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ju_lrdg-1.jpg (25618 bytes)Matchbox L.R.D.G diorama in 1/76th scale With 30cwt Chevrolet truck &Willy's jeep


By Juho Ala-Jaaski



The use of motorized vehicles in desert terrain had proven to be very successful during WW1. Thus, when Italy declared war on England in 1940, their Libyan based forces posed a direct threat to the British in Egypt.

General Wavell, the C.I.C of the British forces, was well aware of these threats and so asked R.A Bagnald, who had spent many years during the 30s exploring the desert and developing desert navigational techniques, to form a Motorised Patrol Group. These patrols were known as the L.R.D.G, which compromised of volunteers from all armed services. There was no armament or uniform. The men used whatever seemed suitable at the time.

In May, 1942, the L.R.D.G took delivery of 30 steel bodied 30cwt. Chevrolet trucks which proved to be highly successful in operational use. The role of the Long Range Desert Group was monitoring enemy armor and troop movement and carrying out daring querrilla style raids behind enemy lines on air fields and fuel installations.

The kit:

The kit is already pretty old and cruel for today's standards, but can be improved by careful painting and detailing. Which is exactly what I did.

The kit comes molded in 3 colors: tan, brown, and sort of a dirt shade.

There's alot of flash and mold parting lines, and evident on some parts is the rusting of the mold. Detailing is fair overall, but the machine guns could use some improvement, and the base also.

ju_lrdg-2.jpg (17827 bytes)The base:

I brush painted the base using Tamiya acrylics, and Revell enamels for the brick wall. I painted the road dark yellow and drybrushed it with mud to simulate a dirt road. The area behind the brick wall was painted mud, with light grey drybrushing. The wall was painted greyish brown, and the barrels were painted with light grey with brown and light grey sign that says: "Oasis 1.5km". The details behind the wall were picked out with grey, green and brown, and after this was done, everything was drybrushed with a mud color.

The "Chevy" truck:

I started assembling the truck by painting the bottom parts, mainly the shock absorbers and leaf springs with a dark yellow shade. After this I assembled the truck to almost completetion. The nose was painted black from inside to give it some depth.

I also thinned down the radiator duct separators, and cleaned the front bumber a little from some nasty mold parting lines.

At this stage I painted the truck overall dark yellow and started putting on the accessories. The accessories were painted either green, grey or brown and glued on the appropriate places. The head lights were painted silver.

Call me a detail freak, but I also drilled out the teeny weeny gun barrels and and the holes on the sand ducts that go on the sides of the truck. I replaced the windshields with clear acetate.

The figures were painted according to the instructions, with even the small eye details picked out with a brush made from an eye lash.

ju_lrdg-3.jpg (21412 bytes)The machine guns were assembled, painted with black and silver dry brushing. The ammo bin on the truck machine gun was painted with gold on the top to simulate .303cal shells.

The last thing I put on the truck was the drilled out exchaust pipe painted black. I applied all the declas using Micro Sol and no gloss coat, and they went on just fine. I weathered the truck by drybrushing the accessories and adding mud to the bottom and the sides, and the wheels.

The jeep:

The jeep was painted and assembled according to the instructions with the machine gun barrels drilled out and accessories added to where they looked good to me.

The figures were painted according to the instructions, along with small details like the accessories, etc.. The machine guns were painted black and dry brushed with silver.

The front grille was painted black with dark yellow braces. The head lights were picked out with silver.

The model was weathered in the same fashion as the truck.


I personally like these Matchbox minidoramas the best from any small scale armor as they're interesting to build and display. With a little attention to details they can be made to look almost as good as any of the newer small scale armor kits.

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Air Intelligence
1998 Modelers'
Reference Guides

1/48 Scale Guide $20.00
1/72 Scale Guide $25.00
HH-43 Huskie Color Reference Guide $15.00

Please add $3.00 Postage in the US.

TacAir Publications

PO Box 90933
Albuquerque NM 87199-0933
(505) 881-9621

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