by: James Bella [ ]
Originally published on:
The idea for a large payload, go-anywhere truck was born in the mid 1950's by the U.S. Army. In the Summer of 1960, the Caterpillar Tractor Company was issued the contract to design and build prototypes of what would become the Goer. These 8 ton, high mobility cargo trucks were fitted with articulated steering and the ability to be amphibious.
The Summer of 1966 brings us to South Vietnam, where 19 pre-production Goer's were deployed. Their main task was to resupply remote bases that other vehicles had difficulty getting to, or could not get to at all. Through deep sand, mud and water the Goer proved to be a reliable vehicle to get through these extreme conditions.
The Goer did not have a traditional suspension as this was carried out by the large, low pressure tires. These 18x33 tires also propelled the vehicle in the water. Steering was performed through two double acting opposed hydraulic cylinders.
In the late 1970's, a replacement was sought for the Goer within the high mobility tactical truck program. By the mid 1980's the Caterpillar Goer was replaced by the Oshkosh HEMTT .
The Goer truck variants are:
M520, 8 ton 4x4 cargo w/wo winch
M877, 8 ton 4x4 cargo with material handling crane w/wo winch
M553, 10 ton 4x4 wrecker
M559, 2500 gal. 4x4 fuel tanker w/wo winch
This kit from Perfect Scale Modellbau is of the M520 with winch.
Packed in a very sturdy box, and further contained in four zip style bags protected by bubble wrap are:
▪ 97 Resin pieces
▪ PE fret
▪ Decal sheet
▪ Clear plastic for windshield
▪ Poly rod for axles
▪ Instructions and parts list
The instructions are covered by three pages and include B&W, color photos along with line drawings. The steps look clear and assembly should be straightforward. I'd like to see pdf instructions on the website with higher res photos to aid assembly, but that's just a suggestion.
Wow. Upon opening the box that's the first word that came to mind. This is a very impressive kit with many large sized resin pieces. Flash is at a bare minimum and the casting is crisp and clean. There are some pin holes present, although these are easily dealt with. There is no warping of the parts, even on the large flat sides of the cargo section. Unlike my first review of a PSM kit, broken parts are nearly non-existent and easily repaired. Dry assembly of some of the major components showed that fit was excellent, this kit should be a real pleasure to build.
Decals are provided for marking three separate vehicles and include gauge faces for the photo etch dashboard. A deck screen, 2 part windshield wipers and mudflaps are also included on the PE fret. Enough clear plastic is included for the windshield, and the rear windows of the soft top. No material is provided for the windshield supports, so you will need to source this yourself from styrene or brass rod. You will also need some 1mm styrene rod for the steering assembly pivot joint between the cab and trailer. The articulated steering appears to be workable via the 2-part cylinders and pivot points.
The interior of the cab is detailed well enough, although there is room for further detailing if so inclined. The winch is a work of art with the cable very well portrayed. One glaring omission from the front of the tractor module is the dual air horns...none are included. These should be fairly easy to replicate using stretched sprue cut to a trumpet shape and mounted next to the right hand headlight. Two cans are included for the water can (on the right) and the fuel can (on the left). On board tools come complete with their rack. The air hose/electrical bundle that connects the tractor and trailer has a bit too many separate lines in it and might be best replaced with wire (3 air lines, 1 electrical cable). The soft top is very well done and should look great when painted and weathered.
The side doors of the cargo area are molded closed, while the rear door is provided as a separate piece. This may be possible to pose open with some added surgery to the latch if this is something that you'd want to do.
The wheels and tires are superb, and huge! It's noted in the instructions that there may be a gap between the tire and rim, which there is. A strip of .010 Evergreen filled it perfectly. The lugs on the rim hubs are squared off, these should be more of a rounded triangle so a bit of shaping will be necessary. The pre-production rigs, I believe, didn't have these lugs at all so they can be shaved off...but check your references first.
Measurements for the full scale Goer:
Weight- 24,597 lbs.
Weight w/payload- 40,567 lbs.
A stunning kit that should be welcomed by the Vietnam era and later modeler. The resin used by PSM is some of the easiest I've worked with, combined with the minimum amount of clean up, should make this a real gem to build. The kit is well detailed enough right out of the box, although there is room for more detailing if desired.
This one is highly recommended for all with an interest in this subject.
Hopefully I'll have this built at the beginning of the year to see how everything fits together.
Tankograd American Special #3018 M520 Goer/M561 Gama Goat