1/76 Bedford QLT and Bedford QLD Trucks

1/76 Bedford QLT and Bedford QLD Trucks
Airfix
Kit number A03306
Available from Airfix Price: £8.99

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Over 52,000 of the Bedford QL 3-ton truck series were built during WW2. Rushed into production and service early in 1941 to help replace all of the transport lost a year earlier in France and Belgium, it would give sterling service to the Allies in all theatres and was eventually being built by no less than 11 different production sites. It formed the basis of many different variants, formed by placing different bodies on its standard chassis; the large QLT (below left) was called the "Trooper" and, as the name suggests, was a specialised troop carrying vehicle carrying up to 29 soldiers; the largest produced variant, and the most popular, was the QLD general service truck (below right), capable of carrying well over 3,500 kg of cargo.

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Like many young modellers who grew up in the 1960s and 70s, I built many of Airfix's old range of 1/76 soft-skinned vehicle kits through my formative modelling years. The Sd.Kfz 7 and 88mm gun, the AEC Matador and 5.5 gun, the DUKW and the RAF Emergency set all found their way onto my modelling table; then, a relative bought me my first 1/35 Tamiya kit and, sad to say, I left 1/76 vehicles a little in my wake for over 30 years. I have only recently returned to this scale, so was keen to see the standards Airfix were now able to achieve with a brand new release nearly 40 years on. This is a twin vehicle package containing both the Bedford QLD and the QLT.

Opening the now standard Airfix red box, first impressions are good.There are 3 crisply moulded grey sprues, a smaller clear sprue, a decal sheet, colour painting guide and a 12 page instruction leaflet.

Firstly, sprue C (below) contains the main parts for the QLD. Most of the detail is clear and accurate, and in terms of finesse is miles ahead of the older kits I had experienced all those years ago. Apart from the shape of the seats, all of the parts compared well to my references. There are a few ejection points that may have to be attended to (for example, if the doors are posed open) and a few details will have to be added by the modeller from fine sprue or wire and card (towing hooks, windscreen wipers, handbrake and pedals) but these are easy tasks.

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Next, sprue A (above) contains the major parts for the larger QLT. Quality is again apparent; this time the seats may be right (I found a cab photo of a QLT with this style of seat). The bicycle provided to be attached to the rear is the worst part of the whole package, being overscale and clunky, completely out of character with the other finely moulded pieces.

Sprue B (below) contains the rest of the parts for the QLT, all of which are of good quality.Again, as with the QLD, the modeller will need to add some more detail themselves.

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The small clear sprue (above), containing parts for both vehicles, has a minor imperfection. Some of the small parts are curved and on my sample and 3 others I examined have very light imperfections in the moulding, resulting in a small optical distortion. However, 2 others I looked at were absolutely fine.

The colour painting guide (below) is well laid out, but slightly frustrating in that, with three number plates/registration numbers provided for each vehicle and a myriad of unit markings, there is no identification as to which unit markings are applicable to each vehicle. I think Airfix missed a trick here, because modellers nowadays want to build actual vehicles in my experience rather than generic, fictitious vehicles.


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O.K., so I've made one or two remarks, and a few modellers may be asking for replacement clear parts, but what is important is these are lovely little models of very important, widely-used British WW2 vehicles at a really good price. They certainly offer the younger modeller or wargamer a good step up in quality and detail from some of the earlier Airfix 1/76 models or the good quality Armourfast range.

So what do we think?

A good pair of models, very well presented and executed, with only a couple of minor niggles. Airfix are now well up in the 1/76 quality table and have chosen well in modelling these Bedfords. They also are exceptional value.

Our thanks to Airfix for the review sample. To purchase directly, click THIS link.

Robin Jenkins


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