For quite some time now if you wanted a Universal Carrier on your shelf in injection moulded plastic; you were limited to two offerings from Tamiya to the best of my knowledge. These kits from Tamiya to be fair were reasonable, and could be classed and good solid kits. Jump forward to today and we have a new Universal Carrier in the wings from Riich Model
. Opening this box will be a shock as it is filled with plastic and other goodies as well, in fact there is so much plastic in the box I had to look twice to make sure it was the correct model, and it is!
The packaging for this kit is a standard cardboard box with a card lid, on the lid of which is printed an artist’s impression of the model. Now for the hard part which is covering what you find inside. There are;
- 11 grey sprues for the Carrier
- A light grey sprue for the figures
- 2 grey sprues with weapons for the figures
- 3 photo etched frets
- 2 decal sheets
- A bag of springs and brass rods
- A clear sprue
- A bag containing cord and a length of fine chain link
- A substantial instruction booklet
- A colour painting guide.
It is my intention to keep this review short due to the need to get it posted for a build review, but there is so much in the box that may not be possible. So where to start?
Lets start with the instructions. There is a 24 page instruction booklet printed on good quality paper. The instructions start with an introduction to the model you will be building in English, German, and Chinese. The next page provides you with some guidance notes and an icon guide. This is followed by a pats list, which you may well need due to the high number of parts. You are then guided through construction of the model in 45 stages, I say 45 but it is a lot more than that as the construction of the engine is covered in one stage, but is actually 7 steps. The instruction booklet uses the line drawing method to guide you through construction and thankfully the directions all appear clear, I say thankfully as it looks to me as if part placement is clearly pointed out. I obviously cannot guarantee that there are no errors, but this does have the look of a well written set of instructions.
The glossy finishing guide provides you with four options which are;
- Option 1: T12642 ‘Katie’ Prince Edward regiment of the 1st Canadian Infantry Brigade of the 1st Canadian Infantry division, Italy 1945.
- Option 2: T142048 ‘Olsztyn’ from 10th Polish Dragoons Regiment, 10th Polish Armoured Cavalry Brigade, Holland 1944.
- Option 3:T12505 19th Battalion, 2nd New Zealand Division, Libya December 1941.
- Option 4: T12923 ‘ Hells Angel’ Royal Hamilton Light Infantry, 2nd Canadian Infantry Division, Aldershot England 6th June 1941
The paint manufacturer’s guide on this sheet lists;
- Mr Hobby
- Model Master
It also provides the paint name for those with other preferences.
The decals provided for the model look to have good colour to them and are well laid out. A quick check of the unit badges all seems to be in order. The second decal sheet is for the figures provided in the kit and consists of rank badges and 6 red oblongs which I cannot identify at this time.
The 3 photo etched frets included with the kit are well spaced and laid out. The thickness of the photo etched sheets is on a par with what ABER offers, but it is a little difficult to be 100% sure as there is a plastic film on both faces of the frets. Detail on the photo etched parts looks good, and so far as I can tell does not have excessive connection points
There are 32 springs included with this model in two sizes which are for the suspension of the carrier and 8 brass rods of about 0.5mm diameter which the springs are mounted over on the vehicle. The suspension of this carrier will be impressive but at the same time I believe a daunting task to complete.
The clear sprue contains the lenses for the lights and what looks to be glass for the vision slits. I cannot remember seeing glass in the vision slits on the Universal Carrier, but those in the know (Alan) may well correct me, and you have the choice as well.
The plastic parts look to be very well moulded with no obvious faults that I can see. Some of the parts are exceptionally fine mouldings and will require great care not to damage them during removal from the sprue. I am not going to go through a parts breakdown as the pictures I have provided should be far easier to understand. The only possible weakness I can see in the kit, is the link and length tracks which I know are a love hate relationship with some modellers. Some of the details that caught my eye where items like the fire extinguishers, The Bren guns have a hollow area at the end of the barrels, the gates or connection points to the sprues are small and not excessive, Riich Model
does use casting nipples on some parts but these are again minimal in number. There are some ejector pin marks that will need attention and some flow marks in the plastic, none of which should cause anyone a problem.
The figures supplied with the kit also look very good; they have good facial details and seem suitably scaled out. The clothing has very good crease detail which I believe is accurate for the period, but I am not sure if it is accurate for all of the periods this kit has in its finishing options. Some of the hands do look a little chunky but a little work can correct that. The figures are supplied with 3 SMLE rifles and 2 Bren guns with the option of deployed or folded bipod stands. These being injection moulded plastic figures there are some moulding seams that will need cleaning up, however these seams are not excessive and will be easily cured using standard skills.
As I said I wanted to keep this short as I am sure when Alan McNeilly starts to build this, there will be a lot of interested watchers. The kit is from a first impressions stand point excellent, I accept that we all have our preferences but this kit will score highly with most. The link and length tracks will meet with a mixed reception, but they do the job and there are other options out there. This model is not for the faint hearted though as it is a very high quality product in my opinion and I would describe it as a modeller’s model. The effort put in by Riich Model
should put a smile on most faces as everything you need is in the box as far as I am concerned.
I would like to make clear that this model should be buildable by most. However being a multi-media model with the inclusion of a lot of photo etched parts, metal springs, metal rods, and what are very small and numerous parts on what is a small vehicle, it is not a model for the beginner to tackle. Those that do tackle this kit do have the option of having a very high quality and detailed model of the Universal Carrier. I very highly recommend this model to those with good eyesight and steady hands.