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In-Box Review
Diamond T 969A
Review Of Mirror Models Diamond T969A
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by: Peter Hlavka [ THEKINGFISH ]


Designed in 1939 , by the Diamond T Motor Car Company, The 969A wrecker would see many theatres of service from civilian to its more exclusive and more known military role. It became one of the most heavily used recovery vehicles by allied forces in World War Two. It was not uncommon for it to be seen accompanying heavier apparatus of the time such as the Ward La France wreckers and scammells. Far after the battlefields of Europe subsided it saw heavy use in the Middle East and in other parts of the world. Not only was it known in the Middle East after world war two, but many were also sold as military surplus pieces to civilian companies and agencies in the United States and around the world and could be seen up to the 1970’s.

The Diamond T 969A, was powered by a Hercules RxC 6-cylender Gasoline engine. It packed a massive 529 Cubic inch block which put out about 107hp. Grinding the gears was a five speed transmission, accompanied by a transfer case which was manufactured by Diamond T. The 969A was equipped with a Kellogg compressor which sat just behind the cab. As well as a pair of Holms W45 booms as its main wrecking gear. Each boom could be used individually but max lift weight could be achieved by using them in tandem at the rear of the truck. The booms could also be swung to the side of the truck for side lifts, which is the reason for the outriggers on each side of the truck as well as allowing for overall stabilization. At the front of the truck sat a Garwood 15,000lb winch. The winches for the Holms booms were rated at about 10,000 pounds each which together would be capable of hoisting about 10 tons. Although this was possible with the winches alone, it in fact was not practical, due to the fact that this would exceed the 969A’s GVW (Gross Vehicle Weight) causing major damage to the chassis.


The kit comes in a cardboard box with a picture of the 969A in sepia tone across the front. Upon opening the box you will find:
  • 11 Sprues of gray plastic styrene
  • 1 Sprue of clear plastic styrene
  • 1 Sheet of decals
  • Photo Etch was missing from this kit
  • 20 Pages of instructions printed in black and white


There are 570 parts laid out on 11 sprues
1x Sprue A: Suspension parts as well as the chassis and axel housings, transfer case etc…

4x Sprue B: There are two completely different pairs of Sprue B’s, making a total of four , a duplicate for each variant .
The first set of consists of the wheels as well as hubs, there are two sprues of this.
The Second set consists of intricate and highly detailed as well as extremely small parts which appear to have no general area of focus for building as parts for the suspension, booms, tools, and hoisting equipment

1x Sprue C: Consisting of the highly detailed Hercules engine, as well as the radiator and other assorted mechanical parts.

1x Sprue D: Consisting of the body panels, headlight guards, and more small parts.

1x Sprue O: Comprising of the floor board, dash board, seats, etc…

1x Sprue X: This consists of most of the heavy lifting equipment, pressurized tanks, super structures and sub structures of the booms, as well as the floor board for the bed of the truck, and various other small parts.

2x Sprue Y: Small parts for winches and other structures


I, myself am a hug fan of anything recovery related, so this kit was a no brainer for me and a long awaited addition to my stash. When I first received it, there was no shrink wrap around the box itself, which initially puzzled me, but none the less after inspecting the contents, everything was there and nothing was broken, the latter of which amazes me, and will bring us to my next point of focus. Upon opening the box the sprues are wrapped in an unusual choice of protection. To describe it and compare it, I would say it’s very similar to the less than sufficient bag you receive your Chinese food in. I am amazed at the fact that not one piece came tumbling out as I removed the sprues from the protective wrapping. A quick look at the instructions proves to be pleasantly surprising, but after a more detailed look, I was left on the fence about the nomenclature of the instructions. They do offer a nice highly detailed diagram of the piece you’re constructing, but there are no “steps” like we see in almost every other set of instructions by other manufacturers. You simply build by the page, with not much guidance or sense of direction.

The second point of awe in this kit, is the insane amount of small pieces. Make no mistake this is not a “shake and bake” kit seen by other manufacturers. Looking closer at the sprues I ‘am amazed at the amount of detail that has been put into this kit. A note of caution must be taken when removing the small parts as they do seem to have some overly large sprue gates, as said by the manufacturer, in order to keep ejector pin marks to a minimum. Speaking of which, I ‘am also surprised by the lack of ejector pin marks. Bravo to Mirror Models for that.

Further dissecting the kit my attention was immediately drawn to the tires. It’s nice to have plastic tires included in this kit, well, there is no other option, but I’m fine with that, as the rubber ones usually get tossed for resin replacements. The tires come in a total of 4 parts for the front and 7 for the rear. The actual tire itself is in two halves, with the sprue gate located on the tread, exactly where they mate. This worried me, so I cut two out and mated them. I was very surprised that they went together so well, and almost no seam can be seen. Caution must be taken when cleaning the excess gate off though.

Moving on, I decided to give the sprue containing the hood, and body panels a look. I was slightly disappointed by the amount of flash seen on the panels. I also noticed that caution should be taken when cutting the steering wheel and headlight guards, due to the massive sprue gates.

The boom equipment is very highly detailed and contains a lot of small delicate parts. The cylindrical sleeves for the out riggers and the pressurized tanks both come in two halves that need to be mated which could cause potential seam issues. The winch components for both the front Garwood and rear winches are also very complex, and once again contain large sprue gates. There is also a large number of pullies and hooks which are extremely detailed and should complement the booms and winches very nicely

The “interior” of the 969A which is provided is very sparse, but then again the actual 969A’s interior is not very eye popping either. You aren’t given a lot of options when it comes to furnishing the interior. The dash is quite simple with just your standard gauge cluster, which will be complemented by the decals for the gauges. My attention was drawn to the upholstery almost immediately. I found the seats to be rather plain and looking more like a piece of steel than cloth. Although the seats lack detail, I doubt it would be a huge hassle to make them look up to par. I was extremely disappointed with the complete lack of a canvas top, which is pictured on the box art. On the back of the instructions an “appeasement” is made stating that an additional vacuum formed canvas top will soon be available from LZmodels.

The decals provided give you the option for one vehicle and a single unit. There is a lack of a diagram on where to place the decals so your on your own. I feel that this could or could not be a let-down, depending on what you want to portray the 969A as.

Finally the suspension and chassis is spread throughout a number of sprues. It is beautifully molded with extremely detailed axel housings, the exhaust, transfer case, drive shafts and fuel tanks. The leaf springs appear to be perfectly molded without any warp so there shouldn’t be any problems there. The frame of the chassis comes in a number of parts with two long rails for both sides, which are supported by the usual cross members linking them together. I for one prefer a multi-piece chassis because of the amount of detail that is usually put into it, but that does mean that you should take caution when constructing the chassis to make sure it’s completely straight in order to avoid further problems down the line.

The images of the built model were supplied to Armorama by Mirror Models.
Highs: Well molded, and finely detailed parts. Options given for positions of the booms. Finally a decent kit of the 969 in plastic.
Lows: Large Sprue gates, no canvas top, no photo etch. Some flash on the parts. More options for decals would be nice.Price Tag Instructions.
Verdict: I was ecstatic when this kit first arrived make no mistake, it didn't fully live up to my expectations. The biggest let down of the kit is the ommitance of the canvas top. While its not necessary to build a complete and accurate kit.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 35801
  Suggested Retail: $89.99
  PUBLISHED: Mar 03, 2014
  NATIONALITY: United States

About Peter Hlavka (thekingfish)

Copyright ©2021 text by Peter Hlavka [ THEKINGFISH ]. All rights reserved.


The "omission" of a canvas top for the rear section of a Wrecker shouldn't be regarded as critical- I don't remember ever seeing a photo of a WWII US Wrecker with a tarp over the Boom, even in inclement weather. That doesn't mean that it never happened... I DO take issue however, with the omissions of cargo bed tarps in the TAMIYA and TESTORS/ITALERI (ex-PEERLESS MAX) GMC CCKW 353 Cargo Truck kits. Only HELLER has ever included such a tarp in their CCKW 353 kits, and MONOGRAM/REVELL included one in their ancient M35 "Eager Beaver" kits... Hopefully, the up-coming HOBBY BOSS GMC CCKW 352 SWB "Jimmy" will include a "canvas" tarp. With today's CAD engineering and slide-mold technology, this isn't an unreasonable request...
MAR 03, 2014 - 03:26 AM
The part that I'm talking about is the canvas top that goes over the Cab like is pictured on the box art, of which there are many photos with it on. And I totally agree with you about the cargo bed tarps on the Tamiya and other kits that should have them.
MAR 03, 2014 - 03:37 AM
It's odd that your example didn't have any photo etch because mine did, and I don't mean the LZ Models set. Parts such as the engine fan and storage trays in the rear are included on the sheet and called out in the instructions. I've put in around 45 hours on mine and have it about 95 percent of construction completed, and I can say it's a very well detailed build so long as you're patient and don't rush things.
MAR 03, 2014 - 10:04 AM
Really? That's interesting. There wasn't any photo etch included in my kit at all. Going to have to contact mirror models
MAR 03, 2014 - 04:37 PM
Hi, Peter! I didn't realize that this kit didn't include a canvas top for the cab included. How hard would it have been to mold one of these? It's possible that they may have tried to, but didn't come up with satisfactory results..?
MAR 09, 2014 - 02:14 AM
I'm not too sure how hard it would be to mold one, but I do believe that there is a thread on here that sort of explains why they didn't add the top. They do often have extra parts for other kits of theirs available from the aftermarket co.
MAR 11, 2014 - 01:03 AM

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