by: Russ Amott [ ]
In 1938, the South African government started a project to develop an armored car. When the war began the project was accelerated, but as South Africa did not have automobile production in country, the components of the vehicle had to be imported. Starting with a Ford 3 ton truck chassis and adding a Marmon Herrington drive train, British armament and locally manufactured armor plating, the new armored car entered service in 1940. Within a short time deficiencies were noted. The vehicle was upgraded from two to four wheel drive, the wheel base was shortened and on later production vehicles an octagonal turret with a Boys antitank rifle and Bren machine gun was added. This upgraded vehicle was referred to as the Marmon-Herrington Mk. II. It was used extensively in North Africa. It lacked sufficient armor and armament, but was reliable and had good mobility. The turret was frequently removed and non standard armament added, such as Italian Breda guns, 3.7cm Pak 36, Oerlikon 20mm cannon or a QF 2 pounder. The gun shields were left in place to provide a measure of protection. Over 800 of the Mk II were produced.
As frequently happened in the war, vehicles that fell into enemy hands were employed by them due to an overall shortage of vehicles. Sometimes the turret was left in place, other times it was removed. Photos I have seen show both the original British paint scheme as well as German repainting in what appears to be overall sandgelb. IBG Models have released several new variants of the Marmon-Herrington armored car, including a Mk. II model in service with German forces in North Africa.
The kit is packaged in a large, top opening box with artwork of a vehicle in overall sandgelb in operation somewhere in North Africa on the top. The spacious box provides plenty of room for the parts sprues, which are individually wrapped in plastic.
While looking over the parts, I did not see any flaws in molding, either with sink marks or short shots. Detail is very sharp and generally excellent. Parts breakdown is as follows:
Frame A, top and bottom sections of the car, also rear plate. Bullet deflectors are molded on the engine cover with nice rivet detail. The tools are very well molded as well, with the head of the pick having a hollowed out center. This part was bent slightly from movement in the box-the only part appearing to have damage.
Frame B, a very well detailed engine with a delicately molded radiator and fan, multi-part armored radiator doors and suspension parts. The turret ring is included here, but not used.
Frame F, vehicle side panels, frame parts, more suspension and drive train, finely detailed leaf spring assembly and fenders.
Frame C, x2, wheel hubs, brakes, tow hooks and small detail bits.
Frame Ca, seat backs, spare tire hub, very complete no. 19 wireless set.
Frame Ce, small detail bits for the suspension and engine.
Frame D, clear parts for widows and lights.
5 separately molded tires, with excellent tread detail.
One photoetch fret with straps for tools, various small brackets and screens for the radio set.
Decal sheet with generic markings for one vehicle as illustrated on the box top.
The instruction sheet is in booklet form. A paint guide is provided on the first page, with colors listed by name and specific color callout for Vallejo model air and model color. The instructions are a combination of 3D CAD images showing plastic parts assembly, and grayscale illustrations showing construction of etched parts. I like the CAD images as they show clearly where parts should go. The etch instructions are not as clear, as some parts will require multiple bends to get them assembled correctly, and the image is in some instances too dark to see clearly what the intended outcome was. Some of the etch parts are assembled at the beginning of the instructions but are not called for until much later in the build. In general, the instructions look to be quite readable and very clear with the exceptions already mentioned, especially considering the complexity of assembly for the frame and suspension. Assembly is completed in 45 steps.
Options in assembly allow for the radiator doors, windshield armor plate and vehicle doors to be molded open or closed. There is enough detail to allow for this with confidence, with the only needed extras being to add engine hoses and wiring, brake lines and personal gear inside. The painting guide at the end shows the single vehicle of the Afrika Korps, late 1941, in overall sandgelb. Aside from the decals and paint, there is nothing in the kit to make it specifically German. The modeler will need to add such details as they desire in terms of stowage and figures to complete the setting. There are photos online of captured vehicles with a variety of markings and stowage. The last page of the instructions advertises a book-Marmon Herrington, a History of the South African reconnaissance car, 176 pages with 229 archival black and white photos and 141 color walk around photos, 20 color plates and 8 pages of 1/35 scale drawings, from ModelCentrum Progress, which should prove to be an excellent resource for modelers of this vehicle.
There have been models produced in the past of this vehicle, but all that I could find only in resin. Considering that this was one of the most numerous armored cars produced in WWII, and the most prominent in North Africa, this should be a very welcome release. Judging by the sprues, this should be an excellent kit. I have no idea how the parts will fit at this point, but I am anxious to get started. With the vehicle body being made up of individual sections, alignment will be critical, but it is the only way to provide the interior detail. Aside from only 1 marking option I can really see no issues with the kit. I always want more details and accessories, but most manufacturers don't provide them, so you will have to look into aftermarket suppliers for appropriate German and British equipment. The kit is listed at IBG Models website at 29.90 euro, with online prices in Britain at around 28 pounds, US prices starting at $50, so shop carefully for the best price.