BEDFORD QLD/ QLT KITS
- by Nigel Robins
This review will, of course, demand comparisons with the QL in the Airfix Refuelling set which was introduced in 1970 and was one of the first truck models made by any manufacturer in this scale. In the forty years since technology has moved on significantly and the quality of research material and photos available to the modeller bears no comparison to what was available in the early seventies. I have used the Book " Bedford to Berlin and beyond" by Robert Coates as a primary reference for this review as I believe that this is an excellent point of reference for this vehicle.
The Airfix kit comes with three sprues: one is for the complete QLD, the second is a moulding for a Cab and wheels and the third is the back body and chassis for the QLT. This perhaps indicates that Airfix may be thinking of other back body
variants using the spare cab moulding ? The kit is made from soft easily cemented light grey plastic and the model has a clear sprue with the cab windows which assemble as "Flush glazed" units. The fit of the parts is excellent, there is no filler on my model and this is an enjoyable afternoon build. Care needs to be taken as I misread/ did not read the instruction sheet properly and wrongly positioned the spare wheel carrier, fuel tank and transfer box as a result. The kit parts themselves are nicely
detailed, at times this is slightly heavy particularly with the wooden floor of the back body and the rear body sides are too thick ,a concession to the moulding process. Points of note are the excellent wheels with pre-moulded flats on them and the inside of the cab. The fuel tank ,stowage boxes and spare wheel carrier are nicely detailed, these items are often missing or undersize on vehicle kits in this scale so again, well done Airfix. The propshafts and diffs are a decent size and have a heavy feel to them and I was particularly pleased with the chassis which is sturdy and made from a decent gauge piece of plastic. A fault with so many vehicle kits is a flimsy chassis and weedy propshafts and diffs. A tilt frame is moulded to the inside of the tilt of the QLD and this is
visible when the model is viewed but the effect is slightly spoilt by the presence of a number injector pin marks. These are also present on the inner rear body sides and the inside of the cab doors. They can be filled
easily enough and do not detract from the finished model if it is built as per the kit instructions.
There are improvement opportunities, I feel that the Bren gun supplied with the QLT is too short (This may be me, I am used to Matchbox Bren) and the push bike to fit to the vehicle rear, though a nice idea, does not work as it is far too crude. I am
surprised that the kits do not include wing mirrors (A concession to the moulding process I suspect) but even
over-scale ones would be nice. The vehicles come with decals which are for the campaign in NW Europe only which is a shame the QLD particularly was used in all theatres and post war so another option (Even if it was RAF) would have been nice for this lorry.
In Summary, this is a really excellent kit of a very useful British lorry though my only real concern is that Airfix last released a completely new 1/76 vehicle back in 1979 so we may have a long wait for another one. The answer is to buy as many of these kits as is possible, that way Airfix may release more vehicles in this scale in future.
COMPARISONS WITH THE QL REFUELLER
There are two main faults with the old refueller, under-scale, poorly detailed wheels and no steering wheel. Both faults have been corrected in the new QL. In overall measurements both kits are the same (cab shape/ size/ wheel base) the old model looks a little finer but the new model is slightly more accurate but that said, the 40 year old still holds it own which is a tribute to those Airfix designers who were, in effect, making a child's toy back then. Replace the wheels on the refueller and the model is transformed.