I thought some of you might enjoy a look at a new kit I have been building. This is part one and it is hoped there will be a second part to add next week. This will have the initial painting and show the sub assemblies coming together. It seems likely that the final assembly and finishing will make up a third part.
Bedford QLR Command HP Signals Truck
Matador Models kit No. KCB-44 1/76 Scale
Accessories used: Dan Taylor Modelworks sets F-76209 British MT Drivers; C-76074 British Vehicle Fittings; C-76057 Steering Wheels.
It is impossible to open a model box without coming up with four ideas for making different variants of the contents. That neatly explains the amount of loft space I have crammed with part-built kits and stalled projects. Thankfully, Matador Models have brought out a conversion kits which sorts out one of my deepest desires to build a Bedford QLR with a full interior. Ive already built a scratch conversion of the QLR. It looks pretty enough, but deep down I know I have cheated there is nothing inside to bring the beast to life.
Whats in the box?
The kit is presented in a stout card box, the resin parts being encased in a couple of poly bags. There are three pages of A4 instructions, two of which appear to be gleaned from pages from other publications. A slight criticism I have is the exploded diagram of the model. The drawing is quite sketchy and unclear. This is okay if you have plenty of reference, but a deal of additional care has to be taken over precise location of parts. The resin components themselves (on my sample at least) are beautifully cast in a cream coloured resin with no visible bubbles. There are some extremely slender parts with no warpage and the fit is exceptionally good. I was particularly impressed with the way in which some of the larger parts were cast on stalks.
Being a conversion, you will need a kit on which to base the model. The Bedford the Airfix RAF Refuelling kit is specified and fortunately I have stockpiled six of them awaiting this moment. It is worth noting that the new Airfix kit with the two Bedfords will not do. the chassis for the truck body is around a millimetre too short and so it will not sit correctly, the body butting into the fuel tank/spare wheel assembly.
The basic chassis should be built straight from the kit along with the cab. I chose to add some transverse members to give the correct separation of the body from the chassis. A replacement spare fuel tank was added thanks to a Milicast kit as was the framing for the spare wheel retainer. There is a resin cab roof supplied complete with hip-ring, though references suggest that vehicles were used with and without this feature. An antenna base is provided for fitting to the cab roof but again, this does not appear on all of the wartime vehicles I have seen so I decided that could be used elsewhere. This may explain why my spares box takes up ¾ of my house and has a card index system.
The floor of the body lacks locating points for the seats but the instruction diagrams are helpful here. The Aux Gen housing was built and test fitted along with the bases for the seating. I noticed that the central seat in the rear compartment would have been unfeasibly tall and so I trimmed down the central stalk so that the operator could squeeze his legs under the desk.. At the same time I located the stowage boxes under the floor and made sure that they would sit correctly with another test fit of the body roof.
A crucial element is fitting the partition wall well - so that it will not foul the body upper when it is fitted. I decided to reinforce it with some discreet plastic strips which would provide better structure when it fits to the floor. The desks on either side were then attached and some shelving added to the partition top on both sides to match my reference (see below). In addition, a small, central desk extension was added.
Setting the lower body portions aside, we come to the underside of the upper portion. Besides a handy outline to assist fitting the floor, this is devoid of detail. Additionally, the doors are moulded in place. However, spare doors are provided and so I removed the moulded doors and cleaned up the apertures. Spotlight housings and framing were fitted to the underside. The forward end should have a map board and so the support rails were fitted for that and a map board built from plastic card. Lastly, the underside of the antenna base was created with plastic card and wire.
Its all very well building an accurate representation of the interior but without someone to work the bits, the vehicle cant be brought to life. Cheating slightly, I borrowed four figures from one of my own British MT Drivers sets and adapted them to become one driver, two signalmen and an officer. A Preiser set (Im unsure which, but there were lots of policemen from round the world in it) comes with an abundance of heads - one of these was pinched for the officer. An outstretched arm was pilfered from another kit. Headsets were made up using a punch & die with a little plastic strip for the band across the top of the heads.
As a raison detre the wireless sets are clearly a key element of the kit. The main wireless set is a No.53 Set. There is also a No.19 Set and an R107 Reception Set supplied. They were embellished in a minor way with some wire and by fitting a couple of missing dials. At this point, I made up some headsets and microphones from brass strip and punch & die plastic disks.
It is curious to note quite a marked difference between the older Airfix Bedfords cab and that of the new kit. Whilst not profound, the older one is clearly a bit taller and narrower so I added a little packing to bulk it out a bit and sanded out a little height. The mud guard at the rear is hopelessly large but it does serve to position the cab on the chassis. As it is not seen, I chose to leave it, though it wouldnt be too difficult to remove a portion from the inner face whilst leaving a smaller section for fitting to the chassis. Internally, it is a little bare. I added stowage, gear sticks, handbrake and a mounting for the steering wheel though more could be done quite easily. The inner faces of the doors had an opening mechanism and window winder added. I have a figure in the set of drivers who is resting his elbow on the window sill and I have been waiting for a moment when I could use him. He now occupies the drivers seat.
More to follow...