Airfix 1/48 Bedford MWD Kit First Look
By Mark Nickelson
|Date of Review||July 2015||Manufacturer||Airfix|
|Kit Number||3313||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Very useful subject, fine detail throughout, all-styrene assembly, alternate parts||Cons||See text|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$24.95|
The Bedford MWD served a host of military utility truck roles during WWII, and served through the 1950s. Bedford, Vauxhall's truck division and thus a grandchild of General Motors, produced nearly 67,000 of these 15 cwt (3/4-ton) 4x2 trucks for the war effort, starting in August, 1939. An MWD could carry 10 infantrymen or a two-pounder antiaircraft gun or, of course, 1,500 lb of freight.
The MWD was powered by a 3.5L OHV inline 6-cylinder engine through a 4-speed gearbox. Gear ratios are not stated but top speed is described as 95 kph (59 mph). So we're probably looking at a long-stroke, low-rev, high-torque setup here, appropriate to this vehicle's missions. One charitable website calls the engine "powerful"—it's rated at 72 hp. Apparently the MWD is popular with 1:1 scale restorers in Europe, who find it an easy truck to work on.
Clearly, this little truck will fit into any Allied setting you are creating in 1/48 scale, whether FEBA or flightline, whether CBI, Libya, Europe or the Pacific. Or even Korea or Southeast Asia.
Airfix have (sic) stuck their corporate toe in the 1/48 military vehicle market already, with modern Land Rovers and other interesting vehicles used by ground forces in the current Middle East wars. The MWD and the 1934 Albion petrol bowser are their first WWII vehicles in 1/48. Along with the Tamiya vehicles in this scale and an occasional resin kit from Ploesti, Romania, well, for me it's a 50-year dream come true.
There are 95 parts in this kit, seven of them clear and the rest gray. The instructions are printed in color and the graphics are the most elaborate I've ever seen in a plastic kit. There are a few small decals, and guidance for markings for a 1940 camouflaged truck with canvas cab for ground forces and a 1943 RAF metal cab truck. There's no paint color chart, but the fifth or sixth time I skimmed the instructions, I confirmed what anybody would assume: the paint numbers scattered through the instructions refer to Humbrol colors.
You can build the MWD with an open or covered bed and a canvas or metal cab. The canvas cab trucks can be built without top or doors, and the windshields can be folded down like a Jeep. The bed cover comes in several pieces, unlike most kits this size. I will be interested to see if I can assemble the bed without seam problems.
The uncovered bed is built with different pieces. The steel cab truck builds with a firewall/instrument panel casting that has the windshield frame molded onto it. A corresponding part for the canvas body truck, less windshield frame, is also supplied.
Two parts are supplied for the tailgate curtain, one fully extended with some molded-in drape, and one furled. The tailgate itself can be attached closed or open.
The engine comes in two halves plus an oversize air filter that was an important part of the truck's procurement specs, as though somebody anticipated operations in hot, sandy locales. There is an alternate open bonnet if your truck is getting serviced.
The tires (oops, I meant to say tyres) are styrene, and slightly bulged on the bottom. They are molded separately from the wheels, simplifying one classical painting task.
I even enjoyed the box art, a view that suggests adding a length of stout rope around the front bumper of a steel cab truck. The truck and other ground equipment are departing the hardstands after arming up a flight of Lancasters, seen taxiing away in the background.
Remember the Oldsmobile commercial? This is not your father's Airfix kit.