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AEC Matador 4x4 artillery tractor - case report

        My vacation is ending, unfortunately.... In my returning home, a commission is waiting for me: Build an AEC Matador 4x4 artillery tractor for my great friend Alois. And when I´m building a commissioned kit, usually I build another girl for me, in parallel. Therefore, within a week, you will see three Matadors in the Bunker. 
AEC Matador:one of the icons in logistics and transportation of WW II.
A true synonymous of military truck, by Jove!!!
AEC Matador Mid Production Type
artillery tractor - fully restored
      The AEC Matador 4x4  was an artillery tractor built by the Associated Equipment Company for British and Commonwealth forces during the Second World War.
 AEC Matador Early Production Type - artillery tractors towing 6-inch howitzers
79th (The Scottish Horse) Medium Regiment, Royal Artillery
Scotland, 1941.
       The Associated Equipment Company (AEC) was founded in Walthamstow in 1906 as a servicing operation for the London Motor Omnibus Company.
AEC logo (30´s)
      Six years later, in 1912, AEC began to operate as a separate company, at first constructing bus chassis, with the first commercial vehicle, launched in 1910, being based on an X-Type bus chassis. From 1914, AEC became a major supplier to the War Office, with more than 10,000 Y-Type 3-ton trucks supplied to the Army by the time the war ended. 
AEC Y-Type 3 ton truck - 1917.
      Full-scale civilian production resumed in 1918, and, in 1926, AEC merged with Daimler to form the Associated Daimler Company (ADC), a liaison which was dissolved two years later. AEC moved to a brand-new manufacturing plant in Southall in 1927, appointing the influential G J Rackham, an ex-Tank Corps officer, as chief engineer the following year. 
      From 1929, AEC produced new models of trucks and buses. The names of lorries began with "M" (Majestic, Mammoth, Monarch,Mercury, Monarch), and those of buses began with "R" (Regent, Regal, Renown). AEC introduced diesel engines across the range in the mid-1930s.
AEC Mammoth Major, 1938
AEC Mercury 1932
AEC Monarch,  1937
AEC Renown bus, 1940
      In 1932, AEC acquired a controlling interest in the British subsidiary of the American FWD Company, marketing the vehicles under the name Hardy Motors.

AEC Matador:
      The AEC Matador 4x4 is one of the most instantly recognisable of all wartime vehicles and highly regarded by all who drove it, either during World War II and later conflicts or in civilian life as a timber tractor, breakdown truck or for any other task where its powerful (by 1940's standards) engine, low gearing, four wheel drive, winch and straightforward, rugged simplicity made it the ideal choice. 
AEC Matador 4x4 fully restored, in excelent conditions of use.
     It was an extremely popular vehicle, for its efficiency, simplicity and toughness.It was used by the armies of the British Commonwealth (and by the Soviets - lend lease) in all theaters of operations, in all climates and situations.It was even appreciated by the Germans, who used it without the slightest embarrassment when they were captured.
AEC 4x4 matador (early) used by Luftwaffe
font: KFZ der Wermacht
AEC 4x4 Matador in German hands - Wermacht
Notice the early style cabin
AEC 4x4 Matador in German hands.
font: Tankograd Publishing
      Originally intended as a Medium Artillery Tractor (M.A.T.), it was mainly used to tow a BL 5.5-inch medium gun, filling the gap between the Morris Quad Field Artillery Tractor and Scammell Pioneer Heavy Artillery Tractor towing the Ordnance QF 25-pounder and BL 7.2-inch howitzer respectively. 
AEC Matador 4x4 (middle) towing  a BL 5.5-inch medium gun
Morris Quad C8 Field Artillery Tractor
Ammunition Limber and 25-pounder Field Gun
Scammell Pioneer Heavy Artillery Tractor
      The first few Matadors, model 853, had a petrol engine. Most were built with a 7.7 litre diesel engine, model O853. The "O" signifying an Oil engine.
      It soon became apparent that the Matador could do more than just tow a gun and various other versions were built. Some had the timber and canvas body replaced by a box body containing a large generator, some were adapted to carry a 25 pdr gun, once the gun was winched up inside it looked like an ordinary lorry and was not easily identifiable as an artillery unit.
An AEC Matador tows a 4.5-inch field gun across a wooden track built across
soft ground on the border between Libya and Tunisia, 23 February 1943
      By the end of the war, over 9000 Matadors had been built. As they came up for sale they were snapped up by civilian buyers. Thousands of them had a timber crane fitted and went to work in the woods, lifting, winching and dragging incredible loads in impossible conditions. It was useful for forestry work because of its good off-road performance.
AEC Matador as civil crane, working in the woods...
AEC Matador in heavy duties...
AEC Matador: a true tractor...
      Some of them are still there over 50 years later having outlived more modern and sophisticated vehicles. Hundreds of Matadors have survived into preservation, either with a timber or recovery crane or restored to their original military specification... see below some examples:

      The Matador was distinctive with its flat fronted cab with gently curved roof, wheels at the corners and a flat load carrying area covered by a canvas or tarpaulin tilt.
AEC Matador 4x4 (middle)
      The cab was made from ash and clad in steel. It was equipped with a winch (7-ton load in its case) like all artillery tractors.

    The O853 provided the basis for the 'Dorchester' ACV (armoured command vehicle).
AEC Dorchester ACV
      AEC also produced a larger 'Marshall' 6x6 vehicle (model O854) based on the 4x4 Matador which were generally, if not officially, also called Matador 6x6. The 6x6 version was mostly used as RAF's fuel truck, as crane and as flat bed truck. The fuel tanker version was equipped with a flatbed behind the cab on to which was fitted a fuel tanker body with a capacity to carry up to 2,500 gallons of fuel for aircraft such as the Lancaster bomber. Powered by an AEC 7.6 litre diesel engine rated to 95hp it could reach speeds of up to 30mph which was sufficient for the heavy weights it towed and also for towing ashore Short Sunderland flying boats at their stations:
AEC Matador towing a Short Sunderland out of water...
AEC 6x6 Marshall fuel tanker
AEC 6x6 Marshall crane
AEC 6x6 Marshall flat bed truck
      An experimental version was built with a half-track design which involved keeping the front wheels but replacing the rear wheels with caterpillar tracks. Development does not appear to have progressed much beyond this stage and it did not enter service.
AEC Matador halftrack prototype
AEC Matador halftrack prototype - rear view
Notice the Valentine´s wheels and tracks
      In 1942/43 for the North African campaign some Matadors mounted the 6-pounder anti-tank gun to give the AEC Mk1 Gun Carrier "Deacon". An unarmed version was also built, as ammo carrier.
AEC Deacon 6pdr. gun carrier - left view
AEC Deacon 6pdr. gun carrier - right view
AEC Deacon 6pdr. gun carrier - rear left view
AEC Deacon ammo carrier
       AEC was taken over by Leyland in 1962, and the name was discontinued in 1977.


AEC  Matador
TypeMedium artillery tractor
Place of originUnited Kingdom
Production history
ManufacturerAEC Motors
Weight7.75 tons

EngineAEC 7.6 litre diesel
95 hp
Payload capacity4-ton
SuspensionWheel, 4 x 4
58 km/h
The kits:
      For this project are waiting for me, in my home two AECs Matador mid-production gun tractor, from AFV Club (#AF35239) in 1/35 scale.
AEC Matador - mid-production gun tractor
AFV Club (#AF35239) - 1/35 scale.
      If I'm not mistaken, I think I have an AEC Matador truck early type  (# 35236)  forgotten in my closet...If my memory is correct, I´ll try to build three girls at once ...Hurrah!!
AEC Matador - early-production gun tractor
AFV Club (#AF35236) - 1/35 scale.
      Really, I have three kits to build:
The boxes of kits...
...and its contents !!!
       Starting by the book, I found one error in the instructions of the Early version: in the step 2B, the second part A28 it is in fact part A53. In the Mid version booklet this bug is already fixed:
Early booklet
The three chassis growing...
Parts, parts and more parts ...
My God ... These suspensions have endless little pieces ....
And I thought the ICM kits had complicated suspensions ...
Next step: cargo areas...
      You guys must be thinking that I'm lazy ... but I'm working hard, but these AFV kits have so many small parts and sub-assemblies that comes to tire the modeler. Honestly, I think too much ... The thing almost annoys you!!!

      The Matador of AFV really is not a kit for beginners ...
      But now it's time to start the differentiation between the types of trucks:
  • Early
  • Mid
  • and the truck on commission: Mid with Desert features (no canvas or cabin roof)

      The desert version it will be built as the truck this photo: AEC Matador mid version. towing a 4.5" howitzer. XXX Corps, 69th Medium Regiment (Carnavon and Denbigh Yeomanry), Royal Artillery, TA. 2nd Battery, gun tractor 1st Troop, Libya nad Tunisia border, 23 Feb., 1943.
AEC Matador mid
      The graffiti in the radiator grill is;

      Which means in Welsh: WALES FOREVER
      The markings were discussed here: Missing-Lynx.
The cargo areas...Notice the desert version...
Almost there !!!
      Finally, the work began to accelerate ....
Starting with the removal of the roof of the cabin and its accessories ....
Surgery done...
Notice the new hinges in the doors...

Radiator grill in PE. Very good !!
The Welsh girl is beginning to take shape ...

Almost there !!!

Starting the cabins of the other 2 girls...

My friend Alois loved this Kraut girl.
The commission was changed!!
Removing the circular plate...
The 3 girls...
Scratching the kraut tarp...tracing paper with pva glue
The metal arches were made with copper wire
60mm height
Scratching the kraut tarp...tracing paper with pva glue

Done...When the tarp dry, the appearance is smoother ... 
Colors and versions...
The tarp drying...
      In this weekend, the work continues...Finishing the painting:
The girls: Mickey Mouse and desert cammos... 
The driver in resin: very good !!!
      About the markings, let's go...
      1- The Welsh Girl: As I was not sure about the graffiti on the radiator, I decided to reproduce not the photo's vehicle, but a "possible sister" of the same unit. This is the profile with the markings:
Notice the register number: sister of the actual pic
The graffiti was written with white Gelly Rol pen

      2- the Captured German girl: based in the picture above...DAK.

Notice the glass panels painted in the cammo colors

      3- And finally, the European girl: The booklet from AFV shows the version but does not specify the unit from which the vehicle belonged. Well, after consulting the excellent Dick Taylor's book "Warpaint vol. 3":
Awesome book...

and the 3 sisters side by side...
            Last details: replacing the rear-view mirrors (very fragile and breakable ..) for steel wire and plasticard ... Much more resistant:

      Done. The girls are ready for action. First of all, the AEC Matador 4x4 artillery tractor (early) with field modification. XXX Corps; 69th Medium Regiment - Royal Artillery (Carnavon & Denbigh Yeomanry) - 2nd Battery; 1st troop gun tractor; Libya/Tunisia border - February 1943.

AEC Matador 4x4 artillery tractor (early)
XXX Corps; 69th Medium Regiment RA
(Carnavon & Denbigh Yeomanry) - 2nd Battery;
1st troop gun tractor
Libya/Tunisia border - February 1943. 

AEC Matador 4x4 artillery tractor (early) - left view

AEC Matador 4x4 artillery tractor (early) - right view
AEC Matador 4x4 artillery tractor (early) with
Kojak and Rover, the dog.

AEC Matador 4x4 artillery tractor (early)
XXX Corps; 69th Medium Regiment RA
(Carnavon & Denbigh Yeomanry) - 2nd Battery
1st troop gun tractor
Libya/Tunisia border - February 1943. 

      The second "desert" girl: AEC Matador 4x4 artillery tractor (early) DAK - Heerestruppen - Stab (HQ) of Flak Bataillon 612 - Feldpostnummer, Afrika - September, 1941.

AEC Matador 4x4 artillery tractor (early) - DAK - Heerestruppen
Stab (HQ) of Flak Bataillon 612 - Feldpostnummer
Afrika - September, 1941.
Notice the glass panels painted to prevent glare...

AEC Matador 4x4 artillery tractor (early) - left view

AEC Matador 4x4 artillery tractor (early) - right view 
AEC Matador 4x4 artillery tractor (early) with
Kojak and Rover, the dog.
        Finally, the European girl: AEC Matador 4x4 artillery tractor (mid) 21st British Army Group - 2nd Army - Medium Regiment - Royal Artillery - 1st Battery, A Troop, Gun C. Normandy, 1944.

AEC Matador 4x4 artillery tractor (mid)  -21st British Army Group
2nd Army - Medium Regiment - Royal Artillery
1st Battery, A Troop, Gun C.
Mickey Mouse cammo
Normandy, 1944.
AEC Matador 4x4 artillery tractor (mid)  -left side

AEC Matador 4x4 artillery tractor (mid)  - rear view
AEC Matador 4x4 artillery tractor (mid)  -right side

AEC Matador 4x4 artillery tractor (mid) with
Kojak and Rover, the dog.
AEC Matadors early, mid and early modified

AEC Matadors early, mid and early modified
with Kojak and Rover, the dog.
Well, Lads...Thanks for following !!
See you, soon !!!

6 comentários:

  1. Very nice details for these chassis, it will be 3 times stuning ...

  2. Thanks, Alain...the kits AFV are awesome, but with thousands of little annoying little parts...

  3. Howww I missed all your Matador's updates, in fact I was wainting news posts for these updates !!!
    Great work for these awesome trucks models my friend.

  4. Thanks again, Alain !!! The girls are ready, now...Hugs !!

  5. Wow stuning work Markos, these girls are beautiful and you made good choises for the decorations.
    Again always so interesting to follow your posts, thanks for the sharing and friendships from Belgium.

  6. Hi, Alain...Thanks, my Belgian friend!!! The British lorries always are awesome...
    Stay tunned: next, an Yankee one!!!