up with another release, this time a DUKW modified to carry  a 105mm howitzer in 2004.  Both were well received by modelers.  Now, in 2005, Italeri has released a 1/72 scale version of the famous DUKW.

 This kit is clearly aimed at both the static modeling and wargaming markets—the box identifies the vehicle as part of the “Operation Overlord” gaming system.  The side panel informs the potential buyer that a rules expansion and two additional scenarios are included with the model. In the box is a nice color booklet with the gaming information. 

 The kit comes on two sprues.  The larger sprue has the necessary parts to build the gaming version of the model, with a more robust version of the suspension and wheels.  A separate, smaller sprue includes the parts to build the more detailed, scale drivetrain and suspension, as well as some other small detail parts for use on the vehicle.  

 The instructions are very cleverly designed, they are really two sets of instructions printed on one large folded sheet of paper.  There is a 5 step sequence to use the detailed parts to build the scale model, and another separate 4 step sequence to follow if you want to build the simplified model for wargaming.   Both sets of instructions include sprue diagrams, with the unused parts clearly identified for their respective versions.

 The kit consists of about 35 injected plastic pieces, but you won’t be using them all.  The parts are molded in olive drab plastic. Moldings are pretty good- most of the small parts will have some mold lines to clean up, but only a couple of pieces look like they have ejector pin marks in an area that might show.   A piece of clear acetate for the windshield is also included.   The only complaint I have about the kit at all is that the tires are molded as open shells, with no back sidewalls. (If it bothers you, you can always fill them with some putty, I guess.)

 This is decent sized vehicle— the assembled model will be about 5.5 inches or 11.7cm in length.  The kit does not include any cargo- hopefully the aftermarket folks will scale down some of their 1/35 scale accessory kits to 1/72.   (I’d love to see a civilian “Duck Tours” conversion!)

 The kit includes decals and painting instructions to do one of three vehicles.  They are: 

(1)    The DUKW  featured on the box art, a US Army vehicle in Germany in 1945, in overall olive drab.

(2)    Another US Army vehicle from 1945 in Germany, with slight differences in markings form the first one.

(3)    A British Army vehicle from Normandy, 1944, also in overall olive drab.

(4)    A US Marines DUKW from the Iwo Jima landings in 1945.  This vehicle is in an attractive scheme of green, sand, and brown camouflage. 

 The decal sheet looks like a good one.  In addition to the main markings, it also includes decals for placards, and independent serial numerals.  This would allow you to build several vehicles, each with unique numbers.   I only have one complaint about the decals and markings-- Italeri doesn’t give any unit information with the markings.   The subjects  are simple labeled “US Army, Germany 1945”, for example.  This seems to be typical for Italeri—I have their 1/35 scale DUKW kit, the 1/35 scale USMC Sherman, and the 1/35 scale LVT(A)-1 Water Buffalo--  none of them have unit information either.


 Highly Recommended.  At our last club meeting, someone brought in both the old Airfix DUKW and this new Italeri kit.  Both were assembled and not yet painted.  The detail level of the new Italeri kit really stands out compared to the old Airfix kit.  Considering that this new kit only retails for $11, it is a terrific value.

May 2005


 A quick web search will turn up kinds of information on the DUKW.  I got some of the history info from the Wisconsin Duck Tours website:

 There are lots of great pictures of DUKWs out there on the web.  One of the neatest I found was a picture of two DUKWs tied together with wooden beams, to allow them to bring a standard 2 ˝ ton truck ashore.  In the back of the truck was a Jeep.  That’s a piggyback-piggyback!

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