Tuesday, February 20

In-Boxed: 1/35th scale Lanchester Armoured Car from Copper State Models

Copper State Models are a new company that has specialised until recently in WWI aircraft, figures & aftermarket sets in many scales. Recently they have broadened their range into 35th scale early armoured cars with this kit of the Lanchester Armoured Car of WWI vintage. Andy Moore has taken up the challenge to build that kit - but first, see what he found when he opened the bow in his review.

In-Boxed: Lanchester Armoured Car
Manufacturer – Copper State Models
Kit Number – CSM 35001
Scale - 1/35
Price - €44.77 from Copper State Models

Models of First World War subjects were always a little thin on the ground until relatively recently, but when the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the conflict came around in 2014 we finally started to see manufacturers take an interest in this period. To begin with, we mainly saw the heavy hitters, the early tanks used by Britain, France and Germany. At last, we're starting to see models of more unusual, and to me more interesting vehicles. That's where today's review subject comes in. The newly released Lanchester armoured car from Copper State Models of Latvia.

The Lanchester armoured car was born out of a requirement from the Royal Navy Air Service (R.N.A.S.) for a vehicle that could rescue pilots shot down behind enemy lines and provide some general armoured support on airfields. At the time Lanchester was a highly regarded British car manufacturer who, like their rivals Rolls Royce, would supply a chassis and engine after which the customer could have the body of their choice fitted by a separate coach-building company. This made them easily adaptable to the armoured car role.

The armoured car was based on the company's regular 38hp engined chassis, but with the addition of doubled-up rear tyres. The armoured body was built up on the chassis utilising 8mm plate for the front and sides, with thinner 4mm plate forming the roof and floor. A prototype was built in December 1914 and, after a number of modifications, went into production the following year. One of those modifications was the fitting of the small turret on top of the vehicle, armed with a Vickers .303 machine gun.
In total, 36 vehicles were produced and delivered to the RNAS on the western front. These were split into three squadrons of twelve vehicles each, with one squadron later serving as part of the Belgian Army. Later in 1915, all 36 vehicles were reassigned to the British Army, but given the war's deterioration into a trench-bound stalemate, the cars were returned to Britain. In December 1915, 22 Lanchesters were overhauled and supplied to the Imperial Russian Army. Some of the remaining vehicles were then deployed with the RNAS expeditionary force in the Caucasus and Romania with further detachments operating in Turkey and Persia.

The Kit
The first thing that greets you is a very nicely presented box featuring some lovely atmospheric artwork. All's not quite as it seems though, as when the box lid is lifted, rather than the usual flimsy open card box, you find a secondary corrugated box with an integrated lid and decorative label. This was a nice surprise as, all too often, manufacturers skimp on packaging. This, by contrast, makes a great first impression before you even see the kit parts.

Once you open the second box you'll find the parts nestled inside, spread over six sprues in a medium grey styrene, all bagged for protection. In addition, you'll find a decal sheet and a very nicely produced instruction manual. This isn't a complex kit by any means. There's no photo-etch or complicated multi-part assemblies, which makes quite a refreshing change in these days of 1000 part kits.

Sprue A

There are two large sprues in the kit, with this first one holding most of the parts of the armoured body. The detailing is all nicely finished. Nothing spectacular, but it's all clean and sharp with no flash or other issues. The rivet detail is very nicely rendered, and let's be honest, rivets are what WWI armour modelling is all about.
The single-part side panels should speed up assembly, and help keep everything square as well.
There's no engine detail apart from a basic sump that mounts to the bottom of the chassis, but you do get this neatly moulded radiator which will be partially visible behind the front armoured plate.

Sprue B
The second of the large sprues holds the chassis and suspension parts along with some of the turret panels. Again everything is clean and well moulded with no issues that I can see.
CSM has done a commendable job with the fenders. They're thin enough that I'd see no real reason to replace these with after-market photo etched ones.

Sprue C (x2)
This smaller sprue holds the wheels and some of the smaller detail parts. CSM have moulded the wheels in two halves with the halves on this sprue also incorporating the tyres.
Although the tyre tread may look a little simplified, it's pretty accurate to the real thing. There were other tread patterns fitted though depending on the area the location was operating in. Maybe an aftermarket company will provide some alternatives at some point. The spokes are very nicely done, and certainly a lot easier than if they'd been supplied in photo-etch form.
Despite the relatively simple nature of the kit, CSM has included some amusingly tiny details, such as part 11 here. These are the air valves for the tyres.
Also on sprue C, you'll find the headlights, and this is the only slight disappointment I had with the kit as no clear parts are included for the lenses. Having said that, it wouldn't be hard to add some yourself. A small disc of clear sheet trapped between the main headlight casing and the separate bezel will sort it.

Sprue C (?) (x2)
The final two sprues (also marked as sprue C for some reason?) hold the other halves of the spoked wheels. These are essentially the same as those on sprue C (I'm confusing myself now) but don't have the tyre section.

These come in a lovely booklet with a heavyweight card cover, with a very vintage vibe to it. The build is broken up into 33 steps, illustrated with very clear CAD style diagrams. The parts added in each step are highlighted in blue which makes it very easy to follow. The final five pages show the marking options with full-colour illustrations.

Five marking options are included with the kit. Four British examples, one Belgian vehicle. Although the basic colours of the vehicles are shown, no manufacturers paint codes are listed. Most of the required colours are available from one source or another.

Quite a large decal sheet for an armour build, being mainly made up of vehicle codes. The printing has been done by Cartograf, so it goes without saying that the quality is excellent.
This is the first product I've seen from Copper State Models and I've got to say I'm very impressed. It looks well designed, well moulded, and above all very build-able, which isn't always the feeling you get when you open one of those aforementioned 1000 part mega kits. Hopefully, that will turn out to be the case, so stay tuned to TMN for the full build. (Link Here)

Andy Moore

This new kit of the Lanchester is available directly from  Copper State Models as well as their distributors worldwide.Thanks to them for sending this kit to Andy to review & build.

Appendix: The Kit Instructions.