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IBG Models 1/35 scale Otter light reconnaissance car

The Otter was based on the Canadian C15TA truck chassis and was armed with a Boys anti-tank rifle and Enfield Bren machine gun. Later vehicles had turrets replaced by a mount for a Browning M2 machine gun. Between 1942 and 1945, more than 1,750 were produced.

The model is molded in gray plastic; many sprue attachments are oversized, requiring repairs to detail damaged during removal. Cleanup is complicated by the brittle styrene; I broke some delicate parts. However, there are few knockout marks (only a couple under the floor and in the engine compartment).

Decals mark three Canadian vehicles, two for the Italian campaign and one for France. Each of the three choices has options specific to that vehicle, shown in five-view drawings.

Instructions are remarkably clear, with CAD images of exploded views and a picture for each step. Interestingly, you are directed to bend all of the photoetched-metal parts first; instead, I bent them when it was time to glue them, preventing loss and damage. The metal is softer than usual. But degrees for angled bends are provided, making them easier to get right on the first try (and breakage less likely).

Construction starts with the engine, which is fairly complete and invites further detail in the engine compartment. I skipped Steps 15 and 16, adding the small parts after the main body panels were glued in Step 34.  The frame is made with two side rails and six cross members, two of which were sloppy and needed filler (parts A12 and A21).

Three tire types are provided, but only one is supposed to be used. I was unable to find references showing the tread pattern and front wheel hubs on the kit’s wheels, but the aftermarket may provide an answer.
I left off the tailpipe until the engine and muffler were mounted. (Drill out the end of the tailpipe.) You can leave the frame and drivetrain off until everything is painted.
I spent most of my time on the interior. The vehicle’s angled sides require careful paint and assembly planning. I glued the side wall F2, front plate G22, engine cover, and rear stowage bin to the floor plate, then glued any of the detail parts painted white. Anything that was another color was painted first, then glued in place before proceeding to the rest of the hull.

In Step 27, parts J2 (the chair supports) are handed; I missed this and found out during final assembly that the chair backs did not fit properly. However, the worst fit problem was getting the engine-cover assembly to match with the front plate (Part G22) and side wall (Part F2). There was a gap, but it’s not seen. I also would have liked the kit to include decals for the gauges. The instrument-panel molding has only blank circles that require either aftermarket decals or an artistic touch; this area is easily seen if you leave the large doors open.

The rest of the hull fit well, needing only a bit of filler at roof-plate joints and trunk panels to the lower hull plates. Stowage is provided to fill the bin in the cabin’s rear.

Assembly of the exterior was quick, with the engine grille being the only difficulty; it’s obvious if you don’t get the pieces parallel and evenly spaced. There should be a weld seam down the back of the turret; I replicated it with a strip of styrene, strengthening the join of the turret halves.

I chose to model the 4th Princess Louise Dragoon Guards vehicle — I liked the large roundel on the hood. Directions call for Vallejo colors, but I mixed Tamiya paints to match SCC15 British olive drab: 5 parts dark green (XF-61); 2 parts olive drab (XF-62); and 2 parts yellow (XF-3).
The Techmod decals are in register, and they don’t silver, but they’re thin and tricky to maneuver without folding.
The more you put into this kit, the better it looks. Even with only 312 parts — a low count by today’s standards — it took 37 hours to complete.
For more on this vehicle, see GM Otter Mk.I Car (Army Wheels in Detail No. 11), by James Gosling and Petr Brojo, (Capricorn, ISBN 978-80-87578-03-2), and The model scaled out well to published plans.

With good fits, easy-to-use photoetched metal, and clear directions, a few added details can make this model a showstopper.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the November 2015 FineScale Modeler.
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