Kit Reviews IBJ's 1/35 Bedford QLB

Smeggers

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IBJ's 1/35 scale Bedford QLB

This is the fourth of IBJ's releases in the Bedford series of WW2 trucks. Known simply as the QLB, this truck was designed as a tractor for the venerable Bofors Gun and crew, with lockers for ammunition storage and spares

The kit comes packed in the same sturdy cardboard slip cover style box that IBG Models has used for all of their previous releases. Inside you will find four large (11” x 8”) gray sprues, one smaller clear sprue with all of the windscreen and window glass, and a perfectly registered decal sheet with markings for one of two vehicles; a QLB from 1st Battery 54th Light AA Artillery Regiment 11th Armored Division, France 1944 or a Bedford with the 1st Light AA Artillery Regiment, Polish 1st Armored Division in Western Europe in the winter of 1944/45. Of course there is also a 20 page, black and white, set of instructions in 41 steps for building the kit.

The Instructions are provided in a CAD drawing style with arrows running here and there for where parts go. Some of the parts placement is easy to see, some are a bit more intuitive, and others are a bit more difficult or even ambiguous! If it is something that is not clear sometimes latter steps in the process will give you a better idea of correct placement. My moan with the IBG Models instructions however is how dark they are, I tend to use an illuminated magnifying glass to assist my poor old eyesight. Hopefully it won’t prove much of an issue with your build. I do appreciate the full page parts map that IBG Models includes for each of the sprues, it does make locating that small bit somewhat easier.

As this is the fourth version of the Bedford, IBG Models has made good use of previously released sprues; everything from the spare tire forward as well as the entire chassis is the same as the previous releases. The long and short of it is that the sprues A and B are the same as in all previous releases. These provide the build-up of the rather sparsely outfitted cab, the nicely detailed engine, the robust chassis, and the well rendered tires and wheels. The only addition here from the earlier kits is the inclusion of the power take off and drum for the gun’s winch.

The new rear of the vehicle clearly shows the advances that IBG Models has made from the first Bedford to this one. Detail is much finer now; hinges, rivets, hasps, catches and latches are all greatly improved from the previous releases. The crew compartment is still utilitarian and cramped but so is the real thing. The kit does suffer from molded on tool holder disease with the axe and the crew’s SMLEs will need replacing but other than that the crew compartment looks good.
I binned the supplied wheels and opted for PANZERART RE35-261, Bedford QL Road Wheels (Firestone) as I felt these were a better representation. It meant both axles required trimming and the inner wheels and brake drums in the kit were left off as they were already pre-moulded. Particular attention will need to be paid to the alignment of the steering to ensure a correct fit.

The rear compartment is well and truly stuffed with lockers and ammunition boxes for the Bofors; this looks like it could be a real dream come true for a super-detailer who wanted to open up some of the lockers with the gun crew’s equipment or to toss in a case of 40mm ammo in the outside boxes. I would not be the least surprised to find a PE set with some replacement boxes in the near future if they are not here already. Inside you will also find some nice renderings of 3 separately molded pick mattock heads and handles, as well as the spare wheel for the gun.


The back end of the vehicle also includes the new winch system for the gun as well. The fairleads placement is a bit tricky as the instructions can be a bit sketchy, a swirl of arrows here and there but the final illustration of the completed assembly makes it easier. One small missing detail that would be an easy inclusion is the cable for the winch. The canvas tilt for the rear compartment finishes off the build of the kit as a three part structure that looks good but it is missing strap tie-downs which also appear to be an easy fix. (I used lengths of brass strip gleaned from waste PE)

Conclusion

Another nice kit from IBG Models of a vehicle that was previously un-kitted in styrene. Yes; the sprues and some parts are overly thick, some of the detail is missing or a bit soft, but it is in our hands to make of it what we will.
Time for my usual whinges:
1. No driver figure! Come on guys, all vehicle kits should have at least a driver!
2. For the price of the kit, I would have thought a better detailed decal sheet would have been included. A few different commonwealth countries would help.

For my D-Day 75th Anniversary diorama, I have used decals to indicate 119 Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery - formed from 10th Bn (Queen's Own) Royal West Kent Regiment. Chosen because members of my Family served in it. This regiment wore a white Kent "Invicta" (horse) on a black patch on their tunic sleeves.
Decals supplied by Archer Fine Transfers and Star Decals.

Rating 3/5 - niggly little things that could be done better

Smeggers

NOTE: Pictures not available until the D-Day 75th Anniversary starts!
 

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