A Tale of Three Jeeps

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Comparison build review of Tamiya, Dragon and Bronco’s WWII Jeeps

With the recent releases of Jeeps by both DML and Bronco, I was curious how they compared to the last release of a Jeep by Tamiya, which was (and still is) considered state of the art. I had the Tamiya kit in my stash and received one of the DML kits for a review so it was only a matter of getting my hands on one of the Bronco boxes – which I did. The goal was not to compare accuracy (after DML fixed the major errors they can all be considered reasonably accurate), but to see how they build up next to each other, compare the different parts and see which one was the best to build. Another aspect was to see whether the “old” Tamiya kit can still hold its ground with the new releases.

Historical Background
I doubt that a historical background of the Jeep is necessary. However, it is interesting to point out that both the Tamiya and DML kits represent a Willy’s version, while the Bronco kit is of a Ford. Gino P. Quintiliani took the time to describe some of the differences in my blog and I took the liberty of including his words in this article:

„Dragon's and Tamiya's are Willys MBs. Bronco's is a Ford GPW. They are similar, but not exactly the same.

With its proven production ability, Ford was awarded a contract to license build the GPW version of the Willys "Jeep" after Willy's couldn't keep up with the full demand required by the US Government. The Ford GPW (Government, 80” wheelbase, Willy’s-pattern) differed from the Willy’s MB in a few areas. The most noticeable was the front frame cross-member under the grill. On the Willy’s MB, a tubular piece is used, while an inverted "U" is used on the GPW. Also, Ford instituted the familiar stamped grill that was also adopted by Willy’s. The other noticeable difference is on the lids for the toolboxes located on either side of the rear seat. The Willy’s MB uses a plain flat cover whereas the Ford GPW has an embossed lid.

Per the Government contract, Jeeps had a full warranty, if anything broke, Willy’s or Ford would have to replace it, but old man Ford wasn't about to replace a Willy’s part. To keep track of "his" Jeeps, "Ford" was written in script on the rear plate. This was only done on the early GPWs. Early Willy’s MBs had a block letter “Willy’s” in the same place on the rear as well. To take the labeling one step further, Ford marked many pieces with a script "F" to identify it as a Ford part. In July of '42, the US Government made a change to the contract and no longer allowed the manufacturer to put their name on the rear plate.

About the Author

About Stefan Halter (Dangeroo)

I'll build just about anything military related that gets my interest, though most of it is 1/35 scale WWII Allied.


Great feature, Stefan. No surprise that Bronco kit is the best, but I am a bit surprised that Dragon is THAT bad!
AUG 23, 2013 - 12:00 AM
Thanks guys! Don't get me wrong, it's not THAT bad, it just doesn't offer any advantage over the other two.
AUG 23, 2013 - 12:16 AM
Great work Stefan !! Very Nice finished Models and very, very interesting comparison test... Especially as I am -slowly- building two tamiya jeeps in order To "up date" them with a Nice résine set from Legend, and a bronco jeep is on Its Way to me via air mail... BRAVO and once again congratulations.
AUG 23, 2013 - 10:00 AM
Wow, this is simply one of the best features we've had on Armorama in some time! GREAT work, Stefan. Terrific detail, superb layout of the build, and some excellent information that will make picking kits much easier for most of us. Thanks!
AUG 24, 2013 - 03:25 AM
Great article and thanks for putting it all together for us.
AUG 24, 2013 - 01:46 PM
Excellent comparisons on all 3! Had been contemplating buying the DML, but now my money would be better spent on Bronco.
AUG 25, 2013 - 08:50 PM
Very good comparison, thanks for the work Stefan! Great to see the parts next to each other, in many cases that explains more than many words. Very thorough article on my favorite subject! I have the Tamiya one, and the next is going to be Bronco... Cheers Alex
SEP 06, 2013 - 08:44 AM
Awesome article Stefan! I'm going to be picking up a Bronco kit in the near future and I've got a 1:1 scale 42 GPW in my garage right now. My question though is how does the old Italeri kit compare? I know that the three kits reviewed here are far newer and incorporate a lot of better mold making technology since the Italeri showed up two decades ago. Thanks! Jon
SEP 06, 2013 - 11:29 AM
Thank you for the nice comments, gentlemen! I am glad to have been of help. Jon, can't really say about the Italeri kit. I only built the commandocar long time ago and as I remember it wasn't a bad kit, but not as good as Tamiya. With a bit of TLC I'm sure it can be brought up to speed and versions of it are still widely available and for good prices too. Cheers! Stefan
SEP 07, 2013 - 02:52 AM
Hi Stefan, A very informative article and 3 great results. You put a lot of time and effort into the comparison which will be of great benefit to many. Congrats on a fine article. Al
OCT 11, 2013 - 07:13 AM