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US 4x4 Truck Bantam 40 BRC

MiniArt 1/35 US 4x4 Truck Bantam 40 BRC w/Crew Kit First Look

By Cookie Sewell

Date of Review May 2011 Manufacturer MiniArt
Subject US 4x4 Truck Bantam 40 BRC w/Crew Scale 1/35
Kit Number 35014 Primary Media 151 parts (148 in grey styrene, 3 clear styrene)
Pros First kit in styrene of this seminal vehicle; very nicely done with nice combination parts to reduce complexity; full engine and other options for detailers Cons Some simplification of parts noted
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $27.99

First Look

In the mid 1930s the US Army realized that it had a need for a small all-wheel-drive reconnaissance vehicle for use as a scout. The first company to rise to the challenge was the Bantam Motor Car Company of Butler, Pennsylvania, who had produced a line of small two and four seat cars for sale to the public. Their first prototype reflected their civilian designs with stamped steel fenders and curves all around. Over the course of the next few months and with testing it evolved into the BRC 40 (Bantam Reconnaissance Car Model 1940) and entered production. 2,642 BRC 40 vehicles were produced but as the Army had by then decided that Bantam did not (and would not be able in the short run) have the capability to produce the needed number of vehicles, most of these went to the British and Soviets under Lend Lease.

But the design was a success, and after failed attempts by Ford and Willys to meet the government requirements the Ordnance Board bought the rights to the Bantam and provided the drawings to both Ford and Willys. The resulting vehicles, the GPA and MB respectively, became the legendary and world renown Jeep.

MiniArt is one of those companies I really like, as they are not caught up the slugfest to see who can produce the most German WWII armor kits but instead pick important but lesser known subjects like the Valentine and Dingo. This is their first effort on a US vehicle, even though it is as noted primarily an export vehicle.

The kit is very neatly done with many parts assemblies combined into single components, which is appreciated in a small vehicle like the Bantam. The front (B24) and rear (B25) axle assemblies are each one piece so the modeler doesn’t have to futz around with getting the shafts to fit the axles. Likewise the chassis and oil pan are a single unit (B19) as are the body and fenders (A20). The engine carburetor, air cleaner and radiator tank top (B2) are a single unit to aid in solid assembly.

The kit does have a number of eentsy details as well such as T-bar hood locks (A2) and windshield fittings, so MiniArt has not skimped on the smaller details. But the use of larger assemblies, while some may grouse about it, makes assembly much surer and simpler than the daunting Bronco GAZ-69 which is not much bigger than this model.

The grille is styrene, but etched fans should remember these parts were welded up from slats and thus had some depth and heft to them, which etched brass cannot replicate.

Some things are not called out, such as the fact that part A27 is the hood support strut which is used when the hood (A25) is open (like most people with today’s cars are fully aware, most companies dropped counterbalance springs and went back to these to cut out weight and complexity).

Sets of other than German figures are always welcome, and this set provides five Army personnel which are offered as MPs. Each one consists of six parts (head, torso, arms and legs) with leggins and one even sports a “Patton Approved” tie. All figures have complete heads but no hair, so anyone wishing to use them without headgear will need to either use putty or pyrogravure (e.g. “Hot Needle”) techniques to give them some. The two weapons, an M1 and a Thompson, sport sling swivels but no plastic or brass slings are provided. Two figures are seated (driver and passenger), two are standing, and one is the Bantam commander who is standing and leaning over the windshield.

Finishing and painting directions are provided for one vehicle in OD with blue drab serials, W-2017492. No unit markings are provided for the vehicle, but the “MP” logo for armbands is present along with stripes for a private first class and a technical sergeant as well as division insignia for the 4th and 29th Infantry Divisions and 3rd Armored Division.

Overall this is a very nice little kit and will complete the collection of Jeep fans and historians as well as (with other offerings from MiniArt) provide Commonwealth and Soviet versions with crews. (Note that the MP figures are available separately as set 35047).

Sprue Layout:

  • A 50 Body, seats, body details
  • B 46 Chassis, driveline, wheels, engine
  • C 3 Clear styrene
  • D 52 (35047) Five figures, weapons and accessories