by: Andras [ ]
AM companies are great at finding the gaps in the modelling world; and this vehicle was definitely something that has not been covered by anyone yet (to my knowledge). The C4-32 mule is a hardy little veteran of the US Army, but it has avoided the limelight so far; there is very little information available online about it. (Good thing the instruction manual provides a little history on the first page.) Even though the vehicle flew under the radar so to speak, and there are no webpages dedicated to it (it did not even get a nickname like “Yellow Tiger” or “Electric Lightning”), it was widely used by the US Armed Forces, and this makes it to be a very eye-catching little detail in any diorama that depict hangars, warehouses in military or in civilian use. (In this respect I would consider this model a diorama accessory rather than a scale model.)
The kit comes in a small box, usual to plus model, with a photo of the assembled model on the front. The model is placed in a Ziploc bag; some parts were already detached from the pouring block, and the handle for the driver was broken. There is a small PE fret, a decal sheet, and instructions included.
The resin is good quality and easy to work with. The detail is excellent in general. There is not much flash to clean up, but some care will be needed when detaching parts from the block. The parts are numbered on the pouring blocks, which is very helpful during the building process.
There are a couple of PE parts included; mostly for the drivetrain of the cart, and the logo for the company that produced it. Since I did not find much in the way of reference, so I have to assume the dimensions are correct.
The instructions are overall not bad, but there are a couple of minor issues. On step two the part number of the fork that holds the wheel is not written (12), as on step three the number for the logo for the front of the vehicle (part 3 on the PE fret).
The building took about two hours and it really did not pose much of a challenge. Some parts of the assembly are a bit fiddly, but not impossibly hard. The little pins holding the front wheels, the main suspension comes to mind, mostly. The rest of the build is straightforward. Too bad that most of the details on the undercarriage will be hidden once the model is assembled, though, which is a shame. You can build two versions of the vehicle, both in US Army service. They are slightly different as one version has extra protective bumpers in the front and around the back.
I’ve left off the seat and other parts which were black before starting on the yellow paint. I’ve painted the whole model rust brown as a base which was sealed with dullcote, and used the hairspray technique to create a battered, well used look. (I think I might have gone overboard with the scratches…) The next layer was the hairspray, and then came a mixture of Tamiya’s yellow and orange paint (about 3:1 ratio). Once the paint was dry to the touch I used a toothpick to “nick” the paint for the scratches, and then a wet brush to “expand” these areas. On some places on the model I had to retouch with the brown paint as the paint came off completely. Once I was happy with the results, I sealed the model with Dullcote again, and attached the seat, the pedals and other small bits. Since I did not expect the vehicle to operate in a dusty, muddy environment, I did not add dirt. The headlights were first painted silver, then I used Citadel’s red technical paint on the back headlight - these paints allow for an easy way to simulate lenses and gems. (They are not as good as the painted gemstones in miniatures, but they’re perfect for headlights.) The orange caution light that sits on a pole received similar treatment, only the base was yellow. The result is pretty nice, I have to say: the paint does give a sense of depth.
So that’s pretty much it. The build was enjoyable -and short-, and the model is smaller than most 1/72nd scale tanks I’ve built, so it does not even take up a lot of room.