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WWII British Trucks (DS3511) 1:35 ICM via Hannants


Julien
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WWII British Trucks (DS3511)

1:35 ICM via Hannants

 

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Lets face it trucks will never be as widely like or respected as other armoured vehicles used by the Army, however no Army could do without them for moving men and material around. Tanks can not move without fuel and ammunition and guess what, the trucks deliver them. Infantry often march long distances but will always find it easier to hitch a ride. Here ICM bring together three of their recent new releases in one box.

 

 

Leyland Retriever

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. 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 version.  For this kit there 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. 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.

 

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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.

 

 

Markings

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

 

 

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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.

 

 

Model W.O.T. 6 Truck

During WWII, Ford UK built a great many vehicles for the British war effort, as well as some 34,000 Merlin engines for Spitfires, Lancasters and Hurricanes.  The WOT.6 was a 4x4 light truck (3 ton capacity) with a short cab that housed a 3.6L V8 engine pumping out a fairly paltry 85hp that could get it to 75mph eventually.  The engine's location under the cab gave the load bed plenty of space on the chassis rail, and also gave the truck a sit-up-and-beg look.  The heat from the radiator had to be redirected by a fairing to prevent it being ingested by open windows, thereby cooking and possibly even poisoning the crew if it wasn't in the best of health.  Over 30,000 were built in a number of configurations, and they were in service from 1942 to the end of the war, with those in good enough shape carrying on into the early 60s. This is another new tooling from ICM.  The kit has seven sprues in medium grey styrene, a clear sprue in its own bag, four flexible black plastic tyres and a sheet of Photo-Etch (PE) parts, each in their own bags, plus a small decal sheet. 

 

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British WWII softskins aren't much of a priority for many companies, so it will be happily anticipated by many for that reason, and due to the vast improvement in ICM's tooling in recent years they will be pleased to see that they have packed in a lot of detail to this release, and you can almost bank on there being other versions forthcoming in time if this one sells well.  Perusing the sprues shows plenty of detail all over, with the occasional ejector pin that's unavoidable if you're expecting top quality detail on both sides of parts.  Common sense has prevailed however, and all the marks are in areas where they either won't be seen, or where they're relatively easy to make good.  The construction phase begins with the chassis, which is made up from two main rails, with sub-rails and spacers holding things together, and front suspension moulded into the outer rails.  With the chassis completed by adding the rear end, attention turns to the engine, which is a complete rendering, and made up from a good number of parts for detail, including the block, pulleys, transmission and a short drive-shaft that threads through the holes in the cross-members.  The two long exhaust pipes with mufflers go under the chassis on each side, and the rear suspension is fitted, which is a substantial set of leaf-springs, then the axles and drive shafts are attached to the suspension and transfer box.  Brake drums, fuel tanks, steering arms and struts are all installed before the wheels are built-up around the rubbery black tyres, which have tread details moulded-in, and are finished off by the addition of the hubs, which attach from both sides, and are then detailed with additional parts before they are slotted onto the axles.

 

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The undercarriage is almost done, and it's time for the upper surfaces, beginning with the engine bay, which has the front wheel-arches moulded in, and is then detailed with lights, front rail, radiator and some additional ancillaries to keep the engine running.  You even get a pair of lower hoses for the radiator to mate it to the engine, and two more longer ones diving diagonally down into the topside of the engine from the top of the rad.  There's going to be a bit of painting needed, as the engine can be seen from the underside, even though access is limited.  The bay sides are planted, and are joined by internal covers and instrumentation on top, which have a few decals to detail them up.  Some of the driver's controls are added on the right side (the correct side) of the engine, and a pair of seats are built up and added to the square bases installed earlier, then the front of the cab is detailed with clear parts and window actuators, before the sides are attached to the edges and lowered onto the chassis, then joined by the simple dash board and steering wheel on its spindly column.  The doors are separate parts and have clear windows, handles and window winders added, then joined to the sides in either the open or closed position or any variation of the two.  The cab is a bit draughty at the moment, until the rear panel  and the roof are added, the latter having a pop-up cover on the co-driver's side, with a couple of PE grilles then added to the front radiator frames after being bent to shape.

 

Now for the truck bed, beginning with the sides, which have two stiffeners added, then are covered with bumpers along the top and bottom edge of the outside face.  The bed floor fits into a groove into the bottom, and is kept square by the addition of the front and rear sides.  Under the bed are a number of stowage boxes and racks for additional fuel or water cans, which are happily also included, then they are joined by the two parts per wheel that form the wheel arch that are braced on the outside with two small struts.  Then it's the fun part!  Adding the bed to the chassis, which is kept in the correct place by two ridges under the bed that mate with grooves in the chassis rail.  At the front, two light-hoods are fitted above the lights, and the prominent pedestrian unfriendly hood that deflects the rain and hopefully redirects the engine heat from being sucked back into the open front windows on a hot day.  The cab is detailed with additional lights, horn, wing mirrors, grab-handles and even some pioneer tools, then the windscreen wipers.  Moving backwards, the four c-shaped hoops that support the canvas tilt are applied to the outside of the bed sides, reaching roughly half-way down the sides to obtain a strong join in both 1:1 and 1:35.  The final act is to add seven rods along the length of the roof section of the tilt frame, which will need some careful alignment to ensure all the hoops are vertical and correctly spaced.  Now you can paint it, but you've probably got a lot of that done already in truth.

 

 

Markings

It's a softskin, so British green is the colour you'll be using the most of.  There are four decal options in the box, and all of them look very similar to the casual observer as there are minimal markings due to the subject in hand.  The decal sheet is pretty small as a result, but it's also quite colourful due to the unit markings that are included.  From the box you can build one of the following:

 

  • France, Summer 1944
  • L5496558 France, 1944
  • Great Britain, Summer 19445
  • 30YX68 Great Britain, Summer 1945

 

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Decals are printed in-house, and have good register, colour density and sharpness, which include those useful instrument dials with black backgrounds.

 

 

Model W.O.T.8 Truck
Made by Ford UK under the Fordson brand, the WOT 8 was the last of a long line of vehicles using similar nomenclature in service of the British Army.  Introduced in 1941 there were approximately 2,500 built, with a number of those sent to Russia as Lend/Lease vehicles of which a few were converted to carry Katyusha rockets.  In British service they were used as a prime mover for artillery, particularly in North Africa and Italy.  Its large fuel tank gave it a healthy range and a reasonable top speed thanks to the Ford V8 engine that put out 85hp, which wasn’t terrible for the day. This is another new tool from ICM. The kit arrives as eight sprues in grey styrene, five black wheels in flexible plastic, a clear sprue, a small fret of Photo Etch (PE) brass and a tiny decal sheet.

 

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Construction begins with the chassis ladder and the front sub-frame with cross-members and leaf spring suspension, plus a full V8 block made up from a good number of parts.  The exhaust has a silencer near the rear and exits the underside at the rear of the aft suspension springs to which the rear axle and differential are fitted, then joined to the central transfer box by a driveshaft with the front axle having a similar reversed layout plus steering box.  The drum brakes are hidden behind the wheels, which are made up from the flexible “rubber” part that is sandwiched between the inner and outer hub, plus extra detail parts on both sides, eventually slotting onto a long axle front and rear.  The underside is mostly complete, and attention turns to the body beginning with the engine compartment between the two curved front wings.  Radiator, air filter and fan are added along with a hand-crank for manual starting, then the radiator hosing is installed so that the side plates that isolate the power plant from the crew cab interior can be added.  In the right foot well the driver’s controls are added, with a handbrake further to the rear, and a central instrument panel sits almost on top of the engine.  The crew seats sit atop boxes and have separate cushions for back and base, after which the cab can be boxed in, adding detail parts and glazing panels as you go.  The sloping cab is trimmed with a dash panel and steering wheel, then separate doors with handles and more glazing are put in place either open, closed or anywhere in between at your whim, then closed in with the rear cab and finally the curved-sided roof.  The PE radiator grilles have to be bent to match the contours of the sloped front, and these are later joined by a rain “porch” that prevents ingress of water in the winter, and probably helps divert engine heat from the open cab windows in the summer.

 

The spare wheel and the substantial fuel tank are built next, and positioned behind the cab wall and in front of the flatbed.  This is made from a large floor, detailed sides, front and tailgate, with stowage boxes between the front and rear angled mudguards, which have braces holding them at the correct angle to the floor.  The bed's cross-rails mesh with cut-outs in the chassis rails, then the wing mirrors, wipers and grab handles are added to the cab, with the tilt hoops glued across the flatbed, and joined by shortened rails that support the tilt lengthways.  You can also build the model with the tilt deployed by using the five parts provided on the sprues, but these don’t show the tubular framework inside, so won’t withstand close scrutiny unless you add some detail in there in the shape of wire or half-round rod.


Markings
There are two decal options for the vehicle, both of which are olive green with a khaki tilt.  Despite being a British vehicle the white star was adopted later in the war as the universal Allies marking, which one option uses.

 

  • WOT 8 1st Czech Armoured Brigade, Germany, Spring 1945
  • WOT 8 France, Summer 1944

 

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The decals are printed in the usual ICM style with good register and clarity, but the yellow circles seem a little translucent, so it may be wise to prepare for them with a white base layer.

 

 

Conclusion

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, boxing all three of these in one package is very welcome indeed.

 

Very Highly recommended.

 

Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Thank you for  these excellent reviews. However one point on the markings for the W.O.T. 6; the option D with a registration number rather than a census number would be a post mid 1949 vehicle when this system was introduced. Vehicles already in service were numbered from the end of the alphabet - from "ZZ" and new ones from "AA" with some letter sets reserved for reconned vehicles - RA [I think] to Rx. A vehicle would be probably painted gloss bronze green for Europe. (It would also likely to be bulled to the eye balls with red and white wheel nuts etc.) I believe the last were sold surplus in the early 1960's.

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