In-Box Review
Airborne RA Jeep
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by: Alan McNeilly [ ALANL ]


When I first got back into modelling about 4 years ago, one of the kits I bought was the Resicast Airborne RA Jeep conversion set. I opened the box, looked at all the resin parts inside, a fret of PE and thought, I’ll never build that, so I closed the box and put the kit away, thinking that one day I might advance enough to give it a go.

Well 3 years later and with the announcement of the MB 1/35 glider and C47 my interest perked up again, a recent reorganisation of the stash brought the kit to my notice.

Elite forces have always been popular subjects. The history, achievements and failures of the Parachute Regiment are well documented, earning them a well deserved and respected reputation throughout the world as a serious professional fighting force. Tough men often sent to do the impossible with minimal back up in terms of support weapons.

To help overcome this deficiency, standard infantry equipment was adapted to fit the parachute roll and provide at least basic support and recce ability for troops landed behind enemy lines. These heavier items could be glidered in to provide limited anti tank support, recce and supply ability. The Willys jeep was one of the few vehicles that could be transported by air, and so became a very useful vehicle for the Paratroopers and was converted into several role specific versions.

The Set

This set is designed to convert the Tamiya Willys Jeep, item 53219, to the British Airborne Jeep RA type as transported on Horsa Gliders and used to tow the 6pdr anti tank gun.
The set comes in the standard sturdy Resicast box with a good coloured picture of the completed model on the front along with the maker’s name. This conversion, along with at least 3 other Para jeep conversions, have been available for many years so the instructions are in the older style when the quality of today’s technology wasn’t available and things got photographed and photocopied. The instructions are contained in a 12 page A5 photocopied booklet. The front page outlines a brief history of the kit and a list of the most notable modifications made to the jeeps, along with a B&W picture of the front of an actual jeep. Page 2 lists the resin and PE parts, the PE fret contains bits that were also used on the Recce and Signals, and RASC jeeps so not all of the PE will be required. Pages 3 and 4 contain the build steps linked to the Tamiya jeep kit. Pages 5 to 9 contain build guide pictures, and although the quality is not great, they should prove sufficient to allow a successful build. Pages 10 to 12 contain B&W pictures of the actual vehicle again to aid in building.

Also contained within the box are the 5 zip plastic bags containing the conversion parts and the replacement bonnet, plus a fret of PE, all of which are wrapped in bubble wrap for extra protection.

The parts are well cast in a light cream resin, and despite being quite an old kit, the detail is excellent. All were free from any damage or cause for concern and come well wrapped and protected in the box. I have had this kit for about 3 years, and seem to be missing the Rifles parts C and D plus the Bren gun part B. Whether these were not in the kit or I have lost them I am not sure. I don’t recall using them elsewhere, but I do have the mounting brackets for the rifles so replacing those should not be a problem and I may have some spare rifles from the T16 I can use also. An additional set of parts not listed are parts V and W, which are the front axel replacement parts to allow the wheels to be position-able, which is a useful item and as these are not listed must be an addition to the original kit issue.

Resin parts include replacement rear plate, steering plate quick release, front bumper, front towing yoke, dashboard, spare wheel, jerry cans and fixations, bonnet, side lights, pick and spade, 3 steel 6pdr closed ammo boxes and one open, Bren Gun and Rifles, 5 x Bren magazine boxes, 4 x 303 ammo in chargers, 4 x ammo in cartons, 4 x boxes of detonators and explosives, also the position-able steering mentioned above and replacement gear levers.

There are quite a few PE parts, not all of which will be required as the fret is generic for the Recce, Signals and RASC jeep conversions too. You get interior right and left reinforcements, foot pedals left and right and an accelerator, side morrow fixations, dashboard eye, tie down fixations, rear bumper plate, tandem towing bracket, frame and eye. Front bumper reinforcement and strengthening stays, bridging plate, jerry can fixations, spare wheel support and fixation, and various fittings for the rear plate and ammo boxes.


Overall, this looks to be a fairly comprehensive set to allow the modeller to make a good representation of the Airborne RA Jeep. You need to bear in mind that there were modifications carried out locally by REME units and therefore were not always in line with the official specifications, a great deal of latitude being taken as to actual fitting up of the vehicles. As with any modelling project, a good set of references will help, as would a visit to the Airborne Museum at Aldershot. Referenced in the instructions is a pamphlet on the Modification and Specifications on British Airborne Jeeps by Monica Bann & Rob van Meel, that may also be worth investigating which should be available form Croucho Publications in the Netherlands. I couldn’t find Croucho Publications on the ‘net, but did find Groucho Publications, who would appear to be a good source for technical manuals.

The detail and the casting looks excellent, a good read of the instructions before you begin is recommended, The kit contains many small parts so be careful of the carpet monster, but if you have a few years experience, and have worked with resin and PE before, then this set should give you a very cool vehicle indeed. No decals are provided with the kit which is a minus, and I have emailed Resicast to see if the Airborne decals he used to do are still available, if not your alternative will most probably be Archer.

A good variety of ‘boxes’ come with the kit so stocking this one up should be fun.
The Tamiya jeep also provides a relatively inexpensive donor kit for the conversion.

I spoke with Graham at Resicast, and he has only a few sets of the Airborne Decals remaining. It may be some time before these are available again. He will also be including in the kit a further set of instructions regarding the positionable steering, which was added to the kit as an update set. If you have the kit but not the steering instruction sheet just email Resicast and they will send you a copy of the Pdf file instructions.
Highs: A detailed set, for what will be a cool vehicle. Excellent casting and quality of parts should make this an interesting and rewarding build. As a stand alone vehicle, or in a diorama, this gives modellers good alternatives for the Tamiya Willys Jeep.
Lows: We are all suffering from the cost of items and the recession so that needs to be considered. The older style instructions will require that little bit more study. The lack of decals is unhelpful.
Verdict: Highly Recommended.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 35.149
  PUBLISHED: May 04, 2009
  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.


Hey Al, Thanks for another informative review !! Man, you must have serious money invested in your stash of Resicast !!! No wonder you have a weekend job !! Cheers jjumbo
MAY 03, 2009 - 11:19 PM
Hi John, Thanks. I've been buying Resicast kits for about 4 years now. Started with a few figures to see what resin was like, then a couple of small accessory items to see if I could build them and it kinda grows a little each month. As my skill imporved, and my fear of PE and Resin lessened, I've branched out in to more complex items. They make the widest choice of British Army figures and equipment I know of, although Accurate Armour are a close second. Given my interest in all things British/Commonwealth it was always going to happen. The possibility of the 1/35 Horsa sparked my interest again in Airborne stuff, which in truth I had been trying to avoid as I have enough stuff to catch up on lol, lol , but sooner or later it was a road I was going to go down. Here's the picture shown on page 11 of the instructions, hard to resist: and another one I came across Dio possibilities with Airborne Troops are brillient. Yes, the weekend job helps fund the hobby. Cheers Al
MAY 03, 2009 - 11:38 PM
this looks very nice Alan,seen the Resicast Airborne jeep conversions whilst shopping online and thought I might 'find' them in the stash at some point! It also didn't help that I have the 2 'After the Battle' books on Operation Market Garden,if the pics of XXX Corps armour dont getcha then the para jeeps will!!
MAY 04, 2009 - 06:39 AM
Hi Steve, Thanks for looking. Yes, lots of fun and I would think a popular subject. Resicast do a number of versions, Signals, Medical, Scout, RASC and Standard version. It's unlikely 2nd echlon vehicles would have been converted. They also have the small trailers, 6pdr and 75mm pack and the only 3" mortar team I know of, so lots of choice. I mentioned decals or lack there of in the review. Included in the kit should have been a small set specific to the RA kit. Resicast kindly forwarded them along. Also in the afternote I mentioned that Graham has a limited supply of the more generic set, so I've included a picture of these, but this is a small stock, so first come first served I would think until or if they are reporduced. MB seem to be heading down the Airborne route with their first 2 sets of paras, but Resicast already has an established platoon of figures and some cool accessories. Cost of course is a big issue, but I see a build up of these happening over the coming months as the announced MB 1/35 aircraft will add a complete new dimention to the possibilities for Airborne dioramas and took me down this road much earlier than I had expected!! Cheers Al
MAY 04, 2009 - 07:07 AM
Hi Guys, this is another kinteresting one, this chapo landed in his kilt or is you want something completely different, rail jeeps in Burma Al
MAY 04, 2009 - 10:28 AM
Hey Al, Man, I've just got to show that to my Dad ! You have to wonder if he was wearing his kilt in a regulation manner, no boxers or briefs !! Definitely wouldn't want to be standing under that guy when he landed if that was the case !!! Cheers jjumbo
MAY 06, 2009 - 07:49 PM
Hi John, Yip, look up and get a surprise Here's another couple for you RASC supply jeeps even Paras have to eat. Cheers Al
MAY 07, 2009 - 02:46 AM
Be nice if Resicast were to do the same with a loadout for the 75mm Pack Howitzer in its airborne configuration...
MAY 07, 2009 - 03:23 AM
Hi Jim, I'm not sure if they would have used the jeeps. Quite possible I suppose, it depends what was landed in the Hamilcars, they could carry quite a load. Also what survived landing!! 1 x Tetarch Light Tank 1 x 25pdr with tractor 2 x Universal Carriers 2 x Dingo Scout Cars 1 x 17pdr with a Loyd Do you have any pics of them towing the 75mm? Don't have a lot of para references. one in action: and a 6pdr Cheers Al
MAY 07, 2009 - 05:47 AM

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