Review: Tamiya 1/35 M561 Gama Goat

The M561 Gama Goat was a 6×6 amphibious cargo truck designed for the jungles of Vietnam. Intended for use during the Vietnam War it was well known for it’s outstanding performance in climbing and rough terrain. It would go where almost no other US truck could go. But it was hard enough to drive on the road that it required special training, wasn’t really amphibious, loud and hard to maintain. But it does make for an interesting little kit.

It seems that the Gama Goat wasn’t really popular among the troops, as user CB1000h commented on Armorama’s review of this kit:

I still can’t believe, out of all the subject matter that could have been represented by the King of model manufacturing, this piece if ungainly equipment is what they chose. JMO Wayne

The kit

It’s a Tamiya kit, so it won’t surprise you that this kit is very well made. Inside the classic Tamiya box we find a lot of sprues. Poly caps for the wheels and articulating joint, clear parts and of course the main parts. And it’s all very nicely molded with almost no visible pin-marks, and the ones that are there are hidden when the kit is completed. The fairly large tires are  like the rest of the kit: nicely molded with good details. One nice feature of the wheels is that they are a two-part solution, but the tires are molded as one, with the inner wheel hub as the second part.

And even when the kit features nice and intricate details, Tamiya has worked hard to make these as simple as they can. The articulating joint that drives the rear wheels in the rear ‘cart’ is very nicely represented but won’t cause a lot of headaches during construction. Thanks to the poly caps for this joint it will also allow you to paint both parts of the Goat separately and join them after painting.

One downside is that the wheels are fixed in place, and the ‘cart’ is only movable in one direction. That’s probably due to the fact that Tamiya simplified construction of the relevant parts, but it’s a shame that you can’t position this little Goat on a small winding jungle road.

Clear parts

The kit includes six clear parts, two for the windows and the other four for the lights. All are very nicely molded and don’t suffer from distortion. It’s almost a shame to fold the windows down, because the windows are thin and very clear.

Decals and color options

The kit comes with three decal and color options:

  • 82 Airborne Div., Operation Urgent Fury, October 1983, MERDC Winter
  • 3 Marine Div
  • US Army, 1976

The cover art on the box shows the version from Operation Urgent Fury in the MERDC pattern. The other variants are in olive-drab only. The decals for the Goat are small and well-printed. They offer a range of unit and tactical markings as well as some warning labels, probably warnings to wear hearing protection, as the diesel engine right behind the driver was pretty loud.

Conclusion

This is a very well made kit as you’d expect from Tamiya. Despite the complex parts of the Gama Goat, Tamiya did it’s best to reduce the complexity and succeeded. The one downside is that this prevents you from using this kit on a twisty jungle road for example. But I’m sure it would have added a lot of complexity to this kit. As the kit stands it’s a great little kit for everyone.

Score

9/10

Info

Vehicle: M561 Gama Goat
Manufacturer: Tamiya
Scale: 1/35
Kit#: 35330
Number of parts: 108
Released: 2013

Links

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