Tamiya has added a British light utility ("Tilly") car to its 1/48 scale lineup, a move that should please builders of dioramas and aircraft alike. While the diminutive two-wheel-drive vehicle wasn't a fearsome front-line fighter, it served loyally at the rear areas and airfields in many of World War II's theaters of operation.
Assembly begins with the chassis. The drivetrain is nicely detailed and the suspension includes great-looking leaf springs. The wheels, tires, and hubcaps are molded as single units and they turn on styrene axles. The front wheels aren't posable but wouldn't be hard to modify with a little careful razor-saw work. The exhaust and bumpers are separate pieces.
The Tilly was an extremely versatile vehicle, and Tamiya provides plenty of options for builders. The optional canvas cargo bed cover includes parts to pose the rear flap up or down. (Oddly, all the cargo cover parts are molded in clear styrene and all the window flaps are molded closed.) The cargo gate can be posed open or closed, too.
Although the Tilly's rear-hinged passenger doors are molded shut, the side windows are molded separately from the windshield for easy windows-down driving. The interior is nicely detailed for this scale, with a sharply molded dashboard and a separate shifter and three-spoke steering wheel.
The sharply printed decal sheet includes markings for several vehicles and divisions as well as a Royal Air Force airfield hack. In addition to diagrams, Tamiya supplies a detailed chart to help modelers pick the right paint and camouflage scheme for specific time periods and theaters of operation.
While it may not be as immediately recognizable as a jeep or a Kübelwagen, Tamiya's Tilly is a great soft-skin subject, whether you build it as a stand-alone project or to add detail to a vignette or diorama. I spent a couple of weekends building my Tilly, and with its fall-together construction I'd easily recommend it to any modeler comfortable working with small parts.
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