by: Rowan Baylis [ ]
Tamiya's 1:48 Tilly appeared a couple of months ago and promptly sold out in the UK. If there ever was any doubt among manufacturers of the potential of subjects with combined appeal to aircraft and armour enthusiasts, hopefully this runaway success will have dispelled it once and for all.
The Tilly arrives in a compact and attractive box with the contents well presented and bagged for protection. The kit comprises:
39 x grey styrene parts
9 x clear styrene parts
Decals for 4 x colour schemes
As you can tell from the low parts count, this is a pretty simple kit. As you'd hope from a new Tamiya kit, the moulding is basically flawless, with no flash or sink marks and everything beautifully crisp.
Construction looks extremely straightforward. This is a "kerbside" model (i.e. no engine detail) and the chassis is basically one piece with just the suspension and exhaust to add. The body comprises a superbly moulded shell with just a single sprue attachment that will be hidden under the radiator grill. Separate front mudguards and an insert behind the driver and passenger seats complete things.
Sadly, the cab doors are moulded shut, and the design will make opening them very tricky unless you're prepared to buy two kits and sacrifice one to salvage the doors, or make a mould to produce them in resin.
The cab's interior is very spartan, which seems appropriate for the original, but there's no detail on the inside of the doors. The dashboard has nicely moulded bezels, but it's disappointing that Tamiya haven't included decals for the speedometer etc. The seat are OK, but look a bit rigid and new, so you might want to soften them up a bit to look more used.
The model can be built with the canvas cargo cover up or down. Oddly, it's moulded in clear styrene. It's split in two along the top, which allows crisp detail on the sides, but does mean a seam to deal with. For scale appearance, it's probably best to build the cover up, as the truck sides do look a bit thick.
Last but not least there's a driver figure. It's moulded neatly enough with a separate head and arms and is perhaps a little small in order to squeeze into the cab. The real disappointment for anyone wanting to use the Tilly in a typical wartime airfield diorama is that the driver is most suitable for the Army or RAF Regiment. You'll probably get away with just painting the battledress blue and the garters are unlikely to be visible, but the beret (although first introduced to the RAF Regiment in 1943) wasn't universally adopted by the RAF until after the war. As the figure has a separate head anyway, it's a shame that one with the more common Field Service cap wasn't also included as an option.
InstructionsThe assembly diagrams are clearly laid out and beautifully drawn. The assembly is virtuallly self-explanatory, it's so simple, and the kit looks a perfect build for a relaxing "weekend build". Tamiya paints are indicated throughout.
Decals are provided for four schemes:
A. British Army, unknown unit, Europe, 1944
B. Polish 4th Infantry Division, British Army, UK, 1944
C. Royal Air Force
D. A standard British Army scheme with unit markings for the 1st, 6th and 7th Armoured Divisions to apply as desired.
The small sheet of decals seems very good quality. The silk finish items are printed in perfect register. The blue of the RAF roundels seems very pale, but searching the web does reveal some photos of vehicles bearing such markings (although these are restored examples, so the colours might not be true to the original). I'll use a more typical wartime Roundel Blue.
ConclusionTamiya's 1:48 Tilly is a simple, but very well produced kit of a vehicle that will be hugely useful for aircraft and armour modellers alike. Hopefully, its success will encourage Tamiya to produce some more airfield vehicles such as bowsers and ambulances. Recommended.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.