Book Review
Universal Carrier 1936-48 (New Vanguard 110)

by: Jim Rae [ JIMBRAE ]


As I said in the summary to this review, the Universal Carrier has always been a popular subject for Allied armor modelers. Considering it had one of the longest service histories of almost any vehicle in history it also covers a period from the pre-WWII period up until the Arab -Israeli wars of the late 1940s, it is surprising it isn't even more popular.... Conceived from an original design in the 1920s, the prototype to the last of the production variants (at least superficially) look fairly similar. It was used as a scout vehicle, a Machine-gun carrier, fitted with mortars, PIATs, flamethrowers and even (in a bizarre moment) with rockets. It served as a gun-tractor, an ambulance and even (without engine) as an armored trailer. Few vehicles in the 20th century could have served in such a multitude of rôles... With this new book Osprey Publishing bring a useful introduction to a highly interesting vehicle....

Osprey's New Book...

Universal Carrier 1936–48, The 'Bren Gun Carrier' Story (New Vanguard 110) is written by David Fletcher and illustrated by Tony Bryan.
The book follows the established format in the New Vanguard series, A4 Format, 48 pages, numerous black and white photographs and eight pages of superbly done, full-color illustrations...

The Chapter List is as folllows:


The Bren Gun Carrier

A Taste of War
- The Scout carrier

the Universal Carrier - Middle East, Defence of Britain, Improved Carriers

North American Production

With The Infantry - Three-inch mortar carriers, A.O.P. Carriers, Medium MG carriers, Invasion, Far East, Other Users


Post-war Activities


Colour Plate Commentary


Many different variants are touched on and illustrated. Hovever, there are gaps in the coverage. There is little or nothing on the Flame-throwing 'Wasps' for example, an important ommission...

Touching on the illustrations for a moment, these are in a word, superb. Many of the illustrations are done from a kind of 'almost directly overhead' perspective which shows off the stowage arrangements to perfection. Unit Markings are clearly executed and there is even an illustration of the track structure. One thing which would be useful, would be 1/35th scale plans in future books....

A very-well constructed and planned book which is (sadly) limited by the format of the series. The Universal Carrier is an enormously complex subject due to both use and in particular, the number of variants fielded, and frankly deserves greater depth.


Apart from the limitations imposed by the book's format, this is a excellent piece of work. I would say that for anyone building or 'accurizing' the old, but essentially good Tamiya Universal Carrier, this book is invaluable. Personally I would have liked to have seen more on some of the variants, but I would also like to see a 'Hunnicutt' on the Universal Carrier as well...
It is very competively priced and with good quality of reproduction and printing throughout. In my opinion, this is one of the best New Vanguard books ever printed - VERY Highly Recommended

Contact Details

Osprey Direct
PO Box 140
Northants, NN8 2FA

(01933) 443 863

Thank you to Osprey Publishing for kindly supplying the review sample.

For Allied/Commonwealth modellers the Universal Carrier has always been a popular subject. Bearing in mind the paucity of good reference books and only one 1/35th kit of the subject, this new book from Osprey Publishing comes into the 'sight for sore eyes category' - a truly welcome addition....
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:1
  Mfg. ID: 1841768138
  Suggested Retail: $14.95/£8.
  PUBLISHED: May 30, 2005
  NATIONALITY: United Kingdom

About Jim Rae (jimbrae)

Self-employed English teacher living in NW Spain. Been modelling off and on since the sixties. Came back into the hobby around ten years ago. First love is Soviet Armor with German subjects running a close second. Currently exploring ways of getting cloned to allow time for modelling, working and wr...

Copyright ©2021 text by Jim Rae [ JIMBRAE ]. All rights reserved.


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