I’m still slowly plugging away at my Bolt Action British force, and recently finished painting my second Universal Carrier. Unlike my earlier Universal, this one appears in the force list as a Recce vehicle. So I wanted a way to set the two models apart. A bit of quick Google image searching and I came up with a few period photos of the Universal Carrier Recce, and the corresponding WW2 British radio sets they carried.
Most Universal Recce’s seem to sport a couple of side mounted antenna and the radio set seems to have been hung on the inside of the same hull wall. There’s no way I was going to fit a radio and a figure in the small space that way, so opted for a forward mounted radio set – which seems to be a less common option. It’s all pretty vague though, and even my copy of Osprey’s ‘Universal Carrier’ wasn’t much help. Ah well, guess I’m not a real rivet counter!
A few scraps of plastic-card, some nylon broom bristles and a touch of green stuff later and I’d added a couple of antenna and a simple radio set. One figure got to be the operator, kitted out with a beret from the plastic Warlord Commando box, a set of putty headphones and a microphone. The WW2 British mic seems to have been a bakelite ‘trumpet’ nicked straight off a 1930’s telephone from the look of it.
The rest of the crew was filled out with a few more cut up figures and arm swaps. The commander is (despite strict warnings otherwise) standing up in the cab with a pair of binoculars to hand. His feet were chopped around a bit to get them to fit in the cab space. The driver is stock, with a simple head swap, and the final passenger has his SMLE ready for security (although he’s a little hard to see in the photo). He was constructed with a simple shoulder cut and arm swap. I’m not entirely sure a Recce Universal would be that gunned up, but it got the standard AA Bren gun as well as a forward Bren.
The radio painted up quite nicely I think, and the Recee is definitely distinguishable from my other Universal on the tabletop which is handy. Here’s a shot of the rear with the operator removed, as I haven’t glued the back to figures in yet.
I still need to break out the weathering powders and dust up the tracks and lower hull a bit before sealing it all up. Unfortunately it’s super humid in Auckland at the moment, so varnishing might have to wait until late Autumn cools my garage down a bit more.
If you’re wondering why the ‘Normandy star’ is a bit off centre it’s because that’s based on period photos you’ll find on the web. More typically it was painted in the centre of the body I think, but my first Universal got an off centre star, so this one does too.
The Universal is a great little model, fun to assemble and paint, and it’s not a bad bit of kit on the table either. A cheap open topped ‘armored’ carrier sporting a couple of vehicle MGs to pepper enemy troop with. Two is enough for my force though, so its a Cromwell to finish painting next.