Monty’s caravan Vintage Matchbox 1/76
In trying to complete a few “ under way “ kits I had to get this one completed first as I started it in spring time of this year with numerous put asides as the small scale made it difficult to realise . Let alone mount and pre-paint small parts that want to break off a lot !
With that I acquired the skill of small moves with the fingers. What Germans call “ “fingerspitzengefühl “ ( at least I think I did )
I had chosen this unusual subject as it intrigued me enough . Specifically as there are few kits that focus on War leaders.
This one is on Bernard Montgomery, liberator of Brussels and hero of El-Alamein 2 !
There’s is a lot to say about him . Not all flattery . I read the excellent “ Ballantines History of the violent Century - War Leaders “ on him , great Little book not voluminous At all, not revisionist and written by the people that were in the “ know” shortly after the war ended.
“Monty” Took as war booty the plush Trailer caravan of General Annibale ( Hannibal ) Bergonzoli. Italian commander of 23 rd corps at the Battle of Beda Fomm in Libya.
He had it shipped back to England to have it removed of the Lancia Chassis and had it put on a 6x6 Leyland base.( That alone seems a bit over the top during war time )
In researching , I realised and by looking at the “Imperial war museum “ Website that by wars end Montgomery had no less than 3 trailers. All displayed now at said museum.
This led me trying to figure out which one in the one of the venerable little Matchbox kit and what the kit designers had in mind.
3 trailers, one man.
2 were war booty ( try doing this now )
The second one was captured by the 8th Army from Field Marshal Giovanni Messe commander of the Italian first Army. This became Montgomery’s bedroom caravan also on a Lancia Chassis. Not sure if this one got converted.
The last one was gifted by a British Church group, Had a Vaulted clerestory type of ceiling ( definitely not the one of the kit ) built in England. That one became his map room.
the kit and mini diorama.
The one created by Matchbox was definitely his “Salon “ or where he sat and pondered his next move and where he entertained the notables of that time w.o. Showing his bed room or war room!
With that information I looked at the street scene of the diorama that shows .
Trolley or tram tracks, side walks and pavement . The clue of where it could have been came from the barricades and statue that lies in ruin and takes Center stage.
It looked like a religious figure ( mitre cap with split ) maybe that was a cauteous stab at religion but no one in Europe would have desecrated a statue of this sort, unless it was collateral damage . What I figured it may have meant to be, was that Benito ( Blessed ! ) Mussolini had statues of him put all over Italy when he was Party leader.
When Italy officially Surrendered on September 8 1943. the Italian people, whom never wanted war and were more afraid of the Germans than the Allies went on a rampage smashing the statues of the first Fascist dictator.
So the scene may have meant to be set in Italy After that time . Perhaps Naples or a city with a city rail system. The statue I tried to make it look like Marble. The street is a bit too colourful but a harder stone would have been used. Possibly a Basalt type of material which shows coloration at times.
The figures provided are Montgomery and possibly General Alexander.
I put a piece of a Map on the table I cut from a Northern California map.
I still need to locate where the crank on the radiator housing went and do a bit of touch up and decide what to do next.
Also a cover to keep the dust off. This is the 4th. matchbox 1/76 kit I made . They are getting better and are truly unique.
I used a mixture of Tamiya, Ammo and Gunze paints .grey, white and green primers to let base colors show through that could have been in real life. I cut in a sun roof on the cab and painted the engine Cover Red.
The kit had all parts off the spruces and no decals.
I accentuated as many details I could underneath and am reasonably happy with it.
Some day I may make another with an interior.
Glad it’s done !
Back to Planes !
13 additional images. Click to enlarge.