Bill Cross reviews Thunder Model's 1:32 scale Clarktor MIL-33 aircraft tug and two Mark 2 bomb trailers.


As airplanes got bigger and heavier after WWI, a need arose for vehicles that could help pull them around airfields and on-board aircraft carriers. The Clark Equipment Company, having been around since the Great War, was a major manufacturer of trolley bogies. They ended up producing some of the most-iconic tractors and tugs for the US military, as well as Britain during WW2 and after. Possibly their most-famous product is the Clarktor 6 MIL-33 tug designed to service aircraft in a variety of ways, including hauling bombs. Manufactured between 1941-1966, these tugs could be found on airfields around the globe for years afterwards.

The simple reason for their success was power in a small package. The Chrysler 6-cylinder engine generated enough torque to pull up to 90 tons at the amazing speed of 15 mph. Exported to Britain under Lend-Lease, more than 1,500 ended up on most all bases used by the RAF.

A resin version of the Clarktor tug by Video Aviation has existed for years in 1/32nd scale, but now Thunder Model has released a styrene model, both by itself and with two Mark 2 bomb trailers. This review is about the combo model, though airplane diorama builders will make good use of the tug alone I am sure.


Inside the newer two-box combo of visually-decorated box art and white inner box are  7 sprues of gray plastic totaling 150 parts, a sprue of four clear parts, a small length of brass chain, 3 PE frets (one for the bomb fins), markings, a booklet of clear and precise assembly diagrams. Four tug color profiles (including one for the RAF version) and one for the bombs and their trailers round out the contents.

The Review

It's very exciting to have styrene versions of the Clarktor tugs (there is also a kit of the heavier MIL-44 with dual rear wheels). These workhorses turn up in photos all over the world from World War 2 into the Cold War period. I plan on building this set to pair with a French Armée de l'air F8F Bearcat in Indochina in the 1950s. Their usefulness to modelers is extensive, both for pulling planes, as well as hauling ordnance. The Mark 2 bomb trolleys can be purchased separately in pairs, so one can easily imagine a string of the Mark 2s and a 1/32nd scale B-17.

The moulding is very clean with no obvious flash or obnoxious sprue gates. The photo etch is heavy-duty, and should add some crispness to the build. My only complaint is the inclusion of vinyl tires on the tug (but not on the bomb trolleys). I would have preferred resin tires, or styrene ones, but in any case, Mirror Models sells a set of resin replacement tires.

The Mark 2 bomb trolleys are a welcome pairing with the tug. Before the invention of the "Jammer," bombs were manhandled with winches and chains. The Mark 2 had a loading ramp and could easily fit under the wings or bomb bays for completing the task.

Decals & Painting

The kit includes four options:

  • Yellow
  • RAF blue-grey
  • Olive drab W-87899
  • Olive drab W-84513

After WW2, tugs were generally (but not always) painted maize yellow.


I have been excited about this release since it was announced by the manufacturer, and I have nothing but good things to say about it. While not the orge it once was, resin kits are still an under-discovered country for most modelers, so having this vehicle in styrene should prompt a lot of dioramas and vignettes.

This is a nifty kit that will enhance all kinds of builds. The Clarktor was used by US Forces throughout most of WW2 and many other militaries after. It's a well-made kit that should be on everyone's wishlist.

Thanks to Thunder Model for this review sample. Be sure to say you saw it reviewed on Armorama and Aeroscale when ordering your own.



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