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MiniArt 1/35 scale AEC Mk.II armored car

RELATED TOPICS: ARMOR
Kit:35155 // Scale:1/35 // Price:$69
Manufacturer:
MiniArt, from Model Rectifier Corp., 732-225-2100
Pros:
Detailed interior and engine; good fit; easy-to-use photoetched metal
Cons:
Brittle plastic; parts misnumbered in directions
Comments:
Injection molded, 554 parts (44 photoetched metal), decals
MiniArtAECMKII
MiniArtAECMkII02
MiniArtAECMkII03
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MiniArtAECMkII07
MiniArtAECMkII08

Fans of all things British are euphoric with the recent rush of vehicles released by model manufacturers. MiniArt follows this trend with a series of AEC armored cars, starting with the Mk.II. Built by Associated Equipment Company, it impressed Winston Churchill during a 1941 demonstration and was ordered into production.

The model is molded in light gray plastic with vision blocks, light lens, and windscreen molded in clear styrene. There are no sink marks or knockout marks to remove, but the plastic is brittle and I broke several parts removing them from the sprue. Overall, fit was excellent; the only filler I needed was where I got a little carried away with cleanup.

The directions include color profiles of four vehicles. Three side views are shown for each of the marking choices, but the Russian vehicle is shown in four views. I would rather have four views of the camouflage vehicles, but the box illustration helps by showing the topside camouflage. The directions have several errors in parts numbers, but they’re easy to identify. There are many small parts, so those of us with butterfingers will spend time on hands and knees looking for stray pieces. 

The model has a complete interior and engine compartment; study the directions to plan your painting. I started by building as much of the hull as possible. The hull comprises multiple panels, but fit and alignment is good. Instructions add small parts to each piece before installation, but I added them after the hull was assembled.

The interior features steering and gearshifts connected to the front axle and transmission, same as on the real vehicle. The most difficult assembly was the driver’s seat. I broke each of the parts several times, but after it was together it was adequately strong. The interior handles of the hull escape hatch should be parts Ab1.

For the most part, the kit’s photoetched metal is user-friendly. The exception is the suspension: The armor plate that protects the front air-brake cylinders needs to be soldered for a strong bond, and the plates covering the axles have complex bends. Step 51 shows armor plates over the air intakes, but most of the pictures I found did not. These armor plates are photoetched metal; the front plate should be Part PE4, not PE2. I left the hull roof off and the engine compartment parts separate for easier painting.

The turret is assembled the same way as the hull, with the turret roof left off to allow interior painting. The directions do not show Part Ab5 being glued to the turret roof (Ge2), but it appears in all the drawings after Step 76.

Marking options are given for four vehicles: an Indian infantry unit in Italy, a British unit in the Middle East, a test vehicle in Russia, and a Yugoslavian vehicle. The instructions’ color specifications are generic. An article at www.mafva.net, “British Vehicle Camouflage 1939-1945,” described the proper colors for each of the marking choices and how to mix your own paints for those schemes. I painted my vehicle with Vallejo UK bronze green primer highlighted with Vallejo Air tank green; then I weathered with a combination of Mig, AK Interactive, and Vallejo products. Pictures of restored vehicles show a metallic interior; I painted Tamiya flat aluminum (XF-16) with a few drops of Tamiya flat medium gray (XF-20) to tone it down. All other detail painting was with Humbrol and Vallejo paints. Dark earth weathering powders from CMK topped off the finish.

The decals were thin enough to not silver, but thick enough to position. Micro Sol and Solvaset settled the decals down. 

This was a surprisingly easy build considering the parts count and all the detail. With careful planning, there should be no major glitches for most modelers. It did take me 43 hours to build, but that had more to do with assembling and painting the interior and engine compartments than it did with the model’s complexity. 

According to the drawings in World War II AFV Plans: British Armored Fighting Vehicles, by George Bradford (Stackpole, ISBN 978-0-8117-3453-0), the model is about 4mm short, 1mm narrow, and 5mm tall. But these measurements are being compared to an AEC Mk. III, so they could be off. It still looks like an AEC Mk.II.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the December 2013 FineScale Modeler.

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