Tamiya 1/48 scale British Light Utility Car 10hp

KIT #: 32562
PRICE: $21.95 MSRP
DECALS: Four options
REVIEWER: Bill Michaels
NOTES:  WW2 British “Tillie”


 I’ll quote and paraphrase Tamiya’s instruction sheet:  

 During WW2, British forces used passenger car chassis as a basis for various pick-up style military vehicles. They were produced by several manufacturers, but rather that identify them with specific names, the soldiers called all the vehicles of this type a “Tilly”. The vehicles generally featured a 10- 30 hp engine and rear wheel drive.  Because they were only 2WD vehicles, they couldn’t really be used off-road, so they were primarily used in rear areas, while the 4WD vehicles were used by troops at the front.   While it doesn’t say so in the instructions, a perusal of British WW2 vehicle sites will show that the subject of this kit was built by Austin—so it is a model of the classic “Austin Tillie”.

 Tamiya also says that they “were used at many airbases”; a fact that may have led them to erroneously conclude that the RAF used them.  (More about that later on.)

 Now, the Tillie wasn’t built in the numbers that the American Jeep was, but for a British vehicle, there were a lot of them produced—over 38,000 during the 1938-45 period. There are a number of them still around— especially in the UK. 


This is a brand new kit—number 62 in the 1/48 series, released in early 2010.

 The kit is molded in the standard light gray plastic most Tamiya aircraft are molded in.      It is a small model— it is only about 3 inches (75mm) long. The moldings are very good, no flash or troublesome ejector pin marks.  The few marks that are on the parts are in places that won’t be seen after assembly.

 One oddity is the way that Tamiya chose to mold the canvas cover for the cargo area.  The tarp cover is molded in two parts, on the clear parts sprue.  There is no benefit to the modeler in doing it this way, as the canvas covers over the “windows” are molded in the closed position, so there is no reason you’d mask off part of the cover to leave it clear while painting the rest. The only thing I can figure is that it was more efficient for Tamiya to mold it this way- to include some additional parts on the otherwise small clear parts sprue.  On the plus side, Tamiya give you optional parts so that you can build your model with the rear tarp in place or rolled up.

 The kit also includes a driver figure— an unarmed man in an Army uniform. Like many of the Tamiya 1/48 figures, the detail on the face and hands is the weak point. 

 The instructions are like those included in all of the new 1/48 scale armor kits, printed in English and Japanese.  Colors are called out with Tamiya colors, as you’d expect.  This is not a very complicated vehicle, so neither is the instruction sheet.

 The kit includes painting instructions and decals for four vehicles:

-         Unknown unit, British Army, northern Europe, 1944.  This is the vehicle on the box art, in green with black overlapping circles.

-         An overall green vehicle from the Polish 4th Infantry Division, from Britain in 1944.

-         A generic British Army vehicle, in overall green.

-         An RAF vehicle in RAF blue.  (No interior colors are specified, so I went with the army green.)

 The same green is used for all the vehicles—Tamiya calls for XF-58 Olive Green. Additionally, the instructions give a chart of generic painting instructions for vehicles used in the UK and Northern Europe, as well as in the Middle East.  The chart calls out the colors for each region for 1941-42, 1943, and 1944 onwards.

 I did a little web research after I bought my kit—I bought it intending to do the RAF version, and I was trying to figure out what color to use.  I discovered that Tamiya made an error—none of the vehicles of the type this model represents were delivered to the RAF—they were all army vehicles.  (The RAF apparently used different vehicles that were produced by other manufacturers.)

 This left me with a dilemma—what to do with my kit?  I had bought it with the intention of doing the RAF vehicle, and now I knew that painting it RAF blue was “wrong”.  In the end, I decided to build it using the RAF decals anyways- I decided that it wasn’t too far-fetched to think that somehow, somewhere, an RAF unit got their hands on an Army vehicle, and repainted it blue. Besides, this was supposed to be an easy, OOB build—no sense in getting bogged down in AMS!


I built my model OOB, basically following the eight Assembly Steps in the instructions.  This kit goes together so well, I don’t see much point in providing a blow-by-blow description.  Rather, I’ll just provide a few comments/observations from my build:

 -          I built my model OOB.  

-         Fit was good throughout, I didn’t need filler anywhere.

-         I did not use the supplied driver figure.  Like most of the Tamiya 1/48 figures, he is a bit “blobby” for my taste, especially in the face.

-         During construction, I painted the model as if it was an Army vehicle, using the army green color inside and out.

-         I did not use the clear parts for the side windows—I only used the windshield. 

-         The little front fender lights are molded in clear and very tiny—I’m not sure they are worth the trouble.  I managed to get them both installed, and then somehow knocked one off and lost it later on.  If I was to build another Tillie, I’d probably just leave them off and fill in their mounting holes.

-         Be careful assembling the top—it is in two parts, and molded in clear.  The brittle clear plastic makes it a little harder to get the two halves joined and the seam filled.


 The body is such a good fit on the chassis that you don’t need to attach until the very end.  That made painting easy-- after the model was painted green, I masked off the interior of the body and painted the exterior blue. According to the on-line sources I found, the blue should be a medium blue, and not RAF uniform blue – but a color a little darker than PRU blue.   I had some Pollyscale USN intermediate blue that looked good—so that is the color I used on my model. 

 While on the topic of color,  there is one other thing that you should be aware of--  the blue used on the RAF vehicles was not used during the war.   Pre-war, a glossy blue is appropriate, while postwar, go with a matte finish.  So, my model is an Army vehicle that somehow was “appropriated” by the RAF, post-war. (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!)    

 I did make a mistake when I painted the headlights.  They are modled in clear—I should have painted them silver first, and then the body color over that.  That way, the “inside” of the lights would be silver, instead of green like it s on my model.  By the time I noticed this error, it was really too late to fix it—I’m not going to remove the lights from the completed model, strip them and then repaint.

 One question that I have been asked about is how I did the dirty windshield, with the clean areas under the wipers.  This was very easy to do—here’s how I did it.

-          Paint the framework of the windshield blue before installing it.

-         Paint the body.

-         Install the windshield with clear parts cement. Touch up the blue with a brush as needed.

-         Airbrush the entire body, windshield included with future in preparation for decaling.

-         Apply the decals.

-         Apply an arc of masking tape to the windshield to mask the areas that will remain clean. Leave this tape in place until all the flat coats and weathering has been applied.

-         Remove the arcs of tape as the final step.

 The decals went down well over the clear coat, with no issues.  I did use an application of “Mr. Decal Softener” to help the RAF decal conform to the compound curves of “Mr. Front Fender”.

 To weather the model, I did a little bit of drybrushing with silver and rust colors.  I then made up a very thin wash using a light tan/dusty color.  I then misted this on the bottom of the model, applying it a little heavier in and around the wheel wells. I also made a few passes on the lower part of the body— using the same technique armor modelers use to bring dirt and dust up the sides of a tank.   The effect is subtle, yet convincing. (But it looks better in person than it shows in the photos.)  The wheel wells and rocker panels are dirty, and the lower body panels and doors are less so.    


Highly recommended to anyone wanting something a little different, something that will look at home next to 1/48 scale aircraft.   The model was an enjoyable build—a simple, OOB built that was fun and looks great when finished.   I am really pleased at how this little truck came out.  Just be forewarned that the RAF option is not historically accurate.

 Review kit courtesy of my wallet. Note that while the retail price is $21, you can find it for less.  I got mine from one of Great Models’ recent sales for only $12.



Bill Michaels

August 2010

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly, please contact me or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

Back to the Main Page

Back to the Review Index Page