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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 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 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.


16 responses

  1. A wonderful idea, Bernard, perfectly executed!
    I love vintage, sweet kits, this Matchbox definitely fits the bill!
    Great supporting text, loved it!
    Congratulations!

  2. Looks great! A different project than usual.

  3. Unusual indeed, Bernard @bernardbedeur
    Great result.

  4. Remember this set being in the Matchbox catalogue. Airfix had its own style of box tops and Matchbox another way of getting a small boy to drool over next kit to buy. Good to see this built.

  5. Much appreciated Stellan.
    I wish I had those catalogs still !
    When Matchbox came to market in Belgium I was departing modeling . It was a pleasant surprise to discover them at a later age . The bases were a great idea for beginning diorama builders like me .

  6. You might be interested to know that his "Gin palace" (an Armoured AEC Dorchester) from the desert still exists today. It is at the Royal Signals museum in Blandford. It housed all of Monties communications equipement. It went all the way from the UK, through the desert campaign, then Scilly, Italy and ending the war in Austria! The companion vehicle to it that Monty slept in during the desert campaign was in fact a captured Italian brothel vehicle! Not something that gets into the mainstream. The source of this was that Monties driver for the Gin Palace was a Signalman who stayed in the Corps until the 1960's. The vehicle was about to be scrapped when he recognised it and managed to get it preserved. As Michael Caine would say, "and not a lot of people know that"! I hope this is of interest

    • If t’s real ( you don’t need to convince me per-see ) Ian. Then it would follow the norm of how men get some time off after battle. Take a breath of relief Please !
      Not unusual in any army at all and an important memorial that were all alike, in his together.
      I can’t wait to tour brittain again and take my time of it , touring and have your site saved In my note book.
      Hats off for all the preservation efforts you engage in as a nation.

  7. Great story and equally great modeling to match it.

    • It’s all this kind of memorial fun In putting these kits together George that keeps us linked to the past , within sight , and pass it on. The story of my parents and great parents gets passed on the original way, verbally for posterity .
      Thanks for liking the model. Super fun!

  8. Well done, Bernard (@bernardbedeur). Diorama came out well, as did the vehicles.

  9. Thank you George.
    They’re small which gives a bit of latitude in hiding errors !

  10. Not something you see everyday, done with some real skill and a great result.

  11. Thanks Tom.
    After reading your article on engagement and striving to achieve the best one can . It resonated over to this little kit.
    It still needs some touch up as sometimes one only sees detail after a photograph was taken.

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