In-Box Review
Universal Carrier Mk I
35.1200 Universal Carrier Mk I Conversion for Tamiya Universal Carrier
  • P52900011

by: Alan McNeilly [ ALANL ]

To set the scene, a short quote from the Introduction in the above Osprey publication:

"The Universal Carrier is typically British – peculiarly British some might say; a compromise, neither one thing nor the other. Designed for a role that it never fulfilled, it was adapted to dozens of others for which it was never entirely suited and was still in service, in vast numbers, long after it should have been pensioned off."

So there you have it, a vehicle that served all over the world, with both British and Commonwealth Armies, it was produced by small work shops and factories all over the country and manufactured abroad.
The Resicast set offer modellers the first opportunity, I believe, to model the Mk I version of this vehicle in 1/35. I am not aware of another kit or conversion that is, or has been, available before. If I am wrong, and there are other kits or conversion sets available, then I apologize in advance. Personally, I have only seen one scratch built Mk I.
As an Allied builder, with a main interest in British and Commonwealth vehicles, I am a keen fan of Resicast, but I make no apologies for that, as the company offers a wide range of British/Commonwealth kits and accessories I find particularly useful.
The Mk 1 carrier is often associated with the N Africa Campaign but I have seen pictures of Mk I in Holland in 44 with the Canadian Army.
the kit
The set comes packed in a strong sturdy box containing 8 plastic bags of resin parts, a fret of PE and several lengths of plastic rod, plus the instruction booklet. The contents are wrapped in bubble wrap for extra protection.

The conversion set is supplied with a 24 page booklet outlining the stages you need to go through to build the vehicle. The book contains both diagrams of the build stages and pictures of the actual vehicle for reference. These are clear and easy to follow. I have checked all the references I have and believe the layout of the parts, and the parts themselves, conform to give a very good representation of the Mk I. Cast in the typical Resicast light grey resin, the detail on the casting is excellent. With minimal effort required to remove the parts from their plugs and little clean up necessary. Obviously, being resin, care needs to be taken when removing the parts and a mask may be necessary to avoid inhaling any dust.
With around a 160 items it is not practical to list nor photograph them all here, I would be typing and taking pictures forever, but a brief over view, I hope will do: Bren Guns 3, Boys Anti Tank Rifle, No 22 wireless complete, POW cans of various sorts, front bin stowage, drive wheels, a complete set of the new style resin tracks, mud scarpers, 2” mortar, battery box, bren bin, grenade box, spare parts box, cartridge box, rear stowage, rifle support, cooker support, complete replacement for the engine housing and main armoured panels, new seats, grab handles, all the parts necessary for the drivers compartment, front light (2 types), antenna, fire extinguisher, spades, pick axe, starting handle, replacement seats to name but a few. In short all the items you will need to complete the build. The set also has a fret of PE containing around 47 parts. Including the short rounded R & L valance seen on some early vehicles but often later removed or discarded. You also get several short lengths of plastic rod to use during the build.

For reference I’m using the Universal Carrier Mk I/II book from the Military Vehicle Workshop Series and for background the Osprey New Vanguard Universal Carrier 1936-48, the ‘Bren Gun Carrier’ Story, plus a few others.

Alan has started a Build Log on the Forums to evaluate the kit construction.
Highs: Excellent detail, with crisp sharp casting, the set provides all the parts necessary to build the Mk I carrier, a vehicle that had previously been ignored by other manufacturers. The excellent replacement track adds that final touch and is most welcome.
Lows: Working with resin takes a little more time and a little more patience and there is always the cost element to consider.
Verdict: I think this is a cracking set, with everything needed to produce a good model. Detail is excellent, offering the opportunity to build a well known and often ignored vehicle, that was previously unavailable to modellers in this format. Highly recommended
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 35.1200
  PUBLISHED: Jul 25, 2008
  NATIONALITY: United Kingdom

About Alan McNeilly (AlanL)

Greying slightly, but young at heart. I've been teaching adults off and on for most of my life. Left the services in 85 and first started modelling in about 87 for a few years. Then I had a long spell when I didn't build anything (too busy) and really just got started again during the summer of ...

Copyright ©2021 text by Alan McNeilly [ ALANL ]. All rights reserved.


I noticed that the instructions with this kit are a lot better than the usual instructions you get with a lot of other resin kits. Does anyone remember those Jaguar instructions? They were a photocopy of a photocopy of a photocopied picture taken on a 1976 Polaroid. These look much better.
AUG 09, 2008 - 06:37 PM
Hi Tapper, If you look at any of their recent releases, you'll see that the standard of instructions sheets has taken a large leap forward. Picked up the odd error in this one as the build progressed but in general they are pretty good, easy to follow and the pics a great help. LIke all instructions you need to read them carefully and consult a few references along the way. Al
AUG 09, 2008 - 09:49 PM
I'm afraid I'm becoming increasingly fascinated with the Universal carrier and may have to pick up this conversion befopre the recession bites too hard besides by buying it it can only hasten the arrival of a correct plastic kit. I'm not a fan of the Osprey Vangyard series so how would you rate the Osprey New Vanguard Universal Carrier 1936-48, the ‘Bren Gun Carrier’ Story? There's a carrier in the National History Museum (Which is in Collins Barracks, Dublin where I was stationed in the army) but theyt don't allow photos
AUG 09, 2008 - 10:03 PM
Hi Pat, Depends on what you want. The Osprey Universal Carrier is an easy read and has some good general info and plates. It runs to their normal format. For diagrams on stowage I'd recommend the Militay Vehicle Workshop Series Universal Carrier Mk I/II cost about £3.00. Although it only arrived yesterday Nigel Watson's Universal Carrier Volume 1 looks to be a seriously good book. Photo lead it's packed with information on the Dragon, Armoured MG, Cavalry Scout, AOP, Bren, Lloyd and Universal Carriers. Written for the owners, modellers, restorers and ex-servicemen it would seem to be the bees knees on Carriers. On the front of the Mk I carrier instructions it's highlighted as 'Absolute Reading' by Graham and I have to say just having had a quick look through, there will be more of these getting build over the years lol, lol. It's not cheap, I think mine was around £30.00 from Waterstones. If plastic model manufacturers can't see the potential in this vehicle and it's variations well, lol. The Tamiya kit may be old but Resicast's new conversion sets have breathed a complete new lease of life into it IMHO. Cheers and happy modelling. Al
AUG 09, 2008 - 11:17 PM

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