18 Mar

Dorchester ACV from Skytrex Miniatures Review by Ignacio Herrero

A well camouflaged command post.

One of the most iconic vehicle of the WW2, it´s a perfect unknow betwen the people not habitual to the Second Worl War history.

Those one, isn´t a tank, airplane,…etc. Was a command car, who were used for English and German Army during whole World War.

During the Second World War, the United Kingdom was the only country to develop and widely employ purpose-built armoured command vehicles. Those were essentially armoured buses based on truck chassis.

The most common ACV of the British Army was the AEC 4×4 ACV. The vehicle, based on AEC Matador chassis, entered production in 1941. A total of about 415 units were built. The vehicle was used for the first time in the North African Campaign and remained in service until the end of the war.

Big and comfortable, it was nicknamed Dorchester by the troops, after the luxury hotel in London. Three ACVs of this type were captured by the German Afrika Korps. Two of them, named “Max” and “Moritz”, were employed by Rommel and his staff throughout the campaign.

The Germans named one Moritz and another Max, after characters in a children’s story by Wilhelm Busch. When Rommel landed his Storch at Mechili to inspect the two vehicles, he found in one of them a set of Perspex sun and sand goggles. Rommel is reported to have said, “Booty is permissable I assume; even for a general”. The goggles became the hallmark of Rommel in the desert campaign, often seen above the visor of his cap. Or so says H.W.Schmidt in “With Rommel in the Desert”.
In David Irwin’s “The Trail Of The Fox”, the German war reporter Fritz Lucke describes it as: “An armored box as big as a bus, on giant balloon tires as big and fat as the undercarriage wheels of a Junkers transport plane. The walls are windowless and painted in blue-gray camouflage shades. Only the driver and his co-driver have windshields, protected behind armored visors”.
MORITZ: After its capture this ACV numbered 2 was used by Rommel in its original condition for a short time. It was then painted German Sand with a mottle of of light grey or blue. However, the rear of the vehicle was left in the original British “dazzle” camouflage of Sand, Light Blue and Dark Blue. Large German crosses were added to front, sides and rear. The German tank company rhomboid was added to the front right-hand mud guard and on the opposite fender it carried the 21st Pz.Div. symbol with the DAK palm below it. Moritz later received another coat of Desert Sand, but the rear still remained untouched. Now the lower portion of the engine bonnet was painted white and a brand new number plate added, which was WH-819-834. The side crosses were also enlarged. The name “Moritz” now appeared on the bonnet sides in white. The Corps HQ sign was mounted in a metal sleeve welded to the front left wing with the DAK palm in black above it. To the left and lower appeared the Bn. HQ sign in black.
MAX: the ACV numbered 3 became “Max”, and seems to have remained in its original British colors. Over this was added the German crosses, plus the DAK palm on the front right-hand mud guard. Its number plate became WH-819-835

An ACV of 23rd Brigade HQ at Francolise, 14 March 1944.

In 1944 a larger AEC 6×6 ACV was developed. The vehicle was based on AEC 0857 lorry chassis and was powered by the AEC 198 150 hp engine. The hull was welded from 9 mm thick rolled steel. The weight of the vehicle reached 17 tons. One hundred and fifty one units were built.

Both vehicles were built in two configurations, called LP (Low Power) and HP (High Power), with different radio equipment.

Dorchester ACV ‘Mamouth’, “The Unboxing”

Battlefront kit Out of Production

Firstly, … to tell you that it was very difficult to find the model on a scale so specific 1/100. The usual to the wargames, remember that Battlefront had a reference of that model with a mini of Rommel that completed the kit.

Skytrex Miniatures Model

Unfortunately this reference was suppressed and we will not be able to enjoy it. Fortunately the guys at Skytrex Miniatures, have in their catalog this miniature. To model General Erwin Rommel, we will also have to opt for a proxie, the house of miniatures Peter Pig has some commanders fully suitable for the entire period of the war, those one will be useful to obtain an Erwin Rommel replica.

Peter Pig´s Late War High Comanders R.465

The prize for booth sets are in english pounds, then for the ACV its 8 Pounds and for German comanders minis its 3 Pounds each eight miniatures bag.

The ACV, comes with a plastic bag and the car protected with a bubble plastic foil to protect the miniature correctly!!!:

Category 1: Kit quality. 

  • Company: Skytrex Miniatures
  • Scale: 15 mm (1/100)
  • Material: Resin.
  • More: One piece resin cast vehicle, not supplied additional stowage, aerial antennas or other stuff. Comes whitout waterslide decals.

High quality of casting without bubbles

Accuracy of detail is great fot those scale miniatures. Details present are crisp and correctly made. Amount of detail is good in this scale.  We have to improve the model, adding rivets, aditional stowage and open at least one window to give  to the model more realism!!!.


Plenty of details absence of rivets!!!

The casting is good without any signs of bad casting, too much bubbles,…etc.

As usual in this kind of models, we´ll have to use a X-Acto knife to clean the mould lines and flash, though they are not so much. It won’t take much time to clean it up. You must wash the resin in warm soapy water to remove any remaining mould lubricant.

Mould lines and flash

Category 2: Wargaming suitability. 

The kit is solid due the resin cast chassis and loss weight.  It is a very resistant miniature that will endure the many matches to come,  as is usual in 15 mm you can base or not those miniature and make it as Objective using a Battlefront big base.

In Flames of War North Afrika book “General FeldMarschall Erwin Rommel” has a special rule, …As well as Greif, Rommel also travelled in a Mammut (Mamooth), a captured ACV Dorchester named Max. Feel free to model him with Max rather than Greif, but keep the vehicle characteristics the same as for Greif…

…If Rommel its mounted  in Max (Greif), can join any Panzer Kompanie, Afrika Schützen Kompanie or Panzer Pionier Kompanie for + 50 pts., see pag 20 of North Afrika Book…

Category 3: Conv. capabilities &upgrades.

You can customize the vehicle by adding some tarpaulin, and other stowage to match the real appareance of the real ones, then once painted you can make a hard weathering job as the German vehicles had:, rust streaks, oil stains, chipping…

The idea its to open a windshield and add rivets, stowage and a  supply tyre to do the model more acurate to the historical one. But you dont have to do those job, the miniature will be great too!!!.

Category 4: The kit in the market & value. 

No decals are provided. The price of the kit, near 9 € (not included handling fees), Its a great prize for such specialiced and rare to find miniature.

Then we have to invest in miniatures to complete the kit, purchasing a Peter Pig Late comanders kit, for near  4 € (not included handling fees).

Category 5: My summary. 

This is a great miniature, despite the absence of decals.
This is a must have model if your objetive it´s to make Desert Fox upgrade and play with it your MidWar period Desert battles!!!.
It is one of the very best miniature I see in a long time. 100 % recomendable if your play with German DAK.



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