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Mike

Renault UE 2 Universal Carrier with Transport Trolley

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Renault UE 2 Universal Carrier with Transport Trolley

1:35 Mirage Hobby

 

boxtop.jpg

 

The diminutive Renault Universal Carrier was in service with the French army long before the war, but authorities were unhappy with its performance and spent a long period looking for its replacement.  Renault had the ear of the government, and was able to shoe-horn a revision to the design into the existing production line that resulted in the UE 2 that was superior enough to its predecessor to be accepted into service. With high production levels from numerous factories the number in service soon increased above 2,000, and after capitulation the Germans saw them as a useful tool to add to their arsenal.

 

Many were overhauled and re-engineered to perform different tasks, even to the extent that one variant mounted a number of rocket-propelled missiles.  It saw extensive service with both the French and German forces during WWII but few survived to find their way into museums.

 

The Kit

This is a new tooling from Mirage Hobby, although they already have a UE and a few other tankettes in their range at time of writing.  It is an injection moulded model that arrives in a small top opening box, with five sprues in grey styrene, although one has only a few parts on it.  A set of "rubber-band" tracks, decal sheet, instruction booklet in black & white, with a glossy colour painting guide to round out the package.

 

sprue1.jpg

 

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sprue3.jpg

 

tracks.jpg

 

The kit is of traditional injection moulding, and as such there is no use of fancy techniques, but the detail is still good for the size of the subject, with a set of link-and-length tracks for the tractor, and a pair of rubberised plastic tracks in black for the trailer that it tows around.  Construction starts with the bogeys for the tank, which has three pairs of wheels between two large panels with an idler wheel to the rear.  These completed assemblies are then added to the hull, which is built up from four panels, with no interior details.  The exterior is detailed up once built with additional panels, fenders and the rear assembly to which the large towing hook is added.  Exhaust with shroud, pioneer tools and stowage boxes are glued to the hull, while two return rollers fit into turrets on the sides, with the drive sprockets attached to the front sides.

 

There is little mention of the tracks in the instructions, but there is a diagram at the top showing the tracks from the side, showing lengths and numbers around the run.  This corresponds with the number of links per run on the sprues, although there is no English writing in the vicinity to confirm the rumour.

 

The armoured cowlings around the drivers' heads can be posed open or closed, although as there are no crew, which is a slight shame.  The rear stowage box that fits over the engine deck is made up from individual panels with moulded in strengthening bars on the outer sides.  There are some substantial ejector pin marks on the inner faces, but as they are raised, they should be the work of moments to remove.  There are a few more ejector pin marks around the model, but most are hidden once complete, or can be removed with a little care.  Taking a round burr to the insides of the crew blisters will soon remove the ones found in that area, with little effort.

 

The trailer is also build up from panels, with a small A-frame at the front, and two-wheel wheel bogeys pivoting around a single axle that is suspended from the frame by leaf springs.  It is finished off by a pair of fenders, and of course the rubber tracks.

 

 

Markings

Any colour you like as long as it's green, but you get decals for three vehicles as follows:

 

  • M31 520 from unidentified French unit late Autumn 1939
  • M15 063 1st Polish Grenadier Division, June 1940
  • M62 738 Unidentified French unit June 1940

 

decals.jpg

 

The decals are well-printed in-house, with good registration, clarity and sharpness.  Each white number plate decal has a black background to improve the look, although there are a few more number plate backs than strictly needed.

 

 

Conclusion

A lovely little model that will build up quickly into an interesting and lesser modelled French armoured car from the early war.  Don't worry about the flexible tracks, as they are able to be glued as normal, and individual track links would have been a total nightmare due to the size!

 

Highly recommended.

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Review sample courtesy

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The box art isn't superb, but as most of us throw it away in the end, I wouldn't let it bother you ;)

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Cheers Mike,

 

I have several of their AFV's in the stash and may have to add a couple of these!

 

I like the challenge they present:blink:

 

Christian, a strange person exiled to africa

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Well kind of, I've got four 1/35 kits in total; the Char B1 (I've almost finished it now), the UE and a couple of Objekt 279.....Compared to my 1/72 collection I'd call that a passing whim TBH!  ;) 

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