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In-Box Review
148
Bedford MWD
Bedford MWD
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by: Matthew Lenton [ FIRSTCIRCLE ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

Introduction

Airfix’s 1/48 military vehicles, compatible with their same scale aircraft, started with the Op Herrick range of modern British Army equipment. They have now taken a step back in time and released the first of two trucks, the Bedford MWD, which while at home in a WW2 airfield diorama, may equally appeal to those interested purely in military vehicle modelling. Trucks of this type were rolled out in the tens of thousands, being used in a multitude of roles by various forces, so this is a versatile subject, something that Airfix have made some provision for, as we shall see.

This was a 15cwt (3/4 ton, 762kg payload) 4x2 military service truck powered by a 72bhp 3519cc 6 cylinder engine. First produced in May 1937, by 1945, over 66,000 variants of the basic model had been supplied. Early models had canvas doors and aero style glass plate windscreens, with later versions being fitted with steel doors and full windscreens, though retaining an open / canvas tilt cab top.

So, no “Late Production” / “Early Production” marketing shenanigans from Airfix – this kit provides all the parts necessary to build either early or late types. Let’s see how they packed it all in.

Contents

The usual top opening all colour box (with modelling tips on the lower half) features artwork of the late version being driven at dusk with some taxiing Lancasters in the background. The A4 colour instruction booklet covers 12 pages with a total of 63 steps… it’s comprehensive to say the least, as we shall see below. The 95 plastic parts are in the virtually matt pale grey that is characteristic of modern Airfix kits, with a reasonable number of attachment points that are noticeably reduced in size on some of the more delicate components (see a few ringed examples on one of the close up photos). Parts that protrude from the sprues have thoughtfully been provided with protective bumpers to prevent them from being twisted off.
  • Sprue A: tyres, suspension and body details, some of the smaller body panels
  • Sprue B: wheels, larger body panels
  • Sprue C: main chassis components
  • Sprue D: clear glazing parts
  • Decal sheet by Cartograph: British Army 1940; Royal Air Force 1943; also includes dashboard dials.

Review

As mentioned, with two distinct versions possible from the kit, and so many steps in the instructions, Airfix start things off with an illustration of four possible outcomes for the model. It shows: early version with open cab and truck bed; or with canvas top on cab, open truck bed; or with canvas top on cab and canvas over truck bed; or late version with canvas top on cab and canvas over truck bed… but in fact further options are provided, as described in the instructions:
  • Step 10: front wheel mount is designed to allow for them to be posed as if steering.
  • Step 24: two separate bonnets (engine hoods) are provided, one closed, the other with one side propped open to show the engine.
  • Steps 27 / 58: separate tailgates provide for open or closed.
  • Steps 35 / 36: two pairs of canvas doors provided for open (rolled) or closed.
  • Step 59: two canvas rear flaps for opened (rolled) up or closed down.

As for the differences between early and late, separate parts are provided for the cab bulkhead/windscreen, separate parts for both canvas tops and sides, early / late front wings (different vent patterns), steel or canvas doors, solid / slatted side steps, with wing mirrors for the steel door version.

If other recently tooled Airfix kits are anything to go by, the fit of parts is likely to be precise, and the build trouble-free. There is no flash, though a few mould lines are noticeable particularly on some of the rounded parts. Several components are detailed on both sides yet are unmarred by any ejector pin blemishes, for example, the truck bed side walls with plank, canvas and bolt details inside and out, and the radiator grill with moulded fan and headlamp wiring on the interior, and the doors with handles moulded on both sides. The tyres are slightly flattened where in contact with the road, and the cab interior, the engine, and the underside of the chassis are all reasonably comprehensively detailed.

To give a few examples, details include the fan belt, handbrake with canvas shroud, bolt detail around the separate differential drive cover, bolts on underside of fuel tanks, and wiring on the engine side of the cab firewall. Perhaps a few details are a touch heavy, for example, the plank and bolt moulding on the cargo sides, leaf springs, and possibly the tyre treads, might be regarded as over-rendered. The overall impression however is one of attention having been paid to providing good amounts of detailing without resorting to either etched metal or too many very tiny components.

More nice touches are in the instructions, where, as each part is shown ready to be positioned in its exploded view, the subsequent step then has that part coloured red to indicate its final location. There’s also the well explained differences between the early and late build steps that should avoid any mix ups over which of the optional parts are consistent with others.

So with all the build options, there’s also much potential here for conversion, with this basic MWD (cargo) truck having also been designated as MWT (gun tractor), MWC (bowser), MWR-FFW (“Fitted for Wireless” radio truck) as well as Office types, compressors, anti-tank gun portees, machine gun trucks and so on. Bear in mind, too, that as well as being used by all British armed services and supplied to other friendly governments, literally thousands were abandoned by the BEF at the fall of France and subsequently employed by the German forces. Furthermore, having been produced and distributed in such numbers, lots were converted to post war civilian use and there are many working examples attending rallies today. This means there’s probably no limit on the variations of configuration and finish that this kit could be subjected to. Airfix have some 1/48 RAF ground crew in the offing which could provide some figures, but of course there are already figures from other manufacturers that might be used to accompany this truck in more various ways.


Conclusion

A well thought-out kit from Airfix, nicely designed and executed with satisfactory levels of detail for this scale. Plentiful optional parts will allow distinctively different models to be completed from the one kit. Will be easy enough to build, yet should look good finished from the box, while still having vast potential for conversion and alternative colour schemes to be applied. At a touch over ten quid, building into an 89x41mm model, this kit seems like very decent value for money.
SUMMARY
Highs: Very decent detail and moulding. Exceptional instructions. Good build options.
Lows: Possibly slightly heavily rendered planking and tyres.
Verdict: A well thought-out and executed kit. Good value. Suitable for beginners, yet tons of potential for the imaginative and experienced.
Percentage Rating
90%
  Scale: 1:48
  Mfg. ID: A03312
  Suggested Retail: £10.99
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Mar 10, 2015
  NATIONALITY: United Kingdom
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 84.53%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 79.09%

About Matthew Lenton (firstcircle)
FROM: ENGLAND - SOUTH EAST, UNITED KINGDOM

Earliest model memory is a Super Sabre my grandmother bought for me in around 1972. We cut the pieces off the sprue with an ivory handled butter knife. Have always dabbled in painting and making things, and rediscovered doing that with plastic in 2008. Vowed then to complete the 30 year old stash...

Copyright ©2017 text by Matthew Lenton [ FIRSTCIRCLE ]. All rights reserved.


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Comments

Don't worry, I can see your point entirely... I was just looking at their range and trying fathom their apparent logic. I would have thought that these days most of the expense of producing a new kit does lie within the research, design and drawing up of the CAD model, which along with the artwork and instructions etc. has all been done. Having spent on that plus the underlying investment in mould making machinery, IT etc. you might suppose you'd just want to exploit your designs to the maximum, and the 1/35 market you would think might make it worthwhile. They'd then only have to rebox it with a new Flak 38 in the back and a few Balkencreuz decals and they'd be tapping into a whole new segment of modelers!
MAR 11, 2015 - 10:36 PM
Airfix, IMO, seems to be playing to its strengths. It would be total idiocy to enter into 1/35th, considering how many players are already established. 1/48th is an excellent move - tying into their established aviation range and I hope they continue this process. It's also a touch 'innocent' to asume that tooling a 1/35th scale kit on the basis of an existing one in 1/48 simply getting hold of a digital pantograph and increasing the size. It would mean complete retooling, redesign etc. etc. Now how about some retooling of the Buccaneer, the Tornado and especially the Lightnings?
MAR 12, 2015 - 12:47 AM
Yes, I suppose you're right, the level of detail would be wrong since it was designed for that smaller scale. You wouldn't want moulded on tie downs on the canvas / wood sides for example.
MAR 12, 2015 - 05:13 AM
Building this one right now...it feels good, it looks good and it brings out the builder in you. It also is an very welcome addition to all those airplanes doing nothing. Trying to figure out now how to build a RAF with the hood down;-) Suggestions welcome ofcourse... Keep these coming please (and get us some drivers)! H.
MAR 13, 2015 - 07:51 AM
Harald... Do feel free to share some photos of the build if you have time... I won't be building it for a while, I'm still concentrating on my build of an old kit for the Airfix II campaign. Last campaign I didn't finish, so this time I'm determined not to be diverted from the goal line.
MAR 13, 2015 - 09:58 AM
Well, it got together rather quickly, started yesteday evening;-)
MAR 14, 2015 - 04:06 AM
looks very neat.
MAR 14, 2015 - 07:07 AM
Some comments on this build (RAF version): When you install part A42, make sure you leave enough room for the doorpart A20 to fit...I didn't and had to use some muscle to make it fit. The canvas needs some attention when you put it together, it fits rather well, but it will need sanding and filler. The one annoying thing I found were the wheels. The rims and rubber (for the the most visible side) are separate, which makes painting easy, at least for one side. The problem comes when you put them together. Every tire has a flat bit that needs to sit precisely on the floor, but the molds have no way of making sure that they will...and if you've painted them there's no room to move them, other take taking them apart and try again. Even without the paint I found it to be difficult to get them all sitting correct with the flat part ot the tire on he floor... The mirrors will not let a driver see what's behind, but maybe that was a feature of the real thing? I'm still exploring options for the side windows on the RAF version. It looks they were plastic and canvas on the real thing. I'll probably fit a thin piece of foil on the back-end and leave the main part open... The supplied plastic parts are rather heavy for what they represent... There is a decal for the clockworks on the dash, very nice and well done. The fuel tanks seem to miss the filling bit...it shows on the boxart, but not on the parts. This kit goes together very well. When building you don't have the feeling of an "automatic fit" that for instance the Tamiya 1/48 US fule truck provides. So you spend a little more time cleaning parts up, dry fitting them just once more, doing that extra bit of sanding. And when you've done all that and end up with a very nice model indeed, it feels really good to have been able to get there. That's why I really like this one, like I said earlier, it brings the builder back in you...and that is something I find I miss in all those "perfect" kits. Go ahead and do one, you'll enjoy building it;-) H.
MAR 15, 2015 - 12:28 AM
Couple of other points to note as well. 1. Even on the later version, I think the truckbed and cabin canvas covers were separate items - I suspect the way Airfix have modelled them as a single item with no canvas between the back of the cab and the front of the load bed is a modern reproduction. Unless of course anybody can prove that to the contrary - perhaps it was an RAF modification for MWs used as crew buses. 2. The "later" version needs different sidelights - as per the box art
MAR 17, 2015 - 05:01 AM
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