U.S. 4x4 Truck Bantam 40 BRC w/crew
MiniArt Kit 1:35 Scale No. 35014
Soviet Command Car w/Crew
MiniArt 1:35 Scale Kit No. 35048
Review by Terry Ashley
American Bantam Car Company did produce 2675 Bantam BRC-40 (the production version) but after the U.S. Army standardised on the Willys and Ford produced Jeeps, all the Bantams were issues to Britain and Russia under lend lease. The British used some of these vehicles in the Nth African campaigns.
The standard of plastic moulding sees quite a contrast with the details on the parts nicely done and some very small and delicate parts such as the hood T clips and gear levers free of any flash while on the other hand some of the larger body shell and chassis/suspension parts have horrendous amounts of flash that will take some time and care to remove.
There are also some fairly prominent mould seams to be removed from the parts and again care is needed when removing these from the smaller parts as well as a few sink marks to contend with but after all the cleanup the parts are basically warp free and have good surface details.
The plastic used is quite soft which does assist in removing the abundant flash but you should also take care not to remove too much plastic in the process especially on parts such as the chassis where it’s not clear at times what is flash and what is part of the kit and checking this before cutting will be useful.Another thing to watch is there are no actual part numbers included on the sprues, just a parts layout diagram with the numbers which you have to regularly refer back to when identifying the parts. There are not a lot of parts thankfully but you need to take care with some of the smaller parts to make sure you are using to right one, the shock absorbers being a good example.
Added to this is the front and rear bumper bars along with the rear bump bars but these are a little thick and could do with some thinning. The Continental engine has the main block with separate head, intake manifolds as well as the basic air filter, carburettor and distributor and top of the radiator in one piece along with the generator, fan belts and separate fan for the basics of the engine to which you can add a much additional detail in the way of wiring as you wish. The battery is also a separate part and adding the leads to this will improve the detail.
The front and rear differentials, axles and drive shafts are in two parts with separate differential faces as well as the steering rods on the front axle and these have good basic detail to which you add the brake lines to detail further.
The four suspension leaf spring units have quite well defined leaf spring detail without any pin marks or other blemishes and these fit precisely into the locating recesses on the chassis and spring units for a nice robust sub-assembly. Added to the spring units are separate shock absorber units which are numbered differently for each corner so take care you get these in the right position.
Additional parts for the lower chassis/suspension is the exhaust pipe with muffler and the lower transmission guard mounted on two separate cross members and the front steering arm from the separate steering box added to the chassis side.
The five wheels are moulded in one main piece each with separate rear inserts and the tread pattern is subtle but cleanly done once you remove the flash which is thankfully around the middle of the tread and so doesn’t compromise the detail. The wheel rims contours and hubs are also nicely done with the shape of the raised section matching photos well as does the hubs, just watch the different hub detail for the front and rear wheels when fitting. The only addition to the wheels is the small tyre valve stem that can be added from thin sprue and the wheels fit neatly to their respective axle stubs either now or at final assembly.
Added to the sides of the engine bay are two separate small louvered panels for added detail as well as the front grill which unlike other parts is free of any flash thankfully and this fits neatly to the front engine bay sides. The firewall is a separate part that fits perfectly from underneath the body and added to this are the separate driver’s foot pedals, and the steering column with the main curved gear level and two smaller levers added to the central hump. The curved profile of the main gear lever differs from available photos which show a straighter lever with kink and I’m not sure if the curved lever is an earlier design or should be straighter as per the photos? The separate steering is also free of flash but has a sink mark ring in the middle which should be easy enough to fill.
The driver and co-driver seats have separate bases and backrests as does the large rear seat and the instrument dash board is also a separate part with raised detail for the knobs and data placards but strangely the two centrally located instrument dials are missing altogether and adding a couple of dials from available decal sheets will be needed, Archer Fine Transfers make a few rub-on instrument dial sheets that would fit the bill nicely.
The engine hood is a separate part that you can fit closed or open to show off the engine if you wish and the separate windscreen has two sections of clear plastic for the “glass” as well as separate wiper and screen opening brackets although while these are quite small are a little on the thick side and hopefully will be included on the inevitable aftermarket etched set for these kit.
There are quite a few small details added to the body which adds good detail definition and these include the rear body grab handles, the hood “T” clips, the rear view mirror as well as the two part head lights with clear plastic lens and the small park lights, these will need care in handling because being very small and round will be very slippery to handle. The head light bush guards are also separate parts that could do with being thinned for a better appearance and there is rear spare wheel mount added to the rear body. Finally added to the back is the tilt cover frame in the lowered position.
Fitting the chassis/suspension and body sub-assemblies together is quite straightforward with small locating pins and holes on each for easy fitting at any time during construction or in left separate for easier painting.
Only two weapons are included, an M1 Garand and M1A1 Thompson along with personal gear such as water bottles, colt holster and ammo pouches with two seated and three standing figures.
Kit #35048 also has 5 figures, 4 seated and one standing signaller and is also broken down in the conventual manner with upper torso, two legs, two arms, heads and berets/caps all separate, the female signaller also has two plastic flags to ‘waive’.
The uniform detail is again nicely done with good fabric folds and definition on the details such as the pockets, collars and belts with the Driver, Officer and two rear passengers.
There are no decals included with the Soviet Bantam in kit #35048 with the vehicle just finished in overall green.The instruction sheets have colour illustrations for the figures showing the uniform colouring as well as the insignia placement in kit #35014.
Most of the basics are there in the suspension and engine as well as the body detail with the features of the BRC-40 captured very well but there is scope for additional detailing as with any kit to turn it into a standout model of this important yet overlooked vehicle in the history of the Jeep.
The added figures in the kits are a nice bonus but as mentioned the U.S. crew is somewhat out of place but can be used elsewhere if you wish with the Bantam providing enough incentive to but the kit anyway.
Highly recommended for Allied modellers
Osprey New Vanguard 117
Steven J Zalaga
ISBN: 1 84176 888 X
|Essential Military Jeep
Bay View Books
ISBN 1 870979 76 1