The use of rockets in warfare can be traced back to 10th century China. The British army, although they pioneered the use of Rockets in Europe, after they were used with great effect against in India in the late 18th century never made much use of them. It was the Soviet army who went on to develop their use with great effect in WW2 with mass bombardments by the mobile “Katyusha” batteries.
Although they never found favour with the British Artillery traditionalists the British army did develop the “Land Mattress”, a multi tube launcher which married a three inch rocket with a 5 inch warhead. It had a range of 8,000 meters. After initial trials in the summer of 1944 the British army decided against their use, but Canadian army officers who were present at the trials were so impressed by the weapon that the Canadian army took the weapon and used it very successfully until the end of the war. After the Canadians were seen to be using the weapon effectively, two batteries of the British Royal Artillery were trained to use them.
There were two types built: the 30 barrel Tilling-Stephens and the 32 barrel Meyer-Dunsford. This Resicast
kit depicts the 32 barreled Meyer Dunsford version. Even though its use by the Canadians was successful it never saw any post-war service.
The kit comes in the standard stout Resicast cardboard box with illustrations of the built, but unpainted, kit on the outside. Inside the box are an instruction booklet, ten plastic bags- two containing PE frets, seven containing the resin pieces and one with styrene rods meant to be cut to length and used as indicated in the instructions.
The resin parts are well cast in a light grey-green resin and I could find no air bubbles. A razor saw will be required to remove the pieces from their resin pour plugs and some pieces have a thin resin film to be removed by a sharp knife. Parts R and S - the electrical system - are very fragile and will need careful handling, there is a note indicating this in the instructions. In my kit the launcher frame was slightly warped but I’m confident I can correct this with heat. Two of the eight rockets were also warped. I might try the heat method of correction with them or just leave them out as they are not essential to the build. All of the 32 launcher tubes were straight and true.
There are bald spots on both of the wheels in my kit where the resin pour plug was removed. I will probably hide these when positioning the kit or re-scribe the tread. The larger of the two PE frets contain part of the launcher frame and reinforcing struts plus mudguards while the smaller fret contains flight rings for the rockets.
On then to the most important part of any multimedia kit - the instructions. This is a 12 page booklet illustrated with black and white photos. The first page shows two B/W photos of the finished kit. The second page is a key and lists all the photo etched and resin parts. The next eight pages are a step by step assembly guide using 27 B/W photos and some text. The assembly looks straight forward enough, but as with all multimedia kits I advise proceeding slowly and with caution and use the modeller’s rule: “Fit twice, glue once.”
The second to the last page shows two photos of the kit as it should look after construction. The last page of the booklet is a return slip in case of broken or mis-cast parts.
There is no painting guide which is a pity. Although we can safely assume the launcher itself was some shade of Olive Drab the rockets themselves had multicolored bands on the noses indicating the contents. A quick online image search will provide the answers here.
Although Resicast kits are not for the beginner and techniques for working with resin kits can be found online it might be a good idea for Resicast to include a list of tools required and recommended glues. Personally I always use a JLC saw blade and a brand new Number 11 blade fitted to my modelling knife. The glue I use is a low viscosity CA/Superglue. For the PE I use a modelling knife on a cutting mat to separate the pieces from the fret and a very fine sanding stick to clean up the parts.
This is a well thought out kit that with proper care and attention should build up into a quirky little piece of artillery history.
For anyone interested in the Land Mattress there is a film clip available on the Pathé website labeled “INVASION SCENES EUROPE” and the Film ID number is 2157.14
Royal Artillery Units