Riich Models 1/35 Universal carrier MkI

  • Built: 2021
  • Added to Stash:2020
  • Enhancements: Tracks- MasterClub

Riich’s Universal carrier must surely rate as the definitive model of the Universal, or Bren Gun carrier in 1/35th scale. This modeller can certainly Riich hanging onto this title for some time too, given the very detailed model that emerges from Riches multi media offering. Plastic, photo etch and even thread and springs combine to build an outstanding model.

I felt like I could put together a real Bren Gun carrier after this kit. Construction starts with a very detailed Ford V8 engine that would benefit from being displayed beside the completed model on a scratchbuilt stand, as its not seen once the engine cover gets fitted over the top. Given this, modellers can save themselves some time by just building the radiator, as that is all that can be seen on the completed model.

Although, from the instructions, the build looks daunting, I found if I took my time, things progressed smoothly, if not exactly slowly. This was the wrong kit to pick for a week build project!

Fit of parts is excellent, even down to integrating the supplied P.E. Everything fitted perfectly. I found only a couple of weak points whilst building the kit. The main one being the suspension locating pegs are very weak, partly the soft plastic and partly the lac of robustness. I broke two. They were replaced with brass rod. Were I to build another, the suspension would be left off until the final steps.

The rear diff. in step 6 is better added after the back wall, part E1 has ben added. Some steps in the instructions weren’t too clear, to me anyway! It took me a while to work out the correct placement of the wood floor sections, parts F38, F36 and F37, which actually sit on the floor, and also the fact you fit either the two Lee Enfields OR the folded Bren tripod K11. And don’t start me on those bloody etched seat legs!! I really wish Riich had supplied a little jig to assist with getting consistent folds and the required angled with these. In the end, my seats sit at the right height and look level(ish) but it was fiddly work getting there. For the visibility these parts have on the constructed model, plastic would have been easier to apply. The interior looks very complete once built and really only needs the addition of ammo boxes and sundry other personal items to make it look lived in..

Riich Models supply three figures which I didn’t use, given they are wearing NW Europe kit., separate earphones and a microphone are even supplied for the radio op> I imagine you may have to fit them during construction. Some nicely detailed Lee Enfield rifles and Bren LMGs are also supplied. Personal equipment and additional storage will have to be sourced from accessory kits though as none is provided.

Some thought on what scheme you will finish your model in, needs to be done prior to construction as its much easier to paint the interior as you go along rather than at the end. Riich provide marking for four vehicles on a colour marking guide that also identifies the vehicle unit and theatre. I had already decided on the kiwi vehicle, so SMS Portland stone was applied to interior parts as I went along. Link and Length parts are provided for the tracks, and don’t look too bad at al, the top sections even having some sag built in. I decided to complicate matters even further and added master club metal track links . These are the first metal tracks I have built and Im here to tell you, tiny bren gun track links are probably not the best introduction to these after market items!

They do look good once completed,, and give the model a nice heft. I didn’t go as far with the weathering on mine as I perhaps should have. In fact I was not happy with my weathering at alll on this, but thats getting ahead of myself here. First off the model was painted in the Counter scheme using SMS paints, which to me look spot on. A wash was then applied around all rivets using Migs Neutral wash. At this stage the vehicle looked quite stark so a filter for desert yellow was applied, to my eye, it made absolutely no difference!

I thin sprayed on some AK Dust effects around the running gear. Around this time Rinaldo released his “Desert Weathering” you tube. I applied pigments following his lead, but picked the wrong colour, mine are far too brown. I should have aimed for something more yellow. The pigments did impart a dusty look to the vehicle though and toned the camouflage down. It wa at this stage I felt like I had lost my vision for the model and rather than spend more time on fine-tuning the weathering I decided to just add the small parts and call it done. A decent armour modeller could turn this model into a gem I feel. I probably should have spent a bit more time applying chipping scrapes etc, but my return to work was looming and I wanted to say I had completed a couple of models over my leave.

In summing up, this is a little gem of a kit. The build was enjoyable enough although the etched seat frame and building the tracks frustrated me. Again, I lost the vision I had for the model near the end of the build, so it was just rushed to completion. This is something I need to overcome, although this and the gnat fell to my wish to say I had completed 10 models this year rather than any quest for quality.

Universal Carrier Mk 1 19th Bn 2nd New Zealand Army. Libya 1941

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