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In-Box Review
135
Airborne Signals Jeep
Airborne Jeep Signals Conversion kit
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by: Alan McNeilly [ ALANL ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

Introduction

A few weeks ago I reviewed the Resicast RA Jeep conversion Here on Armorama. Well one thing leads to another and I recently picked up the Signals Jeep conversion set for the Market Garden Campaign.

Elite forces have always been popular subjects. The history, achievements and failures of the Parachute Regiment are well documented, earning them a well deserved and respected reputation throughout the world as a serious professional fighting force. Tough men often sent to do the impossible with minimal back up in terms of support weapons.

During WWII, to help overcome this deficiency, standard infantry equipment was adapted to fit the parachute roll and provide at least basic support and recce ability for troops landed behind enemy lines. These heavier items could be glidered in to provide limited anti tank support, recce and supply ability. The Willys jeep was one of the few vehicles that could be transported by air and so became a very useful vehicle for the Paratroopers and was converted into several role specific versions.

Communications, or lack there of, play a key role in army fighting forces so the Willys jeep was also converted to carry wireless equipment, extra batteries and provide mobile communications capability.

The Set

This set is designed to convert the Tamiya Willys Jeep item 53219 to the British Airborne Signals type jeep as transported on Horsa Gliders.

The set comes in the standard, sturdy Resicast box with a good coloured picture of the completed model on the front along with the makers name. This conversion, along with at least 3 other Para jeep conversions, have been available for many years so the instructions are in the older style when the quality of today’s technology wasn’t available and things got photographed and photocopied. The instructions are contained in a 12 page A5 photocopied booklet.

The front page outlines a brief history of the kit and a list of the most notable modifications made to the jeeps, along with a B&W picture of the front of an actual jeep. Page 2 lists the resin and PE parts, the PE fret contains bits that were also used on the Recce and Signals, and RASC jeeps so not all of the PE will be required. Pages 3 and 4 contain the build steps linked to the Tamiya jeep kit. Pages 5 to 10 contain build guide pictures, and although the quality is not great they should prove sufficient to allow a successful build. Pages 11 and 12 contain some actual B & W reference pictures to aid the build.

Also contained within the box are the 6 zip plastic bags containing the conversion parts and the replacement bonnet, plus a fret of PE, all of which are wrapped in bubble wrap for extra protection.

The parts are well cast in a light cream resin, despite being quite an ‘old’ kit the detail is excellent. All were free from any damage or cause for concern, and come well wrapped and protected in the box. An additional set of parts not listed are parts V and W which are the front axel replacement parts to allow the wheels to be position-able, which is a useful item. As these are not listed they must be an addition to the original kit issue.

Resin parts include replacement rear plate, steering plate quick release, front bumper, front towing yoke, dashboard, spare wheel, jerry cans and fixations, bonnet, side lights, pick and spade, Bren Gun and Rifles, 5 x Bren magazine boxes, 4 x 303 ammo in chargers, 4 x. ammo in cartons, 4 x boxes of detonators and explosives and also the position-able steering mentioned above and replacement gear levers.

Specific for the Signals jeep are the inclusion of a No 22 wireless set, Variometer, spare battery boxes, antenna base and spare valve box plus a No 38 radio set. Previously both Pat McGrath and I have reviewed the various Resicast Wireless Sets here on the site:

UK Wireless Sets

and the No 19 Set by Pat.

There are quite a few PE parts, not all of which will be required as the fret is generic for the Recce, Signals and RASC jeep conversions as mentioned above. You get interior right and left reinforcements, foot pedals left and right and an accelerator, side morrow fixations, dashboard eye, tie down fixations, rear bumper plate, tandem towing bracket, frame and eye. Front bumper reinforcement and strengthening stays, bridging plate, jerry can fixations, spare wheel support and fixation, and various fitting for the rear plate and ammo boxes. For the radio jeep you will need to use the cable reels.

Conclusion

Overall this looks to be a fairly comprehensive set to allow the modeller to make a good representation of the Airborne Signals Jeep. You need to bear in mind that there were modifications carried out locally by REME units and therefore there were not always in line with the official specifications, a great deal of latitude being taken as to actual fitting up of the vehicles. As with any modelling project a good set of references will help. Referenced in the instructions is a pamphlet on the Modification and Specifications on British Airborne Jeeps by Monica Bann & Rob van Meel, that may also be worth investigating which should be available form Groucho Publications in the Netherlands (misspelled Croucho in the instructions) milweb.net who would appear to be a good source for technical manuals.

Another useful reference site is visualcollector.com

The detail and the casting looks excellent, a good read of the instructions before you begin is recommended. The kit contains many small parts so be careful of the carpet monster, but if you have a few years experience and have worked with resin and PE before then this set should give you a very cool vehicle indeed.

No decals are provided with the kit which is a minus. Sets are still available through Hannants Model Shop, but at £25.00 per sheet might be a bit pricey. My thanks to Andrew Spencer who found some very reasonable priced ones that are available through Bob Fleming at Panzer Prints. You will need to send an order by post but they have a contact email address on site.

A good variety of ‘boxes’ come with the kit so stocking this one up should be fun, as will fitting and plumbing the radios. The Tamiya jeep also provides a relatively inexpensive donor kit for the conversion.

Resicast have the largest range of 1/35 British Airborne figures and items that I know of, so drivers and figures to suit should also be readily available. Resicast


A Build Log has been started on the Forums to evaluate the kit construction.
SUMMARY
Highs: A detailed set, for what will be a cool vehicle. Excellent casting and quality of parts should make this an interesting and rewarding build. As a stand alone vehicle or in a diorama this gives modellers good alternatives for the Tamiya Willys Jeep.
Lows: We are all suffering from the cost of items and the recession, so that needs to be considered. The older style instructions will require that little bit more study. The lack of decals is unhelpful.
Verdict: Highly recommended.
Percentage Rating
85%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 35.1156
  Suggested Retail: 49.50 euro
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Jul 16, 2009
  NATIONALITY: United Kingdom
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 88.73%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 90.29%

About Alan McNeilly (AlanL)
FROM: ENGLAND - EAST ANGLIA, UNITED KINGDOM

Greying slightly, but young at heart. I've been teaching adults off and on for most of my life. Left the services in 85 and first started modelling in about 87 for a few years. Then I had a long spell when I didn't build anything (too busy) and really just got started again during the summer of ...

Copyright ©2019 text by Alan McNeilly [ ALANL ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of KitMaker Network or the British Bulldogs IPMS-UK group. All rights reserved.



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