28mm Humber Armored Car: Tough Ride, Tasty Results | Print |  E-mail
Written by Don MacVittie   
Thursday, 21 September 2006
Don gets a deal on some 28mm vehicles by Black Tree Design, and lets you know how it goes building one.

Good enough, if you're willing to work at it.

Several months ago our Friendly Local Gaming Store (FLGS) purchased the contents of another store and set out some stock at ridiculously low prices. One of these items was a 28mm Humber manufactured by Black Tree Design. The United Kingdom's Humber Armoured Car vehicles saw heavy service as scout transports in both the African and European theatres. This vehicle, along with a German SdKfz 251/1 by the same manufacturer, was placed on sale at $5.00 a pop. More on the 251/1 at a later date.

I've avoided getting into 28mm WWII (I only use 28mm for Fantasy), so for a couple months I resisted the urge to buy these vehicles. I figured another member of the local Historical Miniature Games Society (HMGS) would grab the deal � but alas, they failed me, and one day I thought, "Hey! I can pick these up and use them for Wargames @ Nordalia.com, and everyone is happy!"

Hey, that's over $50.00 worth of vehicles for $10. Who can resist such a deal forever?

I should have held out a little longer. This is a tough review to write because of one simple fact: While the model came out looking good, it was a horrendous pain. But I'll give you the blow-by-blow, and you can decide if it was worth the trip.

We did get in touch with Black Tree Design just to ensure that this model had not been resculpted. It has not, but it is not so horrendous that this is a huge negative, we wanted to be certain that we were bringing you a review of a product that is currently available.

When I set out to do build the Humber, I couldn't face another desert paint job, so I painted it up as the desert rats, but in Europe. Normally, we at Nordalia avoid applying decals until we've taken photos to accompany our reviews, but a shiny new bottle of New Gleris Cherry Tart and enthusiasm for this vehicle's decals overcame me.

To inspire my painting of this vehicle in colors for Europe, I used the following link:
Inspiration: http://tanxheaven.com/ljs/humbermk4armouredcarljs/humbermk4armouredcarljs.htm

Gotta love Tanxheaven.com, this is a really great set of pictures of a real Humber.

Out of the box with flash removed.

This model came with a minimum of flash, which made me hopeful that the mini would go together well. I was sorely disappointed, and my nightmare was only just beginning.

When I went to assemble the vehicle, the Humber just didn't go together well. Not "Didn't fit well." It downright didn't go together. The sides of the body were bowed out at the ends, and these are not thin metal pieces that can be bent easily without a grip that would cause damage to the hull. So I bent it as straight as I dared, and moved along.

The car is designed so that most of the seam is covered, leading me to believe that the potential for bowing was known to the manufacturer. After some trimming to complement the bending, I was able to get it within 1/8 of an inch, about 3 mm � close enough, I hoped--and glued everything together. The wheels were another point of contention, as the ends of the axles were actually larger than the holes in the back of the wheels! To resolve this problem, I scraped out the wheels some and cut down the diameter of the ends of the axles. This was not flash--the mold is actually mismatched.

Finally, it was all together, and while I could see that gaping hole and a bad spot on the turret, I thought it looked okay.

Assembled. Notice the gap in the center of the front hull.

I considered filling in the exposed portions of the gap with Green Stuff, but I had recently used a LOT of Green Stuff to put another model into shape for painting, and I'd had enough. I looked and poked and prodded at the model, finally deciding that it could probably pass muster. So I painted it up without incident. The final product looks like this:

Front of the car after painting and decaling.

From the rear after painting and decaling.

Overall, the vehicle has an excellent amount of detail, and would be a sweet product if not for the mismatch in the nearly solid-core body and failure to match up wheels to axles. I'm very pleased with the final result, and will likely end up building a 28mm skirmish force around this vehicle (so much for saving money) but would like to get my hands on some other 28mm Humber kits to see if others are doing a better job.

If you don't mind the work and are willing to reinforce the wheels (I'm pinning them later this week), you'll likely be pleased with the final results of this product. If, however, excessive effort is a deal breaker, take a pass. Given that I was able to purchase this model for $5.00 and it came out well, I'm pleased with the overall result. But had I paid full price, I would have been upset with the quality of the casting.

Model: 28mm Humber Scout Car (Model Number WW 2069)
Manufacturer: Black Tree Design, Inc.
URL: http://www.black-tree-design.com
MSRP: � 24.99 / $43.73 USD at the time of this writing.
US Source: Rise of the West Miniatures
URL: http://www.rotwminiatures.com/btd_wwii.htm
(Note that the above US dollar price is simply converted from GBP. The Rise of the West site appears to have the Humber mis-priced at $310.00. We have notified ROTW and will update pricing when it is fixed on their site)

Our Source: Gnome Games (Green Bay, WI)
Our Price: $5.00 USD (on sale)

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