A modified Lanchester armoured car in Russian service. The Russian army received a shipment of 20 Lanchesters in 1915. These vehicles were fitted with a small cupola on the turret roof, and they had side shields protecting the turret machine gun. Additional Lanchesters arrived in January of 1916, when a British Royal Navy Air Service expeditionary force under Commander Oliver Locker-Lampson landed at Alexandrovsk in the Arctic Circle. The unit deployed for action in the Caucasus in June 1916, and it sent detachments as far as Turkey and Persia. The R.N.A.S. later re-deployed to the Black Sea, thence to Romania and Galicia, to support Russian forces engaged there. The R.N.A.S. maintained its rear supply base at Kursk until 12 January 1918, when the force withdrew toward Murmansk by rail. The troops and their vehicles departed Murmansk by ship on 1 February 1918.
Lanchester armoured cars proved very reliable in the course of these campaigns, they traveled long distances across difficult terrain, and withstood the extreme weather conditions encountered in Russia. The allied expeditionary forces participated in the counter-revolutionary struggle against the Red Army. R.N.A.S. squadrons fought the Red Army during the withdrawal to Murmansk, American troops occupied Vladivostok, and a mixed division of American, British and Canadian troops opposed Trotsky’s forces on the river Dvina in November of 1918.
Most of the 30 to 36 Lancaster armoured cars available to the Russian army served with White Russian forces after the 1917 Revolution, although captured vehicles may have been used by the Red Army as well. Reliable service records for the Lanchester armoured car in Russian service end in 1917, presumably because the cars could not be kept in operation without spare parts. The German army captured a number of armoured vehicles on the Eastern Front, probably a mixture of Austin-Putilov and Lanchester armoured cars, six of which were made operational to serve in the 11. Zug, Panzerkraftwagen-MG-Abteilung 1.
- Lanchester Armoured Car
- Engine: 6-cylinder, 4.8 liter, 48.5 kw @ 2200 rpm
- Weight: 4000-5000 kg
- Speed: 80 km/h
- Armour: 8 mm
- Armament: Vickers-Maxim MG,
Lewis LMG stowed inside
- Crew: 3 or 4
- Year: 1915
Excellent choice of subject, the Lanchester amoured car is a rare model in this scale. The vehicle served on many fronts.
Easy to assemble, only 24 parts; 25 parts if the Russian version is built. The Lanchester can be put together in 30 minutes or less. The entire vehicle is cast in soft metal, much sturdier than resin. Good casting quality. There was practically no flash, and mould lines proved easy to remove with a scalpel.
The kit includes parts for two versions of the Lanchester armoured car, one used by the British Royal Navy Air Service, and the other in Russian service. The Russian version of the Lanchester carries a small cupola on top of the turret, and the machine gun is protected by gun shields. Both parts were difficult to locate: The cupola actually looks like a radiator cover, and the L-shaped machine gun assembly might be a structural component of the chassis.
Painting instructions for the British and Russian version of the Lanchester are included, but the manufacturer does not recommend any particular model paint numbers. Modellers will have to decide for themselves which shade of "medium grey" is historically accurate. The manual mentions that Russian vehicles may have carried slogans occasionally. Lanchester armoured cars in Belgian service carried a very attractive multi-colour pattern, similar to that used by the French army.
The kit comes with a four-colour computer print-out of the British Navy Jack which was often seen flying over the turret of R.N.A.S. armoured cars. The flag scales out to 90 × 120 cm, and it adds a lot of colour to the model.
The fine spokes of the original are not modelled to scale, but the wheels look very good the way they are done. We used Rai-Ro grey modelling wax to reconstruct three damaged spokes. The wax readily attaches to both ends of a broken spoke, and it is hard enough to be carved into the required shape afterwards.
The fenders scale out 120 mm thick, unlike the originals which are probably no more than 4 mm thick. The difference is most noticeable in the front fenders, stowage boxed conveniently cover almost the entire length of the rear fenders. The shape of the front fenders is very simple, and it would be feasible to replace them with items cut from thin plastic card. The running boards are too thick as well, but they may be sanded to reduce them.
The Spare Wheel Pegs (Section 4) need to be shortened, because the corresponding holes in the Fighting Compartment are not deep enough to accept them.
The assembly instructions proved difficult to follow and rather confusing. Parts are not numbered and names are used inconsistently. Section 5 is the culprit: It introduces "Compartment Front", and "Hood" as if they were new parts, different from the "Fighting Compartment" and "Bonnet" which have already been fitted in Section 2. That part of Section 5 is redundant, it starts the modeller looking for parts which are not available anymore. Section 5 mentions "sides" and "rear body parts" which do not exist either, they are actually called "Left and Right Fender" and "Rear Truck Bed" in Sections 7 and 1, respectively.
The rear mounting pegs on the Left and Right Fender (Section 7) need to be cut off, because the corresponding holes in the chassis are filled in. The forward mounting pegs can be made to fit by enlarging the holes in the forward part of the chassis.
The instruction to glue the machine gun into the turret (Section 6) is incomplete. There is actually a choice of two variants here: The Russian version of the Lanchester uses a different machine gun assembly. The part is difficult to locate, because the Russian machine gun is sandwiched between two L-shaped armour plates. It looks like it might be a chassis or body part.
Section 10 mentions that Russian vehicles carried a small cupola on the turret. The required part is difficult to identify, because it is not shaped like a cupola at all, it actually looks like a radiator cover. There are no instructions on how to mount the cupola, it might be centered on the turret or flush with the forward edge of the same.
Cast in soft metal, containing lead. The vehicle is heavy, considered an advantage by some, and a transportation problem by others.
We used Rai-Ro green wax to fill the hairline gap between the Bonnet and Fighting Compartment as well as minor inclusions in armour plates and stowage boxes. These fillings can be seen as black lines and green patches in the attached photograph. Notice that the wax has not spilled out of the filled crack on the bonnet, it can be painted without further sanding or modelling. The green patches on the stowage boxes need to be scraped with a modelling tool to remove excess wax, and the waxed areas are then brushed with silicone remover to prepare them for painting.
Front and rear axles are not marked, and the instructions do not mention how to install them. The rear axle has a semi-circular disk in the center which matches the differential. The front axle is an L-shape. There is an 11.5 mm bar along the center of the axle which slots in between the lower body sides of the chassis. The proper fit of the front axle can be checked by looking at the vehicle from the front. There are supports on either side of the radiator, and the bar on the axle fits between them.
Decals are not included, the R.N.A.S. markings will have to be painted on. The Russian version of the Lanchester may have carried a single-digit vehicle number on the hull sides or turret front, and tactical markings consisting of the Tsarist winged wheels arm-of-service badge for amoured cars.
Crew figures are not required, because the vehicle is buttoned up, but it would have been nice to know what uniforms were worn in R.N.A.S. service. Simulation gamers and diorama builders may want to model dismounted crew members, and a small photo printed alongside the instructions would have been very welcome. Russian armoured car crews wore black leather jackets with a pointed collar, and shoulder straps with a bronzed arm-of-service badge: Winged wheels, surmounted by a steering wheel.
- British Royal Navy Air Service, France, May 1915 - November 1918
The first batch of 36 Lanchester armoured cars was delivered to the R.N.A.S. in 1915, organized in three squadrons of 12 vehicles each, and sent to France in May 1915. One squadron eventually served with the Belgian army.
- R.N.A.S. expeditionary force, Russia, January 1916–1917
- Belgian Army, France and Russia 1915-1918
The Belgian army received 10-15 Lanchesters in addition to the 12 vehicles of No. 15 Squadron on loan from the Royal Navy Air Service. The Belgian Lanchesters were painted in a multi-colour camouflage pattern.
- Russian Lanchester armoured car with cupola and MG side shields.
- Russian Army, 1915–1917
- White Russian forces, 1917
- Red Army, 1917
- 11. Zug, Panzerkraftwagen-MG-Abteilung 1, German Army, 1917–1919
The Lanchester armoured car is a very versatile model, it can be used to represent a Russian, British, Belgian or captured German vehicle serving on the Eastern or Western Front. The Lanchester proved very reliable in action, and it will add interest to any World War One simulation game. The Reviresco kit is relatively easy to build, even for a beginner, and it looks great when painted.