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Heather Kay

RAF Mechanical Transport Fleet

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My main modelling interest is 1940. As I've discussed elsewhere, what started as just an interest in operational aircraft on all sides during the Battle of Britain has spread to cover the whole of 1940 and all the aircraft that flew operationally in western and northern Europe during that time. 

 

Photographing individual model planes is all well and good, but I always have an eye on potential dioramas and photo "set dressing". Like the aircraft modelling, it's getting a bit out of hand, and the nerd in me is always trying to pin down accurate and correct vehicles for the period I model. Hence the growing RAF MT fleet. Incidentally, MT stands for Mechanical Transport, not just Motor Transport. The RAF MT section included all kinds of self-propelled vehicles, including railway locos and stock, not just things with internal combustion engines. Pedant mode off! :winkgrin:

 

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Refuelling and Maintenance by Heather Kavanagh, on Flickr

 

No airfield would be complete without refuelling vehicles. Fordson tractors were commonplace on RAF and FAA airfields throughout the 1930s and into the 1960s. I've got two Fordson N tractors, built from Flightpath kits, one of which I've added a cabin to. At the back, one tractor is hauling a Flightpath towed fuel bowser, followed up by a Matador Models Albion AM463 refueller. I wish Airfix would give us a 1/72nd kit, as they've already done it at 1/48th! A couple of Airfix Brockway towed bowsers, one for oil and one for fuel, with the top manifold hoses and connectors added. The Bedford MWC is pretty much OOB Airfix. It was left over in the box and looked lonely. 

 

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General Service by Heather Kavanagh, on Flickr

 

The RAF, like most branches of the military, used all kinds of general service vehicles. Moving a squadron from one location to another could involve anything up to fifty vehicles of various sorts, some of which would have been "borrowed" from a central pool, but most of which would have been already available. A pair of CMC resin and cast metal Austin K3 3-tonners show typical workshop and GS bodies. An Airfix Bedford MWD is accompanied by an Airfix Standard Tilly. I made a tilt frame from brass wire, just for a change, and decided to paint it in the pre-War RAF blue-grey. Airfield vehicles only really got overall dark green, then dark earth disruptive patterns, during 1940 as hostilities increased. Trucks and refuellers that were likely to be caught out in the open were usually the first to be camouflaged, but it wouldn't have been unusual to find an odd vehicle still in pre-war livery. The Austin Forlite is an Ace kit, which is sold as a British Army staff car. I painted it as a civvy car, probably owned by one of the squadron pilots.

 

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Crash Crew by Heather Kavanagh, on Flickr

 

Finding accurate kits to represent the typical RAF crash and emergency vehicles has been a labour of love. From the left, a Crossley IGL FE1 6x4 3-ton crash tender, Crossley FWD 4x4 crash tender, Standard Light Ambulance and Austin K3 3-tonner 4x2 fire tender. The Crossley FWD is an MMS cast metal kit, and technically a little late for my period. Happily, it contained some spare castings that have found their way into the FE1. This is a proper "bitsa" kit-bash, using a resin bonnet, front wings and wheels from some obscure resin Crossley IGL kit, married to an Airfix Austin K6 Emergency Set chassis and running gear, and various bits and pieces cobbled together. It's a little tall, mainly due to the size of the tank on the rear, but it looks enough like a proper airfield Crossley to suit me until I find a kit to replace it. The ambulance is a scratch-built body, using the old Gerald Scarborough plans, on the Airfix Standard chassis and scuttle. At the end, the Austin, another CMC resin and metal kit, represents the typical wartime fire tender that would have been found on larger established airfields to deal with incidents on the technical site, accommodation areas and even outside the airfield boundaries if they were the closest fire service available for civilian incidents.

 

I have several more odd kits to put together to give me some more typical early war vehicles, which I will add here if I get round to them soon. I really ought to start researching properly into the vehicles found on Luftwaffe airfields in occupied France. 

 

Thanks for looking!

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Excellent collection of models Heather, and a really informative post to go with them - great stuff!

 

Keith

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Thanks all! 👍

 

I find, as I get older, I am much less inclined to add tiddly details like wipers and mirrors to these models. I built the Austin fire tender years ago, and it has tiny etched wipers fitted. I can barely even see them any more! 

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4 hours ago, Heather Kay said:

Thanks all! 👍

 

I find, as I get older, I am much less inclined to add tiddly details like wipers and mirrors to these models. I built the Austin fire tender years ago, and it has tiny etched wipers fitted. I can barely even see them any more! 

really good! Where are the bomb trolleys?:giggle:

 

Selwyn

Edited by Selwyn

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A pair of bomb trolleys is in a tub, waiting for about a dozen more to join them to make a sensible diorama option. :wink:

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Being of the same mind set, ie, producing vehicles for a set period, I very much like your collection.

I have only just realised that 'my' station had the Crossley tender so I am in need of one of those.

Thankfully Oxford are going to release the Ford WOT crash tender, it will need a repaint, so that will suit me fine.

 

I'm all for conversions to get the vehicles I want !

Looking forward to seeing more of your efforts and collection Heather

 

Ian

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The Fordson WOT tender would be acceptable, but like the Crossley FWD it’s a teensy bit new fangled for my chosen period. I hadn’t spotted Oxford were doing one. Might keep an eye out for one just because.

Edited by Heather Kay

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That's a very impressive collection of RAF vehicles you've put together.

They're all nicely built and beautifully finished.

I'm particularly grateful to you for including the sourcing of your vehicles.

I can't wait to see more.

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7 hours ago, cngaero said:

That's a very impressive collection of RAF vehicles you've put together.

Thanks Chris! In the past, I’ve always found it a bit disappointing that airfield dioramas are spoilt by incorrect or out-of-period vehicles. It’s become something of an obsession for me to try and get it as right as I can.

 

most of the fleet has just been through the workshop having colour revisions done. They all need a bit more weathering.

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1 hour ago, Heather Kay said:

Thanks Chris! In the past, I’ve always found it a bit disappointing that airfield dioramas are spoilt by incorrect or out-of-period vehicles. It’s become something of an obsession for me to try and get it as right as I can.

 

most of the fleet has just been through the workshop having colour revisions done. They all need a bit more weathering.

Weathered or unweathered, they're still great.

I fully agree with you about the apparent oversight in period vehicles used by the RAF by kit manufacturers. It's such a shame, as they really do add something to a display or diorama.

How about doing a WIP with some of your scratch built/converted vehicles? I'm sure it would be popular here. I've got my armchair ready!!!!

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Heather

Just to show you are not alone . . . 

The period I am looking at is late 1943

42295951431_30eb4cb113_z.jpg

 

I too built the Austin Forlite, I have to say not the best kit I ever built but it turned out OK.

 

I knew several WAAF drivers who told me that vehicles were kept fairly clean as it was part of their duties to ensure such !

 

Ian

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1 hour ago, cngaero said:

How about doing a WIP with some of your scratch built/converted vehicles? I'm sure it would be popular here. I've got my armchair ready!!!!

I'll see what I can dig up later. I did do some progress shots during the Tilly conversion, as well as constructing the Crossley FE1.

 

As for weathering, I try to follow what I see in photos of the period. Dust and dirt around the wheels and underneath is about the limit, as Ian points out most vehicles were looked after pretty well.

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This all is very nice and interesting.

I had made most of these kits too.

Unfortunately, Cooper Craft kits for trailers are no longer available.

 

Here is an early easy conversion I made:

 

AEC Matador crane

 

modelldoc

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On 5/22/2018 at 4:15 PM, Heather Kay said:

The Fordson WOT tender would be acceptable, but like the Crossley FWD it’s a teensy bit new fangled for my chosen period. I hadn’t spotted Oxford were doing one. Might keep an eye out for one just because.

Here is the annoucement:

 

https://www.oxforddiecast.co.uk/products/ford-wot1-crash-tender-mickey-mouse-scampton-76wot001

 

modelldoc

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Superb collection of braille scale soft skins.

 

John.

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Someone above mentioned the Ace Austin Forlite.  Ace also do a Humber Heavy Utility, an Austin Tilly, and an open tourer (Austin?).  Their Gaz pickup and saloon might be convert-able to a Ford or similar: IIRC they were originally licence-built (US) Fords.  There's a big US staff car (Ford again?) that could be used as a visiting USAAC vehicle.  Likewise, Citroen 11CVs were seen in this country as civvy cars.  Their Opels and Fiat look interesting, but I don't know if they could be converted to anything likely to be seen in UK.  The chassis and bodies of their Renault trucks might be useable for conversions, but they do have the continental-style "spider" wheels.

 

Don't forget the IBG Bedford QLs and CMPs, the latter becoming increasingly common later in the war.  They do the Army Fire Service QL tender, but I don't think RAF used that.  I don't think their little Fiats are much use, but might be convert-able to something else.

 

PST do a couple of Studebakers and US Fords that might work as Lend-Lease, including a couple of artics.  The Fords might be convert-able to something more UK-specific: I think they're a Model 6 and a GT8.  But again, chassis and bodies might be useful.

 

Try these guys in Kiev for the Eastern European stuff mentioned above.  I've used them many times and found them very reliable.  https://www.hobby.dn.ua/

 

Check prices in local currency (UAH) as they're usually cheaper than Euros by perhaps 10%.  But you can't pay by PayPal in that currency.  Your card provider will charge you £3 or so currency fee.  And you may have to pay VAT on import.  I've been lucky so far that nothing from here has been picked up for VAT.  I'm about to spent almost £400 with them, so I hope HMRC don't take an interest!  But even allowing for import VAT, the things I want are still far cheaper than buying in the UK or elsewhere in Europe - even Poland.


 

 

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Thanks for all that info. Useful stuff. The Ace range has a few vehicles I may well acquire for my Luftwaffe airfield vehicles. After Dunkirk, a lot of abandoned ex-British Army and RAF vehicles were impressed by the German forces, so I could easily get away with the Austin Tourer and a Citroen.

 

The Bedford Q series is modern as far as I'm concerned. It seems that by 1941, UK military vehicle production really got into its swing with a load of new types appearing. I think Lend-Lease was mainly aircraft and ships during 1940.

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No Lend Lease in 1940 - everything was paid for, if sometimes by taking over French contracts.  Indeed mainly aircraft, although there were a batch of clapped out US destroyers.  There were quite a lot of orders for US softskins, particularly Chevvy and Ford trucks, but they were largely sent to Africa and the Middle East where they were more immediately needed.

 

PS  the previous issue of Classic Military Vehicles had a fine collection of photos showing a convoy of an RAF Photographic unit - actually rather later but I suspect that most of the vehicles are appropriate for a late 1940 scenario.

 

PPS add the missing word "desert"

Edited by Graham Boak

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Very nice display of vehicles Heather. I have been watching the Do-17P thread and just discovered this one. Also very impressed with your website the the railway models. I dabbled once and indeed have a half finished DJH 9F. I'll post a pic when I can find it!

 

Cheers

 

Terry

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Thanks Terry. I hope to make some progress on the Do17 this weekend.

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