Jump to content

Leyland Retriever General Service – Early (35602) 1:35


Recommended Posts

Leyland Retriever General Service – Early (35602)

1:35 ICM via Hannants




The British Army remembered the usefulness of mechanising transport that it learned from WWI, so when war became likely British companies such as Leyland were tasked with creating a modern truck chassis to be used in the forthcoming conflict.  The Retriever was a six-wheeler chassis that could be outfitted with truck bodies, cranes, or even command wagon bodies such as that used by Monty during his campaigns in Europe and the Middle East, which now resides in the Imperial War Museum.  It was a flexible type, and thanks to its 6-litre, 4-cylinder petrol engine outputting over 70hp, it could carry a healthy 3 tonne load almost 200 miles before refuelling.  Around 6,500 were made in total before the end of WWII, and many were put to good use after their military service in civilian use.


The Kit

This is a brand-new tooling from ICM, and the first of a series of kits using the same chassis, which already includes the later General Service (GS) cargo body that will be with us soon.  This is the Early type GS Cargo, and arrives in ICM’s usual top opening box with captive inner lid.  Inside are seven sprues in grey styrene, a small clear sprue, seven flexible plastic tyres, a postage-sized fret of Photo-Etch (PE) and a similarly small decal sheet that is found within the glossy instruction booklet with colour painting guide on the rear pages.  Detail is crisp, and slide-moulds have been used to add detail to the chassis rails, with the steering wheel having a delightfully crisp set of finger grips on the inside of its circumference.














Construction begins with the ladder chassis, adding cross-rails, front suspension and the mounting point for the powered double rear axle, after which the Leyland engine is made up from a substantial number of parts along with the four-speed (and reverse) transmission and ancillaries.  With the block mounted between the chassis rails at the front, the exhaust downpipe and muffler are installed from below, with a scrap diagram showing the location of the downpipe once in place.  The rear axles are mounted either end of a pair of large leaf-springs that pivot around the centre, and these are joined to the motor with drive-shafts as they are slotted into the springs from above, then a number of linkages are inserted in two stages to complete the bogie.  The front wheels are free-wheeling, and have brake drums at either end of the steering rack, which is then joined to the underside of the front springs and again linked to the chassis and steering wheel by rods.  The rear hubs have their brake drums added to the backs of them before they have their well-moulded tyres slipped over the rim, while the front wheels have a flat back that joins to the drums already on the axle.  Finally, the spare is fitted onto a two-part hub and fixed to a bracket with a turnbuckle holding it in place, then it is further attached to a larger set of bracketry for stowing between the cab and load bed.


The cab starts with the firewall to which the instrument binnacle is added on the right (correct) side, then the floor halves are installed, with the driver’s controls attached to the right hand footwell.  The delicately moulded steering wheel and column with brace are slid in through the small hole in the footwell, and the engine cover is constructed from a fixed central section and two L-shaped inspection panels that allow maintenance without removing the whole cab.  What initially looks like a pair of stowage boxes at the rear of the cab are in fact the crew seats, which have short back “rests” on the rear bulkhead that is joined by a pair of short sidewalls.  A pair of mudguards are attached underneath the floor, then the lower cab is glued to the chassis over the engine compartment, with the radiator assembled from styrene with a PE grille and a pair of PE name badges top and bottom.  With the chassis flipped over, the outlet for the exhaust is slipped through a bracket and joined to the back of the muffler, then it’s time to make up the fuel tank, which has separate end caps, and twin mounting brackets that allow it to fit onto the space between the cab and load area alongside the spare wheel.


This kit is the cargo version and has a flatbed built up with low sides, bench seats and loading gate at the rear.  Underneath the bed are two longitudinal beams with cross-braces slotting into the engraved grooves along its length.  To each outer side of the beams are stowage boxes and diagonal mudguards, after which the sub-assembly can be mated with the chassis, then a pair of running boards are attached on brackets between the wheels.  The crew are protected by a canvas roof that has sides and back fitted before it is joined to the cab, leaving the front and sides open to the atmosphere – lucky drivers!  The front is fitted out with two headlamps with clear lenses, and an odd “shelf” on the left side of the radiator, then side-lights are installed outboard and a hand-crank is slotted into the front of the radiator at the bottom.  The wagon has a canvas cover in real life, but in the model you get the frame, which consists of four lateral inverted U-shaped supports and seven longitudinal ribs that slot into the grooves moulded into the hoops.  That’s the model finished, unless you want to add two small supports to the front of the roof, which are shown in a drawing at the end of the instructions.  These aren’t supplied, but can be made from styrene rod or wire quite easily if your references show they were fitted to your example.




It’s a truck in the British Army, so it’s going to be green.  They also didn’t wear much in the way of decoration other than number plates and the occasional unit markings.  From the box you can build one of the following:


  • Europe 1945
  • Europe 1944







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




ICM have been filling a lot of gaps in the British WWII softskin range, and this will likely be very welcome, finding a place in a lot of stashes.


Highly recommended.


Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd.



Review sample courtesy of


  • Like 6
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

I actually would like to build this, something about it which just looks right to me. Were these used in North Africa or Malta ? Did they ever sport anti-Aircraft trailers or mounted guns. 

Edited by Corsairfoxfouruncle
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...