ARM: Review - cyber-hobby.com SAS 4 x 4 Desert Raider

Kit Review: cyber-hobby.com 1/35 scale Kit No. 65 (Dragon Models Limited 39-45 Series Kit No. 6681); SAS 4 x 4 Desert Raider w/.50
cal M2 Machine Gun - Smart Kit; 206 parts (157 in grey styrene, 45 etched brass, 4 clear styrene); pre-order price US$31.99 via Dragon USA Online
Advantages: new mold kit of a popular subject; makes good use of slide molding
Disadvantages: some problems with ejection pin marks on body; very high price for small kit
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all LRDG fans
    Few of us growing up in the US in the 1960s realized there was such a thing as the Long Range Desert Group of David Sterling or that it was an all British affair manned by the Special Air Service. We thought the heroes in the souped-up jeeps belonged to Americans as evidenced by the Rat Patrol with Christopher George chasing Eric Braeden (AKA Hans Gudegast) around the Mojave Desert!
    Needless to say once you began to read up on the subject you find out all about this particular group and its accomplishments in long range desert reconnaissance among other skills.
    This has always been a popular conversion of the Willys MB Jeep and more than 35 years ago Tamiya released its kit no. 35033 based on a modified version of their Jeep and with figures of two British personnel in Arab burnouses as crew. Italeri countered later on with their Kit No. 320, Commando Car, which was the SAS modified jeep but with markings for northwestern Europe instead. Both had some problems with the base kit, but the Italeri one was the better of the two. Surprisingly Tamiya released a new Jeep kit (No. 35219) but did not update or upgrade their SAS version.
    When DMLs boutique affiliate announced this kit I originally suspected that it was the Italeri kit with some etched brass and tweaking; not so. This kit may owe some of its parts breakout to the older kit but is a new mold kit from the ground up. Note that because of the Chrysler Corporation demand for royalties for using the name Jeep this kit, like the Opel Blitz before it, does not state what it IS but just sort of what it DOES.
    The kit essentially comes on two sprues - wheels and tires and then everything else but the body and frame are removed from their sprues and bagged separately in the box. The body is slide molded with all but the rear plate in one go. There are some serious injection pin marks on the bottom of the body and under the fenders, but other than the fender wells I dont think most modelers will bother with removing them.
    The frame is also one piece with all braces and the rear bumperettes molded in place, and as it has the round front frame spacer I think it is the Ford GP variant (and I am not sure how they look at the royalties market either!) A so-so tow hook is also molded in place on the frame, but as the opening section of the military hitch is provided (part B45) as a separate part it will probably look better when assembled.
    The drive line is typical of modern kits, axles with differentials and a separate differential cover, separate shock absorbers, steering links and a tie rod. The transfer case comes with the front drive shaft in place but the rear one is a separate part. The wheels are conventional front half with all tread/rear insert type (staggered tread pattern) and separate brake drums. Springs are the usual type, but the skid plate comes with the muffler attached (part B41) which is new to me for an assembly.
    One of the other initial steps is the assembly of the 12 jerry cans. These are the standard set issued with most of the German kits and are either mounted in groups or one of five separate cans with a cross bracket on the hood.
    The engine consists of 15 parts and looks the part, and it comes with a separate radiator. This consists of three main parts, but it also has the headlights and blackout lights attached. These take clear lenses (for those who wish to use them) and must be installed before the radiator is mounted to the body. It also comes with an expansion tank (part B21) but no hoses are provided to connect them.
    The seats have separate pads and backs, and the controls are very complete, to include pedals and a sun compass (part B18). Twin sand trays are provided from etched brass and mount at the rear over the spare tires.
    The vehicles armament consists of three .303 Vickers K gas operated machine guns (one single and a set of twins) and a .50 caliber M2 air-cooled model with the aviation sleeve on the barrel. All four are slide molded with hollow bores and come with four magazines for the K guns (with etched brass handles) and a box magazine for the M2. The latter consists of 13 parts with optional etched brass or styrene where an advantage. The twin Ks also use spacer/brace bars made of etched brass.
    Painting and marking consist of painting the model 8th Army Desert Sand and the instruments and placards on the dashboard; a small sheet of Cartograf decals is provided for the latter.
    Overall this is a nice new kit and one totally unexpected from DML; I am sure other Jeep variants will now follow. But it is quite expensive for a small vehicle kit (and I choked at $20 for the new Tamiya one!)
    Thanks to Freddie Leung for the review sample.
Cookie Sewell
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

That's possibly because it wasn't!
The Long Range Desert Group was a totally separate organisation from the SAS although the two often worked together.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_Range_Desert_Group
(kim)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
So I have been told by fiercly defensive Anglophiles. The point was it wasn't an ABC TV show...
Cookie Sewell
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote the following:

It is an easy mistake for the young. We older folks growing up in the 1940s knew about the British SAS and LRDG and the problems they caused for the Afrika Corps. BTW, I built and still have the 35 year old 1/35 Tamiya SAS jeep, the 1/35 Tamiya LRDG Chevrolet truck, and the 1/35 Tamiya SAS "Pink Panther" Land Rover.
--

Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
willshak wrote:

You could put together an LRDG vehicle from any captured Axis truck, arm it with salvaged Italian aircraft guns and it would probably be correct! :o)
(kim)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

The LRDG preceeded both the SAS and Popski's Private Army, and both of those forces learned much from it in their early days. The main difference was that while the LRDG was about stealth and intelligence gathering, the other two were primarily focused on stealth and violence (althought the PPA did end up mainly functioning as a deep recon unit, they were always up for a fight...) which was incompatible with the LRDG's mission.
Cheers,
Moramarth
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Moramarth wrote:

Growing up in an Army family in the 1960s I had heard of the LRDG (and the PPA for that matter) long before I heard about the SAS. That is why I was completely baffled when I first heard that the SAS also conducted desert operations.
The LRDG consisted chiefly of New Zealand archaeologists I believe and while they may have lacked regular army training, they more than made up for it with their knowledge of the desert and sheer resourcefulness.
(kim)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 07/09/2011 23:00, kim wrote:

Kim, Cookie's making the point that the American perception of the LRDG has been indelibly tainted by the '60's TV series "The Rat Patrol", where they were all American and drove Jeeps. I remember being disgusted with it back then.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Alan Dicey wrote:

It may have been a simple typo but the original post reads "Long Range Desert Group _of_ David Sterling " which implies the LRDG was part of the SAS but I'm not going to go to war over it or anything :o)
As for the TV series which I watched in the UK before it was abruptly cancelled, I believe the biggest objection was to the use of the word "Rat" in the title, implying a connection with the "Desert Rats" or 7th Armoured Div. Had it been called something else I doubt there would have been so many objections. A former 7th Armoured Div RSM I watched it with thought the protests were ridiculous since it was quite clearly a fantasy series and not intended as a historical documentary.
(kim)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 09/09/2011 22:08, kim wrote:

As a teenage modeller in the UK during the broadcast of these shows I found myself resenting the hijacking of the Desert War by Americans who were never there.
Having looked it up I see that David Stirling was the originator of the SAS (and not the LRDG) in 1941. Being not as well-read on SAS history as you I didn't notice the mistake.
At least the LRDG did use Jeeps (as did the SAS) and the provision of Vickers guns in the new kit is true to the originals and allows a distinctive model to be made, eschewing the ubiquitous .5 Browning (which would nevertheless be appropriate for later periods). I echo Cookie's point that this is an unexpected subject.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sat, 10 Sep 2011 11:34:11 +0100, Alan Dicey

Apart from Operation Torch onwards (Nov 1942 to May 1943).
Adrian
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 10/09/2011 21:24, Adrian Harris wrote:

I was a bit careful to specify Desert War. Operation Torch and subsequent actions in Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia, were not part of the Desert War and didn't take place in the desert.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Alan Dicey wrote the following:

Yeah, you are right. The Americans just sat in several North African cities drinking beer while the British won the campaign all by themselves. We did send some troops to the Kasserine Pass, but saw the Brits had it well in hand, so what was left of the US soldiers went back to the cities. I thought the whole of North Africa was a desert except for those parts where the natives built some sand castles that they lived in.
--

Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

No disrespect, but this being a modelling forum you will recall how the US Army painted it's vehicles and equipment for "Operation Torch"? OD doesn't blend well with sand... I realise the neighbourhood had gone downhill since the followers of the Prophet moved in (just like Turkey, it's current agricultural productivity is only a fraction of that in the Byzantine era) but when Vespasian made his bid for Emperor, he let his allies handle the advance on Rome while he secured North Africa, as with control of the grain supply he had Rome by the dangly bits...

Cheers,
Moramarth
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Moramarth wrote the following:

Oh! Thanks for pointing that out. The US came with the wrong color so they couldn't fight in the "desert" with the British. Musta been some restriction in the rules of war. How'd you make out with the OD Grants (Lees) and Shermans after you repainted them?

--

Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I was merely trying to point out the US Army was expecting to fight in areas which had a bit of a green tinge. There are several pictures of US Army Grants parked amongst North African olive groves, for which one presumes Olive Drab was pretty much on the money...

Cheers,
Moramarth
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snips..

Seems there were a lot of panzer grey German vehicles that weren't the DAK yellow initially.
I'd argue as much a war of maneuver and who saw who first. In the US, fustest with the mostest.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

IIRC, the DAK themselves initially deployed with standard Wehrmacht tropical dress - in a colour described as "Reed Green", riding breeches style trousers with gaiters, and Solar Topee headgear. The Airfix 1:32nd Multipose DAK set included parts for an individual so attired.

Cheers,
Moramarth
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
: Alan Dicey wrote the following: :> :> I was a bit careful to specify Desert War. Operation Torch and :> subsequent actions in Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia, were not part of the :> Desert War and didn't take place in the desert. : : Yeah, you are right. The Americans just sat in several North African : cities drinking beer while the British won the campaign all by themselves. :     Quit being an ass. Alan was very careful to specify Desert War.
    The Desert War, along with Operation Torch and Tunisia, are part of the North African Campaign.
    The Americans were part of the North African Campaign, but weren't part of the Desert War.
                            Bruce
--
------------------------------------------------------------------------
"I like bad!" Bruce Burden Austin, TX.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Bruce Burden wrote the following:

Yeah, and the Soviet Union was not part of the Second World War, but the Great Patriotic War. Semantics.
--

Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Polytechforum.com is a website by engineers for engineers. It is not affiliated with any of manufacturers or vendors discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.