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1⁄35Riich Universal Carrier Mk.II
Recently Riich Models has stepped into the Universal Carrier void by releasing the two basic variants: the Mk.I and Mk.II. The Riich kits considerably revise the old Tamiya version, bringing the detailing and molding into the 21st Century.
This was a build of the Mk.II, the later-war version that replaced the Mk.I's automobile-type headlights with wartime hooded ones. The build was pretty straightforward: you begin with the engine (which unfortunately isn't hardly visible in the final assembly), then move on to the hull tub, the suspension & tracks, and finally the interior (seats, benches, radio, stowage). The exterior includes a full assortment of tools, lights, hooks and photo etch, and the result is a little gem for those of us who like treads (the Riich treads are link & length). Speaking of Resicast, they have been talking about bringing out some Riich-specific resin conversions such as the 3" Mortar Carrier, which would be a welcome addition, though the base kit isn't cheap to begin with.
I should warn readers that the Riich kit is not a build for children or beginners. Many sub-assemblies rely on PE mostly or exclusively with some parts not rendered in styrene. And even the styrene parts can be very "fiddly." The suspension gives modelers two options (mostly styrene or mostly metal), but you have to fashion the brackets for the wading panels or canvas top from flat PE.
Not for the faint-hearted.
I decided to show a typically overloaded UC with some Value Gear tarps, tents and boxes, assorted stowage from the spares box and some scratchbuilt canvas on the front end to portray a UC involved in Operation Goodwood, July 1944. Monty got his *** handed to him on a platter by Jerry, though historians have debated whether Goodwood was a failure or a necessary (and bloody) diversion that prevented the Germans from reinforcing Caen or reacting to Operation Cobra, the US breakout of the hedgerow country. While Monty has his admirers, I don't think Goodwood is usually one of the things mentioned by them.
The kit is (other than the stowage) OOB: the paint is Tamiya XF58 Olive Green over dark brown primer, with a plethora of weathering washes and powders, including Vallejo's Weathering Allied Vehicles set 78.402. The driver figure is from the Riich Universal Carrier Mk.I (shown in the final photo next to the Mk.II).