The following introduction is as provided by Gecko Models:
When the mechanisation of the British Army was accelerated in the late 1930s, a number of major commercial vehicles manufacturers in Britain supplied 30- cwt capacity general service trucks to the British Army. These were often the militarised versions of the standard commercial truck offered by these companies. Early examples, reflecting First World War limited funding available for military equipment in the 1930s, the simple development of commercially available trucks into trucks for the British army appear to be a cost effective solution, requiring small development costs. Later examples of these open cab trucks, often referred to by their drivers as “Pneumonia wagons” were fitted with standardised pressed steel full cab, which was also often seen fitted to other larger trucks from the same manufacturers. Production of the 30-cwt capacity of trucks did not last long as it was found that they cost as much to produce as a 3 tonne truck with twice the capacity. A large number of trucks were lost during the battle of France and were subsequently refurbished for use by the Wehrmacht. Trucks with this appearance were often seen in use with home forces and in the Western dessert. With the final British demise of interest in the 30 cwt class of vehicles as a load carrier, remaining vehicles were either used for second line use, including driver training or past to Allied forces. This included being lend-leased to Soviet forces.
Information written by Simon King.
This offering from Gecko Models is provided inside a sturdy flip top cardboard tray with an additional card cover with the artwork on it. Inside you get a glossy well prepared instruction booklet. The parts are supplied in 8 bags with photo etch, decals, twine and metal tubing provided in a Ziploc bag. An examination of the parts, reveals no obvious issues with regards to mouldings, with the decals and photo etch being placed on the base of the carton - they have been well protected in transit.
This release from Gecko Models has been supplied with a multi part chassis, that means detail is of a very high standard but care must be taken during assembly to ensure that everything is as it should be. The leaf spring suspension units do have a moulding line around their circumference, which will need some careful clean up. Some of the bracing on the chassis has very small brackets added that could be easily broken during removal from the sprue, but they do give a nice appearance. Moving to the oily parts, the axles do appear to be accurate and if I am correct also has brake cylinders. An engine has been provided in full, there is a reasonable level of detail, which could be further enhanced if desired via the addition of cabling to replicate the various elements that are not present. The wheels and tyres of the vehicle have been tackled in a pleasing manner, with the side walls and rims moulded as two sides and also having details for the tyre on them. The ring containing the tread detail for the tyre has been slide moulded and adds a very nice detail. Lastly here, I am pleased to see that Gecko Models has provided the ability to show the front wheels in the orientation of choice of the modeller. You will need to lock the wheel positions down, once you have decided how you want to display them.
The cab of the truck and hood is where photo etch really starts to make an appearance, with the grilles being provided in photo etch with four pieces behind that making up the radiator. Diamond tread plate for climbing into the cab has been provided. Inside the cab the required instruments all appear to be present, with an interesting touch that photo etched pedal pads have been supplied for addition to separate plastic parts. The instrument dials have been provided via decals, and the seats of the vehicle have a used appearance, which is another aspect I like - I don’t mean that they are wrecked, but they do have a “lived in” appearance. A fire extinguisher and shovel are provided for the rear wall. The glazing is thinly moulded with good clarity. Vehicles of this period were often designed that the front windows could be extended forward to allow air into the cab, the parts that achieve this are present but these only show the windows in a closed position. Some elements of the door frames are very thin, and you have been warned to take care during their removal and clean up. The cab is for the most part assembled off of the chassis, and so this could be utilised to make a sub assembly prior to painting. The access panels to the engine have been accurately replicated, with very well done vanes in the side walls, and correctly hinged in the centreline, and so can be shown open or closed - depending on your requirements. The doors of the vehicle have been provided with two options where the glazing is concerned, so that you can show the side windows either up or down. Gecko Models has not shown the doors assembled open, the fact that the hinges are moulded in two pieces, it will be an easy task for the modeller to show them as such. The finer fittings such as lights and information boards are a mix of plastic and photo etch, and should you decide to build a German version, you are provided with one of the guarded light fittings, such as found on the Opel Blitz.
The rear bed of the truck, has nice wooden planking detail and a well done canvas frame. This means that the modeller has the option of showing the canvas rolled up on the bed. You could also make your own canvas roofing to lay over the frame should your requirements dictate that. However, Gecko Models has provided a moulded canvas for the modeller who does not wish to tackle this themselves. A photo etched frame is provided for storage of flimsies and if you are building a German vehicle the convoy light is present as well.
The last item provided, is one of Gecko Models very nice figures. This features an Allied soldier driving the vehicle, with the option of a side cap or beret being worn via the supply of two different heads. Crease detail on the figures uniform is pleasing, and consists of battle blouse and trousers with boots and putties. My only minor issue is that the detail on the pockets of the blouse could be sharper. I do not see a personal weapon supplied for the driver, but you do get 10 ammunition pouches, binos, 5 helmets - 2 of which have the strap above the lip, 5 entrenchment tools, 4 backpacks, 5 water canteens, and some other pouches that I am not sure about identification.
Gecko models have provided four finishing options and these are:
419th Company, Royal Army Service Corps (Divisional Supply Company) - 70th Infantry Division, Tobruk, August 1941
Field Police Unit, 1st Czechoslavak Independent Mixed Brigade Group, Leamington Spa, UK, February 1941
Lend-Lease Example, 41st Guards Tank Brigade, RKKA (Rabochiy krestyanskaya krasmaya armiya) Mid 1942
Vehicle captured by German army and used on Eastern front (unit unknown)
Gecko Models in my opinion always provide a high quality model. The result of this is that the models are not always the easiest to assemble, as there are some very small parts which are testing on the eyes, and could be easily lost. But is has to be said, that in many of the cases items such as the tie down loops for the canvas on the bed of the lorry are the kind of details that make the modeller sit up and take notice. The finishing options is a nice mix of units with the number of display options also ranking highly with me as does the figure. I do feel the blouse worn will benefit from some refinement by the modeller in the breast pocket area, but once placed in the cab I doubt that this detail would be noticed. I have no concerns about highly recommending this model kit to modellers that are not afraid of small parts and photo etch.