Bedford MWD Light Truck
Airfix continues to knock out quality 1/48th kits as they continue surging ahead making a wide variety of kits. Their newest offering is a 1/48th version of the Bedford MWD truck. A 4x2 vehicle that entered service right before the war started, the Bedford saw service in France in 1940 and would continue to service with the RAF and the British Army after they re-entered the continent in June, 1944. The kit provides parts, decals, and paint schemes for two vehicles – the early version that served in France in 1940 and the later version that served with the RAF in 1943.
As with their kits of late, the parts are molded in traditional light blue plastic. The parts are cleanly molded, with no flash and come on three sprues including a separately bagged sprue of clear parts. As stated previously, the kit has parts and decals for two vehicles. The instructions are a tremendous improvement for older Airfix kits. Using exploded drawings, the directions are easy to follow, with one curious feature. In this and some of their other newer 1/48th kits some of the parts are colored with a light pink ink. I am not certain why. It can be a little distracting, but does not take away from the assembly instructions. There is no parts diagram
Of the two variants included in the kit, I chose the later version with RAF markings. Both models share the same steps for the chassis, but begin to deviate with the construction of the body. As with most vehicles, assembly begins with the chassis. Unfortunately, on this review kit, the front of the vehicle frame was broken. The break, however, was clean and it was easy to glue the two sides together. The engine, drive line, and axles fit well, but the leaf springs were a tad difficult. Make sure you test fit the location of each of the springs since the axles rest on said springs. The drawings are a bit imprecise in terms of the exact location of the front axle, but again, test fitting confirmed location and placement of the wheels. The wheels mount directly on the hubs. All four tires are flattened to give the impression of weight. The fit over the hubs is very tight, so you do not need glue to attach the wheels. Friction does the trick. You do have to be careful to insure that the flattened portion of the wheels are aligned correctly or the vehicle will shimmy when put on a flat surface. Both variants of the vehicles share the same steps before the instructions deviate. Pay close attention to the instructions.
The Beford has a nicely detailed engine that fits into the front of the vehicle. I had initially wanted to show off the engine by keeping bonnet open, but I had problems with the pieces that composed the sides of the engine compartment (A03 and A04). I put some shims between the bonnet and the sides of the engine compartment. The shims closed the gaps and made for a tighter fit. The next step is the assembly of the body. Fit is good and it fits snuggly over the chassis, almost to the point that it doesn’t require glue. Before mating the body with the cab, the transparencies were installed. I dipped them in bath of Future. The frames are thick enough, that if you have a steady hand, you can hand paint the frames, which was probably a mistake. The cargo bed goes together well and the canvas top is nicely molded, at least to my eye, the folds are appropriate. When it comes to finishing up the assembly, the only difficulty I had was the correct placement of the steps to the cab. One fit perfectly, the other did not. After some experimenting, it was able to lie parallel with the end of the fender. All in all, assembly is pretty straight forward and shouldn’t cause any difficulties for modelers of average ability.
There are a just a few markings for the RAF variant. After brushing areas with future, the decals went on easily. The RAF roundels were slightly out of register, but went on perfectly. I am a big fan of Tamiya Acrylics, so I used those for the main color, Flat Earth (XF-52) but broke down and purchased the Humbrol color for the canvas top (Matt Khaki-HU 72). This is part of the Humbrol enamel line of paint. It’s thick right out of the tin and needs to be thinned down; my only complaint is that the containers are far too small.
I have really come to enjoy the newer Airfix kits. While not perfect, they are great additions to their line of British support vehicles. It is my sincere hope that they continue to pursue 1/48th vehicles. My thanks to IPMS and Airfix for giving me the opportunity to review this kit.