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Master Box Austin armored car

With the current plethora of World War I tanks, it seemed inevitable that kits of armored cars would soon follow. Master Box complements its delightful 1/72 scale British Mark I tanks with an Austin Series III armored car. Designed in the United Kingdom, the 5-ton vehicle was mostly used by Russia during WWI, and by several combatants during the Russian Civil War.

Molded in medium gray plastic, the parts show crisp panel lines and petite rivets.

The one-piece hull and corresponding chassis are terrific. Small items, such as the leaf springs and machine gun look good for the scale. Sprue attachment points are small, which minimizes damage when parts are removed. Mold seams are minimal, and I found no sink marks.  The kit does not include clear parts.

The tiny decal sheet features at least eight vehicles, including armored cars from the German Freikorps, Austria-Hungary, Ukraine, Finland, the Russian Provisional Government, and the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. An unmentioned set of marking on the sheet appears to be for a British armored car.

Vague part locations in the assembly instructions hampered assembly. For example, in Step 1, Part A21 — I think it’s part of the transmission — and the exhaust (Part A19) appear to mount on the outside of the frame. However, a glance forward at Step 2 shows the parts’ correct locations. Keep an eye on the next step and you’ll have no problems.

Fit is pretty good. The keyed rear axles are a little loose in the differential, which can affect the fit with the springs. I attached the axles to the differential, then attached the drivetrain to the chassis while the glue was wet. That allowed me to adjust the fit and alignment. The only other problem I encountered was a couple of thin parts, like the steering rod, breaking during removal. They were easily fixed on the model.

I assembled the vehicle in about an hour, but left the wheels off for painting.

I airbrushed the car with Ammo of Mig Jimenez acrylics with a little post-shading and oil washes for weathering.

The thin decals applied perfectly and responded well to Microscale Micro Sol.

Attaching the wheels finished the build; they’re not the snuggest fits, so I flowed in a little liquid cement and left the vehicle on its roof overnight to ensure strong joins.

I enjoyed the five hours I spent building and painting Master Box’s little Austin. It’s an easy kit and would make a perfect weekend project. Now I want one in 1/35

Note: A version of this review appeared in the March 2016 issue.


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