by: Darren Baker [ ]
During the North African campaign in World War Two three command versions of the AEC Matadors were captured around Derna and two of those three were used by General Erwin Rommel for his own needs, the two vehicles were given names by the Germans who called them “Moritz and Max” who were characters from a cartoon movie. These vehicles were discovered near Cap Bon after the defeat of the Axis powers in North Africa and returned to British service.
SKP Model has been unlucky to some extent with the ACV Dorchester, due to its release being followed by announcements from at least one of the major manufacturers. However all is not lost as despite it not having an interior it does offer detail that is not going to be included with kits from their competitors. The model offered by SKP Model is a dedicated multimedia kit including a combination of injection moulded plastic, resin parts, photo etched parts, and a set of SKP Models vehicle specific lenses and taillights.
The model is packaged in a standard card box which has a print of the two vehicles this product is designed to build into on the front. Inside you will find;
• Three injection moulded sprues inside a single polythene bag.
• There are five zip lock bags which contain the resin parts.
• A zip lock bag containing the photo etched fret, lenses and taillights, and decals.
I am not an expert on this vehicle by any stretch of the imagination and as such I will be concentrating on the quality of the product rather than the accuracy. I do have access to a Matador on occasion at the same location where we renovate the artillery guns. Starting with the injection moulded plastic portion of the model I was impressed with the cleanly moulded components with clearly defined details such as rivets and bolt heads. There are no defects at all in the sample I have such as ejector pin marks or flash. The large plastic mouldings are still true with no warping evident. The only complaint I can level at the plastic mouldings is that some of the gates/connection points are on the heavy side or over lapping the smaller mouldings which will make the clean up more difficult of these small or thin parts, otherwise these are very well moulded parts.
Moving onto the resin parts I will start with the resin wheels which are exceptionally well moulded with no air bubbles that I could see with the naked eye. The tread pattern looks right and is a good match for the wheels on the Quads and 25pdr field guns I work on, if you look carefully you can also see AVON in raised detail on the tyres which is a tyre company that has been going since 1904. Lastly the gates on the tyre should be easy to remove without leaving a lot of clean up to do.
Moving onto the next bag of resin parts we have what I believe are two rolled canvas sheets and a frame work. Again the parts are very well cast with none of the issues you can encounter when working with resin. One of the frame works which are very fine had broken away from its casting block but I believe due to the consideration given to the packaging of parts the part is undamaged and shows the ease with which parts can be removed.
In the third bag of resin parts there are hundreds of very small pegs that I can’t work out what they are used for as yet, a very large number of this pegs have broken free of the carrier during transit but all seem to be in the bag and undamaged despite being broken off. Also in this bag are some of the tools for the vehicle and again they are excellently cast.
The last bag containing resin parts for the model consists mostly of parts that make up the drive for the vehicle and a wire coil for the rear of the vehicle, and these parts are again free of defects that I can see.
The last bag contains a bonus resin figure of a German wearing boots, shorts, and short sleeved shirt, the head of the figure has been cast separately and has very nice facial detail and wearing a German tropical helmet which has the raised areas on the side for the badges. The arms, which are also separate, have very good hand detail and include a watch cast on the left wrist.
The model has a reasonable number of photo etched parts which have good detail and are on a nice gauge of brass for working with similar to ABER. The bending locations are clearly indicated and should add nice detail to the finished model. Also in the bag with the photo etched parts are a set of SKP Models lenses and taillights which are an excellent way of adding some eye catching detail to any model. This set contains ten lenses which are shaped and sized perfectly for the model and also have detail under the clear lenses that adds to the overall look.
Lastly in this bag are the decals for the model, colour is good and they have minimal excess carrier film. The decals do not, however, have anything to indicate who SKP Model has make them for them.
The instructions for the model are a little odd in that you get the instructions and painting guide in the box for the earlier released Allied Dorchester and then included in the box is an addition to the instructions for the DAK specific vehicle. The painting and decal placement instructions are on the front of the box which peels off easily should you need or want to keep it in the box.
This looks like an excellent model of the Dorchester which if an interior is not important to you should be more than a match to any injection moulded plastic kit, and at least an equal to a resin offering. The use of various medias only add to the desirability of the model as it means that SKP Model have not been confined by the abilities of one material to carry detail. The inclusion of the lenses and taillights is just icing on the cake. This model used in a simple diorama with a figure of Erwin Rommel and some of his officers sheltering under a tarp from the side of the vehicle could look stunning in its simplicity.