by: Adie Roberts [ ]
In 1935 the War Office issued specifications for a new 15 cwt 4x2 military truck for service with the British Army, inviting manufacturers to submit designs to take part in annual comparative trials in north Wales, one entrant was a modification of a Bedford Vehicles 2-ton rear-wheel-drive lorry. Following these trials Bedford fitted a larger radiator and larger tyres, the trials were repeated in 1936 after which Bedford modified the chassis to increase ground clearance and installed a new engine cooling system. In the 1937 trials, a new special Bedford WD-1 prototype was produced with a 15 cwt payload, it performed admirably and in 1938 the eventual 72 bhp engine was installed.
Between 1939 and 1945 Bedford produced an incredible number of over 66,000 MW's, the vehicles remained in British service until the late 1950s. The Bedford MW was a 15 cwt (760 kg) 4x2 truck, powered by a Bedford 72bhp (54kW) six-cylinder inline 210 cu in (3.5 L) petrol engine through a four-speed transmission. Despite lacking four-wheel drive and so being unsuited for off-road use, the MW's powerful engine, short wheelbase, low centre of gravity and relatively lightweight gave it excellent acceleration and almost sports-car-like handling. The MW was intended mainly to be a workhorse for the British Army's infantry battalions, but throughout the war, it was adapted to a number of roles and was eventually also used by the Royal Air Force, Royal Navy, other government departments and some overseas customers.
Bedford MWD cargo truck with General Service body
Bedford MWC water tank truck
Bedford MWT anti-aircraft gun tractor
Bedford MWG QF 2 pounder or 20mm Oerlikon portee
Bedford MWR radio truck
Bedford MWV RAF signals van
The box is of a carton type with a lift of lid, the artwork is very impressive and I am sure a tempting sight when you first see it. Once the lid is off you have a substantial cardboard box that would survive even the most unscrupulous of couriers allowing your model kit to arrive undamaged.
One clear sprue with the screen and side windows
Twenty-three light grey sprues which include the main vehicle parts, one figure with some equipment. Five plastic tyres, one decal sheet and one photo-etch sheet.
First impressions of the kit from Gecko Models it looks really good though there is a large number of sprues for what is relatively a small kit and I found out as I got further into the review.
Being the first Geckos Models kit I have ever reviewed I am really lucky to get the chance to review it now and will do my best to bring you the highs and lows of the kit. Looking at the instruction booklet it is similar to many of the different manufacturers own instruction booklets, to start with the detail is very good to the eye and looks pretty easy build without too many issues at this stage.
However, it was meant to be an in-box review but looking at the various sprues and parts attached to the sprues, At this point, I did decide to start to build some of it as I was going through the review. I cut the two sides of the chassis off and I was quite concerned while cutting the plastic as it was clear to me at this stage that the plastic was very thin and bendy. Several very small pieces that fitted around the chassis posed their own issues with cutting from the sprue trying to get as clean a cut as possible thus avoiding the need to have to file down such tiny pieces, as I had already managed to break one of the tow hooks in half while trying file of the end of the attachment to the mould. The actual building process was to my surprise comparatively easy with most parts fitting with some precision and made the chassis go from delicate, intricate parts to a rigid good looking construction.
I have come to realise as I look through the sprues and build a bit more, that this company are looking to provide you with an actual copy of the Bedford MWC and thus so far is looking just like the real vehicle apart from the fact that you are not using spanners, wrenches, hammers, screwdrivers, nuts and bolts but tweezers glue and a good deal of patience!
When taking pictures at hi-res you then realise that Geckos Models has managed to include subtle detail that is not actually visible to the naked eye as some of these parts are tiny, to say the least. The engine comes in four main parts with several smaller parts that are added as you go, the main four parts have some nice moulded detail which differentiates the lower half of the engine from the sump. The last two parts make up the head of the engine, the components around the radiator and fan which all go together separately to form an impressive-looking part of the cooling system, fan belt comes with three moulded pulleys one to the alternator, one to the fan blade itself and the main one to the engine. Joined together it all makes a very nice looking engine and goes back to what I said earlier an incredible build that has you build it up component by component most of what I have seen since the beginning all looks very accurate.
The radiator parts have some really great detail and also include the housing around the fan blade to protect it from damage, other parts that all fit to and around the engine like the airbox pipework carburettor come together to make an amazing build with a fantastic look to it.
The gearbox itself has five different parts to complete it which is going to add to the time to the build but potentially will make it look more accurate, once the gearbox engine is in place which all seem to fit together really well within the chassis and subframe you are now looking at a model that builds like a real Bedford WMC.
The steering rack, axles, wheel hub, rims, tyres are all separate parts but when put together start to form a very accurate and detailed part of the build, which if the parts on the sprues are to go by I think most of you will really enjoy this build.
The parts that form the cab and the interior of the cab, all of these parts are well detailed where they are meant to be, even some of the bits that you might not even see once built still carry detail! The cab detail, especially in places that you would not expect to see this level of detail on a model kit, is present like under the bonnet where ribs are present on the exterior of the frame that is protecting the driver and his passenger, this for me is not the norm in the many kits that I have built previously
The main parts of the body are very similar to the rest of the parts and have some outstanding detail, instead of having one moulded part, to having one large component with several other smaller parts to fit it literally building up the detail as you go. Another plus is the ability to show off the detail of the engine with all your efforts in building all the different parts, will actually be visible with the option of having the bonnet open with its split middle allowing you to chose if you want the bonnet closed or both sides of the bonnet open or maybe just one side the choice is yours.
The cab itself has a soft-top canvas with folds and stretched material around the framework all in one moulded part! The main body on the back is the actual tank of the bowser along with lockers and storage places, even give you a few bits to stow into these lockers, again the number of parts used is amazing as is the overall detail once it is finished.
As you turn the page it is amazing to see how many more parts there are to finish off the bowser.
It looks crazy when you look at the number of parts that it uses, but when you look at the build windows within the instruction booklet what looks sort of complicated really is not the case, the experience I have found whilst building the chassis parts the instructions are clear and precise once you start and actually makes light work of it.
Once the main build on the bowser is finished and secured on the back of the vehicle you find that you still have even more accessories which can be made and displayed on the outside of the bowers side like fuel cans and boxes all finished with more detail in the way of the photo-etch parts that are included in the kit.
The final part of the build is a figure which is up to your own personal choice if you wish to build or not, but for me, I love bringing models alive by way of dioramas, so the figure for me is a no brainer for me.
When you look at the detail of the figures head and face, of which you have the choice of two heads, which are amazing the soldier in control of this vehicle is obviously a very happy chap. With beaming smile on both faces one wearing an RAF forage side cap the other a beret.
The RAF person has a narrow looking face with high cheekbones eyebrows nice moulded eyes, the one ear that is his left ear which has nice detail around the ear lob. The ear on the right side of his head looks slightly out of scale there is also a very small mould line which will need to be removed very carefully.
The second head with the beret on has a chubbier face but I think that gives him some character, he also is a happy guy too with big beaming smile nicely detailed left ear and his beret has a very natural look with the body of it laying down the right-hand side of his head, thus not much of an ear showing but it does look natural, both figures even have teeth that do not look out of scale.
The instructions booklet may when first opening it look a little complex and maybe even daunting the number of parts and the amount of the step by step guides, but please work through it because it becomes very easy to follow once you start the build as to my surprise I found out while I was building the chassis.
The decals look very well done and without cause for concern. I will be building this kit real soon and I am looking forward to it.
This is my first time with a Geckos Model kit not just in a review situation but the first I have seen one that is not on the computer. When I first opened the box I thought that either the company had added a trailer or perhaps by mistake put two Bedford's in the one box, such as the number of sprues in the box? But as I found out this is all for the one build even though the Bedford 15-cwt 4x2 200 Gallon Water Bowser truck is not as the name suggests, a truck in the sense of the word. I am not going to lie here when I first looked and realised that all the sprues in front of me were for the one build I was thinking complicated, over-engineered, even daunting. But in truth, as I found out when I decided that I do need to try some of the build, when I was looking at the parts on the sprue that were moving and bending. I was thinking at this time that there is going to be some issues here, only compounded by the fact of the tow hook breaking when I tried to file of a tiny piece of plastic left when cutting it off the sprue. However, I found out that yes some of this plastic was so thin, but it is to scale and once removed from the sprue carefully and then you follow the instructions what you build-up is very thin bendy plastic to a totally solid, detailed chassis and was not complicated but instead became very easy to follow and build.
This is going to make a very accurate model that is more like building the real thing than just a piece of plastic, all of the pieces fit together in a way that has you building, what I can only describe in my words a whole engine as most of the parts have several parts to put together to make one the bit, like the cooling system, the air filter box and pipe, manifold I could go on here but my suggestion is you go and buy one of the Gecko Model kits for yourself and see exactly what I am trying to say here.
I hope to be able to review more Gecko models in the near future as I have really enjoyed this one that went from my thinking of over-engineered to this is an amazing kit. I really hope that they stay true to this kit with all there models as I see a great future for Gecko models
Would I recommend this kit to you, hell yes I would, is this going to be to everyone's liking or taste maybe not, I even questioned it at first myself, but if you give it a go and time it is not going to be a shake and bake, built-in five minutes but it will be an accurate good looking model which I believe will give some good satisfaction when building it.