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AEC Matador. 1:35


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AEC Matador

AFV Club 1:35


The AEC Matador was an artillery tractor built by the Associated Equipment Company for British and Commonwealth forces during the Second World War. The Matador was distinctive with its flat fronted cab with gently curved roof, wheels at the corners and a flat load carrying area covered by a canvas or tarpaulin tilt. The cab was made from ash and clad in steel. It was equipped with a winch (7-ton load in its case) like all artillery tractors.

About 9,000 Matadors were built, some going to the Royal Air Force (RAF). For the British Army it fulfilled a role between field artillery tractors (FATs) such as the Morris C8 Quad, which towed smaller guns such as the 25-pounder gun-howitzer, and the Scammell Pioneer, used for towing the 7.2-inch howitzer. It was commonly used to tow the 5.5-inch medium gun and the QF 3.7-inch AA gun. The Matador was found to be a generally useful vehicle and was adapted for other roles including carrying a 25-pounder gun.The Canadian Army also used the Matador during the Second World War.

The RAF used Matadors in the flat bed form for load carrying. The 6-wheeler Matador Type A was used as a refueling tanker, capable of carrying 2,500 Imperial gallons of fuel and also for towing ashore Short Sunderland flying boats at their stations.

In 1942/43 for the North African campaign some Matadors mounted the 6-pounder anti-tank gun to give the AEC Mk1 Gun Carrier "Deacon".

Post war the Matador was found in civilian use as a recovery truck, a showman’s vehicle, and general contractor use. It was also useful for forestry work because of its good off-road performance for which some examples are still in use today.

The Model
This kit has been out for a little while now but is no less welcome here, and comes in the rather stark looking box that AFV Club have become known for, with an artistic impression of the vehicle on the front. Inside there are twelve sprues of dark yellow/caramel coloured styrene, two of clear, a small etched brass fret, a small decal sheet and a length of plastic wire. The moulding of the parts is very clean, with no sign of flash or other imperfections, but with quite a lot of moulding pips, particularly on the small parts, of which there are plenty, and will require some care when removing and cleaning up. The instructions aren’t the clearest I’ve seen and since there are quite a few parts this is a case where you definitely need to read them first and work out exactly what goes where.





As with most truck kits, the build begins with the engine, only fortunately this kit only comes with the lower sump area to which the eleven piece gearbox is attached. Before work can begin on the chassis, the winch is built up. This consists of a two piece drum, to which the plastic wire is wound. To the drum the six piece motor is attached. The two chassis rails are then joined together by six crossbeams, the engine/gearbox, and the winch. To the rear of the chassis the three suspension arms are attached, each arm made up of three to five pieces. Three cable wheels are assembled from upper and lower hubs and attached to the rear cross-member followed by two cable rollers, one at the winch and one two thirds along the chassis. At the rear, a third roller is fitted and the winch cable threaded through this and the cable wheels, and then terminated with a hook. The air cylinder is assembled from seven parts including the accumulator bulb. This is mounted on the left hand chassis rail, whilst on the right hand rail the five piece fuel tank is fitted with its two cradles. The four leaf spring assemblies are glued into position, along with the front and rear compression springs onto which the two hooks are fitted.





Still with the chassis, the rear differentials is assembled from four parts, if you include the universal joint, and fitted to the rear leaf springs. The front differential is slightly more complicated as it includes the two drive shafts, slid through the two ball joints before being attached to the front leaf springs. Along with the anti roll links and steering rack. The transfer case is made up of three parts to which the front and rear universal joints attached, then fitted to the centre of the chassis. The front and rear differentials are then joined to the transfer box by two driveshafts. The exhaust is fitted next and is made up of a two part silencer with the long pipe leading to the engine and the short pipe angled into the chassis. Each of the four wheels are built up from the single piece hub, onto which the rubber tyre is fitted, followed by a three piece brake drum for the rears and a two piece drum for the fronts. The wheels are finished off with the fitting of the hub centre. The chassis is finished off with the fitting of the two piece headlights to the front of the two rails, for which the modeller can chose whether to fit the clear lens of the styrene hood.





Moving onto the truck bed, the large moulded bed section is fitted on the underside with five cross-beams, each of which is fitted with four strengthening “L” shaped channels. Keeping to the underside, the pioneer toold are attached, along with the end beam and two angled plated at the rear. The side panels are each fitted with a footstep, grab handle, and eighteen tilt brackets. The spare wheel is also assembled at this point, and consists of the rubber tyre plus the single piece rim. Three storage boxes, each of two parts are also fitted to the underside of the bed, along with the Jerry can rack, which is made up of six parts, and loaded with two, five part cans. The rear wheelarches are also attached to the underside, aqlong with their associated support brackets and mudguards. Turning the bed over the two side panels are attached, with the right hand panel fitted with the spare wheel. Each of the two batteries are made up from two parts, joined together by the battery cables and fitted in the forward bench mount. Whilst this is a nice touch and could be useful for a diorama scenario, once the associated benh seat fitted, the batteries cannot be seen at all. They could be left out and put in the spares box as I’m sure they will come in useful one day. The bench seat are each made up of the frame, which includes the backrests and two part seat. There are two outrigger seats that can be attached to the main seats or folded out of the way and are made up in the same fashion as the main seats. The rear flap of the bed is fitted with two lengths of cable, (made from the plastic wire provided), which are kept to the board by three straps. The single piece front board is moulded with a window opening, for which a rolled up screen is fitted. The tilt roof is then fitted with twelve vertical stays. The right hand middle stays are then fitted with the rifle rack, made up of the beam and ten eyes. AFV Club have been quite clever with the tilt, in that you can either have the individual side flaps depicted rolled up or lowered, complete with clear “windows” on the mid, and front flaps. This is put to one side to dry properly as we move onto the cab assembly.





The cab assembly begins with the interior floor, which includes the engine covers. To this, the brake, clutch and accelerator pedals and fitted, along with the steering column, steering wheel, hand brake and gear column. The drivers seat is then made up from the under seat storage box, seat base, two piece frame, squab base and squab, it even comes with a small handle to raise or lower the seat, well, it would if it was real. With the seat in position, there are a number of fittings attached to the rear bulkhead, along with an electrical box, winch controls and sliding doors for the rear window. The co-drivers seat is much simpler and consists of a base that’s shaped to fit over the wheelarch, and seat pad. Under this seat is a large air filter unit. The underside of the cab floor is then fitted with the two wheelarches and their associated support brackets. The interior of the cab front is fitted with the instrument binnacle, door support brackets, and electrical coil like unit. The quaterlights are then fitted, along with the optionally positioned front air vents. The two windscreen panels are also optionally positioned, either r open or closed and have support arms for use when opened. Each panel is also fitted with a windscreen wiper motor on the inside and the associated windscreen wipers on the outside. The cab front, (ensure you use the right one as there are two in the kit, each for different build periods), is then attached to the main cab assembly and finished off with the roof. The radiator front is then attached to the front and detailed with PE grilles and a filler cap. The sidelights and indicators are then fitted each side of the cab, whilst here is a platform with two supports fitted to the right hand side front. Each door is assembled from one styrene and one clear part, with an optional clear part if the model is to be displayed with the side windows lowered. The doors are then fitted to the cab, either opened or closed, with the cab finished off with the two wing mirrors. The cab and tilt assemblies are then attached to the chassis assembly completing the build.

The small decal sheet has markings for four vehicles, three in various variants of khaki and dark earth camouflage and one in Luftwaffe use in a German Grey scheme. The decals include stencils for around the vehicle as well as unit markings for 79th (The Scottish Horse) Medium Regiment, Scotland May 1941, and one from an unknown unit from 1940.


It’s great to see a kit of this vehicle in production, alongside it’s mid-production brother kit. As is their want, AFV Clubs tuck kits are really well detailed and quite complex to build, but with a little effort and concentration they can turn out to be stunning models. All we need now is for someone to release a nice 5.5” gun to go with it, or a conversion set for the Deacon 6 Pounder vehicle. Very highly recommended.

Review sample courtesy of
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