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Spiros Pendedekas
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Airfix 1/76 DUKW

April 14, 2022 · in Armor · · 26 · 1.1K

Hi everyone!

This is my , built as a participant to David Kopielski's @davids_models inspiring Naval Ships and Boats GB.
In order to solve the problem of resupplying units having just performed an amphibious landing, Rod Stephens Jr. of Sparkman & Stephens Inc. yacht designers, Dennis Puleston, a British deep-water sailor resident in the U.S. and Frank W. Speir from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, came up with a watertight hull built around the GMC AFKWX, a cab-over-engine (COE) version of the GMC CCKW six-wheel-drive military truck, with the addition of a propeller at the rear. The named it DUKW (D: Designed in 1942, U: Utility, K: All-wheel drive, W: Dual rear axles)

Initially rejected by the armed services, their opposition to the DUKW melted, when a United States Coast Guard patrol craft ran aground on a sand bar near Provincetown, Massachusetts and an experimental DUKW happened to be in the area for a demonstration: winds up to 60 knots, rain, and heavy surf prevented conventional craft from rescuing the seven stranded Coast Guardsmen, but the DUKW had no trouble. The DUKW later proved its seaworthiness by crossing the English Channel.

The vehicle was built by GMC and Chevrolet, with 21,147 units manufactured before production ended in 1945.

It was not an armored vehicle, being plated with sheet steel between 1⁄16 and 1⁄8 inch thick, to minimize weight.

A high-capacity bilge pump system kept it afloat if the thin hull was breached by holes up to 2 inches in diameter. One in four DUKWs mounted a .50-caliber Browning heavy machine gun on a ring mount.

The DUKW was the first vehicle to allow the driver to vary the tire pressure from inside the cab.

The tires could be fully inflated for hard surfaces such as roads and less inflated for softer surfaces, especially beach sand. This feature added to its versatility as an amphibious vehicle and is now standard on many military vehicles. Operationally, it proved to be one of the most versatile vehicles to emerge from WWII, being deployed in almost every major maritime or river crossing action.

Post-war, reduced numbers were kept in service by the United States, Britain, France, and Australia, with many stored pending disposal.

However, the U.S. Army redeployed several hundred at the outbreak of the Korean War to bring supplies ashore during the Battle of Pusan Perimeter and in the amphibious landings at Incheon. France deployed DUKWs to French Indochina during the First Indochina War, and Britain to Malaya during the Malayan Emergency of 1948–60, with many redeployed to Borneo during the Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation of 1962–66. The Soviet Union produced a derivative, the BAV 485, adding a rear loading ramp, with over 2,000 units delivered.

A practical and handy vehicle, it was post-war put to good use by civilian organizations such as the police, fire departments, and rescue units, and it is still in use as tourist transport in harbor and river cities across the globe.

This is the venerable Airfix 1/76 kit, understandably soft on the details, but promising to be a quick pleasant build

Should you wish to read the full build review, you may do so by visiting my beloved site Modelingmadness:
Happy modeling!
Reader reactions:
7  Awesome

26 responses

  1. Whaatt?! No wings?! It even says it's a "duck!" Oh well- I'll let you add a target to your collection with no further ribbing...

    If it floats like a DUKW, and rolls like a DUKW...


  2. Great build supported by a nice description, Spiros @fiveten
    Especially your article on MM is very nice to read.

  3. What cool model! I've not seen the Airfix version built up before. It is a neat little model. I have several in my stash. Well Spiros. I especially like the out of box build and glossy finish.

  4. Old memories this one brings 😉
    Some of my first toy kits were these 1/7ish Airfix kits. Low cost and easy to glue just to play around in battles with friends.
    Very cool model my friend @fiveten

  5. Spiros Goes swimming !
    Great history. I love the small “ satisfaction build “models Too.
    I remember the tourist DUKW that Came out of the Surf and rolled right up the Sandy Beaches in Oostende . Summers in the 1960 ies. Us kids gawked at them. They looked gigantic with the wheels and cab way up.

  6. Quack quack! And now for something completely different from the Spiros Factory. Enjoyed your posting over at MM @fiveten. Very cool.

  7. Nice Duck Spiros. I have seen these almost every summer of my life but have never seen how the drivetrain was arranged. Very cool. I may get one for myself to make as the current operator has them set up.
    If you're ever in Wisconsin hit me up and I'll treat you to a tour of Wisconsin Dell on an honest to goodness

    1 attached image. Click to enlarge.

  8. Looks like that Simon guy has got everyone trying a braille kit or two

    Nicely done brother, are you now having trouble seeing clearly?

  9. It's great seeing this classic kit built! Nicely done.

  10. I can just image buying a decommissioned vehicle like that for the cottage - my kids would hate it - driving/floating around in this DUKW.
    A great looking build and a nice review on MM, Spiros.

  11. Hey Spiros , this one takes me back , I built a few of these as a kid back in the seventies , well done mate.

  12. Great model and subject Spiros! Many years ago went on a trip to the EAA museum in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and got to ride one on the Wisconsin Dells (think it was the same colors/passenger seating as the picture Josh P. posted). Lot of fun.

  13. as a new member i must say having spent my childhood messing about on DUKWs you r model is a excellent reproduction the british dukws were painted light grey and were used during the mass evacuations during the flood disaster in the West Country in 1953 they were based at the REME at Fremington and they are still in ude on the Thames

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