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Austin 3rd Series Armoured Car (39007) Czechoslovak, Russian, Soviet Service  1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd


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Austin 3rd Series Armoured Car (39007)

Czechoslovak, Russian, Soviet Service 

1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models Ltd

 

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After the start of WWI the Russian Army started to form armoured car units. Due to Russia's limited industrial capacity at the time they looked overseas for vehicles. One delegation was sent to the UK for this. Initially they failed to find a source for the car they wanted with twin machine guns, however Austin designed a new vehicle based on a civilian chassis. Two guns would be mounted in separate turrets towards the rear of the vehicle with a driver and commander up front. The Russians ordered 48 of these first series vehicles. A second order would follow of 60 series 2 vehicles using a light truck chassis. A later order of 60 series 3 cars was to follow. These vehicles were similar in to the 2nd series, but had a modified rear hull with driving post, and gun shields. The large windows were deleted and bullet proof glass fitted to the remaining ones. At the end of the Great War some were returned to the UK and repurposed, but many that were formerly in Russian possession found their way into the inventory of other Eastern European countries, and even the Soviet armed forces after the civil war.

 

 

The Kit

This is a re-boxing of last year’s newly tooled kit, with new parts to accurately portray this mark, and the users.  The kit arrives on 17 grey sprues. a sprue of clear parts, a small fret of Photo-Etch (PE) in a card envelope, a decal sheet and the instruction booklet that has colour profiles inside the front and rear covers.  It’s an Interior kit, so some of the sprues are small, but you get a lot of detail moulded-in, thanks to MiniArt’s diligent designers that make full use of techniques such as slide-moulding, which helps improve detail without creating too many additional parts in achieving this goal.

 

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Construction begins with the ladder chassis, which is built up from two longitudinal rails held apart by various cross-members, some of which have mounting points and pass-throughs for other parts such as drive-shafts for the rear wheels.   The engine has its own bearer rails, and it is built up on the sump with a good number of parts, plus a note of where the high-tension leads should go, which you’ll need to make yourself.  You are officially an “experienced modeller” if you go to those lengths.  The transmission fits to the rear of the rails behind the engine, then they are dropped into the chassis as a unit, and joined by a number of ancillary parts, controls and a chunky radiator.  Exhaust and leaf-spring suspension along with bumper irons are glued to the inverted chassis, and the rest of the driver controls are attached to the topside, even before the cab is started.  The rods that turn control movements into actions are threaded through the chassis rails, or can be replaced by 0.3mm wires of your own stock, with PE tensioning mechanisms supplied if you choose this option.  The big rear axle with drum brakes and the front axle with steering arms are fabricated and attached to their relevant suspension mounts, with more control linkages for the handbrake and steering joining things together.

 

Finally, a some bodywork is attached, initially with the armour at the sides of the engine compartments in preparation for the gluing of the front arches, then each axle gets a wheel at both ends, made up from single-part hubs at the front, and mated double hubs at the rear onto which the tyres are fitted, different tyres are provided for the different cars, so take care here.  Now standing on her own wheels, the floor of the fighting compartment and the crew cab plus the firewall and various small fittings are placed on the top of the chassis, with another insert providing the bases for the two turrets that have pivot-points in the centre for the machine gun mounts.  Various stowage boxes are made up and sat next to the rear steering wheel assembly, which also has a simple seat for getting out of hot water and dead-ends just that little bit easier.  Two more substantial crew seats are attached to the front along with steps at the sides, then the somewhat complex upper hull is built sensibly in a step-by-step fashion that stops the modeller from being over-faced.  Additional rivets are shown being added in various other locations, which you can slice from the flat section of the two Ck sprues.  The crew flap can be posed open to give a wider view of the battlefield for the drivers by using two styles of rods, and when in battle it can be closed down, restricting the driver to a letterbox view of the world. Plenty of scrap diagrams show the correct orientations of all the parts, so there’s little room for error unless you rush at it and don’t plan ahead.  The hull has a number of doors that can be posed open and closed too, with vision flaps for additional situational awareness, and again there is a lot of hand-holding to get things in the right place.  A number of small lights are dotted here & there, all with clear lenses for realism.  Even the radiator has a remotely operated armoured cover, as engines overheating could become troublesome if the flap stays closed too long.  The side-cowlings for the engine compartment can also be posed open or closed, and have small PE straps holding them closed.  With the addition of the rear fenders, the hull/body is lowered over the chassis.

 

Next up we have the twin turrets.  You build up a pair of mounts for the machine guns, including a tractor-style perforated seat for the operator and a large ammo can to feed the gun, which is fitted onto a mount under the gun.  A few more of those slice-off rivets are glued to the top of the turret walls, mainly for detail purposes, as adding moulded-in rivets to a curved part is pretty challenging for moulding. Armoured side plates are fitted to the gun opening  The roof is detailed with latches, searchlights on PE brackets and other small fittings, each one fitted open or closed as you see fit.  There are two identical turrets included, and these drop into the circular cut-outs in the roof of the fighting compartment, held in place by gravity unless you fix them into position with a little glue.

 

 

Markings

There are a generous seven decal options on the smallish decal sheet (these vehicles did not carry a great deal of markings) , with their five-view profiles printed in full colour on the glossy pages of the booklet, and while they all share the same basic colour, there is enough variety created by the unit markings to offer plenty of choice.  From the box you can build one of the following:

 

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  • 2nd Armoured Car Div, Imperial Russian Army, Eastern Front 1917
  • Czechoslovak Legion in Russia, Irkutsk, Dec 1919
  • 4th Armoured Car Div, Volunteer Army, Spring 1919
  • Armoured Car Div, Don Army, Armed Forces of South Russia, Summer 1919
  • 26th Armoured Sqn, Red Army, Summer 1919
  • Red Army, Early 1920s (winter camo)
  • Red Army, Early 1920s (summer camo)

 

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Decals are by MiniArt’s usual partner Decograph, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas.

 

 

Conclusion

This peculiar early armoured car isn’t as familiar as others due to the area of its use, but is still an interesting model in the history of armoured cars.  Detail is exceptional as we’ve come to expect from MiniArt. Highly recommended. 

 

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