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AEC MkII Armoured Car, 1:35 Miniart


Shar2

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AEC Mk.II ARMOURED CAR

MiniArt 1:35

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History
The AEC (Associated Equipment Company), based in Southall, Middlesex was best known for its production of trucks, such as the Matador. Their series of heavy armoured cars built during the Second World War. The prototype was in fact a private enterprise and was demonstrated at Horse Guards Parade in early 1941. Winston Churchill was so impressed with the vehicle that an initial order was placed in June of that year. AEC tried to build an armoured car with firepower and protection comparable to those of contemporary tanks. The first version carried a Valentine Mk II turret with 2 pounder gun. Subsequent versions received more powerful armament - a 6 pounder or a 75 mm gun. The vehicle also carried two machine guns, smoke grenades discharger and No. 19 radio set. The MkII was powered by a 158hp diesel engine giving the vehicle a top speed of 40mph and a range of 210 miles. Due to the large gun fitted in the MkII it was found that a fourth crewmember was required. The MkII weighed in at 11 tons whilst the Mark III with the 75mm gun fitted came in at 12.7 tons.

AEC Mk II and Mk III armoured cars were used in North Africa and throughout continental Europe. Production of all marks of AEC armoured car ceased after 629 had been produced. The Mk II / Mk III took part in the fighting in Europe with British and British Indian Army units. In 1944, a batch of AEC armoured cars were sent to Yugoslavia for use by partisans, where they were used for more than 10 years. Following WWII, the AEC remained in British service until replaced by the Saladin, while the Lebanese army continued to use them until 1976.

The Model
The kit comes in quite a deep, rather plain box, with an artists representation of the armoured car in Yugoslav colours. On opening, it is a little startling to see so many parts on the sprues, which are all contained in one large bag. There are six sprues of grey styrene, an number of which are sub divided, so that if counted separately there are nineteen sprues. Also included are four slide moulded outer tyres which are really nicely done, giving a good representation of the tread without leaving any seam on the outside of the tyre. In addition to the grey styrene there is a single clear styrene sprue, a small sheet of etched brass and a small decal sheet. The A4 portrait instruction booklet is more like a softback book than a set of instructions. The diagrams and exploded views are well drawn and clear, although with the number of parts it’s a good idea to read carefully to understand where each part is positioned. The reason there are so many parts, (531 styrene and 44 photo etched), in this kit is that it comes with a full interior, for the drivers position, engine bay, turret and the revolving turret cage. All the parts are really well moulded, with no sign of flash, but quite a few moulding pips. The sprue gates aren’t too bad overall, but on some of the smaller parts they look like they will need to be cut carefully from the sprue to prevent damage.

Since the kit includes the full interior it is natural that it is here that construction starts. The ammunition storage bins for the centre floor are first of all filled with cartridges. For this each cartridge needs to be cut down so that only the base is fitted to each hole in the bins. The filled bins are then attached to the floor along with a storage box. Next, the fuel, water and oil tanks are assembled and attached to the port side of the vehicle, which has a number of plates and brackets fitted externally. To the starboard side, a couple of electrical boxes are fitted to the inside, whilst the hatch and similar plates as those fitted to the port side are also attached. The rear fighting compartment bulkhead is fitted with what looks like a header tank on the engine bay side and several brackets, clamps, storage boxes are fitted to the fighting compartment side. The two air filters, with their associated pipe joining them together are then attached to the upper part of the bulkhead. Just below the pipe an electrical box is also fitted.

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In the drivers compartment the rather complex seat is assembled out of the squab frame, base and four crossed frames, (allowing the real seat to be raised or lowered). The completed seat frame is then fixed to the compartment floor, along with two levers just to the right of the seat.
The seat squab, backrest and supporting arms are then fitted to the seat frame whilst the steering wheel is assembled to the steering column and the steering gearbox housing, before being fitted to the floor. The drivers compartment, fighting compartment floors and rear bulkhead are then all fitted to the port side. The drivers front bulkhead panel is then attached, and to this the clutch, brake and accelerator pedals are attached. To the left of the drivers seat the clutch pedal rod is attached to the gearstick and steering gearbox housing. Another connecting rod is attached to the outside of the gearstick housing and passes through the step between the drivers and fighting compartments. The starboard side can then be attached.

The chassis rails are then fitted with their respective leaf springs to the front and connected to each other with three crossmembers. An additional crossmember is connected the front member by an L shaped bracket. Also to connecting rods are slid through the front crossmember and into the drivers compartment. The transfer box is then constructed and attached to the bracket between the two front crossmembers. The build moves on to the engine, in this particular model the engine was an AEC 197 6 cylinder 9.65ltr diesel. The engine block is built up of three parts onto which the sump is then attached. Each of the two cylinder heads is fitted with three glowplug connections before being fitted to the engine block. The bell housing and a couple of sundry parts are fitted to the right hand side, whilst to the left, the fuel manifold assembly, fuel pump assembly and exhaust manifold are attached. The auxiliary drive plate is fitted to the front of the engine along with the water pump and thermostat housing. With two universal couplings attached to the gearbox the engine is ready for installing. Before the engine is installed, two electrical motors/generators are attached to a mounting plate, and their connecting boxes fitted to the top of each motor. This assembly is fitted to the starboard side of the engine bay and attached to the engine by an auxiliary drive belt. Ensure that the engine couplings fit cleanly to the transfer box couplings.

On the underside, the three piece exhaust is fitted as are the steering rods at the front and the leaf springs, attachments and anti-roll bars of the rear suspension. The front and rear axles with their transverse boxes are assembled, these are then attached to the leaf springs and joined to the transfer box with drive shafts. The front wheel mounts are then assembled with their brake pistons and brake pads. The ball joints are then slipped in to the slot on the mounts and the whole assembly attached to the axle and connected by the steering rod. Other sundry parts are fitted to the undersides of the leaf spring clamps and the rear brake discs are fitted to the axle and attached to the brake actuator rods. The PE parts that cover the spring clamps will need some very careful folding and bending as their shape is quite complex with detail sketches giving their precise measurements. To the rear the two part radiator housing is fitted to the rear armoured panel, which is then fitted to the armoured car body once the cooling fan has been fitted to the engine. The cooling system is completed by the fitting of two pipes, one from the header tank to the engine and the other from the engine to the radiator. The wheels are assembled next, each with the outer tyre/treaded section into which the inner tyres/hubs are fitted. Onto the inner hubs the brake units are attached and on the outer hubs the centre bosses are fitted. When complete the wheels can be attached to their respective axles.

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With the suspension and wheels now complete it’s on with the upper hull construction. Since there is so much that should be on show with this kit, MiniArt have given the modeller the option of having all the hatches open. Read the instructions carefully as a number of parts are only used with the open option. The large drivers hatch is fitted out with two very well detailed and intricate periscopes complete with grab handles and crash pads. These are fitted to the hatch and, if open, held up with the supporting arms and large springs. The instrument binnacle is fitted to the underside of the upper hull plating. The windscreen that normally lies flat just in front of the hatch is attached to the outside of the hull plating with two hinge brackets and can be posed up or down. The completed upper hull plating is then attached to the rest of the hull. To the rear, the air intake vent is assembled from four styrene and two PE parts and the whole assembly fitted to the rear of the engine bay deck, along with the two engine bay hatches, which again can be posed open if required. Either side of the hull, two large storage box assemblies are fitted, whilst at the front, the large armoured nose panels, which include the wheel arches are fitted out with a selection of brackets, handles, lights and their protective bars. The rear mudguard assemblies are attached to their respective mountings, with the right hand mudguard having a fire extinguisher fitted.

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The last major assembly is that of the turret. Starting with the turret basket floor, onto which the perforated foot step, storage boxes are attached. These are followed by the mounting supports, seats for the commander and gunner, ammunition bins, with the cartridges fitted in the same way as those on the hull floor, and a large bin, which looks like that used for used cartridge cases. The interior and exterior of the turret sides have details added, such as the searchlight, brackets, lifting eyes, viewing ports, which can be posed open or closed, storage boxes, pistol case, brackets for the BREN gun, the BREN gun itself and ammunition for the BESA machine gun. On the turret ring, more ammunition containers for the machine guns, what look like flare pistol cartridges and other storage containers are fitted. The turret training motor is made up of four parts and fitted to the front left quadrant of the turret ring. The mantlet is then constructed out of six parts including the trunnion mounts. To this the BESA machine gun and main gun sight are fitted before the main gun is assembled. This is also quite a complex piece of modelling and consists of the rear of the main gun and recoil tubes, elevation tube and hand wheels, breech, breech block, and firing mechanism. Four periscopes of the same construction as those of the drivers compartment are assembled and fitted to the turret roof, along with more brackets, vents, aerial base externally, whilst internally the flare pistol tube, main radio sets and vent opening actuator are fitted internally. The main assemblies are brought together to build the turret and completed with the addition of the turret basket, main gun barrel, and the hatches for the commander and gunner. Finally the turret assembly is slid into the aperture to sit on the hull turret ring. The last parts to be added being the shackles fore and aft making the model complete.

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Etch
The small etched brass sheet contains items such as drivers and turret hatch latches, radio set guards, air intake plates, and leaf spring mounting bolt protectors. There are also periscope hand holds, various brackets, head lamp guards, and aerial mounting ring. The brass is quite pliable so may not need annealing before trying to bend the parts to shape. Certainly some sort of tooling will be advantageous to have to hand when working on some of the parts.

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Decals
The decal sheet provides markings for four vehicles and are printed by Begermot. The vehicles are from the following:-

• 10th Indian Infantry Division, Italy 1943
• Royal Armoured Corps, unbrigaded unit, Middle East, 1943-1944
• Tank Proving Grounds, Kubinka, USSR, 1944-1945
• 1st Armoured Brigade of Yugoslav Peoples Army, Balkans, 1944-1945.
Some of the markings are quite matt whilst other s are very glossy so a good gloss coats is a must as will setting and softening solutions. It’s not as if the decals look bad, but perhaps not as good as other manufacturers. They appear in register and are suitably opaque with very little carrier film.

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Conclusion
I was pleasantly surprised when I saw this kit announced by MiniArt as I liked its quirky appearance and had built a number of their products I thought it would be great to have in the collection. When I found out that it had a full interior, well, I thought, this could be good. I wasn’t wrong; this is a great kit of a relatively unknown vehicle which did pretty well throughout its career. The details are superb and yet it doesn’t look like it is too over engineered and difficult to put together. The only real problem areas are some of the PE folding requirements are more than a little awkward, but nothing a little care and patience won’t sort out. Painting and weathering the interior will be challenging only in that there is so much detail painting required, but that’s all part of the fun with these types of kit. Highly recommended.

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Review sample courtesy of

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Hells bells, that looks quite superb. Some of the shots of the interior & running gear I found with a bit of googling are quite amazing. Being as this has long been a bit of a favourite, I'd be so tempted by this, bet it'll be spendy though. :(

Steve.

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Well you sure get a lot, thats for sure. think I'll have a look into this then, one of the few 1/35 armour jobs I could fancy. I rather like the Indian ones in Italy. I was interested to see the same scheme on the Yugo ones, must have been passed on from Indian stock?

Steve.

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this could be a nice foil for my Sd.kfz 222 that will be built for the North Africa theatre... might get this to start a move in to allied armour

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I had a look in the box of this one before it went off for review, and it's really rather nice... I had to be brave and let it go :crying:

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Thank you for this review,Dave!

Really nice kit - I confirm, as already have such one in my stash. But idea to cut off 44 shells in 2mm length only doesn't sound vise, - this will be annoying process. Need a jig for this. Also I should warn about tyres tread pattern issue - kit comes with chevron type pattern, but both India and Yugoslavia versions seen on the photos I've found with S-shape tread pattern. Really shame... :weep:

Edited by Maxim_G
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