by: Pat McGrath [ ]
The Terrapin is, to me at least, one of the oddest looking British vehicles of the Second World War. While most British vehicle designs look old-fashioned even for the 1940s, the Terrapin is so futuristic looking you could label it as a Martian Rover and put it beside a Martian Canal.
Only 500 hundred were produced to make up for the scarcity of DUKWs in British service, and they did sterling work in the battles of the Scheldt estuary and Antwerp. The Terrapin wasn’t a terribly successful design. Among its problems was that the driver was seated in the middle of the vehicle and had vision problems. A Mk 2 was developed but with the end of the war all further development of the design stopped and it never entered service.
The instructions helpfully point out that out of its eight wheels only the centre four were in contact with the ground at all times so when some know it all at your local club or show condescendingly says how hard it is to get resin wheels aligned you can show him the instructions note, or punch him in the face, (though that may get you thrown out of the Club)!
The large, strong cardboard box is packed to the brim with parts carefully enclosed in plastic bags interleaved between layers of bubble wrap. I didn’t count them all, because frankly life’s too short, but according to the instruction sheet there are 152 resin parts. There are also 5 lenses for lights and a large sheet of PE.
The instructions come in the form of a twenty page stapled A5 booklet. The first page gives a history of the development and service of the Terrapin and credits the kit master to Len Swasiland noting that it was reworked by Kaiser Sὅse and also thanks “Ossie” for his help.
The next page gives a key to the resin and PE parts.
The instructions are given in 56 very clear step by step black and white photos. Some of these have additional text notes and there are a few diagrams showing the assembly sequence for the wooden panels.
Also included in the booklet are 3 period photos of the Terrapin in service along with 2 diagrams from the vehicle instruction manual.
Okay, looking over all 152 resin parts individually I could find no flaws or warpage, and the only pinholes I found were four small ones on the hull top which will be easily filled. There is some resin flash, but this comes off easily enough simply by rubbing it with a finger. Resicast have a clever way of casting resin pieces attached to a rod and then the large pour plug which makes them very easy to remove from the plug. It’s not possible to do this with the tires so these may require a little clean up where the pour plugs were removed. Some of the smaller levers, rods and pedals are very delicately cast and care should be taken in handling them. Parts like the wooden panels are cast to an appropriate scale thickness.
The hull and hull top are two substantial pieces of solid resin which fit perfectly together. The hull top has some resin runners and film that needs to be removed- I managed this with a sharp X-acto blade. Both the hull top and bottom have some resin plugs that need to be removed and I did this with a razor saw. There are several drain holes that need to be drilled out with a 1.5 “Mesh” according to the instructions, but I assume this is a mistranslation and they mean drill bit.
The assembly looks straight forward enough, and with the wheels mounting directly to the lower hull there is no aligning of springs and suspension to contend with. Judging from the instructions, the only assembly stages that will need special attention are the fitting of the wooden panels around the upper hull and the assembly of the rudder and propeller. If you keep repeating the ’s maxim-“Dry fit twice and glue once” you won’t go far wrong.
If you buy the terrapin kit direct from Resicast you receive a free stowage set that consists of 138 jerricans. These are cast in two blocks of 40 cans, two blocks of 3 cans and two blocks of 2 cans as well as a block of 48 half cans, along with two spacers to make them sit at the correct level in the Terrapin’s hold. The cans are very nicely cast with no separate handles and only a thin film of resin to be removed from the handles.
Although it has a high price this is a substantial resin kit and the finished model will be quite big -its measurements after an approximate dry fitting are 210mm length and 75mm wide and 75mm high. The stowage set that comes free if ordering direct from Resicast should fill up the holds nicely, though a squad of infantry in battle gear would look nice too.
I'll be starting a build log in the forums to evaluate the construction and I'll link this review to the blog as soon as possible.