by: Frederick Boucher [ ]
Caterpillar RD-4 Bulldozer
Wespe Models offers their Caterpillar RD-4 bulldozer in three scales: 1/48 (See Click here for additional images for this review below), 1/50, and 1/72. The Caterpillar RD-4 was introduced in 1936 and widely used in civil and military construction. The U.S. Army designated the vehicle was, Tractor, Light, Caterpillar Tractor Co., Model D4, with an Ordnance number of G-151. The RD-4 bulldozer weighted almost 8 tons, was powered by a 4-cylinder 44-bhp engine D4/D4400 312 CID diesel (with a 2-cylinder 10-bhp starter engine) driving a 5-speed transmission with clutch/brake steering and mechanical braking, and rode on 13-inch tracks. The business end featured the R.G. LeTourneau WC4 Angledozer blade. This blade was raised and lowered via cable control. A version mounting a crane was also produced. Other widely used Caterpillars bulldozers were the D-6, -7, and -8. These machines made possible the rapid building of bases and airfields essential to the Allied victory in World War 2. Some were armored.
Wespe Models’ 1936 Caterpillar RD-4 is made with 55 parts: 42 resin, 12 metal rods, and thread for cable. Instead of sprues these parts are glued to a cardboard-backed paper identifying the parts, and shrink wrapped with clear plastic. This secures the pieces and protects them from damage while identifying each piece. Well done Wespe Models! The two sheets of parts are tightly set in a sturdy full flap tuck top box. A photograph of the kit is secured to the lid.
The parts are crisply cast. I found no sink holes, air holes nor seam lines. However, the tracks have areas that did not completely cast. Perhaps these can be convincingly sealed with putty or ‘super glue,‘ or hidden with weathering. Many parts have flash. It is thin and snaps off easily. Both front idlers have flash between the spokes and this will require delicate cutting with a hobby knife.
The instruction sheet is a piece of paper with an exploded diagram of the assembly process. Building the model seems fairly straightforward. No assembly sequence is suggested, nor is there any painting guidance. Caterpillar’s signature color is yellow, while a military dozer would be olive drab or the appropriate service color.
The kit does not include decals or information on markings.
Wespe Models has produced a model with remarkable detail. Fine detail is delicately cast. Bolts and rivets adorn the chassis that appears convincing heavy. The D4400 engine is an impressive single piece casting. The tracks are a multi piece, with curved segments around the sprockets and idler, and straight pieces in between. The track has detail on both sides.
The control levers are just oversized metal rods with no detail. Consider replacing them with styrene.
Wespe Models has provided an exciting vehicle for your military or civilian construction needs. Great detail and good casting indicates this will be a quick build. A minor issue is that there appears to be a discrepancy with the designation of this model; photos show that the configuration of the gantry structure and winch make this bulldozer a D-7. The D-4 configuration was in the shape of a ‘V’, with a large winch on the rear. This does not detract from the model.
Wespe Models of Ploiesti, Romania, produces a huge selection of exciting, unusual and exotic high quality resin models in all the popular scales (model railroad scales in parentheses): 1:24 (G), 1:32 (Number 1), 1:35, 1:48 (O), 1:72, 1:76 (OO), 1:87 (HO), with ships in 1:250 and 1:500. More than 100 models are available in both 1/48 and 1/87 scale. The fascinating subjects are specialized, significant, important vehicles popular amongst modelers, yet not prevalent enough for the big injection model makers to cut tooling for. These subjects not only include the menagerie of foreign vehicles captured and impressed by the Wehrmacht, but include rail guns, S-Boats, U-boats, panzer trains, military buses, and construction machinery. Countries represented are Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Romania, Russia, Spain, and the United States.
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