Stuart Jalopies from QRF
New from QRF are these Stuart Jalopies (aka sawn off Stuarts) which were used in many British and Canadian armoured regiments in 1944 and 1945. They were first used towards the end of the Desert War and came about when armoured commanders realised that the 37mm gun mounted in the Stuart’s turret was all but useless in combat and that if the turret were removed the tank would have a lower profile and that the crew inside would have a better view. These were useful characteristics in what was used mainly as a recce vehicle – though the jalopies were apparently also used as general purpose runabouts, for carrying supplies around the battlefield or even as ambulances.
As far as I can make out 11th Armoured Division removed the turrets on their Stuarts after Operation Epsom and all the Stuarts that went into action in Operation Goodwood had been converted. To give the vehicle a bit more firepower they were usually equipped with .30 or .50 cal machine guns which were welded on to the hull. I’ve been waiting for models of these things for years.
The QRF models are nice enough, but they’re not without their problems. The details on the models’ running gear is not particularly well defined and the MGs supplied with the model are very thin and didn’t look like they’d last more than five minutes on a wargames table. Also they don’t come with any crew, though they do come with a canvas cover for the opening in the top of the vehicle (seen on the righthand tank in the picture above)
I’ve replaced all the HMGs supplied by QRF with some more substantial ones taken from some Peter Pig Shermans that are currently sitting in my pile of unpained lead. Quite appropriate really as this is where the troops got the machine guns used in real life (their Shermans came from the US rather than Peter Pig).
I cobbled together crews for two of the vehicles from Peter Pig tank commanders and troops with berets from their AK47 range. The markings come from Dom’s Decals.
I find it really annoying that manufacturers making open topped vehicles like this don’t supply crews as part of the model – the things just don’t look right without them ! The only manufacturer 0f 1/100th WWII models that I’ve come across who do supply crews is Battlefront, whose Flames of War models usually (always?) come with crew when it is appropriate.
Hats off to Battlefront for that, though it is annoying that they seem to have finished with Normandy without making these handy little vehicles which were found throughout 21st Army Group.