By Ray Mehlberger
In 1920 the Polish Army was equipped with some tanks that had arrived with General Haller's Army (Note: This was the Polish Army that was organized in France). There were also some armored trains. But the situation regarding armored cars was poor. A small number of armored cars that were captured war trophies, often malfunctioned or leaked, and there were no replacement parts available for them. The absence of them was painful, especially during the Polish offensive that started on April 26th, 1920 in the Ukraine.
A good car, with good traction system, and in great numbers was the Ford model T, which was easily found in Poland. The government directed engineer Tadeusz Tanski to a project for a new armored car placed on that chassis. This project was enthusiastically welcomed by the Armored Car's Section Chief of the Military Department. The building of a prototype was completed in 2 weeks. During the next few days they finished the qualifying tests.
At the beginning of June, serial production of the Ford Tc armored car was finally begun. 17 cars were finished, 12 of which survived the war.
The type was withdrawn from frontline duty in 1927-28. The last one served into the 30's in the 3rd Armored Battalion, stationed at Gorczewska Street.
RPM's molding of this kit is done in good quality, light gray plastic. The kit consists of three sprues of parts consisting of 89 parts, a decal sheet for four different vehicles, and one sheet of instructions in the Polish language. Two of the parts sprues are identical and seven parts, on one of these two sprues, are extra. These are mostly suspension parts, an extra muffler, and an extra engine bottom.
Step one is the four girders that make up the vehicle's frame. These parts are full of nasty sink marks that had to be puttied, and push out pin cup marks.
Step two is the mounting of the engine bottom and the leaf springs to the frame. Make sure you get the back edge bevel of part no. 4 angled downwards. This is where the drive shaft will connect to the rear axle and the drive shaft will slant slightly downwards between those two points. There is only the bottom of the engine, or oil pan, included in the kit. This makes for rather a void under the hood. But, it is only seen by turning the model upside down or if some judge at a contest uses a dental mirror on you.
Step three is the rear axle, suspension, and wheel assembly. The spoked wheels had 4 nubs molded between the spokes on all 4 wheels. Since these do not appear on the line drawings on the instructions, or the box art, I whittled and sanded them away. Be careful with this assembly, as it is fragile and fiddly. Make sure everything is lined up good.
Step four is the front axle and wheel assembly.
Step five is the mounting of the exhaust, the front and rear axle assemblies, and some idler arms or sway bars to the frame. This is were there is a problem with the assembly instructions - they tell you to mount the exhaust pipe and muffler on the passenger side of the frame - this is wrong per the box art and the line drawings on the instructions showing the paint scheme and the decal placements. I followed this instruction and now the exhaust pipe and muffler on my model are on the driver's side. But, perhaps it was mounted on that side too at times? I hope so, as I don't intend to rip my model apart and change it now.
Step six is the turret assembly. I drilled out the barrel of the Maxim for more realism.
Step seven is wrongly marked as Roman numeral six and is the hood top, side and front assembly. Make sure to line this up square or you will have gaps later when it is mounted to the fighting compartment.
Step eight is the fighting compartment assembly. I deviated from the instructions here for ease of painting and left the roof piece part no. 33 off. This is because it will have to be painted before the turret is permanently mounted as you cannot get under it with a paintbrush later. I also left part no. 34, the front drivers visor plate off until the fighting compartment and the front hood assembly were mated. These three units should be dry fitted and lined up carefully before the glue is reached for.
Step nine is the final assemblies. The engine crank, headlight, horn, axe holder, hinges, and taillight are added now. Here comes some more confusion. The line drawings on the kit show the taillight as being high on the rear plate and larger than it actually is on the side views. But, on the rear view of the decal placement drawing it is shown the size of kit part and mounted low - which is the way I chose to mount it. I used an MV brand headlight lens in the front headlight and a smaller red lens in the rear one.
The vehicle sports a very garish paint scheme of yellow, medium blue, red brown, and forest green in a wave pattern. These four colors were outlined in black. I used the following paints: Model Master Acrylic Gelb RLM 84 for the yellow, Model Master Acrylic dark green for the green, Model Master Acrylic Dunkleblau RLM 24 for the blue, and Poly Scale Acrylic Oxide Red for the red-brown. The tires were done with Poly Scale Acrylic grimy black. The under-carriage was done in Tamiya Acrylic flat black. The wheel spokes were done in Poly S acrylic Middlestone. The wheel hubs were done with Polly Scale Acrylic graphite as well as the machine gun barrel, forward of the cooling jacket, and a little on the engine crank handle to show wear.
After initial painting was done with these colors (all by hand by the way) I outlined the 4 camouflage colors in black, using a permanent ink fine tipped pen by Sanford brand called a Sharpie - which I bought at Michael's (a stationary chain in the United States). This sure beat the heck out of trying to do this with a fine brush and went fast.
I then scraped any paint off the bevelled mounting surfaces between the roof and the fighting compartment walls, and mounted the turret into the roof hole. It is held there with part no. 29. This part is not shown in the assembly instructions, but it glues to the turret ring and holds it firmly to the roof so it will rotate later. Be careful to only get glue on this ring and the turret bottom only so it will rotate later. I then glued the turret/roof assembly to the top of the fighting compartment. I found I had a slight gap, front or rear, depending on which way you moved it. This could have probably been eliminated if I had dry fit things better earlier on - but with careful sanding and glueing it was eliminated. Now the hinges that go over the sides of the roof were added too.
Markings on the decal sheet include three Polish National shields - but only the placement area for two of them is shown on the vehicle. They go on the sides, in front of the crew entry doors and above the vehicle number. There are white numerals, from 1 through 0 to make up any number of three digit vehicle numbers that go on the front, rear, and sides. Four different slogans are included for vehicles names Osa (wasp), Bak (can), Mucha (fly), and Komar (mosquito). I marked mine with Osa, like the box art. I did not use the decal because I did not feel like gloss coating, decaling, flat coating things to eliminate the carrier film. I went to Michael's again and bought a permanent white ink calligraphy pen with a fine point. I wrote Osa on the two side crew entry doors. I then chose to use dry transfer, rub-on decals for the vehicle number. These were bought in the railroad section of the local hobby shop. The vehicle now looked more like a circus wagon than a war vehicle with it's sock you in the eye paint scheme.
Model available from Squadron Mail Order for $8.96
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