Book Review
M38A1 in Detail
M38A1 and IDF Militarised CJ5 Variants
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by: Mario Matijasic [ MAKI ]


In 1950, US Army introduced the M38, a post-WWII vehicle based on the civilian CJ3A Jeep and fitted will military-specific features. The M38 was in production until 1952, when the M38A1 became the standard model of military service. Unlike other military vehicles where the A1 suffix usually denotes a minor revision of the original vehicle, the M38A1 is a very different vehicle from the M38, featuring different frame, body, engine, and axles. Designed for use as a general purpose personnel or cargo carrier, the vehicle is readily adaptable for reconnaissance, communications or other special duties. It is capable of operating with the engine completely submerged in water. With reversed spring shackles, military instruments, and a 24-volt electrical system, the M38A1 was a strong military work horse frequently fitted with a machine gun or recoilless rifle. The M38A1 was deployed during the war in Vietnam, where it was gradually replaced by the M151 Mutt.


I got the book at a model show and browsed through it immediately. At first glance the book looks really good; it is printed on a high-quality paper, well structured, professionally presented and full of large full color photos. Here are the basic facts:

Title: M38A1 in Detail
Publisher: Wings & Wheels Publications (WWP)
Code: R073
Authors: Luboš Doubek and František Kořán
Format: softcover (22x24 cm)
Pages: 108
Color: full color
Language: English
ISBN: 978-80-87509-28-5
Retail Price: $39 (€28)

The revised M38A1, and its civilian form designated as CJ5 Jeep, were produced from 1952 to 1957, and used until 1971. The variants of the vehicle include M38A1 (“Original” Round Fender), M170 (Ambulance Variant), M38A1C (Recoilless Rifle Variant), USMC Variant, USAF DJ Variant, Nekaf Dutch Variant, CDN Canadian Variant, Welding M38A1 Unit and First Year ’54 CJ5 (Civilian). This book covers several restored M38A1 vehicle variants, with the M38A1 from Luboš Doubek’s collection and Mark Hazzard’s IDF Scout Car CJ5 shown in maximum detail.

The book is organized in 11 chapters:

• History (002-003)
• M38A1 (004-011)
• M38A1 Walkaround (012-027)
• M38A1 Interior (028-039)
• M38A1 Gear (040-043)
• M38A1 Engine (044-053)
• M38A1 Chassis (054-067)
• M38A1C (068-075)
• IDF Special Forces CJ5 (076-085)
• IDF Gear (086-101)
• IDF Jeeps (102-108)

The first, very short chapter is dedicated to M38A1 history, explaining the origins of the vehicle. The next chapter spans over 8 pages and shows different M38A1 vehicles documented at War and Peace show in Folkestone 2013, including the CDN M38A1 as well as Nekaf Dutch M38A1, accompanied by a short text describing each vehicle, clarifying the differences between the vehicle variants. After the introductory chapters, the book continues with photo references of M38A1. The M38A1 walkaround chapter shows Luboš Doubek’s Jeep, photographed shortly after three year long renovation. The chapter is 16 pages long and shows the exterior of M38A1 in amazing detail: front lights, wipers and windshield, right side details with deep fording set, left side details, rear body wall with rear lights, spare wheel and jerrycan as well as rear bumper details. Next up are the wheels, rims and fender details. The M38A1 interior chapter follows, with 12 pages of full interior details including the dashboard and windshield, driver’s compartment, fuel tank details, lever and pedal details, front and rear seats, and floor details. The amount of detailed photos is absolutely amazing and should be very welcomed by modelers and vehicle enthusiasts alike. Following 3 pages are dedicated to M38A1 gear, displaying pillar-mounted M60 machine gun and wireless radio equipment. The M38A1 engine chapter is 10 pages long and it shows the Hurricane F4-134 engine in detail: the battery box, carburetor, filters, radiator, etc. This section is full of photos, but also drawings and diagrams showing various engine assemblies in great detail. The M38A1 chassis comes next, with 14 pages of front axle details, frame details, and rear axle details. The photos for this chapter were taken during the vehicle restoration and display all the fine points of M38A1 suspension really well. Again, a big plus are the drawings and diagrams showing different suspension assemblies. Next up is a slightly different version of the vehicle, the M38A1C, which was deployed during the Vietnam War, equipped with M40A1 106mm recoilless rifle. This 8 page long chapter shows the details of the vehicle from the Marshall Museum in Overloon, Holland. The details of the M40A1 recoilless rifle are depicted in this chapter as well. The book now turns to IDF Special Forces CJ5 from Mark Hazzard’s collection. This chapter is 10 pages long showing the walkaround of the vehicle restored to depict an IDF Scout jeep as used in the Yom Kippur War. The accompanying text explains all the features of this particular CJ5 in IDF service and the compromises the collector had to make in order to drive this vehicle legally. The following 16 pages show IDF gear: variety of ammo boxes, various bags and ration boxes, as well as FN MAG... a great addition for all those modeling IDF vehicle from the Yom Kippur War era! The final chapter deals with IDF Jeeps, photographed in Israeli museums. Unfortunately most of these vehicles are in a very poor state.

What more can I say about this book? It is an absolute wealth of information and photo reference on M38A1 vehicles. It consists of over 300 photos and 38 diagrams which are large and clear, showing all the intricate details of the vehicle, inside and out. Most of the details are depicted from different angles to display the vehicle as best as possible. Although primarily a photo book, the information given in the text is a very engaging read, making the title an impressive symbiosis of high-quality photos depicting the M38A1 in detail, and concise but extremely interesting info on the vehicle.

All those modeling the M38A1 or M38A1C should definitely get this book, as the Skybow/AFV Club offerings in 1/35 scale crave for some super-detailing. I have to admit I always had a soft spot for M38A1, particularly its IDF version and, after going through this book, I really think I’m going to build one of those vehicles using the Accurate Armour IDF CJ5 conversion set…


Once again, WWP has taken me by storm. Their new book on M38A1 is absolutely fantastic: it features tons of high-quality large photos showing several different versions of the vehicle in detail, also giving short and concise info on these vehicles. If you are modeling the M38A1 or you are a vehicle enthusiast, this is a perfect photo reference book for you. Period.
Highs: Printed on a high-quality paper, well structured, professionally presented and jam-packed with large full color photos... a perfect reference for all those modeling a M38A1.
Lows: None.
Verdict: Highly recommended.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: R073
  Related Link: WWP website
  PUBLISHED: Apr 30, 2014
  NATIONALITY: United States

Our Thanks to Wings & Wheels!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Mario Matijasic (Maki)

You wonder how did this addiction start? I was a kid when my dad broght home a 1/72 Concord airplane; we built it together as well as couple of other airplanes after that. This phase was just pure fun: glue, paint, decals in no particular order... everything was finished in a day or two. Then I disc...

Copyright ©2021 text by Mario Matijasic [ MAKI ]. All rights reserved.


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