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In-Box Review
135
AEC Matador Gun Tractor
AEC Matador Gun Tractor mid Version
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by: Darren Baker [ CMOT ]

Introduction

The Matador gun tractor was an excellent vehicle for the purpose it was designed for. Falling between the Quad at the light side and the Pioneer on the heavy side when referred to as a gun tractor. The gun tractor role it was designed for was towing the QF 3.7 inch heavy Anti Aircraft gun and the 5.5 inch gun; the Matador filled this role very well, but it had more strings to its bow in the armed forces and proved to be a great success in civilian use after the war.

Contents

The model is supplied in one of AFV Clubís usual card trays with a card lid, the carton itself is reasonably robust, but in these days of internet shopping further packaging will be needed to protect the model during transit; so remember that when ordering. The contents break down as follows;
  • Box top artwork
  • A decal sheet
  • A photo etch fret
  • A length of cord
  • 12 tan sprues
  • 2 clear sprues
  • 5 vinyl rubber tyres
  • A resin figure
  • An instruction booklet

Review

First Impressions
A look over the contents that make up this model kit is a little of a mixed bag at first site. There are some circular ejector pin marks that will need to be removed from the roof of the cargo deck of the model and these six circular pins will need to be removed with care as they are close to the roof structures. Also on the roof there is a sprue gate attached to the curve of the roof on one side and this will also require careful clean up. Part F29 is duplicated on two sprues in the box and this part has been destroyed on both sprues; this destruction has resulted in some very fine broken plastic parts in the bag. Further checks also revealed two braces had broken in half, I can only believe that this was caused by rough handling by the postal service, or it could be due to the finesse of parts we as modellers demand. On the plus side I have examined the instruction booklet four times and cannot find mention of the parts and so may be of no matter in this release. More pluses is that the wooden frame of the cargo deck and sides are free of any ejector pin marks and while there is not a wood grain replicated on the parts, they do have a very nice subtle texture about them. Other than the issues I have raised here I did not observe any flash on parts and only very light ejector pin marks.

Chassis, Engine and Suspension
The chassis of the model is a multi-part offering and this allowed AFV Club to offer a very accurate frame for the model, but you will need to take great care to ensure the frame remains square or problems will be met further along. The engine provided with the model is only a partial offering, but it does fulfil the role of showing the parts that can be viewed from below. The gearbox and drive shafts have been nicely tackled along with the exhaust. My only concern so far is that the instruction booklet does fit a lot into a small number of images and due to the large number of small parts this does present the potential for errors to occur.

The suspension springs are quite nice and have good detail, the only issue of note is that there is the obvious seam line around the leaf springs and again care will need to be taken to avoid damaging the fine detail. The tyres being vinyl rubber will not please every modeller, but the tread pattern is very good and there is no seam line to contend with. The wheel hubs also look very pleasing to me as regards detail, but the ability to show the front wheels turned is not an option and also not something that could be incorporated by the modeller with some scratch work. These stages are as I have said very busy and I cannot emphasize how easy it could be to make a mistake or miss a part in this area.

Cargo Deck
The cargo deck of the model is very good detail wise and should more than meet the demands of most modellers. There are a number of holes that need to be drilled in the deck, but no drill size has been mentioned by AFV Club. The side walls of the cargo deck have a very large number of very small parts to be added to them and these parts are the first time where I have questioned the logic of this approach by AFV Club; it is my opinion that these parts would have been better for the modellers sanity if moulded as part of the side walls, but as these represent the tie-downs I am unsure how easy that would have been to do.. The internal structures of the cargo deck have been very nicely tackled and will really look the part.

The Roof
As I mentioned earlier I do not like the ejector pin marks on the interior of the roof or the gate between the sprue and the roof on the curve of the roof exterior. The struts all being separate parts will require care when it comes to placement; it is also two of these that are broken but still attached to the sprue. AFV Club has done a fair job here when it comes to the canvas sides which are offered either folded or deployed; however if you are not happy with the look of these parts there is always the photo etched offering from Voyager Model that will allow some other display options.

The Cab
The cab provided in the model by AFV Club can in my opinion be described with one word, perfect. I am very impressed with the effort put into this area by AFV Club as the detail is exquisite. A close look over the area failed to identify any omissions of note. The doors can be assembled in an open or closed position as can the roll down windows on the doors and the windscreen. Very nice attention to detail here.

The Driver
The cream resin figure included with this model is a very pleasant and unexpected inclusion. The uniform is a desert offering and looks good with the exception that the putties appear to be missing; perhaps someone in the know can tell me if the drivers were exempt. The figure will require a minimum of clean up. The use of pins and receivers on the arms is nice touches for helping the modeller locate them accurately. Also included in resin are two very nicely done jerry cans with good detail despite being moulded as a single unit.

Instructions and Decals
There are three finishing options covered at the end of the instructions, but other than one stating it is from Italy 1943 there are no other details provided. I find this a little disappointing as a modeller, but they do offer some interesting paint schemes. The instruction booklet is acceptable, but I cannot help feeling that AFV Club may have on this occasion tried to do too much in a short number of pictures. This is particularly true when it comes to the more detailed areas such as the underside of the vehicle due to parts count in these areas.

conclusion

I am very impressed with this model from AFV Club, but I cannot help thinking they have made it more complicated than it needed to be and in the process may affect the number of modellers up to tackling it. The detail is of a very high standard and this level of detail should satisfy nearly everyone except maybe the most demanding of modellers. The broken and missing parts are a shame, but I cannot lay this at AFV Clubís door as it is possible it was damaged during transit and of course I am sure if I contacted them replacement parts would be provided.
SUMMARY
Highs: The cab is exceptionally well represented, which with the addition of the resin driver should be the star of the show.
Lows: A small number of broken parts and an unusually complex build due to small parts may deter some.
Verdict: This is I feel a very demanding model, but the finish that could be achieved gives it great appeal.
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: AF35239
  PUBLISHED: May 25, 2015
  NATIONALITY: United Kingdom
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 87.05%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 89.54%

Our Thanks to AFV Club!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.
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About Darren Baker (CMOT)
FROM: ENGLAND - SOUTH WEST, UNITED KINGDOM

I have been building model kits since the early 70ís starting with Airfix kits of mostly aircraft, then progressing to the point I am at now building predominantly armour kits from all countries and time periods. Living in the middle of Salisbury plain since the 70ís, I have had lots of opportunitie...

Copyright ©2017 text by Darren Baker [ CMOT ]. All rights reserved.


Reader Reviews
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Comments

Excellent, detailed review, Squire. I found their other Matador kit a pleasurable challenge to build for the reasons you identified (brittle plastic fiddly bits that break or need great TLC). I would recommend some resin AM wheels if you can find any (a mate here on the forums provided me with a test batch from a private maker and they worked well). I would also recommend the new Voyager set PE35735 for the canvas "window covers" on the top.
MAY 26, 2015 - 05:49 AM
0A very fiddly kit, sprues with the same identification Letters, Parts that break whilst separating from the sprue, poor instructions, too crammed, should have been spread out more and been broken down into sub sections.
MAY 26, 2015 - 08:38 AM
It will be a very long time till I part with my £ for an AFV kit on the strength of this kit, very shocked at the poor standard and fit of this kit
MAY 26, 2015 - 08:41 AM
Keith I lot of what you have said here has been stated in the review, but you say it has poor part fitment and that is something I have not heard said before. Can you clarify which areas of the model caused you issues?
MAY 26, 2015 - 11:36 AM
0Yes Darren, ie cushion for driver and passenger in the cab, either the holes are to high up for the cushion or the cushions locating pins are incorrectly located, the pins will not line up with the locator holes, and the passenger cushion will not fit as it hits a raised bracket ? Also the drivers seat mounting will not locate into the holes on the rear of the cab or the floor unless you enlarge them considerable. Whilst I waited for this kit to come out to make several RAF versions, I will scrap that idea and move on, the above are a few of the problems I have come across in the build and I am discouraged from venturing further with this kit, ah well back to accurate armour for a good fitting kit
MAY 27, 2015 - 12:26 AM
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