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RPM 1/35 WWI Motor Machine Gun Squad (MMGS) Build Review

By Ray Mehlberger

Date of Review May 2008 Manufacturer RPM
Subject WWI Motor Machine Gun Squad (MMGS) Scale 1/35
Kit Number 35017 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Nicely molded WWI subject Cons No part numbers on trees and 2 figures shown on box art are not included in the kit
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $13.98


For the history of this vehicle, I am going to refer readers to my in-box review here.


Using the very tiny assembly step drawings on the back of the end-opening type box that this kit comes in, I proceeded to do steps A through G (steps on the instructions are alphabetized, rather than the usual numbered sequence that we see in most kits).

A through B steps is assembly of the vehicle’s frame. C is the transmission and drive shaft. D is the rear axles. E is the front steering apparatus (which quite possibly could be assembled in a position showing the wheels in a turn. I assembled mine straight ahead however). F adds the front axle and all the above parts joined together. G adds suspension arms and the muffler/tail pipe part. I broke one of the arms in two very badly and replace it with stretched sprue. I now painted this whole assembly khaki and the exhaust pipe and muffler in a rust color. I left paint off the top of this assembly so that glue would work better on it when it was added to the bottom of the rest of the car.

Steps now go to I step. It joins parts no. 43 and 44 (the floor and walls part of the passenger compartment) to the fire-wall part (no. 37). This left a big seam down the center of the floor, the whole length of it. I measured the length and width of the floor with one of my company’s Armor Research scale rulers and cut a piece of thin Plasti-struct card sheet to fit it – and glued it in.

Letter J step is the assembly of the fuel tank and it’s two cradle parts. This should be painted NOW, as it goes below an inverted letter “U” shaped shelf (part 56) that the driver’s seat mounts to the top of.

RPM K assembles a control lever and foot pedals into a slanted floor part. The part has three slots in it, to accept the separate foot pedals. I positioned the pedals at different positions in the slots, rather than lined up in a row for better detail.

Letter L assembly . This assembly then was glued to the floor and fire wall on the right side, as this is a British vehicle with the steering on that side, rather than on the left like in U.S. cars.

M assembly is the steering wheel to it’s column.

N adds the driver’s seat to the shelf that goes over the fuel tank on the right side of the passenger compartment. O assembles the driver’s seat assembly over the fuel tank. The steering column glues to an opening in a box that is molded into the center of the firewall piece. This means that the steering column must be angled right to place the steering wheel in front of the driver’s seat. A full width, of the passenger compartment, passenger bench is added just behind the driver’s seat.

RPM P is the assembly of the Vickers Mk. I, 303 caliber water-cooled machine-gun and it’s pedestal mount. It is not all that clear how parts wind up after assembly of this in the exploded drawing. I found a actual photo of the weapon in one of my home library books and went by it to get things right. I then painted the Vickers and mount olive drab with some silver Rub-N-Buff highlighting.

Letter Q assembly shows how to put 4 ammo boxes together for the machine-gun. I managed (fumble fingered that I am) to loose 3, out of the 4, lids for these ammo boxes into my shag rug…groan. I replace all of the lids with PE ones from a set of my company’s Armor Research 50 caliber machine gun ammo boxes. Although, not exactly CORRECT, they look good. I painted them all olive drab along with the machine gun and it’s pedestal.

R adds the machine gun and it’s pedestal to the left side of the passenger compartment. A passenger seat cushion and seat back are added to the left also. This cushion barely keeps the passenger off the floor. He would obviously be seated with his legs stretched straight out in front of him.

S assembly shows the assembly of the two engine hood halves to the radiator and it’s frame.

T assembles the head light bowls into “Y” shaped mounts. I glued MB brand clear lenses, the appropriate large size into these bowls.

RPM U assembly is of 4 kerosene lamps. These lamps are in halves and the ribbed tops of them needed a lot of careful sanding with needle files to get the ribs lined up good. I painted the inside of the lens areas bright red on two of them, that later glue to the rear of the car. I painted the inside of the lens areas silver on the two lamps that go on the front. Then Kristal Kleer liquid was added into these lens areas for glass.

In step V the headlights and kerosene lamps are added to part no. 29 (the fenders part). Also, 4 of part no. 41 (of what I think are oil cans) were glued to the running-board on the passenger side of the fender part. These cans were all painted olive drab first.

In step W the interior compartment and engine hood assembly are joined to the fender part no. 29.

There is no letter X assembly step.

RPM In step Y (the final step) the interior and fenders are added to the undercarriage assembly. I now started to paint things. The car was painted overall Tamiya khaki. The spoked wheels were painted Model master grimy black for the tires and Tamiya buff for the wood spokes. The hub parts were painted steels with the bolts highlighted with some silver Rub-N-Buff. The 4 303 caliber ammo cans got painted olive drab with some dry brushing of steel on them. I highlighted the raised instruments on the dashboard with the silver Rub-N-Buff and used it to bring out the Ford logos on the radiator screen and it’s frame. The wheels were all no added to the axles.

This kit has a few parts in it that are for RPM’s other Ford variant kit of the lorry version. One part is a canvas roof and the other parts are for a 50 gallon oil drum. I assembled the drum, painted it a battleship gray with some weathering of oil spills around the cap on the lid of it, and glued it into the cargo bed at the rear of the vehicle…along with the 4 ammo cans.

RPMMy kit was missing the decals that should have been in the box. These would have put the lettering “20. BATTERY, 3. SEC., M.M.G.S.” on the sides of the car. I sent an e-mail to RPM about this and never got a response from them, so my model is naked of these markings…sigh.


The really BAD NEWS is that I was going to take this model and enter it in a recent IPMS model contest. On walking out the side door of my house, into the driveway, with the model in a tray, a strong wind caught it and launched it out of the tray. It hit the cement and shattered into pieces. I found most of what broke off it, except for the steering wheel…groan. I also managed to step on the 50 gallon fuel tank and pulverize it…double groan. Now, I can replace and repair just about everything except for the steering wheel. Unfortunately, it is the one item that I don’t have a duplicate of in my spares box.

Other than the accident I had with it, I enjoyed building it and it was an easy build. I just wish my kit had the decals it should have had and also that the kit would have had the figures in it that are shown on the kit’s boxart. I have never been able to find any hard plastic WWI British soldier figures by anybody. Only the rubberized plastic ones are hard as a wet noodle to sand the seams off and repel paint. Maybe some model company will do some day.