In Summer last year, I backed the PSC kickstarter, being particularly interested in the CMP gun tractor, for which no-one makes a kit. Cutting a long story short, they arrived this week, after a few emails. They were originally posted in November last year, but never reached me, thanks to the chaos surrounding the postal strike – thanks posties!
Will and Anita at PSC came up trumps, and were a pleasure to deal with. The kits themselves are well worth the wait, and have added some much-needed artillery to my collection. The CMP trucks will form the basis of brigade signal wagons for my infantry divisions in the Western Desert as I think that they may have tended to use soft-bodied 15cwt vehicles rather than the office-bodied Morris 15cwt that the RAF used. I am happy to be corrected on that assumption, but I have based it on my own experience of the RAF – they don’t like draughts when they are sitting on radio stag duty in the wee small hours 🙂
Based on appearances, the Piggie in the middle appears a little too short, and is a bit coarser in features, but all are good models.
Flatbeds are much more useful on the wargames table than trucks with covered canopies, but having overdosed on PSC 15mm Raupenschleppers the tinkerer in me thought,
“what would a tilt frame look like?”
Here is the answer: For good measure, I added some canopy struts to one of the QRF Bedford QLBs that had been assembled earlier. Now it is just crying out for a couple of scruffy gunners lounging in the back.
The new Plastic Soldier Company German Medium Trucks box is an excellent offering – Five easy to build trucks straight out of the box, with options for an Opel Blitz, Mercedes L3000, or Maultier version of either. Five trucks for £17 pounds or so, roughly £3.40 a truck.
Why do I like plastic kits better than resin or metal? They build up into square models, and they are easy to convert. So looking at the sprues more carefully, there are not five trucks in the box, but ten! All that is absent, are five cab backs that cannot easily be seen, five sets of front wheels and five chasses. Any self-respecting bodger will have spare wheels in the spares box. The card from the box itself, with judicious use of cork or plasticard will do the rest. Call it £1.70 per truck – excellent!
Even after giving a sprue away, I rapidly assembled four Blitzes and four L3000s, making half of them into Maultiers. I was looking for photographic evidence of Maultiers in North Africa, but could only find them in Italy. Each sprue comes with a spare tyre, so these were made up into two sets of wheels for two of the trucks. En masse, any slight inaccuracies in the wheels should disappear.
In case anyone is wondering, The four trucks furthest away are complete kit builds and the Maultiers closest to the camera are the bodges. Soaring off into speculation, I think that PSC missed a trick by not offering the Chevrolet cab and the office body on the box art; after all, everyone does a model of a Blitz.
I would have preferred the office body, rather than another cargo body version, but I suspect most wargamers don’t want as many logistic or HQ vehicles as me. Either way, the box is excellent value and is recommended.
L 4500R Maultier, courtesy of YesthatPhil
GSV13 Mercedes Benz L4500R Maultier
This is one of the better models that arrived in my sale order. It is an impressive chunk of metal for £4.50 and all the castings are clean, relatively square and free of miscasts. The late war Einheitsfahrerhaus version is modelled. Some 1,500 of these were built, in response to delays in the Schwere Wermachts Schlepper programme; most were used as artillery tractors or platforms for Flak. As is usual with QRF; the track casting is double sided with no lugs to give a positive fit to the vehicle.
The front wheel axle is a vague approximation of the real thing – I had a look at a few online images of L4500R chasses and still was not entirely sure which way the casting should be stuck on. I’m not complaining as you can hardly see it on the finished article. All in all, a nice wargames model that I haven’t been able to find elsewhere.
BSV02 Quad Artillery Tractor
I received two surprises on opening the packet: The casting is much larger that the FoW offering, and it has this cast into the base …
… so given that it appears to be a faithful cast of the old Denzil Skinner diecast, is it the right size? Wickepedia gives 4.489m long for the Quad, and the casting is 45mm … spot on, which makes the FoW resin cast too small at 38mm.
The visual difference is bigger than the dimensions suggest. We have seen this sort of thing before, with the FoW SdKfz7 actually being a 6, and being just short enough to fit onto one of their standard bases.
Either way, It is jolly annoying. I assume that TSS bought the rights to the old Denzil Skinner moulds. If so then I can recommend this excellent, clean, square old casting with minimal flash at £3 as the best of the bunch; except that if you already have a fleet of smaller Quads, they won’t fit in. This kit would work well with a 25 pdr and limber, as it has no limber of its own. I was not aware that Quads were used to tow 6pdrs, but the photo below shows that this was the case.
6-pdr anti-tank guns towed by ‘Quad’ artillery tractors, 5 December 1942.
WAR OFFICE SECOND WORLD WAR OFFICIAL COLLECTION
No 2 Army Film & Photographic Unit
Will McNally over at Will’s Wargaming Blog has found another anonymous Quad casting that at first sight appears to be a chop job from the Denzil Skinner casting; it is always hard to tell from photos.
BSV10 Bedford QLR Radio vehicle
I made this model some time ago, was happy with it, and ordered another one. £4.50 buys you a large chunk of metal that looks like what it is supposed to be. My usual quibbles include wobbly wheels and nothing quite square, but they are part of the furniture for small batch metal castings that were hand-whittled by the sculptor . I’m pretty happy that someone makes a QLR, and at a very reasonable price too.
See what I mean about nothing quite square?
Trawling through pictures on the net produced lots of QLRs in Micky Mouse camouflage from France, post D-Day, but nothing to indicate they made it out to 8th Army, unlike the QLBs and Ds. The only photo that I have found to date is a restoration project with no provenance from the site.
Morris CS8s are more in evidence, but I find it surprising that there are almost no pictures of signallers posing in front of office or radio bodied trucks. You cannot move on the net for pictures of tankies lounging around their mounts. Allied Signallers are obviously a shyer breed.
Other likely vehicles are Austin K2, K3s, and Fordson WOT-2Ds, but again, photos of them are rare to non-existent. As ever, in the absence of evidence, I am making it up as I go along, based on what I can get. If you have a TO&E lying around for HQs in the Western Desert, or if you know of any contempory photographs, I would be very grateful for pointers.
Quick Reaction Force held a 15% Sale over Salute 2016. I wanted some of their logistic and command vehicles, so it was a good time to purchase. I have ordered QRF before and found their castings to be challenging to assemble, so what were the latest crop like?
BSV11 Bedford QLB Bofors tractor
My casting was nearly complete (missing a window strut, will be easily added buuut* …), was clean, square and had a minimum of mould lines, assembling easily except for the wheels, which needed propping as they dried to remain square. The crew were added by me. Nobody else makes a kit of this limber, so full marks, and recommended, being excellent value at £4.50
BSV07 CMP Bofors Tractor
This proved to be an older mould, needing a lot of cleaning up to obtain a presentable model. At £3.50 it is still excellent value for a metal kit if you are prepared to put the work in. Again, no-one else makes a model of it, so recommended if you have an hour to spare and are handy with a Dremel, metal file and set square.
The catalogue picture cunningly does not show the cab front windscreen, which had a lot of gritty flash on my example. My painting has cunningly disguised it too. It is a heavy undercut. The picture does show the irritating mould lines that clean off reasonably easily. The wobbly wheels need resetting again. Drybrushing simply highlights any flash that has been missed in the clean-up. Recommended , with minor caveats.
*I’ve since found a photo of a limber that has no window strut on the right side of the crew cab:
This conversion is another “Truck from Trash” that may have plumbed new depths in trashiness. The original toy could be seen gracing BOX 024, as one of three massively oversized models pretending to be heavy trucks. It once had a G.I. Joe missile on the back or some other such nonsense, but has done years of service as a slightly-better-than-card 3D marker.
The captured Granit command van next to it gives an idea of scale, which from the side is not too bad. What lets 20mm scale trucks down is always the width and height, so out came the X-Acto razor saw to remove a 5mm fillet from the centreline. Thin card covered the gap, and boxwood carved to shape provided the cabin on the back. I went for the look of a truck that had been pressed into service with a civilian railway hut put onto the flatbed on the back. I should have reduced the height of the cab to complete the illusion; it looked good enough without doing this though. Sometimes one just has to know when to stop. The picture below shows the width difference between the original shocker and its filleted cousin..
Some time ago, I bought an Austin K6 crash tender from MMModels.co.uk ; remember the Airfix one? Also on the bench are some early war Germans, who are going to end up as ground crew and security detachments.
I have a couple of weeks of unplanned sick leave – nothing serious; a junior rafting colleague mixed up his ambition and his ability, so I am nursing a broken metacarpal from fending off one of his rafters who boarded my raft without warning at the end of the session. It’s a bit like ‘Chindit‘ Wingate slipping on the soap getting out of his bath.
It turns out that two of the things that I can’t do is drive to work or safely hold a scalpel. On the plus side, I can type and eat left-handed with chopsticks. The time freed up should be put to good use on the blog.
The cataloguing of my NQM boxes is coming along nicely too – even if only at five finger speed.
Rooting through my storage boxes unearthed two Matadors and three Zis-5s that been waiting since spring to be assembled; a T-70 that will probably end up, minus its turret, as an artillery tractor; and a Poundland truck. The Poundland jobbie responded to a bit of cork on the front to make a radiator, with a cut down RoCo rear body. It looks vaguely Italian now.