The Special Air Service, the SAS, was created in the summer of 1941. Its purpose was to operate behind the enemy lines, attacking and raiding the German supply lines and air fields. For transportation and weapon support, the new American “Jeep” was obtained through the Lend-lease agreement, and modified for these dessert operations. All non-essential parts were removed to increase the load capacity, even most of the radiator grille bars and in some cases the front bumper. The vehicles were then armed with Vickers K and Browning .50 cal. Machine guns, up to five guns a car, fuel, water and ammunition. These “Driving fortresses” were very effective in the hands of the SAS, and in just over a years’ service, around 400 enemy aircraft had been destroyed in raids on airfields.
The kit comes in the now familiar Dragon models
sized box, with a nice box art. On the side and bottom of the box, there’s depicted the numerous special features of the kit. The sprues come in clear sealed plastic bags, and the whole kit contains over 250 parts and includes the following:
- 13 sprues molded in grey styrene
- 1 sprue molded in clear styrene
- 1 slide molded upper chassis
- 2 small frets of PE
- 1 small decal sheet
- 1 instruction booklet (not in color)
has released this kit as a “SmartKit”, which means that the details and parts are simplified, and should be easier to assemble. Thus simplified, it doesn’t lack details; on the contrary, this kit has loads of crisp and well engineered detail. This kit is supplied with two figures to crew the vehicle, which certainly is a great feature.
The build starts with the construction of the wheels. Dragon models
provides us with two options of wheels to use. One is a fully molded wheel, and the other is a made up of five “slices” and has another and finer tyre pattern, which to me looks like a civilian pattern. Both of them are very finely detailed, and they would look realistic even if both types of wheels are fitted on the same vehicle, and this would also make it stand out a bit from the ordinary.
Next up is the completion of the chassis frame. This has a nicely detailed suspension system and steering mechanism, and construction is pretty much straight forward. The only issue here is that the wheels can’t be turned in either direction but forward. This is a real shame, because in my opinion, a vehicle looks more realistic, if the front wheels are turned just a bit to one of the sides. It might be nit-picking, but I think it’s an important detail.
Well, enough of the complaining, ‘cause here comes the good stuff! This kit contains an engine, and it’s a real gem. It’s built up of no less than 14 parts, and is really well detailed. It even has the spark plug cape molded in. All you have to do is put in some wiring, and it will look like the real thing. The rest of the engine bay is great looking too, the only down side is, that once you close the hood, nothing can be seen. But you could display the model with the hood open, either by itself or in a diorama. There are two minor punch marks on the inside of the hood, which have to be dealt with though.
The upper chassis comes almost in one piece. It’s beautifully slide molded, and has some crisp detail, especially where the stick shift enters the floor. The radiator consists of three pieces, and has incorporated the head lights, which are fitted with clear styrene lenses. A strange thing is that Dragon models
have missed the hose, which goes from the extra cooling water container, condenser, on the front of the radiator grille, into the radiator. This can easily be corrected with some lead wire or such. The dash board comes with a full set of decals for extra detail, but you might want to wait to glue the steering wheel on, before after fitting these decals. They are somewhat small, and it will be difficult to get these in place behind the steering wheel. On the rear end of the upper chassis, there is room for two spare wheels and a couple of metal sand channels. Dragon models
provide these wheel channels in PE, which are really nice looking.
The seat cushions are molded with a very realistic cloth pattern, again, so much more realistic in the appearance. The pedals, gear stick and such look good. One of the very good features in this kit, is the small “locks” for securing the hood, a detail easily overlooked. The kit also includes three German and eight US Jerry cans, and especially the US ones are great, because they are hollow and can be shown open; a nice and realistic touch. Guns, guns and even more guns. The vehicle is to be fitted with no less than three Vickers K and one .50 cal. Machine guns. These guns are slide molded, so they are really nice looking, and all with hollowed out barrels. The guns and the gun mounts can be “pimped” up with the supplied PE, for that extra in scale detail.
has included two figures, which looks really nice. They are both wearing the classic Arabic head dress, which makes them stand out from the “normal” troops. They are nicely cast, but I would have liked some personal equipment for this crew, such as water canteens, backpacks and small arms. Oh well, can’t have it all.
Painting & markings
provides you with three different color schemes to choose from, all of which are named;
SAS, British Army, North Africa 1942/43.
- Sand color with bands of brown and green.
- Sand color with bands of brown.
- Over all sand color.
This is a really nice kit, and far better detailed than the old Tamiya one. It’s a real “spreader of death” looking vehicle, and a great version of the Jeep. Even though it’s a small vehicle, there are numerous ways to fit the guns, Jerry cans and cargo, which means that one kit, is probably not enough.