...High Mobility Load Carrier, Militarfahrzeug Special No 9027, new from Tankograd
Title: FV620 Stalwart
Author: Carl Schulze
A new Militarfahrzeug Special from Tankograd covering one of my favourite Cold War softskins used by the British Army, the Stalwart amphibious load carrier. The first 10 pages are all text, as it tells the story of the development and service of the Stalwart as part pf the FV600 series of Alvis vehicles, developed after WW2. All distinctive thanks to the 6 wheel arrangement, and seen on the Saladin, Saracen, Salamander Fire Tender, and of course the Stalwart. Then we get the usual Tankograd photo content, all with both German and English language captions. It has pictures of the original prototype, the PV-1, also referred to as 'The Beast', and with the cab that looked essentially the same as the Salamander Fire Tender, but already the distinctive 6x6 wheel arrangement. That is followed by the second prototype, PV-2, which had a re-designed cab, which gave it the equally distinctive look of the production vehicles, along with twin propulsion units for swimming and repositioned radiator and air intake. Prototype PV-3 is one with boat-shaped extensions for front and rear to improve seagoing capabilities with a view to replace the aging DUKW. These didn't prove successful but would make for a very interesting model.
Then we get the production variants, starting with the FV620 HMLC Mk 1. That is followed by the FV622, the Stalwart Mk 2, fitted with a winch. Then we get to FV623, a Mk2 fitted with a winch and crane, as an artillery limber. The FV624 has a winch and crane on the Mk 2, used as a REME Fitters vehicle. This one is distinctive for the raised tilt cover over the load bed, and used by LADs (Light Aid Detachments). This in turn is followed by the Stalwart fitted with UBRE (Unit Bulk Refuelling Equipment). The final sections show a few examples trialled by the West German Bundeswehr in the early '60s and right at the end, the Stalwart Technology, text detailing features such as the hull, cab, engine, drivetrain, suspension, water propulsion, electrical system and more. As well as some associated diagrams this also mention the eventual fate of so many Stalwarts after their final retirement in 1993. About 400 were sold to AF Budge, who had a plan to refurbish them and fit modern diesel engines and sell them on. The Royal Marines trialled a couple but sales did not materialise. I can remember seeing them lined up at their site in Retford when they held a couple of Open Days back in the 1990's.
The photos are a mix of colour (76) and black and white (57) images and a fine modeller's reference.
Thanks to UK stockists Bookworld for my example.