Build & Review: Academy #13403 1/72 US Ambulance

The Kit

20151120_200902I was feeling a bit bogged down building the all resin dozer I picked up at Telford and wanted something quick to build. The iconic WW2 US Army ambulance was a perfect choice.

Academy’s version is simple to build, but quite technically challenging to paint – particularly if you want to display it with the rear doors open. Practically everything above the wheels needs to be left as sub-assemblies right up to the point where you finally glue it all together.

The Build

Assembly was just a case of following the instructions. There aren’t many parts but a few of them are quite fragile so take care.

The Academy kit comes with a really nice engine, but it’s completely invisible when the kit is assembled so I elected to leave it out and to use standalone in a workshop diorama I have in mind.

With all the sub-assemblies complete and the obvious injector pin marks cleaned it was time to paint.

My usual poundland primer, followed by a black pre-shade.

As I was planning on having the interior visible, it was time to mask up the floor. The front cab section of the truck is black but the ambulance back section is white.


The white is Tamiya Flat White applied in faint layers until I had the coverage I wanted.

As final assembly won’t happen until the end of the build, it’s important to keep dry fitting everything.


Now I turned my attention to the front cab, picking out the seats and gear knobs.

The interior of the cab is practically invisible once assembled so no point spending ages here.

The decals were… problematic. The large roof cross would not lie flat and kept curling slightly at the edges, even after many soakings of Micro Sol. In the end I wet a q-tip, heated it in the flame of a lighter and used that to heat form the decal edges. It doesn’t need to be too hot, just enough to soften the decal.

I left the decals overnight to settle and hit the kit with a dark burnt umber oil wash once everything was set.

Once the oil was was dry, I removed the majority of it from the flat surfaces with thinner and sealed the layer with matt varnish.

Only now could I attach the windows with Micro Kristal Klear and assembled the components with CA glue.

The final touch was a very light overspray of flat earth from below and a dusting of Vallejo Pigments dust to give it some grime.

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