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Humber "Box" Heavy Utility Car 4WD - case report

Tankers !!!    
       I'll show to you, guys, my new project:  this sturdy, rough, ugly, huge, robust and brute: Humber "Box" Heavy Utility Car 4WD ( four wheel drive: 4x4). British stuff, by St. George !!!
Humber "Box" Heavy Utility Car 4WD
Humber "Box" Heavy Utility Car 4WD - rear view
      Humber is a dormant British automobile marque which can date its beginnings to Thomas Humber's bicycle company founded in 1868.
Thomas Humber - 1841-1910 (pic circa 1890)
      In 1890's, Humber was already making light-cycle cars (tricycles and quadricycles), by 1899 the 3 1/2 HP Phaeton was produced, the first Humber car.
Humber Phaeton 3 1/2 HP - 1900
      After management decided to concentrate on high-end products in 1901, the production was gradually downsized from the original four factories (Nottingham, Beeston, Wolverhampton and Coventry) to a single factory in Folly Lane, Coventry.

Humber logo
      Before the First World War a wide range of models were produced from the 600 cc Humberette to several six-cylinder 6-litre models. In 1913 Humber was the second largest manufacturer of cars in the United Kingdom. The Humber Motor Works in Coventry still survives—a rare thing as the majority of the city was destroyed in the November 1940 air raid.     
      Humber produced a number of aircraft and aero-engines in the years before the First World War. In 1909 the company signed a contract to build 40 copies of the Blériot XI monoplane, powered by their own three-cylinder engine, and four aircraft were exhibited at the Aero Show at Olympia in 1910.      
      The confidence in the marque continued to grow up till the end of 1920's, when the effects of the recession forced Humber to join with Hillman, its next-door neighbour in Folly Lane. In 1927, the Rootes Group showed up, acquiring interest in Hillman and Humber marques. Since then, the history of Humber as a marque was intertwined with Rootes, its parent company, an extremely successful enterprise which was established by William Rootes in 1880's as a cycle shop and later as a car sales company and ended up as the owner of several formerly independent companies including Commer, Hillman, Humber, Sunbeam, Singer, Talbot or Karrier, less than fifty years later.
      Its image profiled as a luxury model manufacturer, Humber became a part of a firmly established group aggressively rationalizing and modernizing its acquisitions. Machinery for the production lines was being upgraded, processes standardized, cars were being produced to last. By 1939, the Rootes Group were one of the country's 'Big Six' car manufacturers.
      At the time, the Humber Super Snipe was a flagship of the marque, together with the Snipe Imperial and the Pullman. The Super Snipe, introduced in October 1938, less than a year before war was declared in Germany, was a design combining the older Humber Snipe model with a 4.1 litre inline six-cylinder engine taken from the larger Humber Pullman design, its predecessor. The engine gave a remarkable performance, the car was being advertised at the same time as a luxury limousine and a good value for money - "the poor man's Rolls".
 Humber Super Snipe Saloon - 1939 - Militarized
      When the war came, Humber Snipe and Super Snipe was an obvious choice for staff cars.Many authorities and officers used this famous, potent and comfortable vehicle. Of all the commanders, probably the most notable user of the Humber Snipe staff car was Field Marshal Montgomery. He used it throughout the campaigns in North Africa and in Northwest Europe. The car was dubbed 'Old Faithful', which is a nickname sometimes applied to all Humber automobiles for their reliability.
King George VI in Monty's Humber Super Snipe in Italy 1944
Sir Winston Churchill and Montgomery in a Super Snipe - Tunisia, 1943.
Field Marshal Montgomery stands up in his Humber staff car as he crosses
the River Seine at Vernon, 1 September 1944.
        It was used along with the larger, Humber "Box" Heavy Utility 4 x 4 design (which was, however, a design specially made for the Army as four wheel drive was not usual in Britain prior to WWII). Versions were manufactured with steel roof and open top (tropical). She was the only four-wheel drive utility car built by a british manufacturer.
Humber "Box" Heavy Utility Car 4 WD - steel roof
Humber "Box" Heavy Utility Car 4 WD - tropical - canvas roof
      The proud Snipes or Super Snipes, made before the war to high production standards, started coming out as camouflaged saloon staff cars, 8 cwt trucks with cargo bodies behind a two-seat cab or open-top tourers. The 8 cwt design was completely dropped in 1941 when it was realized that such vehicles are an unnecessary addition to 15 cwt GS trucks and the light utility cars, such as Austin Light Utility cars. The chassis also became a basis for the Humber Light Reconnaissance Car Marks I and II (4x2) and the 4x4 Mk III.
Humber Light Reconnaissance Car Mk I
Humber Light Reconnaissance Car Mk III
      The Humber affectionatelly known as "Box" F.W.D. chassis is derived from the Super Snipe but, as the model designation indicates, feature four-wheel drive. The chassis is used for utility cars, armoured reconnaissance cars and 8-cwt trucks and field ambulances.
      With independent front suspension, the humber chassis was a comparatively sophisticated design for a military vehicle. They proved to be sturdy and reliable, remained in service for many years after  the end of WWII. When seen without the bodywork fitted, the most noticeable feature was that the engine and gearbox appeared to sit "on" rather than "in" the chassis, being mounted unusually high.(see below)
Humber "Box" chassis and front suspension - Notice the engine and gearbox in the chassis
      The rear doors split horizontally and on later vehicles a rear body extension was provided to give full-lenght sleeping accommodation inside the body.  This is show in the drawing below and consisted of a framework between the rear doors in their open position, covered with a canvas tent. When not in use the tent was rolled and strapped to the roof rack.
      The interior of the vehicle was quite well equipeed with map table, roof lamps, parcel nets, folding seats etc. and also full blackout equipment. Modified vehicles used by General Staff Officers  were fitted with a sliding roof, map reading lamps, armrests and other extra creature comforts. In the Western Desert, this vehicle was something modified by replacement of the roof by a canvas folding tilt.
Humber "Box" tropical
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humber_(car) ; http://www.nasenoviny.com/HumberSuperSnipe.html


Humber "Box" Heavy Utility Car 4WD

TypeCar, Heavy Utility
Place of origin                                        England
Weight2.413 Kg
Length4.293 mm
Width1.880 mm
Ground clearance
1.956 mm
2.838 mm

241 mm



Front axle

Rear axle
Humber 6cyl. petrol - 4.08 L - 85 bHP at 3.400 RPM
main:4 forward and 1 reverse
aux.: high and low ratio
single dry plate
spiral bevel drive,independent
transverse semi-eliptical spring
semi-floating, spiral bevel drive
semi-eliptical spring

Fuel capacity
foot: hydraulic on all wheels
hand: mechanical in rear wheels - 9.25 - 16
72 ls

The kit:
      My "specimen" is an old resin kit from Wespe Models:
Humber FWD Staff Car - 35014
Another version of the kit box
Resin parts


The interior...
The building continued in this weekend ...Painting the interior, before the body was closed:
The interior in colors....
Dirtying the floor ...
      After completion of the interior details, we glue the body on the chassis:
Body glued with cyanoacrylate and slits filled with dental acrylic
      Time to assemble the axles and suspensions. The alignment is essential in this stage ...
Rear suspension first... The front suspension is very delicate...
The girl with all parts glued togheter...

Side by side with Chevrolet C8A HUW for size comparison ...
      Olive drab in several shades and layers...I decided to place my model in Europe, post-Normandy.
Green...super-green !!!

Future, to prevent silvering...

The weight plate for bridges and tires painted ...

      Next step: markings (decals)...Always, the best part !!!  For my girl, I choose this markings: The Glorious 15th (Scottish) Infantry Division. Humber from Senior Infantry Brigade, Infantry Battalion no.3, lead the last set piece river crossing of the war, the assault across the Elbe (Operation Enterprise) on 29 April 1945.
Markings from 15th (Scottish) Infantry Division
      I used Archer Fine Transfers, spare decals from my magic box and the serial number was made with Laserjet.  Go, Tommy, GO !!!!

        Making windshield wipers with stretched sprue
Windshield wipers
In position...
Cutting masks for dirty windshields.
Masks in place...
Airbrushing with Buff (dust)
       And the Humber "Box" Heavy Utility Car 4WD was ready for action:
Humber "Box" Heavy Utility Car 4WD
15th (Scottish) Infantry Division
Senior Infantry Brigade, Infantry Battalion no.3,
Elbe River - (Operation Enterprise). April 1945.

Humber "Box" Heavy Utility Car 4WD - right side

Humber "Box" Heavy Utility Car 4WD - left side

Humber "Box" Heavy Utility Car 4WD with Kojak

Humber "Box" Heavy Utility Car 4WD with Chevrolet C8A HUW
for size comparison
      Thanks, Gents...See you, soon !!!

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