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WMIK Land Rover & Snatch Land Rover - 1:48 Airfix


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WMIK Land Rover & Snatch Land Rover

1:48 Airfix


The WMIK is militarised Land Rover, and has been in service with the British Army for what seems like forever in various guises. The WMIK moniker actually refers to the Weapons Mount Installation Kit, which gives the basic chassis teeth, and widens its use in combat situations. It has seen service in Iraq and Afghanistan, where it has been criticised for lacking crew protection, which is perhaps a little unfair, as it was never designed to be used in an IED environment.

The Snatch Land Rover is again based on the civilian Defender 110 with a light armour kit installed (VPK), which was originally designed for operations in Northern Ireland, where it got the nickname from being used in operations to take suspects into custody. The nickname stuck, and even found its way into official references to the vehicle, relegating the official designation of Truck Utility Medium (TUM) redundant.

Military Land Rovers have been somewhat neglected in the modelling world, with only a small number of kits in any scale. These new kits from Airfix in 1:48 are designed to compliment their growing range of modern helicopter kits in that scale, giving modellers plenty of scope for Iraq or Afghanistan themed dioramas. They are also a welcome boost to the 1:48 armour range, which tends to concentrate on the more familiar subjects of WWII.

The kit arrives in a long top opening box in Airfix red, and inside are four sprues of grey styrene, a clear sprue, a set of decals, and a 20 page instruction and painting booklet. All of the sprues except the clear sprue are bagged together, while the decals are loose in the box, and the first thing that strikes you on opening it is that there are quite a lot of parts for these two small (in this scale) kits. Detail seems good, although the backsides of some parts look a little agricultural, but that's probably because they won't be seen once the build is complete.






Construction is broken down by vehicle, with the Snatch first to be built. A basic engine is included, but it's a little chunky in places, with the more detailed top section added later, presumably for clearance of the wing portions. A little careful painting and detailing work would be needed if you're planning on posing the bonnet/hood open. The engine fixes to the one-piece ladder chassis, and the running gear is built up onto that, starting with axles and suspension, drive-shafts and anti-roll bars. Detail here is quite nice for the scale, and includes some nicely moulded, if a little chunky, coil springs on each corner. The wheels are installed next, and have a separate inner hub, with a key moulded in to ensure correct orientation. The seam is relegated to the inner face of the tyre, and the attachment of the axle is also keyed, which takes all the work out of aligning the slight flat on the tyres with the ground. The tread on the tyres is well done for the scale, although a more accurate block pattern is sure to be forthcoming from the aftermarket providers. They should be suitable for most people's tastes out of the box however, and once weathered it's moot whether the detail will be seen anyway.

The floor pan is next, with the fuel tank and towing hitch added to the underside. The interior floor has moulded in ribbing which is nicely done, and a few ejector pin marks are confined to the raised "arch" area, which receives a quartet of crew seats later in the build to hide them. In the forward part of the floor, the driver's hand-brake is installed and his pedal box fixed to the forward bulkhead along with the dashboard, which also has a decal for the instrument panel. Of course, it's all right-hand driver, as this is Her Majesty's Armed Forces! The front bulkhead has the windscreen and a raised cable-cutter moulded in, which will be very easy to knock off during construction, so take care here. The gear-stick, stowage bin and crew seats are installed next, with the seats able to be positioned anywhere along their installation slots to give the impression of different driver and passenger heights/driving positions. The bulkhead between forward and aft compartments is festooned with equipment/stowage, and will need a little fettling to remove the flash that is present on the finer parts. The rear crew seats affix over the aforementioned ejector pin marks, and a roll-over hoop is glued to the rear of the vehicle floor.

The outer body consists of a number of slabs, broken down in a similar way to the real thing. The sides include the curved transition to the roof panel, which is installed at the same time, and extends to cover the driver's cab. A large ventilation panel (I hesitate to say sun-roof) installs next, and can be left loose to slide back and forth to add a little visual interest. This can be replaced by an armoured glass "emplacement", although this isn't entirely clear until later in the build. The thick rear panels install to the bodywork leaving space for the doors to be added later, and a few additional parts are added to complete the main build of the rear body. Attention then turns to the engine compartment with the installation of the wings, which are each provided with separate arch extensions, while the starboard part also has the various fluid containers added. Only after the wings are attached is the top portion of the engine installed, and here detail is better than the cylinder block itself, which is good because of its prominent position. The grille is made up from two parts, with the radiator at the rear, and lights added later in the build. The bonnet/hood attaches to the engine compartment by two lugs that allow it to be posed open or closed, with a stay included for just such purposes. An optional deep water wading snorkel can be attached to the starboard wing, or the opening blocked with a cover part that is also supplied. The windscreen is made up from one clear part, so will need to be installed before painting to ensure continuous cover of the moulded in framing. A set of windscreen wipers is supplied, and a fold-down clear part is supplied for the windscreen protector, which can be posed in either position, and has mesh decals that can be applied later.

Moving back to the rear of the vehicle, the light clusters are done in an interesting way, which should prove effective. The lights are moulded into the body, and should be painted before installation of the hollow glazing parts, which should give a good impression of the real thing. The armoured glass rear panels fit into the cut-outs in the rear panel, and the two heavy doors can be fitted open or closed by using different parts that have suitably positioned hinges. The side doors are done in the same way, having different parts fitted if the doors are to be open. Headlights, spare tyre, wing mirrors and sensor fit finished the build, although a Gimpy light machine gun can be posed on the open roof emplacement.

Painting and decal instruction follow straight after the pages dealing with construction, giving a general sand-coloured vehicle with optional "greater than" Allied markings, and a host of wire-mesh decals for the windows, light clusters etc. These will only be effective if applied to a perfect gloss finish, as any silvering will ruin the effect, so take care at this stage.


The WMIK is a different beast altogether, although a lot of the chassis parts are identical and the build follows a similar pattern until the crew compartment floor is added. Instead of ribbed steel, it has an armoured base, bolted to the original panels for crew protection. Another angled armour panel affixes to the underside of the chassis, directing blast away from the interior in the event of an IED strike. The cab is first up with this build, with a more cluttered look to both the dashboard and the interior. The front bulkhead has no windscreen, but does have a pair of wing mirrors built in, which again would be easy to knock off. The majority of the upper bodywork is made up from tube steel, and doors are foregone in favour of a cross-brace of steel that is low enough to leap over. The rear compartment has cut-down sides topped with more steel-work, with a pair of tubular all-terrain seats for the gunners/crew and a pair of steps to the rear that can be used as additional crew seats. On top of the steel-work sits the turret ring, to which more support is added fore and aft, with the driver/co-driver seat brackets added to the front ready for the two contoured seats to be installed. The steering wheel, crew weapons and front roll-bar are then added, with the same wing and engine installation as the Snatch.

The sides of the main crew compartment are optionally covered with an armoured panel, as is the driver's position from above. The bonnet attaches in the same way as before, and then the ring mounted .50cal crew-served weapon attaches to the turret ring. Additional equipment and sensors/aerials affix to the wings, and a pair of armoured cut-down doors cover the front doors, with a pintle-mounted Gimpy overhanging the co-driver's door. On the driver's side the wading snorkel is attached, and the spare wheel is mounted on the port side, along with some PSP planking for un-ditching the vehicle if it gets stuck in the desert. To the rear is an optional clear window, presumably to cut down on wind buffeting, and a large open stowage bin, which presumably hinges to admit the crew.

Painting and decaling is ostensively the same as the Snatch, with just the addition of a sky blue call-out for the Gimpy's ammo box. Decals are in good register, have good colour density and appear to be nicely printed. There is no printer's name on the sheet, but it looks typical of Cartograf quality.


A nice pair of vehicles to pose with the forthcoming Merlin kit in the same scale, but some aspects have been moulded quite chunky through necessity of the moulding process and will benefit from replacing. A couple of crew figures would have been nice, as the new Infantry Patrol set that accompanies these kits doesn't have any suitable figures to fit the job.

These vehicles, especially the Snatch, are often decked out with Barracuda camo material, which has a 3D look to it, which always reminds this modeller of Pringles scattered on a sheet. This isn't included with the kit, but it shouldn't be long before an enterprising aftermarket provider creates either resin replacement panels, or a sheet that does the job.



Review sample courtesy of


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Thanks for the review mike, they both look great. I hope airfix releases a version of these in 1/35 scale in the future.

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According to the Airfix web site, crew figures will be available separately for both these and the other two vehicals that are coming out.

And yes thay are cracking little kits. I hope they will do well and that Airfix expand in this area.

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I've been associated with buying and supporting these vehicles and/or their weapons for the past 4 years or so, so I was very keen to get hold of the 4 new Airfix kits of WMIK, Snatch, Jackal & Coyote. The Accurate Armour versions in 1/35 would be nice, but I can't justify spending nearly £400 on 4 models. I'm glad I got the WMIK + Snatch set cheaply, because I'm mightily disappointed. Airfix chose some years ago to have their kits produced in China, from where some of the finest plastic kits around today now come. Sadly, these offerings set the clock back years in terms of detail and moulding quality. They are in no way comparable to Tamiya or AFV Club offerings in this scale, and I don't think they're really even up to the standards of the old Bandai 1/48 kits of 40 years ago! I'm very, very disappointed and will be waiting to see what the after-market guys come up with before I start a build. The tyres have no attempt at proper tread pattern, although good marks are due for the separate bulged tyre idea. The entire top hamper of the WMIK needs to be binned and replaced as it's over-scale and under-detailed with too many mould lines to eradicate. Likewise the internal detail for the rear of the Snatch: just what are those boxes on the internal roll cage supposed to be? The mounted weapons and their mounts are laughable as are the confused personal weapons. There are heavy mould lines all over the place - some so heavy they almost qualify as flash - and some proper flash. Cleanup of some parts such as the front wings and most small details will be very hard work. Surface detail is generally very flat and soft. Aifix have correctly spotted that later WMIKs have different axles to the Snatch and other Landies. Not sure what variants the kits are supposed to be. I think the WMIK is supposed to be an R+ and the Snatch a Vixen+, but it is hard to tell. The WMIK certainly has the later rear body floor with angled panels, which means it can't be used to depict an Iraq or Balkans vehicle without a lot of backdating. Fortunately there are plenty of reference pics on the internet, but few of them match the Airfix WMIK configuration. Overall, very much a let-down for me. I hope the Jackal and Coyote will be better and I pray that the inevitable after-market parts will be reasonably priced or I might as well buy the excellent AA offerings in the larger scale ............... The Jackal will presumably be a 2 for tooling commonality with the Coyote, so will not be appropriate for Iraq. I believe all Jackal 1's are now withdrawn from Afghanistan in favour of 2's and 2A's.

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These do look good, I feel an RAF Police Snatch and a RAF Regt green WMIK coming on!

It's a shame they have just released these and not other 110 variants. A GS Wolf heli support version (as used by ground crew) would look so much better parked next to a Merlin for a truly modern Afghan dio.

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