Black Label 1/35 Saladin Mk.2
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The Saladin was ane armoured car of Alvis' FV600 series, using similar suspension and drive train components to the Saracen armoured personnel carrier, Stalwart high mobility load carrier and Salamander fire tender. It is named after the warrior Saladin, Alvis using names beginning with an "S" for the whole range of FV600 vehicles.
The Saladin was widely used by the Sultan of Oman armed forces throughout the Dhofar conflict and saw extensive action during the period 1972 to 1976, supporting ground forces and on convoy patrol. Often crewed by British servicemen (loan soldiers) and Omani servicemen, the Sultan's Armoured Car Squadron consisted of an estimated 36 Saladins. They saw extensive action supporting troops from the British SAS, Oman Firqa, Oman regulars and Iranian forces in the conflict with the Adoo. The squadron's vehicles were regularly attacked by Katyusha rockets, anti-tank mines, rocket propelled grenades and light and heavy machine gun fire. Many vehicles were mined and repaired and after the end of the conflict in 1976. The Saladin remained in service until the early 1980s. An unpublished account called The Tinned Equivalent was written in 1977 and details many of the events of that period of conflict.
The Saladin was used by B sqn 16/5 Lancers during their defence of Nicosia airport in 1974 and subsequent armed recce operations under the banner of the UN. During the 1990 invasion of Kuwait, Saladins were filmed on the streets of Kuwait City defending Kuwait against Iraqi forces.
The Indonesian Army (TNI AD) uses the Saladin for "KOSTRAD Cavalry Battalion", "KOSTRAD Recon Company" and Armoured Car Company.
The Australian Army mounted Saladin turrets on M113A1 APCs to produce the Fire Support Vehicle. This was later renamed as the Medium Reconnaissance Vehicle after the somewhat unreliable turret was replaced by the turret from the FV101 Scorpion Light Tank. Royal Australian Armoured Corps(RAAC) personnel referred to them as "Beasts".
The Sri Lanka Armoured Corps used Saladins extensively during the early stages of the Sri Lankan Civil War and remained in reserve status till the end of the war in 2009. It forms the tank crew pin of the Sri Lanka Armoured Corps.
Saladin armoured cars could be seen in the streets of the Honduran capital Tegucigalpa in the 2009 coup against President Manuel Zelaya.
This is another kit from Dragon's Black Label series. From what I gather, this series was developed to provide kits of post WWII vehicles that were either not produced in large numbers, or did not have the zillion variations that we have come to find on their standard line of kits. The Saladin armored car fits right into that vision.
With 'only' 220 parts, one will not grow all that much older building it. It has a full lower hull and full upper hull section with a one-piece turret. The tires are Dragon's superb DS plastic and the lone piece of photo etch is for the engine intake screen.
The suspension on this vehicle had multiple shocks and thankfully, Dragon has molded these in banks rather than individually. Lower A arms are separate items and include the various linkages required. Since the tires are also separate, one can paint the wheels prior to assembly and not have to be concerned about masking.
There are the usual mass of equipment containers to attach to the separate fenders, all of these molded closed. There are separate hatches for the top of the turret which can be modeled open or closed. Odd for a Dragon kit is that there is no inner hatch detail. Smoke/grenade launchers are included and the gun barrel is a single piece. No breech detail is provided, which not only cuts down on parts, but is also understandable as there is no interior detail. Looking at photos of operational Saladins, I noticed that they all had a canvas dust protector on the aft portion of the barrel. This is not included in the kit, though it would have been easy to provide one out of DS. The lack of dust protectors seems to be a common theme in most AFV kits so break out the tissue and white glue. I also noticed that there is no tow cable nor the .30 cal machine gun and mount, though they are shown on the box art.
Markings are for six vehicles from different points of the globe including Cyprus in 1975, Brunei in 1963, the UK in 1966, one generic vehicle and two from the Persian Gulf in 1968. The decal sheet is nicely done and adds the only color that these cars carry.
Since I like wheeled military vehicles, this one is right up my alley. The missing bits are rather disappointing, but things like this are not at all uncommon in kits like this. Though there were probably more, the only other kit of which I am aware in this scale is that produced by Tamiya. This one should prove to be a pleasant and fairly quick build.
Thanks to www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the
preview kit. You can find this kit at your favorite
hobby shop or on-line retailer.
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