With the Second world war imminent and the great war still being fresh in the minds of many, The South African military made the decision to develop its own armoured car in 1939. Unable to source a suitable vehicle from the British, who were in no position to spare any of their own military equipment, or the U.S.A who were adopting an isolationist policy, development started on their own design.
The prototype vehicle was completed in only 28 days and had a rear wheel drive configuration. The armament consisted of a single Vickers .303 sub machine gun, while its overall combat weight was 6 tons. Extensive testing in the eastern Transvaal area towards the end of 1939 was carried out, with rather mixed results. The suspension was prone to failure along with the cooling system, while both offensive armament and armour proved to be inadequate.
Modifications to the armament took place before the mk1 entered service. Further development of the type carried on throughout the war, with the later Mk 4/5 variants being the most numerous and a far more advanced design than the first vehicles, In fact the Greek army were using them until the mid 1990s!
The Polish company , IBG models
have produced this Styrene version of the MK1 vehicle, a welcome development as options available to model this vehicle were rather limited up until this point. looking at the website its encouraging to see the company are preparing to release many other variants and configurations in the series.
The large box the kit is supplied in has a good illustration of the vehicle on the front and should provide a useful paint reference if this scheme is selected, IBG models
have provided lots of room for the parts to avoid any damage if the box is crushed in transit my one reservation is the fact that due to its rather large dimensions, the sprues are free to move around maybe a little too much, which may cause breakages.
The parts breakdown is as follows::
- 1 Clear parts sprue
- 3 Large styrene sprues
- 6 small styrene sprues
- 5 Wheels and tyres
- 1 Turret
- 1 Photo etch fret
- 1 small decal sheet
- 1 instruction manual
The parts are all crisply moulded in grey styrene and generally display a high degree of detail. The hull exterior is very well moulded, with delicate weald marks rivets and bolts all nicely reproduced to scale. The engine is also very well represented, with an intricately cast block and all the anciliaries present and correct, The only items really missing being the various ignition leads that would be easy to scratch build. The wheels and tyres are moulded in styrene in two pieces, traditionally not the best method but the tread pattern is looks very convincing as does the pressed steel wheel itself, if any criticism can be levelled at them, they donít have a very weighted appearance but its not a major issue.
The inclusion of a detailed interior is a nice touch. The intricate radio assembly as well as seating and drivers position, make this a prime candidate for leaving all doors and hatches open in order to make the most these interior parts. Various other small exterior items such as the trenching tools, armament and running gear are also very nicely moulded, making this a very detailed out of the box build.
With so much detail contained within the kit and so many options to display the interior, itís a shame that the actual insides of the doors, hatches and hull do not have much in the way of detail. Its nothing that a little scratch building couldnít sort out, its just with such a high degree of detail on the rest of the kit, such omissions are very noticeable.
The photo etch fret contains many of the hull fixtures and fittings as well as parts for the radio and engine. The small sprue of transparent parts contains the wind screens and lights and look to be of a high quality
The A4 instruction sheet contains a parts list and Vallejo paint codes on the front. The actual assembly instructions appear to be taken from CAD drawings which clearly display the assembly steps and the parts required for each sub assembly.
Finally, a diagram displaying the open and closed configurations and two different paint schemes are included, one single colour scheme from an unidentified unit and an alternate two tone camo scheme used in The Eastern Transvaal region.
have produced a very nicely moulded kit with plenty of detail included with the addition of a comprehensive P.E details. The ability to open up all the doors and engine compartment to show of all this detail is also very welcome. Itís a bit of a shame the interior hull and door detail wasnít detailed to the same degree but Iím sure a little scratch building could sort this out. With various other versions being promised and a MKII in German service already available, It would certainly make a rather unusual and interesting build.