Bedford QLT Troop Carrier
IBG Models 1:35 Scale Kit #35016
Review by Terry Ashley
The QL was powered by the Bedford 28hp six-cylinder engine with a capacity of 3518cc (214.7cu in) driven through a gearbox with four forward and one reverse gear, giving a governed top speed of 38mph.
The Bedford QLT Troop Carrying Vehicle was often just referred to as the ‘Trooper’ with approximately 2500 produced between 1941 and 1945 and featured a lengthen chassis and extended rear body some 3.5 feet longer than the QLD, the two 16 gallon fuel tanks and spare wheel were also moved under the chassis to give further room for the extended rear body. The majority of QLT’s were built by Austin and featured a metal rear body with twin side opening tailgate and two smaller troop doors at the front of either side of the body to allow quicker exit of the vehicle and inside there were three rows of troop seats, one along either wall and one down the middle of the rear body allowing 30 fully equipped troops to be carried at one time.
The versions of the QL family were:
- QLB Bofors Light AA Tractor.
- QLC Chassis/Cab – for special bodies not built by Bedford.
- QLD “General Service” although no direct description was adopted.
- QLR Radio Vehicle
- QLT Troop Carrier
- QLW Winch (tipper version fitted with winch equipment)
These wheel hub flanges were added in the form of enlarged discs on the hubs so that slings (with spreaders) could be quickly fitted to lift the vehicles onto ships etc., the front hubs were also ribbed to provide a better grip for the slings and were also used a crew steps along with the fender re-enforcing brackets but unfortunately there are also quite a few details missing which will be detailed below.
This kit is basically the same as the QLD (kit #35015) with the same sprues A & B for the cab parts with new sprues G & H for the extended chassis frame and new lengthened rear body that included a canvas cover with rolled up sides and the three seat rows in the rear.
As with the first QLD kit there are also a few post war additions as seen on preserved vehicles such as the large rear view mirrors; the wartime mirrors were smaller rectangular mirrors and most importantly the tyre tread pattern and the tyre sidewall embossing which says “AVON” and “11.00-20 Traction”. The wartime QLs were fitted with either 10.5x20in Dunlop ‘Trak-Grip’ (most common from period photos), 10.5x20in Firestone ‘Ground grip’ Cross Country or 10.5x20in Goodyear ‘Supergrip’ Cross Country tyres but most preserved/restored vehicles are fitted with the 11.00x20 tyres due to the unavailability of the original 10.5x20 tyres. The difference in size between the 11.00 and 10.5x20 wheels in 1:35 scale isn’t really worth bothering with and the kit wheels match the available 1:35 scale plans in size okay.
The kit consists of:
- 270 parts in light grey plastic on four sprues (-28 not used)
- 11 clear plastic parts of which only 4 are used.
- 20 page instruction booklet
- 1 small decal sheet.
The standard of moulding is quite good with few pin marks although there is a little fine flash and a few sink marks on some parts that will need filling, most notably the head lights and the rendition of the detail is also on the heavy side on most parts. The mould lines are also quite heavy and will need careful removal on most parts and especially from the smaller parts with the lines looking more like mould slip on some parts but the main thing to watch is the sprue attachment points which are substantial and requires care cutting the parts from the sprues and cleaning up the bur again especially on some of the smaller parts.
The plastic used is a little different than we are used to in that it’s quite soft to cut and work with yet at the same time is quite brittle and tends to crack if parts are bent, sounds a little contradictory but this actually helped with parts damaged in one of my kits as the break was clean and not distorted because the plastic didn’t bend before breaking and I could easily repair the parts.
Details include the full lengthened chassis, suspension and engine, cab interior and rear metal cargo tray with just the side tilt frames with the full canvas cover moulded with the sides rolled up allowing the rear interior to be clearly seen. The stamped detail in the metal sides and end flap is nicely done as is the wood panelling on the rear floor section.
Dimensionally the kit measures out very well against the 1:50 scale plans (enlarged by photocopier to 1:35 scale) in the Bedford to Berlin book listed below. Areas such as chassis length/width, wheel base and wheel track (tyre centreline width), wheel diameter, cab height/width as well as smaller details such as the fuel tank etc. all were all well within acceptable tolerances. The only minor discrepancy was the rear body width and this was very minor (around 1mm) so is not really worth bothering with considering the chassis length is fine so overall it’s pretty much spot on for scale size apart from the thickish rendering of many details but more on this below.
But first a word on the kit instructions as these leave a bit to be desired, they are in the form of CAD type illustrations that are very dark and it’s very difficult to see where a lot of the parts should actually go. This is complicated with many parts not having locating pins or surface marks where they should go and in numerous cases I had to look ahead to in the instructions to see where the part was fitted as well as referring to reference photos.
The rear leaf spring tow shackle mountings should be assembled first and the front cross beam (part A12) and top engine mount (part A30) are best left off until the chassis has been assembled so these can be positioned correctly. The assembled chassis was nice and square thankfully but you must insure there is no twisting or miss-alignment as the rest of the kit relies on the chassis being perfectly square.
The front and rear leaf springs are easily fitted as are the shock absorbers, just note the orientation of the respective springs so they mate correctly with the shock absorbers. The centrally mounted transfer box has a locating lug on the case but the support bracket (part B84) is a little vague in the instructions where it should go, so make sure of this before gluing.
The front and rear axles/differentials are multi part assemblies and you need to take care to get the stub axles and brake/wheel mount assemblies the right way around, the fit of the parts is good overall but you also need to ensure the flat mounting face that sits on the leaf spring is level on each side of the differential as it’s easy to have these miss-aligned.
The biggest issue with the axles is the join to the leaf springs is a butt join with no locating pins or anything to ensure these are fitted in the right place and if not positioned correctly will have consequences when you fit the cab and rear body to the chassis. To this end I inserted plastic rod pins in the stub axle mounting plates and drilled corresponding holes in the leaf springs to give a positive fit in the right place, this was fairly easy to do with thin plastic rod pins and saves a lot of potential alignment problems later.
The kit includes a three part radiator and full engine, this has most of the main engine features and builds up quite nicely considering you can’t see it or the radiator after fitting the cab and of course you could add additional details and plumbing if you wanted to display the engine separate from the kit. Just note the kit has the engine and radiator mounted centrally on the chassis but they should actually be offset to the left of the centreline slightly, but again this isn’t a big deal as you can only see the lower oil pan from underneath.
The wheels are cleanly moulded in two halves each with well-defined tread pattern and sidewall embossing, one part with the outer wheel rim and tyre tread and the inside part with just the tyre tread, the rims are quite nicely done although the raised central section is slightly too small in diameter but the rim bolts are nicely done with just the large air valve to be added. Note the raised central section faces to the outside on the front wheels and to the inside of the rear wheels so make sure you don’t mix these as again the dark illustrations are a little vague on this.
The main issue as mentioned with the wheels is they represent post war “AVON” 11.00x20 tyres with a post war tyre tread pattern and not the correct wartime 10.5x20 wheels as mentioned above, there is little you can do about this other than rely on aftermarket resin wheels of the correct type with the 10.5x20in Dunlop ‘Trak-Grip’ being the most common from period photos although there are numerous photos showing the Firestone and Goodyear 10.5x20 tyres also fitted.
The other issue is the separate wheel hubs that have the large sling flange disc included but the rim bolts are way oversized and positioned around the outer edge of the disc when they should be around the inside of the disc corresponding with the wheel hub and again these would have to be modified or replaced to depict the hubs correctly.
Interior detail includes the two crew seats with separate cushions and backrest, separate driver’s foot pedals along with the handbrake and two gear levers but there should actually be three gear levels located between the seats. A fire extinguisher is located behind the driver’s seat and the basic instrument panel has raised bezels but no dial face details included and there is the steering column and steering wheel with mounting bracket. There were no issues assembling the interior with everything fitting nicely but the same can’t be said unfortunately for the outer body panels if you assemble these as per the instruction sequences.
The front panel has the radiator housing included on the outside with moulded mesh and other fine detail which is nicely done overall, there is an inner panel added inside the front panel along with the clear windows, there aren’t that clear unfortunately and are also a little on the thick side.
The rear wall and separate curved fenders are shown fitted first but there are no positive pins or locating marks to get the fenders in the right place and these have to mate with the side panels so I altered the assembly sequences to make things a lot easier.
I firstly fitted the front panel and the two side panels to the floor section ensuring they mated perfectly with each other, there is a positive inside locating ‘shelf’ for the side panels to help get these aligned correctly. With these in place I then added the rear wall ensuring this also aligned perfectly with raised detail on the door panels and also at the roof line. There were no fit problems assembling the parts in this sequence but when it came to the fenders this was a different matter until I trimmed some plastic from the underside of the floor section, once this was done the fenders then fitted nicely into place and lined up well with the side, rear and front panels.
The fenders though are way too thick, the actual fenders are very thin metal and these need to be thinned down considerably for a better appearance, they also lack the raised round stiffening ridge around the edges of the fenders and this could be simulated by adding strips of half-round plastic rod or wait for the inevitable etched update set.
The instructions show to use the roof with the AA ring but this doesn’t have any canvas cover provided so you may need to add this from tissue or similar and the fit of the roof to the cab provided you made sure the roof line was even as you assembled the cab is spot on without any trimming needed.
With the main cab assembled we can turn to the exterior details and here we have separate door handles, these slippery little fellas need to be handled with care after removal from the sprues but add nice detail to the doors. The large bar at the front fits neatly into place as do the two side fender support brackets although these are a little on the thick side. You get a choice of normal headlights or blackout lights but all four had sizable sink marks in the middle of lights that will need to be filled and sanded and you could add the headlight wiring if you wish for added detail. There are also the small lights on the fenders that again need careful handling due to their small size as well as the large circular weight sign and the top radiator cap, this has no indication for the correct position and you must ensure you fit this perfectly central on the radiator housing.
The rear view mirrors provided are post war additions during restoration with the actual WWII mirrors being small rectangular mirrors on a thin post; this would be easy to make from thin plastic card to replace the mirrors in the kit. Unfortunately there are quite a few other details missing that will have to be added, these include the windscreen wipers, the left side mounted turn indicator, the gas detection panel mounted under the driver’s windscreen. There should also be two towing shackles attached to the front of the leaf spring mountings and a small crank handle bracket mounted centrally under the cab as well as the stowed crank handle on the front of the cab under the radiator. All these items are fairly easy to add from card, wire etc. and would probably also be included in the etched sets bound to come for this kit.
The fit of the assembled cab to the chassis is very good with the engine and inside radiator fitting inside the cab without needing any trimming to fit into place.
1. Windscreen wipers missing.
2. Left side turn indicated missing.
3. Fender reinforcing ridge missing and also note the very thin metal fenders.
4. Gas detection panel missing from in front of driver.
5. Smaller rectangular wartime mirrors.
6. Two tow shackles missing from front leaf spring mountings.
7. Crank handle bracket and stowed crank handle missing.
8. More common Dunlop 10.5x20in ‘Trak-Grip’ tyres fitted
(kit tyre tread pattern is post war restoration addition).
9. Note this earlier vehicle does not have the sling disc on the wheel hub with the image showing the
correct position of the hub bolts unlike the oversized kit hub bolts.
10. Also this earlier vehicle doesn't have the fender support brackets fitted.
(again not a kit error just indicating not all QLs had these fitted).
The side panels include the two front entry/exit doors moulded closed but don’t have the door handle and a few rivets around the handle and these will need to the added. It’s very difficult to cut the door out if you wanted to show this open as the door extends behind the front corner section and opens inwards on the actual truck so it’s best left as it comes as you would need to make a new door to show open.
The rear doors are also moulded closed in one piece and if you wish to show these open you would have to cut the doors in half down the engraved central line but again there is no latch detail included on the doors.
The fit of the side panels to the floor is excellent and just sit in place on the indented ridges around the lower side panels, this good fit makes the assembly of the full rear body a breeze, the fit of the assembled rear body to the chassis is also very snug and precise over the chassis frame but there is nothing to indicate to location longitudinally, that is it can slide forward and back along the chassis frame so you have to make sure the mud flaps are located correctly over the rear wheels to determine to correct position, all very simple really.
On the inside are the three rows of troop seats, the two along the side panels that have supporting legs, the front seat on the door is a separate part and this folds down to allow the door to open inwards. There are also the long padded backrests included as well although the seats should be angled slightly upwards and not level as provided in the kit. The central row of seats has the support frame and backrests as separate parts but these are quite on the chunky side and could be thinned quite a bit for a better appearance. These frames and backrests are perfect candidates for an aftermarket etched replacements to improve the appearance even more.
Included in the kit is the full canvas tilt cover with the sides rolled up, this allows you to see the insides quite easily but there are some issues with the cover. On the inside there should be an extensive metal rod frame but none of this is provided apart from two rudimentary cross members, there should also be a forward “hatch” which is basically a cut-out in the canvas cover with another canvas “door flap” and corresponding inside frame but this is also not included. I have added the metal frame to the inside of the cover to show the actual frames and the forward ‘hatch’ section that will need to be cut out, although I am not entirely sure of the actual dimensions of the hatch as this isn’t shown on the available plans so take my example as a guide only.
forward observation opening in the tilt cover not included on kit part.
Support posts added prior to fitting to the body.
One thing to watch with the cover is the segments either ends are slightly different lengths from the tilt frame contours and the longer segment should be at the front when fitted to the rear body. The cover is attached to the rear body by way of eight supporting posts, there are locating holes for these in the cover but not on the body so take care to align these correctly when final fitting is done.
On the underside of the floor are a couple of frame POW can racks, a spare tyre rack (with spare tyre) and four crew steps as well as a storage box, these all assembly quite easily but again the rack parts are quite on the heavy side and thinning again will improve the appearance considerably. You should note that apart from the crew steps at the front sides and back the others shouldn’t be added to the floor until after fitting the rear body to the chassis as some such as the spare tyre rack either mate too or overlap the chassis frame. Also added to the undersides are the four mud flaps with supports but these supports are horrendously thick and really need to be replaced with thin card for a better appearance, the mud guards themselves could also do with thinning to improve their appearance.
The good fit of the cab and rear body to the chassis also makes it easier to leave these off during painting and fit at any time later.
- Option 1: 5th Battalion Coldstream Guards 32nd Guards Brigade, Guards Armoured Division, Holland, 1944.
- Option 2: Podhalanian Rifle Battalion, Polish 1st Armoured Division, Normandy, summer 1944.
- Option 3: 1st Battalion Suffolk Regiment, 8th Infantry Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, Normandy, June 1944.
The main problem isn’t the kit itself but the instructions which leave a little to be desired and make assembly a little tricky in places as they are quite vague on the placement of parts and you need to take care during assembly.
The kit will build into a nice representation of a mid-war Bedford QLT although there are some details to be added and scope for modellers to add as much additional detail as the wish and will build into a nice model of the Bedford QLT and also adds to the range of Allied trucks now available with more Bedford QLs yet to come from IBG.
Click on thumbnails for larger view
Close new window to return to page
|Bedford QL 3-ton WWII Trucks in detail
Wings & Wheels Publications R 067
|Bedford to Berlin and Beyond
QL: The forces favorite 4x4
|British Military Trucks of WWII
|Bedford at War
Classic Military Vehicle