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1/35 JMGT Rolls Royce 1924 Pattern Armoured Car

Article by John Ratzenberger
 

Kit Review
Rolls Royce 1924 Pattern Mk1 Armoured Car, mod/Fraser-Nash Turret
Manufacturer: JMGT
Scale: 1/35
Resin, white metal, and photo-etch

Background:
In the early days of WW2, the British cobbled together lots of vehicles from any old place, especially in North Africa. This was one of them, and a rare beast it is. It is very difficult to find any prototype information on it, and I came up with only 3 actual pictures of it. There is much more photo-graphic documentation on the "Bishop's Cap" or "Lobster-Back" turret version as the Australian forces had many of them. Anyway, from what I can gather, the 1th Hussars had these in Libya in 1940.

I did a lot of online research and found a couple folks who were really into Rolls AC's and we compared notes and thoughts and I finally was able to put together a vision of what I thought the prototype would be like in detail. The knowledge base changed over time, causing me to re-do a few things -- for example, I did not know the car had a mechanical brake system, nor did I know that the fuel system was driven by air-pressure in the tank, not a typical pump.

Bottom Line Up Front:
The kit is a dog.

Kind Words First:
It is the only kit of this vehicle and it appears to be accurate in scale and proportion. It really does look like an RR Armoured Car.

The Rest of the Story:
You don't get many parts -- resin, white metal, and photo-etch -- here they are.
Ratzenberger RRAC-5 Ratzenberger RRAC-6 There are no accessories, no gear, no crew, no nothing. And the instructions are worse because they do not even hint at what you could do to bring it up to speed. An online friend emailed them about this and got the response that they didn't know and decided to leave it to the modeler.

The resin parts are grossly over-thick -- as you can see below.
Ratzenberger RRAC-7 Ratzenberger RRAC-8 The first picture is the various cab parts and you just cannot avoid seeing how thick this stuff is. The 2nd picture shows that the turret ring in the fighting compartment wasn't big enough to hold the turret. What you cannot see very well are the crude viewports, nor can you see that they don't line up inside-to-outside. As noted, there is little interior detail; no accessories, many omissions and errors, and not much help in the instructions. Some of this is due to a dearth of documentation of the basic vehicle, which was a limited production stopgap. My own research efforts yielded little other than that there were several variations of body, chassis, and turret.

Ratzenberger RRAC-9 Ratzenberger RRAC-10 Along with the over-thick resin walls, the doors were not hinged correctly, so I decided to chop all that up and make my own doors (hinged correctly at the rear), one of which would be open.












These pictures shows the turret, part way thru scraping the walls down to scale thickness.
Ratzenberger RRAC-11 Ratzenberger RRAC-12 I did this with a heavy duty seam chisel (vs scraper) working carefully to avoid shattering the thing in hundreds of pieces. Along with turret walls, I scraped down battle doors (front of engine), visor, and other parts to cure the major over-thick problems.


Ratzenberger RRAC-13 Under the vehicle, I added a driveshaft, exhaust system, steering gear, tie-rod, fuel lines (and air pressure line), and a representation of the mechanical brake system to detail the chassis. Don't ask me why, it cannot be seen.







Ratzenberger RRAC-14 In the turret, I added storage racks for the Bren & Boys ammo, and detailed the smoke generator.


I also added gear shift and parking brake to the driver's compartment and corrected the seat backs. I replaced the vision ports and aligned them inside and out. I re-scribed all the panel/box lines and outlined the hinges/hasps which were weakly cast. I added a radio, storage points for ammo and gear, and loaded it up with all the stuff that might be carried.

Paint:
RRAC in the Desert were painted in the 3-colour Caunter Scheme -- Silver Grey, Slate, and Light Stone -- or some variation thereof. I use Tamiya acrylics and of course there is no direct match for any of those colours. After some research, I came up with several suggested mixes but these were based on Humbrol & others -- and of course, there was no direct correlation with those colors & Tamiya. I made two efforts at the scheme and ended up with a decent Light Stone, a too-blue Silver Grey, and an ugly brown instead of Slate. I had to go to AMPS with those clothes on. Unfortunately my air brush packed up about this time and so I was brush painting from then on. When I got back from AMPS, I did some more research & testing and two tries later had all three colours looking great in the bottle. However, when I applied them, the Silver-Grey was a bit too blue, and the Slate a bit too green. So, I made up a very thin light gray wash and simply brushed over those two colours -- it worked !!!! After that, a coat of rattle-can Dull-Coat and it was done. I used oil-color pencils for panel lines, followed on with a light wash to move the colors around. Final weathering was done with pastels.

Other:
--  I got all sorts of pieces from the Tamiya Universal Carrier, a Verlinden British Equipment set, and a few other kits I don't remember.
--  Since the kit had no tie-down point, I made some from solder & put 'em in likely spots -- I had a decent plan I thought but when I went to tie everything down, I wasn't all that happy with it. Tie-down rope was from an old sailing ship kit, waxed up to prevent tight/slack issues.
--  I hacked two figures (not real visible in these photos) -- I couldn't figure out how to get two guys standing up in the turret to match a picture I had.
--  The base is home-made/routed and filled with cellu-clay and real Nags Head beach sand mixed with some stuff from Michaels. The barb wire is Hudson and Allen -- highly recommended if you can get it. --  At the time these pictures were taken, I had not mounted the plaque which reads   11th Hussars  Watching the Wire  Libya 1940

Summary:
I cannot recommend this kit to anyone unless their life will never be complete without it. I got it for $150 on pre-order from Squadron, it is now selling for $220 & nothing has changed to make it better. It is nice to see JMGT tried, and it is better than many previous JMGT kits, but those atta-boys pale in comparison to the high cost & poor quality of this kit.

The only good thing is that after 5 months, and countless hours, of work, I have a model I'm proud of ... In it's first iteration, it received a Gold (Intermediate Class) at AMPS'05, and after a rework it received a Premier Award at the IPMS Nats'05.

Oh, yes, in the course of my research I bumped into a few guys who really helped me out -- and that is one of the really fun things about this hobby.

 
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