Tuesday 26 September 2017

1/76 Airfix K2 Ambulance, Pt.2

It's been aeons since I watched Ice Cold In Alex, and decided on buying and building an Austin K2 ambulance. I no longer wanted to build a diorama based on the film (too much hassle, and nowhere to put it!). Instead it'll become part of my fledgling Allied forces, for future combat with my German stuff.

This was more or less how the K2 was last time I posted.

So, I got stuck back into this one recently. First off I decided to detail the interior, using reference from several visit to museums, such as the Duxford IWM Land Warfare Hall, and the Muckleburgh Collection. It was mostly from the former that I derived the rear interior, and the latter that I worked up the cab and outside colouring.

The interior of the Duxford K2

A closer view (note: nurse has leprosy, first finger and pinky missing!)

My interior is perhaps a shade darker than the creamy colour of the K2 at Duxford, but it's near enough for me (the paler interior pic, directly above, was in fact lightened by me in Photoshop, so as to better see the floor colour/detail). As well as cutting out the very thick chunk of plastic where the communicating doorway window is, I also scratch built two stretchers - one stowed, rolled up, and one deployed - some blankets, and modified some stowage from another kit for a medics satchel and a further blanket roll.

Cutting out that communication window was a beach!

Oops, forgot to paint rear inner doors: colour-match looks close enough to me.

Building plastic-card stowage cupboards...

... in situ and painted.

Inside the rear body roof area, there's a fair bit of new detail: two scratch built overhead stowage boxes, the fan vents, four lamps, and two handle like fixtures, perhaps for hanging drips? Once I'd painted that lot up, and added them to the model, I decide to also add a bit of spare photo-etch detail from some other kit to the floor (there's a lift-up lid on the floor, for accessing a further stowage area), and some kind of dingus on the wall by the door, poss some kind of intercom?

Rear body roof detailing.

Starting to paint internal detail.

Green Stuff for blankets, stretchers, etc.

Extras painted and...

... added to the interior.

front cab/dashboard, windows masked, and glued in place.

At this juncture I noticed it was beer o'clock, and grabbed myself an evolutionary tipple...

And so it came to the time for stripping and cleaning the airbrush again, and checking all the windows were properly masked, so I could spray the exterior body work. Next, a coat or two of gloss varnish, and then the decals. The British armed forces clearly liked their Red Cross roundels, preferring to add as many as they could; including the tiny ones fore and aft on the roof, there are eight on the vehicle in all!

Crap photo of Muckleburgh K2. Very dark green!

Looking quite dark, especially with hi-contrast roundels.

Doors in place (but not glued!).

After the decals went on, it was time for another coat or two of gloss varnish, to seal them in position, and then I could add the two air vent thingies on the rooftop. Pictured below you can compare our Austin K2 with our cousins across the ponds' Dodge WC54.

One minor irritation is that the two rear door roundels are refusing to conform properly to the surface of the model - they lay over the door-handle detail - despite the use of various decal solutions that are supposed to make them adhere more closely to such contours. Can anyone advise on how I might remedy this?

The Dodge WC54, and the Austin K2, side by side.

This was my ref for the tow-rope and these little yellow signs.

'Tie me kangaroo down sport, tie me...' er...

I decided to use some real cotton thread as a tow-rope. I soaked it in a PVA and water solution, to tame the loose fibres, and then repeatedly broke off the tow-bar trying to attach it. I used cyano-acrylite glue to attach the rope. Eventually, after much fiddling and re-gluing, I got it in position, and then painted it. It looks a bit clunky after all that effort. Still, hey-ho, and ne'er mind.

I've also added a scratch-built yellow roundel-plate, with a stencilled no. four on it. What were these markings all about, eh? Anyone care to enlighten me?

The Airfix drivers supplied in this set (I've not built the RAF fuel tanker yet!) are amputees, missing the lower parts of their legs. I popped one in the cab, and could clearly see his missing pedal extremities. So I amputated some from a German 1/72 PSC figure, and performed a graft onto this 1/76 Brit. I'm pleased to say he has not rejected his new ankles and feet. Once he's painted, I'll see if I can slip him in to the cab.

Tow rope painted; driver post-op, with new (German!) feet.

Driver painted. Ooh, I do love this mini-military stuff!

Although I've added a fair bit to this kit, I haven't put any divisional markings on as yet. I think I'll wait to come up with something uniformly suitable on that front, so as to have consistency across my putative Allied forces. 

And, finally (perhaps?), an oil wash with Van Dyke Brown, for the K2, my PST/AER ZIS-5-BS - a WIP I'll be posting on soon - and the Clarktor 6 tractor, as pictured above. When this lot has dried, I'll give them all a once over for some final fine detailing, pop the driver in the K2, and she'll be done. 


  1. The Airfix K2/Y makes a very good representation of the real vehicle, but the markings are horribly wrong. The bonnet number (A24415) is for the very first vehicle off the production line and this ambulance would have seen service in 1939/1940, when all those huge red crosses were not yet applied. Photographs in England, France and Belgium from that time show only the tiny vertical disks at the front and rear of the roof and very small crosses in circles below each side widow - absolutely nothing on the rear doors or roof. The yellow disc with a number shows the vehicle's weight for crossing bridges etc; divisional and formation signs were sometimes applied, along with the bonnet numbers. The only other marking was a patch of yellowish gas-detector paint on the bonnet in front of the driver. Sadly many restored K2/Ys purporting to show Dunkirk-era vehicles have had the later large crosses plastered everywhere - these seem to have appeared by mid-1942 and even then the earlier scheme was still in evidence. Interiors were at first off-white or cream , but some kind of green was used on some vehicles from 1941.

    1. Thanks for the feedback. You clearly know a lot more about these vehicles than I do! I'm happy enough with how mine came out, based on the mish-mash of several source influences. I'm contemplating trying to attach the back doors, which are currently loose/friction fits (and frequently fall off), with tiny little hinges. After all the work I up on the interior detail, stretchers, etc, I want them to be viewable!

  2. I make up stuff as toys for kids, working doors always go down well, I use either brass tube glued to door with wire through and bent at the ends or 0.5mm piano wire with a scrap of fizzy pop tin wrapped around it. Doesn't look too bad (but no good for a display model in 20mm)and if you are careful the doors work fine.Like the job you have done though. I convert the fire truck to K2's for the desert, not entirely pukkah but close enough fora set of toy soldiers.

    1. Thanks for the comment Mike. Interesting how different people do these things.