by: Stephen T. Lawson [ ]
In 1914 with the beginning of WWI, it became clear that this war would not only be a conflict between the manpower of the combatants. Any war has always provided the impetus for the rapid application of new ideas and means of destruction and the "Great War" would not be an exception. Numerous inventions of the late XIX - early XX Centuries, such as the combustion engine, fast firing weapons and heavier than air aircraft would now of necessity play crucial roles in these new conditions.
In the autumn of 1914 light armored Minerva Cars were used quite successfully by the Belgian army, and it strongly impressed the leadership of the British Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS). The chassis of the famous passenger car the Rolls Royce Silver Ghost was considered as a basis for the future armored car, which had quite good structural strength and high cross-country ability. Moreover, on the initiative of some military officers, during the early days of the war some Silver Ghosts were refashioned as patrol cars, for which purpose a Maxim gun was installed. Several encounters with German command cars, when the British easily dealt with the enemy with their machine guns, proved that the concept of armored vehicles was practical and should be further developed.
On to the chassis of the Silver Ghost, which was unchanged, was installed an armored body, which consisted of riveted metal plates of six millimeter thickness. In the aft part, behind the driver's seat, was installed a moving cylindrical turret and behind that was a small space for boxes of ammunition and entrenching tools. The wheels of the armored car, as on its passenger predecessor, were spoked. Protection against heavy enemy fire was not discussed and the concept of a light armored car was the only consideration.
The Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) raised the first British armoured car squadron during the First World War. In September 1914 all available Rolls Royce Silver Ghost chassis, including their engines horse power had been increased to about 80 hp, were requisitioned to form the basis for the new armoured car. The following month a special committee of the Admiralty Air Department, among whom was Flight Commander T.G. Hetherington, designed the superstructure which consisted of armoured bodywork and a single turret for a Vickers machine gun.
The first three armored vehicles were ready as soon as October 1914 and delivered on 3 December 1914, although by then the mobile period on the Western Front, where the primitive predecessors of the Rolls-Royce cars had served, had already come to an end. But unlike the 'ersatz' armored cars which had so successfully shown their worth earlier, production cars did not gain great renown in the conditions of trench warfare. The numbers of Rolls Royce Armoured Cars were gradually increased, but this war of largely static positions, which dragged on for so long, did not give them a chance to show their full worth.
However, on another continent, in the Middle East, where the flames of war flared up with ever increasing force, these armored cars appeared to be a real success and a boon for the British. The endless hot desert terrain from Turkey to Palestine could not be called ideal conditions for the armored car of the time, but in this situation when the Empire had to wage war not only with the enemy in the colonies, but also suppress local indigenous uprisings, the Rolls Royce Armored Car was a significant help to the British troops. Already in 1915 in the Middle East there were at least six full squadrons of armored cars, 12 cars in each one, and later two more squadrons were added. Also later, one more squadron was sent from France to Egypt, and placed under the command of Lawrence of Arabia, a famous adventurer and historical character, who was a leader of the Arab rebels.
In the final period of WWI the Rolls Royce Armored Car was widely used only in the deserts of the Middle East and North Africa, since there was almost no work in Europe for them. But in 1916 these cars were used with great effectiveness in Ireland to suppress mass unrests. So, in the shape of the Rolls Royce and quite differently from its original purpose, for the first time in history the armored car became a specialized police unit. Later, the Irish government purchased 13 of these cars, which were used with considerable success by the Army and the country's police. Chassis production was suspended in 1917 to enable Rolls-Royce to concentrate on aero engines.
After WWI, the Rolls Royce Armored Cars did not suffer the fate of many other new types of armament, which in most cases were sent for scrap. After a series of upgrades, this armored car though significantly changed from its original appearance, remained in combat units right up until 1944 when the next great war, WWII, was coming to its end.
Type Armored car;
Place of origin United Kingdom.
Service history In service 1915 to 1941.
Used by United Kingdom Ireland Wars World War I, Irish Civil War, World War II.
Production history ;
Variants Rolls-Royce 1920 Pattern, Rolls-Royce 1924 Pattern, Fordson Armored Car, Rolls Royce Indian Pattern.
Weight 4.2 tons
Length 4.93 m (194 in)
Width 1.93 m (76 in)
Height 2.54 m (100 in)
Plastic parts 252 pcs.
PE metal 18 pcs.
Armoured Car Pattern 1914, G-256, unknown unit, Al Mayadin near Euphrates,Iraq January 1919.
Armoured Car Pattern 1914, “White 1”/”Superb”, Middle East, 1918.
Armoured Car Pattern 1914, 8-C-2 from the unknown RNAS unit during training excersizes Western country in England, 1915.
Word of caution on the instructions. Step 1 - 3, Do yourself a favor and unite the basic engine halves before adding the generator, magnetos, carburetor, distributor cap, plumbing, water and oil pumps. There should be a solid foundation first rather than trying to align the engine halves after everything is attached externally. This is a simplification method manufacturer's use to cut down the number of steps and text.
We are all use to over scaled details but in the case of early armour even the real deals seemed to have had what we would consider today oversize nuts and bolts.
Edit Note here- On my first build I accidently put the radiator hoses and exhaust manifold on in reverse. The radiator hose is the piping on top of the engine here and should go towards the fan blades / front of the engine and will tie into the radiator.
You will notice the brass water llines with the sweat valves it cut in half and trimed at the valve handles / petcocks. The length needs a union for the hose crossing over the head covers. Parts here are given a general base coat with other detailes to be picked out later.
Next some work on mating the chassis and the differential. The main fuel cell is altered by routing out the saddles and removing the cell's cradle attachments from the chassis and I will move it slightly further aft. Note the cradle's former position but the four white dots on the beam just behind the differential. There has been some earlier review comments about the kit exhaust not fitting properly I am hoping this will fix that too.
Step 1 - 5 As noted in Mr. Mcgrath's review, the engine represents the build up of a Rolls Royce six cylinder water-cooled inline of 80hp ( 60Kw) output.. There are no sprue ejector marks on any parts that will be visible when the engine is assembled, The sprue attachment points for the fan blades are placed at stress points and the part will have to be carefully removed from the sprue by cutting the sprue away from the part using a pair of cutting dykes. The fan is surrounded by the sprue in a square shape. Nip the corners then use an Xacto razor knife to cut the sprue from the blades by skinning them from the back of the fan blades first. In truth it might be better to scratch build the blades and use the fan hub to hang them on.
The pipes and tubes of the engine do have a small amount of flash on them and the details are softer than I like on these. Being an all plastic kit, the engine is extremely simplified but the above average modeler can refine parts and add much of the simulated plumbing and wire leads seen on in the real engine with brass rod and wire.
As mentioned by Mr. Mcgrath in his review of the 1920 pattern kit #801 there is no option to show the bonnet / hood open without some scratchbuilding. See step 23. But if you detail this engine to any degree you miss the best part of the kit by keeping it closed up.
The central concern for keeping the chassis square and plumb is the tranipan and framing (5 X2 6 & 11 C) Even at that the chassis rails (1&2 C) as seen in step 16 needs careful attention. The rear frame end (20 C ) fits but mine needed a bit of trimming on the insert tabs to keep it square. These tabs ride within the chassis inner face grooves. Once the chassis is trued up adding the bits and bobs is easy. I left the front end of the frame ( 21 C )unsecured on one side to come back later and add the finished motor.
Step 6 - 8. Axles and tires need the usual seams erased. There is a small amount of flash on the wheels. The tires come 3 on a sprue. Flush cutting snips help a lot. The vinyl tires of the first two kits have been replaced with solid plastic versions. The plastic is soft and cleanup is a bit better that the Vynl type that were tedious. You must use a new blade. There is no tread pattern. I am very happy to see Roden's set of the WWI spoked versions of the wheels and this kit's backdated turret.
Since the instrument panel is void of any detail I am left to extrapalate its contents. Turn of the century machinery did only have the needed gauges for the experienced driver to read and know what he needed to know. These were often just;
1, Water temp readout.
2. oil pulsator.
3. tachometer / rev counter.
4. starter magnetos.
From the reverse side of the forward firewall, it look as if the water temp gauge was centrally located. By the way moving the fuel cell back slightly has aleviated the exhaust location problem. Though you still should remove the pipe aft of the muffler and reattach it after the forward assembly is in place. This bit worked out well on my 1920 build. But if you attach the exhaust before you add the fuel tank it all works out good.
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