by: Stefan Halter [ ]
ďTillyĒ was the common name given to a number of utility vehicles produced by the British car industry during WWII based on standard production cars. There were four types manufactured by Austin, Standard, Morris and the one featured in this review, Hillman. Underpowered and with limited cross country mobility, they nevertheless served in all theatres and with all British armed forces throughout the war.
Accurate Armour has released two multi-media kits of Tillies in 1/35 scale so far: the Austin and the Hillman. This is a full-build review (without painting and final assembly) of the Hillman Tilly. I liked these little vehicles from the moment I first heard of them so I decided to make one of them my first full resin kit.
The kit comes in a sturdy box. There was only one damaged part, but more on that later. The kit consists of 63 parts in cream-coloured resin, of which several are optional and will end up in the spares box. A small fret of photo etch, two pieces of plastic rod, a thin wire and a clear plastic sheet for the windows complete the kit. There is a generic decal sheet with unit markings for (almost) any British unit of WW II.
The moulding quality of the resin parts is very good: crisp, with little flash and no warping. Some unavoidable air holes are easily filled. There are four major parts: the chassis, the cab, the cargo body and the canvas for the cargo body. Clean-up of the smaller parts is easy with usually not more than the casting blocks needing removal. The large parts require some mould seams to be smoothed-out. Be careful not to remove too much material as this will affect the fit of other parts.
The instructions are printed on two A4 size sheets, front and back and include some photos of the finished model, a parts list and instructions with photos. Unfortunately I found the instructions to be unclear in some areas, with the pictures not very sharp or the decisive part obscured by an arrow. This led to some improvisation on my part, especially around the suspension. Also, not all the parts are pointed out in the instructions. Some are obvious, others not quite, such as when to use which of the three types of canvas tie (E25).
The suspension consists mainly of the axles and leaf springs. Fit was here was good. The steering linkage is supposed to be made with the plastic rod provided bent to shape. I recreated this part with wire because it was easier to get it properly shaped. The exact attachment of the rods is unclear, and if I fit the rods at the back axle as (I thought) the instructions called for, the wheels would have been crooked. As said before, the instructions are not quite clear on this matter, so I found another way that hopefully comes close to the truth. In any event, these parts will be hidden by the wheels in the end. The wheels themselves need the tire pattern re-scribed where they were attached to the casting blocks. There are 6 tires, plus the spare wheel with two of the wheels being civilian pattern as options for the front axle, the others being wartime pattern. All of them need the lightening holes drilled out. There is also the option of fitting hub caps or not (I chose not to).
The Engine is made up of 6 parts plus the radiator. This went together without any problems. The instructions tell you to add the radiator hose to the engine; I attached it to the radiator, as this would make a cleaner fit later on. I found it is better to leave the engine (and radiator) off until the cab is fitted, as otherwise it wonít fit unless you leave off the air filter. This goes for the drive shaft (which incidentally was a tad too long on my example, but it could have been a mistake on my part as well) and the exhaust. The tail pipe (part 15) has a different shape than in the instructions: they show a part with two curves, whereas the part only has one. Maybe this was due to a packaging error on my example.
The cab interior is made up of the dash board, seats, steering wheel and the different pedals, levers and handles. There were no problems here, except the back attachments of the seats didnít really match-up with the attachment points moulded onto the chassis. But this was not a big problem. Passenger seats are provided on the front cargo body with the option of building them stored or open. I chose to build them stored. Incidentally, there is no back wall to the cab, so the cargo area opens into the cab directly.
The cab is a one-piece casting with the doors moulded shut. This is unfortunate, as it limits diorama possibilities somewhat. I assume this has moulding reasons. The hood is cast separately, so it can be modelled open. Photo etch parts are provided for the different meshes. The front ones are added from the outside, while the ones on the side are added from inside. I had some fitting problems here, having to resize the side meshes so they would fit the recesses provided. Also, the front meshes left some gaps, but this could be due to my filing off too much material during cleanup, so be careful here.
The fender has a weight disk added from photo etch, but the instructions do not provide any guidance as to how to bend the bracket for it (see photo 20). The wing mirrors are constructed of three parts: the mirrors themselves (from resin, which are very thin and on my example required some minor filling), the mounts (from photo etch, which if bended as provided do not fit the curve of the fender, so I filled them in to get an even fit), and a plastic rod in-between (which I replaced with wire). The lights are provided in clear resin and there is a low visibility light option for the left side.
The spare tire is added to the roof and attached with photo etch straps. The straps seemed a bit short, but this could have been due to a mistake on my part. I replaced them with home-made straps from masking tape with resin clasps from the spares box.
Windows will have to be cut out from the clear sheet provided, but unfortunately there are no templates. I created my own from plastic card, as I found this to be the easiest way to get the appropriate shape. Wipers are provided from photo etch.
The cargo body is one large casting. On my example, one corner was broken off and I had to replace it with plastic card. Tool boxes are provided, but not called-out for in the instructions (parts 19/20); the only place they could fit is behind the wheel-arches. There are optional tailgates, metal or wooden. I chose the wooden, as this has a pick and shovel on it. These are provided in resin with the attachments in photo etch. Some very delicate photo etch chains provide the final touch, but care is needed no to break these. The fit of the cargo body to the chassis is perfect.
The canvas is one large moulding with great detail. The rolled-up back flap needed some filling on my example, and there was some filing necessary to get a good fit to cargo body and cab. Also on the cab I had to cut off the upper door hinges for the canvas to fit. Tie downs from photo etch have to be bent and added to the cargo body, then the canvas lashing must be laced between those and holes in the canvas that have to be drilled-out.
This was an enjoyable build with some minor problems that I expected from a full resin kit. I can thoroughly recommend it to anyone as a first full resin kit. The closed doors, no templates for the windows and the somewhat unclear photos in the instructions take the overall rating down somewhat.
Sources on the Tilly are scarce. The Tilly register (www.tillyregister.com) is one readily available source for technical details and pictures.
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