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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.

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.

George Collazo
George Collazo

George has been hosting review sites and blogging about toy collectibles, travel, digital photography and Nikon digital imaging since 1998. His first model kit build was a Testors 1/35 DODGE WC-54 in 1984.