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135
Riich Universal Carrier Mk.II

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Even having built four Universal Carriers now, I'm still not nearly in the same league as the Armorama expert on them that Alan McNeilly is (see his marvelous set of six UC variants in his feature "The Universal Carrier Life in the Old Dog Yet!". Two of my builds were like Alan's: using as a base kit the ancient Tamiya one that's almost as old as WW2. It's a testament to Al's skills (with help from Resicast) that he can produce such a fine crop of these little gems from a kit that is lacking in many areas like detail and accuracy.

Recently Riich Models has stepped into the Universal Carrier void by releasing the two basic variants: the Mk.I and Mk.II. The Riich kits considerably revise the old Tamiya version, bringing the detailing and molding into the 21st Century.

This was a build of the Mk.II, the later-war version that replaced the Mk.I's automobile-type headlights with wartime hooded ones. The build was pretty straightforward: you begin with the engine (which unfortunately isn't hardly visible in the final assembly), then move on to the hull tub, the suspension & tracks, and finally the interior (seats, benches, radio, stowage). The exterior includes a full assortment of tools, lights, hooks and photo etch, and the result is a little gem for those of us who like treads (the Riich treads are link & length). Speaking of Resicast, they have been talking about bringing out some Riich-specific resin conversions such as the 3" Mortar Carrier, which would be a welcome addition, though the base kit isn't cheap to begin with.

I should warn readers that the Riich kit is not a build for children or beginners. Many sub-assemblies rely on PE mostly or exclusively with some parts not rendered in styrene. And even the styrene parts can be very "fiddly." The suspension gives modelers two options (mostly styrene or mostly metal), but you have to fashion the brackets for the wading panels or canvas top from flat PE.

Not for the faint-hearted.

I decided to show a typically overloaded UC with some Value Gear tarps, tents and boxes, assorted stowage from the spares box and some scratchbuilt canvas on the front end to portray a UC involved in Operation Goodwood, July 1944. Monty got his *** handed to him on a platter by Jerry, though historians have debated whether Goodwood was a failure or a necessary (and bloody) diversion that prevented the Germans from reinforcing Caen or reacting to Operation Cobra, the US breakout of the hedgerow country. While Monty has his admirers, I don't think Goodwood is usually one of the things mentioned by them.

The kit is (other than the stowage) OOB: the paint is Tamiya XF58 Olive Green over dark brown primer, with a plethora of weathering washes and powders, including Vallejo's Weathering Allied Vehicles set 78.402. The driver figure is from the Riich Universal Carrier Mk.I (shown in the final photo next to the Mk.II).

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About the Author

About Bill Cross (bill_c)
FROM: NEW JERSEY, UNITED STATES

Self-proclaimed rivet counter who gleefully builds tanks, planes and has three subs in the stash.


Comments

Well done ! I have one of these in my closet waiting to be built, thanks for sharing Bill.
SEP 27, 2014 - 09:07 PM
Thanks, Darren, for getting that one "live." Kurt, it's a great kit with lots and lots of value and build time. Given how ubiquitous these were in the field, I can't imagine any WW2 modeler not having at least one in his or her stash.
SEP 29, 2014 - 07:44 AM
Hi Bill, Nice build, always good to see another carrier. The new kit from Riich certainly ups the game from the old Tamiya offering and presents it's own challenges for the builder. Mike Roof did an excellent build blog of the Mk I which was very inspiring. http://www.armorama.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=SquawkBox&file=index&req=viewtopic&topic_id=210512#1768554 You've done a good job here and as you say this one is not for the faint hearted. Cheers Al
DEC 06, 2014 - 01:08 PM
Thank you, Al, that means a lot coming from Mr. UC, LOL. Your UC build feature remains one of the more-inspiring features here on Armorama, and should be "basic training" for anyone looking to build small Allied vehicles. Mike DID do a fine job on his build.
DEC 08, 2014 - 02:43 AM
Thanks Bill, I've still about 5 to build but with the massive amount of new Allied kits coming along it is hard to keep up. This year and a fair bit of last year got given over to my Somme dioramas for the 100th anniversary of WW1 and the arrival of new artillery and the Mk IV will stretch that out into next year too. Plenty of fun ahead that's for sure. Cheers Al
DEC 08, 2014 - 04:08 PM
You have more patience than me brother! That kit has about a bizillion teeny parts. J
DEC 08, 2014 - 07:40 PM
Jerry, your patience is more than you realize, given your Falaise Pocket dio. I assemble figures and kits; you create them. The kit has stuff you don't need, too, like the engine. But it has some very detailed assemblies, including the suspension.
DEC 08, 2014 - 09:14 PM
Maybe you can build a maintenance vignette with the engine and mechanics having the powerplant on a stand? J
DEC 08, 2014 - 10:27 PM
That's an excellent idea, Jerry, but after building four UCs (two Tamiya with Resicast conversions and two Riichs), I am going to take a rest from further builds. Too many other neat models coming out.
DEC 08, 2014 - 11:47 PM