Category Archives: Asst. Support / Utility Vehicles

Tamiya LRDG Command Car with Breda 20mm Gun

The Long Range Desert Group (LRDG) was a reconnaissance and raiding unit of the British Army during the Second World War. The commander of the German Afrika Corps, Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, admitted that the LRDG “caused us more damage than any other British unit of equal strength”.

Originally called the Long Range Patrol (LRP), the unit was founded in Egypt in June 1940 by Major Ralph A. Bagnold, acting under the direction of General Archibald Wavell. Bagnold was assisted by Captain Patrick Clayton and Captain William Shaw. At first the majority of the men were from New Zealand, but they were soon joined by Southern Rhodesian and British volunteers, whereupon new sub-units were formed and the name was changed to the better-known Long Range Desert Group (LRDG). The LRDG never numbered more than 350 men, all of whom were volunteers.

The LRDG was formed specifically to carry out deep penetration, covert reconnaissance patrols and intelligence missions from behind Italian lines, although they sometimes engaged in combat operations. Because the LRDG were experts in desert navigation they were sometimes assigned to guide other units, including the Special Air Service and secret agents across the desert.

During the Desert Campaign between December 1940 and April 1943, the vehicles of the LRDG operated constantly behind the Axis lines, missing a total of only 15 days during the entire period. Possibly their most notable offensive action was during Operation Caravan, an attack on the town of Barce and its associated airfield, on the night of 13 September 1942. However, their most vital role was the ‘Road Watch’, during which they clandestinely monitored traffic on the main road from Tripoli to Benghazi, transmitting the intelligence to British Army Headquarters.

[Source: Wikipedia]
The Kit:
British Army Chevrolet WB 30 cwt truck configured for desert service in North Africa with the Long Range Desert Group. Kit features curb-side chassis frame with lower engine relief, separate suspension and driveline components, cab interior, radio with hinged access panel, Lee-Enfield rifles (x2), detailed rear bed, POW cans, spade, Lewis machine gun on pedestal mount, side-mounted sand channel, spare tire, rolled tarpaulins with fender brackets, 2 figures (driver and gunner), vehicle stowage (Boys anti-tank rifle, crate, sleeping rolls, canteens, water cans, jerry cans, marine sacks, helmet) and vinyl tires.

Also includes Breda 20/65 anti-aircraft gun with well detailed weapon, gunner’s seat and controls, intricate carriage and tripod base – buildable in firing or transport configuration; may be hitched to command car (gun is ex-Italeri mold). Decals and painting guide for 2 vehicles: L4618825, L4618345.

Stock # TM89785
MSRP: $42.00 USD

There is not really much to say about this model kit that you haven’t heard or read already. Tamiya’s LRDG model kit dates back to the late 70’s. Considering the tooling’s age, the kit is holding up really well the test of time with very little to no flash at all. The molding lines are very well centered also. I always love bonus kits and in this case the model kit comes with an extra sprue molded in light gray from Italeri. This sprue gives a more contemporary and refreshing look  when the white cardboard box is opened.

As we are accustomed to Tamiya’s QC, the model kit fit is very good and the instructions sheet and decal placement is so easy that even a caveman can do it. The model kit was painted with Tamiya XF-60 Dark Yellow diluted with XF-2 Flat white around at a 2:1 ratio. Because the camouflage green was to be faded during the weathering process, I decided to use JN. Grey XF-12 from Tamiya which is a very light shade of green. All the body scratches were created with Vallejo Black Grey 70.862, a #2/0 brush and plenty of patience. The final weathering featuring washes and streaks are done with a combination of AK Interactive and Ammo by Mig products.

The model was built out of the box but it can be taken a few steps further with plenty of aftermarket goodies available for the 1/35 LRDG. To save display room, I decided to mount the 20 AA Breda cannon on the truck bed. This in turn will be on a small base featuring the figures from Master Box kit # MB3594 pictured below.

Note from the Author
If you don’t have a Tamiya LRDG in your display case, what are you waiting for? I highly recommend this kit. There’s currently 2 versions of this kit that I know of. 1 features 7 figures (from Master Box) and this one featuring the Breda Cannon.
You can’t go wrong with either one.

Review Sample courtesy of my wallet.

Italeri 1/35 Military Container

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) developed many standards including some covering shipping. One of the items standardized, using the ISO 6346 reporting mark, were intermodal shipping containers. This meant that the container, without being opened or unloaded, can be transferred from ship to rail to truck. Among the various lengths standardized, there is the 20 foot container as released by Italeri in model form. Inside the side opening box, there are two identical sprues, instructions, and a decal sheet.

The instructions cover assembly in two steps and the three decal options:
1. U. S. Army
2. U. S. Marine Corps
3. Italian Air Force

The first step covers the flooring (with integrated cross members – Parts 2), Roof Panel (parts 3), left and right sidewall panels with integrated bottom side rails (parts 1 to which the corner posts (parts 4 & 5) are added, and the Endwall Panel (parts 6). It should be noted that the Flooring, Roof, and Endwall Panels have seams to contend with. The roof and flooring use lap joints which do not end on panel lines. This meant clamping the parts to a level surface and then filling the seams.

My stepSanders were used to sand away the punch pin marks found on the bottom of the flooring between the cross beams. I used punched styrene to fill the knock out pin depressions. These were glued with liquid cement. The inner sides of the Roof Panel and Flooring had the seams filled with stretched sprue glued with liquid cement and an awl was used to create the impressions of screws on the flooring. Many ISO containers have plywood flooring screwed onto the cross beams.

The second step covered the doors and locking mechanisms. The option of open or closed doors is offered. After deciding, the options provided are for US military containers in Sand or the Italian Air Force container in Dark Green. Of course, with over 17 million ISO containers in use Worldwide, there are many schemes and colors to choose.
Other opportunities to individualize the model are to add linings complete with kick plates and lining shields. Depending on the cargo, logistics E and F tracks may be used.
A very simple yet nicely executed model by Italeri which will find its way onto many modern scenes.

Academy 1/35 M1151 Enhanced Armament Carrier

The M1151 Enhanced Armament Carrier is an improved version of the standard Humvee (HMMWV) designed to replace the M1025A2 used by the United States Armed Forces as a response to United States Central Command requirements. The M1151 HMMWV has a heavier chassis and improved engine to handle add-on armor. It is built on an Expanded Capacity Vehicle chassis, which allows for more passengers or additional supplies (up to 2,300 lbs). Its two- or four-seat variant is the M1152 Enhanced Troop/Cargo/Shelter Carrier, designed to replace the M1097A2 Heavy HMMWV and M1113 Expanded Capacity Vehicle.

AM General of South Bend, Ind., was awarded a $59,963,442 contract for 814 M1152s and 31 M1151s and a $19,617,847 contract to buy and install armor kits for the M1151.

To see a nice specs sheet for the MII51 click here.

Academy 1/35 M1151 Enhanced Armament Carrier

  • Two crew member figures included
  • Accurately reproduced .50 cal gun
  • New style wheels and tires
  • Photo-etched parts
  • Positionable doors and accessories
  • Waterslide decals
  • Illustrated instructions

M1151-HUMVEE

 

Clocking some 20 hours over a period of 1 month and half here is the 1/35 M1151 Enhanced Armored Carrier from Academy -kit # 13415-. The instructions are in the fold-out type consisting of 20 steps in 12 pages of which 2 pages are for painting and decal placement. Painting consist of either Sand color or NATO camouflage pattern. There is no engine on this model kit and when we get a ‘mock-up’ engine bottom which in my opinion doesn’t look bad at all. The chassis has some ejection pin marks to deal with but most of them will be on the invisible side of the model.

All the parts that comprise the suspension and crank cases are well molded and there are no fit problems to report. The tires have a nice pattern and are a 2 parts deal leaving the rims out of the painting process free of time consuming masking. The kit interior is very nice. The dashboard becomes one after some 10+ parts come together making it quite detailed once assembled. The same goes for the radio unit. Out-of-the box I don’t see the need to replace the dashboard and radio for a resin version unless (in my humble opinion) you have a chronic case of AMS. 2 old non-working ball points were the donors for the springs used as the handset coiled cable and the one hanging from the turret assembly.

The armored doors are a multi-part deal for each one of them. This is one example in which I prefer to use my airbrush to paint small parts rather than using a regular paint brush. The result is literally no brush strokes or ‘thick’ finish where visible. The look is more to scale and although it was more time consuming, there was no need to mask the clear parts.

The doors have some nice interior detail however they have no hinges. They are attached to the body via photo etched parts. I added a strip of masking tape painted in black to depict the hinge strap on the driver’s door.  The seats are very nice but it would have been even nicer had they come with molded creases on them.

[huge_it_share]

The body to chassis fit is exceptional followed by the top armored ‘basket” assembly which is a kit within the kit in its own right. The big round sprocket that rotates the basket from the inside has very nice and crisp detailed teeth. But on the downside the roof from the inside has no liner detail. Frankly this can be built from scratch using good reference pictures of the real thing.

SOME FINAL WORDS:

The suspension on this kit is around 2mm short. Unless you hang around your shelves with a measuring caliper, consider a resin set available to correct this issue. In real life, the M1151 Enhanced Armament Carrier is quite an imposing sight. This behemoth needs bulky tires to handle not only the colossal weight of this vehicle but also the terrain in which most of them are deployed. The supplied tires in the kit are a big let down.  First, the tires are notably undersized and don’t have the Goodyear lettering most likely due to licensing issues. To add up to my tires discontent: this is one heavy piece of machinery. In motion or standing still, those tires will display some weight. This is a simple law of physics and I don’t know how the folks at Academy could have missed that.

My expectations for those included figures with model kits are not usually high and this one was no exception. The figures included with the Academy M1151 have considerable thick molding lines that requires cleaning. Odd because the rest of the parts on the sprue are very clean of molds lines and zero flash. My driver figure wouldn’t fit on its driver seat without having to modify its right leg. This will fixed later.

Even with these shortcomings this was a very nice build experience. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the Academy 1/35 M1151 model kit.

Acknowledgments
My sincere thanks to Elizabeth Wiese from Mig Weathering Products for providing us with Ammo Products from Mig Jimenez for this model kit.

Tamiya 3ton 4×2 Opel Blitz German Truck

The German army in WWII used a wide variety of wheeled vehicles as part of their overall strategy of fast mechanized warfare. Among the most widely used was the 3Ton 4×2 Cargo Truck, a truck design that was first produced in the 1930s. Featuring a dependable 6-cylinder gasoline engine, the 3Ton 4×2 Cargo Truck could take on a very large payload disproportionate to its size. They proved to be not only extremely reliable, but also very versatile, and were employed in a wide variety of roles, including fuel truck, ambulance, radio truck, as well as general-purpose cargo truck.

Mass production of the civilian version started in 1935 and the military version started in 1937, the Opel Blitz 3-ton 4X2 cargo truck became the backbone of the German military logistics machine in WWII.

Its 68hp engine gave it a top speed of 85kp/h and a range of 320km, which with its amazing load-carrying ability made it perfect for the German Army. By the time the production factory was bombed in 1944, over 78,000 examples had been built.

barbed-wire-division

Kit Highlights

  • High-quality 1/35 scale assembly model kit of the 3Ton 4×2 Cargo Truck.
  • This kit is an all-new molding, and is much more accurate than kits current on the market.
  • The actual truck’s chassis had a forward slant (designed to balance the cargo’s weight), and this unique feature has been accurately reproduced.
  • Suspension features a reasonable number of parts for easy assembly without sacrificing detail.- Driver and navigator figures included.
  • Accessory set of fuel drums and jerry cans also included for a full cargo load.
  • Comes with 4 types of markings, including both German army and Luftwaffe units.
  • To aid with painting, window masks will be included for the first time in a military model.
  • The actual truck served from the 1930s to the end of the war on all battle fronts, so this model can be displayed together with a wide range of other Tamiya 1/35 scale vehicles and figures such as Sturmgeschutz III Ausf. B and King Tiger.
  • Kit # 35291
  • MSRP: $44.00 USD

The Kit:

There’s nothing that many modelers over the last few years haven’t said about this model kit. This is the German 3ton 4×2 Cargo Truck in 1/35th scale from Tamiya. It is an excellent representation of the otherwise known as Opel Blitz. The kit come with a nicely (for my taste) sculpted driver and passenger figures with separate arms to depict different poses.

Markings are provided for 4 different vehicles:

  • Northern sector of the Eastern Front, June 194.
  • Poland, September, 1939
  • Western Front, May, 1940
  • AA Gun Regiment Luftwaffe, North Africa 1942.

The kit also has X 2 sprues with 3 drums and 8 crisply detailed jerry cans. What can the modeler display on the cargo area is up to our imagination. I chose to use only 1 sprue for 3 drums, 8 jerry cans and left some room. There was an oldie but goodie Tamiya 20mm Flak 38 MIT kit # 35102 in my stash so here it is straight out of the box.

The fit on this kit is the classic Tamiya fit we are used to. The cargo bed is comprised of 5 mayor parts. These parts have some ejection pin marks to deal with. To make it harder, they are on the wood grain area. Some of these pin marks are behind the cab but others are quite visible.

As with most vehicles from the era, there’s not a lot of gauges and modern amenities on the dash board. The few are very nicely represented and the fit to the firewall and top is great.  The posture of the driver is near perfect, I modified the right arm to have it rest on the shifter. BTW, both figures are the same sculpture but provided are 2 heads and a extra left hand.

The entire kit was painted using Tamiya XF-63 German Gray using my Aztek A470 airbrush. After coating the entire model with Testors Dullcote, washes were given selectively using AK Interactive Products. The kit provides vinyl masks for the clear parts. At least the ones that came with my kit are not pre cut so I decided instead to use Tamiya making tape.

The tire threads are exquisitely portrayed on the kit and I’d dare to say that it does has the quality and accuracy of the resin counterpart. 1 things is missing, well, actually 2:

There is no way to display this model with the hood ”wings” open unless you want to depict a no engine vehicle diorama. This is a shame, the front grill is nicely rendered and thru it one can see that there is no engine in there. Looks like a halfway done job from Tamiya.  There are holes on the top of the oil pan that gives a hint that engine could be added. I’d love to see the engine included with this kit or at least offered separate as the MAYBACH HL42 from Great Wall Hobby.

Also missing from this kit is the Opel Blitz emblem. C’mon Tamiya, this is the famous Opel Blitz. It’s like building a Mercedes Benz with no emblem.

Note from the Author

Despite the lack of engine and emblem, the 3ton 4×2 Opel Blitz German Truck from Tamiya will be a nice addition to your German utility vehicles collection. The display possibilities are endless. I would blindly recommend it to a friend.

Thanks to my wallet for this sample.

Built Academy RQ-7B UAV

A few weeks ago we presented a quick view of the sprues here. I have been working this model kit in between breaks from other builds. It is a simple kit and it was basically finished in a few hours. The kit a very nice representation of the RQ-7B UAV. 2 figures are included and although these are not perfect, they aren’t that bad either. Legs are separate parts and the torsos are comprised of 2 halves which will need some minor trimming to get rid of a join line.

1/35 Academy RQ-7B UAV

The overall fit of the main subject (the UAV) is excellent. Academy provides markings for 3 unknown units all from Irak. 2 of those unknown units are from 2011 and one from 2008. The next marking option is from the Special Troops Battalion, 1 Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, Korea, 2001.

A word of caution: Academy calls for Dark Ghost Gray FS-36320 as the base color. This color proved to be too dark for this subject. After noticing this, I chose to repaint with FS-36495 Acryl Light Gray. The camouflage marks were painted with a fine mist of Light Ghost Gray FS-36375. The engine parts are painted with Alclad 2 Duraluminum and Burnt Iron.

A 4”x4” base is provided should you decided to display it as a stand alone desk model. I’m not really convinced at the way the model meets its base. There is no hole, prong or notch to hitch too. Unless one comes with an idea, one will have to glue the model to the base.

Decals on the figures:

the dreaded camouflage uniform decals. Well, they are mixed feelings towards these method which is understandable. Most of the folks complaining are doing so mostly on time consumed by this, not to mention the detail lost in the process. Well, let me tell you. It is time consuming, but I did enjoyed it and learned a few things. If you want to save time on this, at least by 50%, you’ll have to use a hot decal solution like that from Walters. Microsol will do its job, but it will take longer.

Cut strips of around 1/4” x 1” long and start wrapping the figures by sections. I started from the legs up. With a dry paper towel, squeeze the decals against the figure. Now, don’t be shy with the decal solution -a trick I did learned by accident-.

If you have a heat source like a furnace vent, it will help the decal solution do its job way faster. After noticing this, I brought to my studio a portable heater and laid my figures with every new layer of decals. It took about an hour to have my uniforms on. Decal solution plus heat, means a faster shrinkage.

Now, if you use the tip of a fresh #11 blade and poke tiny holes on the bubbles, also, cut around prominent features like pockets and folds, you wont loose as much detail as some reviewers have said. The decals DO work, they just need a little hand from us.

In all, this is a very nice kit, either as a stand alone display for your desk or to give more context to a modern diorama. I did enjoyed this build a lot. If you like modern era weaponry and UAV vehicles, the Academy U.S. ARMY RQ-7B UAV @ at MSRP of $23 USD is for you.

Tamiya British Ambulance Rover 7

The Land Rover has served the British Army and other British Services for a quarter of a century in various forms, also equipping the armies of many countries who traditionally take their military needs from British industry. The Rover as it is officially known, is used in many roles. It is seen as a general purpose field car, for liason, reconnaissance, patrol, courier, staff or personnel transport. In long wheelbase form its roles include gun tractor, carrier for the recoilless anti-tank gun, wireless and command car, personnel carrier and armed patrol vehicle for the Special Air Service or the reconnaissance platoons of other units.

A field ambulance kit enables the standard vehicle to be fitted to carry stretchers for casualty evacuation. Recently the Rover has appeared as the standard British Army ambulance, special bodywork for this has proved so effective in this role that it replaces heavier larger vehicles as the standard British ambulance at divisional or brigade levels.

Use of the Land Rover with special ambulance bodywork goes back to 1956 when a batch of the production version, on the 107 inch chassis, was built for the RAF. Designated truck 1/4 ton, 4 x 4 Ambulance Special the requirement was for a suitably compact vehicle for the Mountain Rescue teams of the RAF.

This Rover ambulance had the standard commercial four cylinder 2 litre petrol engine of 52 bhp. The bodywork was framed and panelled in aluminuium and lightweight thermal insulation. The driver and a medical officer sat in the cab, the inside fitted for two stretchers with a seat for a medical orderly. The stretcher racks folded back to accommodate three seated casualties. These original ambulances were bodied and completed by Bonallack & Sons Ltd. The overall length was 15ft. 4 ins.

barbed-wire-division

The Kit:

Well, it was time to add a new model kit to my British subjects shelf. This is on display next to the 1/35 Tamiya Quad Gun Tractor featured here a few months ago.  This is the BRITISH + AMBULANCE ROVER 7 kit #082 from Tamiya. It is not a new kit, it has a stamped year, 1976 to be exact, and I’m sure that all these years it has been featured in many articles and reviews.

For a model kit this old, the sprues are very clean, little seam lines and no flash whatsoever especially on the small parts. There are some bothersome push pin marks, but these will be out of sight once the model is built.  However, if plan on displaying this model with open rear doors, there are a few pin marks that require some attention on the inner walls. After some deliberation, I decided to build this one with the rear doors closed.

The roof is a one piece deal and snaps easily on the body. Gluing it is up to the modeler, I decided not to glue mine to be able to show at least the front cabin. Speaking of the front cabin, it is bare with just the necessary amount of detail.

Being a pre-teen back in the early 70’s, I still recall the bareness of the dash board from my dad’s 72 Chevy pick-up. 3 shifts and the shifter was on the steering column. 2 different subjects, but it couldn’t help bringing some memories. That’s the truck in which I learned to drive ‘stick’ back in the day.

Painting and Weathering:

Painting the British Rover 7 Ambulance was easy. The instructions call for a dark green and black to recreate the famous British ‘Mikey Mouse‘ camouflage pattern. I used Tamiya XF-58 Olive Green for the base color. This is a color I love to use unsealed on figure uniforms. Yes, straight from the airbrush, the XF-58 color doesn’t look quite right. However, it changes drastically when we apply the clear coat varnish on it. In this case, Testors Acryl Flat Clear. Remember folks, I don’t Gloss coat for decals. They go straight onto a puddle of Microsol or Walters Solvaset.

For the black camouflage pattern, I used Tamiya NATO Black XF-69. The big white squares were measured from the decal sheet and they were painted with Tamiya Flat White XF-2. Only the red crosses from the decals were used. A little bit of Microsol decal solution was used to conform the crosses to a line of rivets on the side panels.  Once dry, the model was covered on a second coat of Acryl Clear Flat to protect the decals from the upcoming enamel washes.

I started by airbrushing a fine mist of Vallejo Pastel Green (70885) to make the paint look faded. I then gave the model an entire wash with Mig Productions Dark Wash. Once it dried, I gave the model some streaks and gunk accumulation with AK Interactive streak effects from their OIF & OEF set.  A second set of streaks was also applied with NATO rain marks (AK-074) and last, a set of streaks with pure white oil from a generic oil set from the mega store ;o)  The last step was adding Vallejo Light Ocre Pigment mixed with mineral spirit around the tires and chassis.

The pictures included with the instructions show the interior of the rear cab. The model as with the real thing, is quite bare and a far cry from the modern ER on wheels. There is also a S.A.S Land Rover from Tamiya based on the same mold. Because of that, the figures provided come in a separate ‘sprue’. I wouldn’t complaint at all; given its age, the figures are very clean when compared to other kits from the era. In my humble opinion, they are VERY usable should you decide to make a nice diorama display.

Final Verdict
This kit is currently out of production. Copies can still be found at your local hobby shop (like this one) or the big auction place. For $22 (USD) this is a nice relieve build and a nice addition to any armor builder shelf. The whole kit fits fine, a real pleasure to build and weather. I would recommend this kit to a friend, absolutely!

Tamiya 1/35 M151A2 Jeep

The M151 MUTT was the successor to the Korean War M38 and M38A1 jeep Light Utility Vehicles. It was produced from 1959 through 1982 and served in the Vietnam War. The M151 utilized a monocoque design making it roomier than previous jeep designs, and incorporated an independent suspension with coil springs. It has since been replaced by the larger AM General HMMWV in most utility roles in frontline use. With some M151A2-units still in US Military service in 1999, the M151-series achieved a longer run of service than that of the WW2 MB/GPW, M38 and M38A1 series.

In 1951 Ford Motor Company was awarded the contract to design a 1/4 ton 4×4 Multi-Utility Tactical Truck (hence MUTT) to replace the M38 and M38A1 model jeeps. The M151 ‘MUTT’ was developed with guidance from the US Army’s Ordnance Truck Automotive Command. Design started in 1951 and testing and prototyping lasted through most of the fifties. Although the M151 was developed and initially produced by Ford, production contracts for the M151A2 were later also awarded to Kaiser Jeep and AM General Corp.

The Kit:

This is one of those old Tamiya model kits still going strong after years and newer tooling. It took me about 6 hours from start to finish to complete this M151A2. It has some pin marks on evident areas but most of them will be under the chassis. Axles and gearboxes fitted without major problems. The kit comes with markings and parts needed to assemble a USMC or Army versions.

Kit Highlights
-Plastic parts molded in tan.
-Driver figure included.
-Jeep seats one driver; opposite side of vehicle contains large missile launcher which extends the length of the front seat.
-Tri-pod included with launcher for dismounted tow display.
-Spare tire included on launcher side of vehicle.
-Ax attached on driver side, Jerry can attached on missile side of jeep.
-Waterslide decals for Army and Marine Corps version.
-Detailed pictorial instructions.

The kit was painted with my Aztek A470 Airbrush. I used the Splatter Nozzle for more control on the splatter effect. The same effect was done under the chassis with a toothbrush spattering Tamiya Buff and Flat Earth colors. For the price of this model kit, you can build a small fleet of Army of USMC Jeeps.

Academy 1/72 Dragon Wagon

The Academy 1/72 Dragon Wagon Review has been moved to this page.

Academy 1/72 Dragon Wagon Model Kit

In 1942 a new 40 ton semi-trailer tank transporter was required. This was to offer better off-road performance than the M9 24-small-wheel trailer, and greater capacity than the 30 ton 8-large-wheel Shelvoke and Drewry semi-trailers, then in use with the Diamond T tractor unit. This new trailer was designed by the Fruehauf Trailer Company (based in Detroit, MI). A new tractor unit was required, as this heavier trailer was more than the Diamond T could cope with.  The M26 tractor was designed by the San Francisco-based Knuckey Truck Company. When Knuckey’s production capacity proved insufficient the army awarded production to the Pacific Car & Foundry Co. of Seattle, Washington. Designated TR-1 by Pacific Car, the 12-ton 6×6 M26 tractor was powered by a Type 440 240 bhp 6-cylinder gasoline engine developed exclusively for it by Hall-Scott (although also used to uprate the Diamond T). Some 2,100 Type 440s were built.

Unusually, the tractor unit was fitted with both an armored cab and two winches with a combined pull of 60 tons. The intention was that as well as hauling the tank transporter semi-trailer, the tractor unit could itself be used for battlefield light recovery work. A later unarmored version of the M26 tractor was designated the M26A1. An experimental ballast tractor conversion was experimented with by the British.

Academy 1/72 Dragon Wagon

As promised barely a week ago, here is the finished 1:72 Dragon Wagon Transport from Academy Models. I decided to put this model kit on top of my queue and bring it here asap. Although I can declare this kit finished, I’m still expecting some miniature chain to be used on the ramps. Most of the parts are crisply molded with not too much flash to deal with. This kit is built basically out-of-the-box ,but certainly, with some TLC you can improve it more as the kit provides a nice base to work with. There are plenty of ejection pin marks many of them will not be seen.

The cabin interior is filled with them but they wont be seen that’s unless if you want to detail the cabin a little further. I went on-line looking for some good pictures of the real thing, and came across this website with useful pictures of the M26. After seeing the interior pictures, I noticed that I had in my stash a nice set in 1/72 scale of accessories like jerry cans. Unfortunately all the walls were glued together and getting rid of those sink marks would have been hard to fill and sand. Should you decide to detail the cabin interior, good news. It does fit so well to the cabin floor can be left unglued for you to show of. In fact, I didn’t glue mine and from the close-up pictures you wouldn’t tell unless I told you.

The Dragon Tank Transport kits does not include any clear parts so for the front windshields, I always have Clear Plastic Sheet .015, 9 x 12″(3) available and that did the trick. One of the things that amazed me was the fact of how well gearboxes and drive shafts matched in length with no problems. Dry fit tests over and over was the key The only mayor fit problem on this model kit was the radiator.

Seemed a bit long and when presented to the model chassis, it wouldn’t let the cabin get to its place. I did a clean cut on the radiator and problem solved. There are a few extra parts marked as optional but the instructions are a bit vague on them so keep the box cover handy if you want to use this parts.

The kits was painted using Model Master Acryl Dark Green 4726 in my AZTEK A470 Airbrush. It was then dry brushed with Tamiya XF-59 Desert Yellow and some XF-52 Flat Earth was airbrushed using the Tan Nozzle on the Aztek airbrush. This is a fun model kit to work with with great potential for scratch building and super detailing. A nice addition to your armor collection either in your showcase or at your office desk.

Yes, I highly recommend this kit!

Airfix 1/76 Scale Scammel Tank Transport

The Scammell Pioneer was an off-road design from the late 1920s, built for the Imperial market where made-up roads were scarce. The combination of a suspension with a lot of movement while maintaining traction and a low-revving diesel engine gave it impressive pulling power on rough ground although at low speeds. Its capabilities and performance matched that needed for military vehicles. The British Army would take the Pioneer for many uses during the war but their first tank transporter based on the Pioneer was a 20-ton capable unit delivered by Scammell in 1932. This led to later 20 and 30-ton tractor/trailer combinations.

The trailer was more-or-less fixed to the tractor and not demountable like modern semi-trailer trucks. Hinged ramps were used to get the tank onto the trailer, which if immobilised could be pulled on with the tractor unit’s winch. Pioneers fitted with tank transporting trailers had a longer chassis for an extended cab to accommodate the tank crew as passengers, and larger rear wheels.

About 500 tractor-trailer units were provided to the British Army and they were effective recovery vehicles. One problem was found when carrying American tanks on British roads. The higher profile of the US tanks meant that on occasions the vehicles could not pass under bridges. This meant that the trailers were undesirable post war and most were scrapped while the tractors were retained for use with other trailers or sold into civilian use.

The Kit

Well, where do I start? The Scammel Tank Transport from Airfix is an oldie but goodie plastic model kit. I does come with little parts to fiddle with so be prepared to use a magnifying glass or some other sort of magnification. This model kit has been in my stash since my long hiatus in wish I started back in 2008 by buying interesting model kits subjects in 1/72 scale. Later on I found the scale a bit small for my taste and eyesight.

The model kit has 107  parts and measures 210mm long x 38mm high. Color call for Humbrol enamel which although my local hobby shop has Humbrol available, I prefer Acrylics like Tamiya and Model Master Acryl any day. As I mentioned before, these kits are nice for a weekend build or just to kick back and relax after a more complicated model kit. The later was the reason why I chose to assemble this kit and it wasn’t without a few bumps. But the final model is not that bad for the bargain price of $7.99 at my local hobby shop.

These molds either are showing their age or since the end product is so inexpensive, maybe the quality control is more flexible. This is just a wild guess, I must admit that Airfix puts a lot of great model kits on the market and that’s the reason why they have been in business for so long.

The kit came molded in tan which some time is dedicated to flash cleaning and deburring for what it seemed to be a misaligned mold. I worked in injection molding eons ago and I know the results of a misaligned mold.  Someone in the packaging department dropped an extra set of decals however one half tire was missing holding slightly my build.

I contacted Airfix’s customer service. Not knowing how long they would take to get back to me, I went to the hobby shop and got another kit just to get the wheel (they are so affordable). To my surprise, the new kit came molded in light gray and I dare to say that the detail and lack of flash was like 60 to 70% better than the first one.

Also to my surprise, in less than 48 hours I’ve got response from Airfix USA notifying that my missing part was already on its way to me. So, Kudos to Airfix USA for their customer service. That’s great, I’ll be building the second one in desert colors.

With the exception of the extra time consumed cleaning flash, I have no complaints on this model kit. I’m letting the pictures speak by themselves. The kit does not include clear parts, you must scratch build them. In this case, I always have a leaf of clear .010 styrene from K&S which works very good in these cases. Get one today (or 2) en enjoy this build.

PS:
The rusty chain came from the craft store as well as the steel cables from the beading section.