Airfix 1/32 Monty's Humber Kit First Look
By Ray Mehlberger
|Date of Review||Dec 2008||Manufacturer||Airfix|
|Kit Number||5501||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Highly detailed British soft-skin vehicle||Cons||1/32nd scale may put off some modelers|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||Out of Production|
Since the beginning of WWI, staff cars in one form or another have been standard equipment with the British Army. With the advent of WWII, the British Army impressed over 4,000 cars to help supplement the 3,800 War Department operated vehicles already in use. Probably the most famous and distinctive of all the wartime staff cars was the Humber Snipe 4 x 2 four-seat open tourer, built from 1941 to 1944 by the Rootes Group, Coventry.
Although used by many of the top Allied commanders, it was as a transport for Field Marshal the Rt. Hon., the Viscount Montgomery of Alamein KG, GCB, DSO, that the type gained it’s full measure of fame. The Field Marshal made extensive use of two Humbers during the war. The first, known as “Old Faithful” and carrying the number M239459, accompanied him through the Western Desert campaign from October 1942 to October 1943, and on to Sicily and Italy until his return to England, when he left the car to his successor, General Sir Oliver Leese.
The second car, numbered M239485, the subject of this kit, took the Field Marshal through the final stages of the war and is now preserved by Chrysler UK Ltd. It was powered by a six-cylinder 85 bhp engine, fitted with a Stromberg DBVA42 carburetor. The chassis employed a heavy-duty rear suspension. Approximately 150 cars of this type were built. Their wheelbase was 9 ft. 6 in., length 15 ft, width 5 ft. 10 in., weight 1 ton 13 cwt.
Airfix is a model company based in the UK. This particular kit was first released in 1972 and was available in Airfix’s Series 5 from that time until 1978. It was reissued in a limited edition in 1993 and 1996. It is currently out of production and considered by some as being rare. However, it can be found on e-Bay and a few other sites.
The kit comes in tray and lid type box. The boxart shows Field Marshal Montgomery being chauffeured through a battle-damaged village. A banner, across on corner of the boxart proclaims that the vehicle is “V.I.P. Transport”. The kit is in 1/32nd scale and not the more popular 1/35th scale used for AFVs and military soft-skin kits. A side panel shows the boxart for a HO/OO scale kit of a Centurion tank that Airfix also marketed back in the early 70’s. Next to this illustration is a list of paint colors suggested to decorate the car.
The other side panel shows another boxart for a second HO/OO scale kit of a Crusader tank.
Inside the box is blousy cello bag, that is heat sealed at half it’s length to hold all the kit parts and a customer assistance mail in card inside.
The parts consist of:
- A single floorboard part, that has the fenders attached to it
- A tree of wheel discs and inner door panels (12 parts)
- A tree with the grill, engine compartment fire wall, folded canopy, foot pedals, exhaust pipe and muffler, front end suspension arms and wheel lugs (11 parts)
- A tree with more suspension parts, seats, headlights, fuel tank etc. (13 parts)
- A tree with even more suspension arms, dashboard, rear deck piece, rear axle and the driver figure (molded with separate arms) (13 parts)
- A single raised canopy part
- A tree with leaf springs, steering wheel, exhaust pipe, more suspension parts, seat support units, door handles, rear seat back plate, license plates etc. (39 parts)
- A tree with the tires, rear view mirrors etc. (21 parts) These tires have very nicely done raised letters saying DUNLOP and 900-13 on them
- Next is the left and right body panels
A few parts had broken off the trees. These are the figure of Montgomery. He has his right hand raised in a salute and is wearing a tam on his head. Two more inner door panels and the engine block are also floating around loose.
All of the above trees are molded in olive drab.
The final tree of parts is clear. It holds the windows and light lenses. (12 parts)
The small decal sheet, with a tissue to protect it’s face and the instructions complete the kit’s contents.
The instructions consist of a single sheet that accordion folds out into 6 pages of 10” x 10” format. This is folded in two to fit the box.
Page one begins with the history of the Humber in English, French and German. It is followed by some international assembly symbol explanations and general instructions in the same 3 languages.
Pages 2 through 5 give a total of 9 assembly steps.
Page 6 has a four-view illustration for marking and painting Monty’s car. The car is solid olive green it carries the white serial number M239485 on the sides of the hood. It has a black license plate on the front and rear with white number 32YF95 on them. The right front fender has a yellow circle with a red 2 on it. The left fender has a white shield with a black cross on it and a yellow sword on the cross. The rear of the car has the same white serial number as on the hood sides, high on the trunk. Below this is another shield that is red with a black cross on it and yellow spears crossed in a letter X. Below the shield is the rear black license plate. The canvas roof is called out as being light brown. Painting instructions are called out in text below the illustrations of the car, with colors also called out to use to paint the figures. However, they are not pictured here. There are no parts tree drawings in the instructions. Parts are numbered on the trees but not alphabetized, so modelers will have to search the many trees to find the numbered part needed. Bad move Airfix.
The hood cannot be opened. It is molded solid and there is no engine for the engine compartment. Only the lower half of the engine block can be seen by looking under the car. The canvas roof can be opted to be up or down.
This is a neat military subject and a welcome subject relief from all the Tigers and Panthers on the market. I only recommend it to modelers with a few other armor or soft-skin kits under their belts as it has many parts and a complex suspension. The 1/32nd scale may put off some modelers too. However, it can be in a diorama with 1/35th scale vehicles. Just don’t park it right close to them as it will tend to dwarf them slightly.
I purchased my kit at my local hobby shop years ago. It is now out of production, but may be re-released by Airfix some day. I found one on e-bay being bid on currently and another being bid on at R & J Enterprises site.