British Airborne Universal Carrier with Welbike in 1/35...

...the kit from Riich Models

Riich Models have a few kits of Universal Carrier variants and one of these is a version that was adapted for use by British Airborne Forces, where changes were made to make it lighter and suitable for carriage in gliders.

The kit is the basic Universal Carrier kit already in their range, but with additional parts and bits to simply remain unused, so that you get the adaptations that were made to create the lightened airborne version.  The most notable aspect of these changes is the provision of etch brass parts for the armoured superstructure and engine covers.  It will help if you have some experience of working with etch brass but that shouldn't put you off trying even if you haven't worked with larger etch parts before.  While you can use solder to fit etch parts together, superglue works well and I think is likely to be the preferred assembly option for most.

Another element to just mention is the track and running gear.  The suspension can be made to work and includes the use of real metal springs which are included.  The track itself is done in a link and length style injection moulded parts, with the smallest parts being two link elements rather than individual links.  On the carrier, in 1/35, a single track link is tiny.  I do have a set of individual links by Model Kasten from some years ago.  The sheer number of tiny parts put me off from even attempting them, so the solution from Riich of using their links and lengths solution is an ideal option that I really like.  With this and all the plastic and etch detail in the superstructure itself means that for a relatively small model, there is a lot involved in the build, it will just take some patience, it isn't a quick and simple build, but the end result will repay the work put into it.

An added extra is the inclusion of the beautifully detailed little Welbike, the British folding motorcycle developed for airborne forces.  This can be stowed on the back of the carrier.  It is the one already released by Bronco Models, including etch brass spokes for the two small wheels, and these have plastic 'formers' provided so you can easily get them into the necessary 'domed' shape to fit inside the rims.  The sprue also includes the associated air drop container which you can build up as a completely separate accessory if you fit the folded bike on the back of the carrier.

Three marking options are provided.  The first is for T248395, a Carrier with 2nd Battalion South Staffordshire Regiment, 1st Airborne Division while taking part in Operation Market Garden in September 1944.  The second is for T272692 from 250th Airborne Light Company, 1st Airborne Division during the Rhine Crossing in March 1945.  The third option goes back to Operation Market Garden with T248405 with 1st Battalion The Border Regiment of the 1st Airborne Division.  In each case the Carrier is finished in plain, overall Khaki Green.

Thanks to Riich Models for this example.

Robin