Bedford QLD General Service
IBG Models 1:35 Scale Kit #35015
Review by Terry Ashley
The Bedford QL had the official War Department name of “Lorry, 3-ton, 4x4, Bedford” and between 1940 and 1945 there were 52,248 Bedford QLs produced, of which 25,704 were the QLD General Service truck variant. 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 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)
The new IBG kit appears to represent a QLD vehicle produced after mid-1942, this is evidenced by the absence of the central radiator strip and circular name badge as seen on all earlier production QLs (the exact date of the change is unknown) with the name badge replaced by a small rectangular badge with Bedford stamped on it as included on the kit plus the inclusion of the front fender supports and wheel hub sling flanges not fitted to earlier QLs.
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.
There are also a few post war additions on the kit 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 210 parts in light grey plastic on just four sprues (and the large canvas cover) with a further 11 clear plastic parts of which 7 are not used with this version. There is also a 20 page instruction booklet and small decal sheet. The standard of moulding is quite good with very little if any flash or pin marks although there are 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 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 apart from the canvas cover which was unfortunately destroyed due to damage in transit, thankfully all was fine with my second kit.
Details include the full chassis, suspension and engine, cab interior and a choice of rear metal cargo tray with just the tilt frames or the full canvas cover moulded with the metal tray side panels plus the wooden rear gate for either option which can be positioned open or closed. There is also a choice of full roof or the later roof with AA ring depending on your choice.
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, the same plans are also re-produced in 1:35 scale in the April 1980 issue of Military Modelling Magazine . 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 cargo tray length and this was very minor (under 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. So let’s have a closer look at the kit in detail and during construction for any issues that may arise.
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.
Probably the vaguest assembly is for the spare tyre/fuel tank rack as there are traps here if parts are not fitted the right way around and the instruction steps 18, 19 simply do not show you clearly enough where the parts go which will lead to problems, I will explain this assemble in detail below. But care is needed using these instructions as they are quite difficult to see as well as understand where some parts go.
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 but again due to dark and vague instructions you need to take extreme 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 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 cargo tray 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.
When fitting the drive shafts between the transfer box and the differentials the rear shaft (part A20) will need to be shortened by a little over 1mm to fit okay, test fitting will determine the amount to be trimmed from your drive shaft.
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. When fitting the engine to the chassis there are two lugs on the bottom of the engine that fit into corresponding recesses in the chassis cross members but the front lug is about twice the size of the recess so you will need to trim down the engine lug to fit into the recess. The kit also has the engine and radiator slightly offset to the left of the centre line as it should which allows the cab with engine cover to fit perfectly.
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 biggest issue 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.
The five part fuel tank assembles easily with just the side joins to be eliminated but again the instructions are vague when it comes to fitting the two mounting strips (parts B83) and can cause problems. The tank is not fitted centrally on the rack but is offset towards the front and the two mounting strips must be positioned accordingly with the rear edge of the strips flush with the rear edge of the rack, see image. Also before fitting the assembled rack to the chassis you should remove the moulded on bolt head detail from the outside of the frame B33 so the frame is flush as this will prevent the rear cargo tray from fitting correctly later.
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.
You get two alternate roof panels, one with the AA ring and one without to use as your choose? The AA ring 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 and an interesting side note is the box art has all these items apart from the gas panel shown which can give you a guide to fitting them.
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).
And so to what we have in the kit, there is one option with metal sides and just the tilt cover frames while the other has the full canvas cover moulded in place with the metal sides with separate front metal panel with the canvas included. The large cover has the tie down ropes included with the moulding and while this looks good from a distance the ropes lack real definition as they are just raised ridges basically and lack the space between the sides and the ropes which is quite evident on closer inspection. All the tie down hooks along the sides also are just raised and lack the gap to make them actual hooks and at the back the tailgate doesn’t have to latch chain used to secure the gate in the powered position and adding this would improve the appearance.
The lower floor is nice and flat without any pin marks or distortions and 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 also.
There is one open rack and two storage boxes added under the floor that assemble easily but have no locating marks to show where they go, also the instructions don’t tell you when fitting the boxes they must stay outside the line of five mounting lugs on the underside cross beams, these lugs slip over the chassis frame to fit the cargo bed and if the boxes protrude inside the line of these lugs will stop the cargo bed from fitting to the chassis so take note and possibly draw a line in pencil on the bed so you know how far inboard you can fit the boxes to avoid any problems.
The fit of the side panels to the cargo 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 cargo bed a breeze, the fit of the assembled cargo bed 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.
The good fit of the cab and cargo bed also makes it easier to leave these of during painting and fit at any time later.
- Option 1: 9th Forward Tank Replacement Squadron, Polish 2nd Armoured Brigade, Italy, 1945.
- Option 2: Unidentified Unit, Russian Army, Russia, 1942.
- Option 3: Workshop Company Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, 6th Guards Tank Brigade, Normandy, August 1944.
- Option 4: 274th Field Company Royal Engineers, 51st (highland) 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 QLD although there are some details to be added and scope for modellers to add as much additional detail as the wish but at the end of the day while not having the finesse of an AFV Club or Bronco kit it is quite respectable and is a lot better than the Bedford QLD General Service Truck we didn’t have last week.Rating 7.5/10
Click on thumbnails for larger view
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Click on thumbnails for larger view
Sprue detail images
Note: These have been lightened to help show the assembly sequences better
than the dark illustrations in the kit instructions.
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