In 1938 specifications for an armored car model to be built locally in South Africa were presented by that country’s government. The American based Marmon-Herrington Company, Inc.’s design for an armored car was accepted the following year. The winning design included a proprietary four-wheel drive train and transmission, chassis elements and the engine from a Ford Motor Company of Canada 3-ton truck and British armament. All parts were shipped to South Africa where it was assembled using armored steel plates from the South African Iron & Steel Industrial Corporation, and a chassis assembly by Ford Motor Company of South Africa. The vehicle was called the South African Reconnaissance Car and the Armoured Car Marmon-Herrington Mark I by the British army.
The Marmon-Herrington Mark I was used by the South African Union Defense Forces (UDF), during the early stages of the East African Campaign against Italian forces. However, the Mark I exhibited poor mobility on rough terrain and lacked the armor and firepower needed for active service in this area. The Mark II was an improved version, with a longer wheelbase and better four-wheel drive capabilities. Initially the armament for the UDF version (Mobile Field Force model) was the same as the Mark I: two Bren-guns with one in the turret and one on the left hull in a ball mount. The British version serving in North Africa had a redesigned turret and was fitted with additional armament. While the Mark II performed better in the desert it still suffered from poor protection. A total of 549 Model Field Force (MFF) models were produced.
The kit is comprised of:
- 9 gray sprues
- 5 separately molded tires
- 1 separately molded turret
- 1 clear sprue
- 1 photoetch brass fret
- 1 decal sheet
- An instruction booklet
Let me start off by saying that while I consider myself an experienced ship modeler, I am not nearly as knowledgeable about AFVs. That being said, I am not going to nitpick about the accuracy of particular details. Instead I will try to assess the kit based on whether I think it looks good and how buildable I perceive it to be based on an in-box review.
This kit is the third kit of a Marmon Herrington Mk II released by IBG Models
. I read the reviews of some of the other kits in this range, and I noticed that most of the parts sprues are common across the Mk II kits, which is quite logical.
The common sprues/parts include:
- Frame A - parts for the top and bottom sections of the car and tools
- Frame B – parts for the engine and radiator, armored radiator doors, dashboard, steering wheel and column, windshield frame, turret ring and some miscellaneous small parts
- Frame F – parts for the vehicle sides and for the chassis frame, suspension, drive train, fenders and side access doors
- Frame C – parts for the wheel hubs, two hooks, parts for the brakes and some small details. Two of these are included
- Frame Ca – parts the seats and wireless radio set and the spare tire hub
- Frame Ce - numerous small parts to detail the engine and suspension system
- Frame D –clear parts for the windows and lights
- The 5 separately molded tires which have very nice tread detail
- The photo etched fret which has a variety of tool straps and brackets and some guards to fit to the front of the radio set
When you get down to it the only unique parts in this kit is Frame Cb, which two are included and has the parts for the Bren-guns, the turret and the decal sheet. A length of brass wire is also provided.
The parts look to be cleanly molded with lots of great detail. The weld marks, rivets, hinges and bolts are all well done and appear to be in scale. This kit has a lot of parts, I mean a LOT of parts. Some of the smaller parts in plastic look very delicate and will require great care when removing from the sprues to prevent breakage or damage. The engine, frame, drive train and radio (complete with headphones, though they are comprised of three parts – two plastic and one photo etch) are quite detailed and the model is designed to have several doors opened to show the interior and radiator off. However, there is no option clearly shown to have the hood open to show off the engine, but I am sure that there is a way to do it. While this all adds up to a detailed, the downside is that some of the subassemblies will prove to be challenging to some modelers, yours truly included. Also, I didn’t see any locator pins and corresponding holes, which could further complicate assembly.
The photo etch appears well done with good relief-etching and recesses to help bend some of the parts into their proper shape. The decal sheet, printed by Techmod, is a simple affair with only a few markings for three vehicles - two British and one South African.
The instructions are provided in a booklet form. The first five pages have images of the kit parts and sprues. A paint table is included on the first page with colors listed by name and with specific references for Vallejo Model Air and Model Color paints. The assembly instructions are comprised of what appear to be a series of 3D CAD images. For the most part, the illustrations are very clear and helpful, though at times, especially with some of the photo etch parts, they could be clearer. The order in which the steps are sequenced can be confusing as some of the parts or sub-assemblies covered in earlier pages aren’t used until much later in the guide. When they do appear in a subsequent step, they are identified by the step number inside a triangle. As this model is a complicated build, I would recommend careful study of the booklet before diving in.
The last three pages have the painting and decal placement guides for the three vehicles you can build with this kit. The guides have left and right profiles and front, rear and top views. The last page of the instructions advertises a reference book on the Marmon-Herrington, which I guess would be a good reference for this and the other kits from IBG Models
in this series.
Overall this looks like a well done but complex kit. The end result will be a very detailed model out of the box but getting there may be a little painful, especially for a novice or a slightly intermediate modeler. However, as the saying goes – no pain no gain!