Sunday, 29 March 2020

Universal Carriers

The Universal Carrier was a nifty little creature, used extensively by British and other Commonwealth and Imperial armies as a multi-purpose vehicle, sort of an armoured, tracked jeep.  I think many gamers look at it and try to figure out if it can be used as a sort of mini-tank, but that's not how it was used in the real world, and thus it shouldn't be used that way on our gaming tables.  The trick is to find appropriate uses for this amazingly versatile little vehicle.

I ordered a set of three carriers from Jeff at Die Waffenkammer. Jeff's models are absolutely gorgeous, and a pleasure to work with.  Plus, I'm pleased that my WWII Canadians will be operating carriers from a Canadian company!  It doesn't hurt that his prices are better than his competitors.

Carriers were used to transport Vickers guns with their crews, 3" mortar teams, as tows for 6-pdr anti-tank guns and in many other roles.  As for me, I'll be using these as support options for Chain of Command.  I can choose either a single carrier (with crew and JL) or a recce section of two carriers.  As a result, I decided to paint one of the carriers with the insignia of the Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment, to represent a carrier from the Ploughjockies' carrier platoon, and the other two with the green over blue of the 4th Princess Louise Dragoon Guards, to represent a recce group from the Plugs.  

The stowage was included with the vehicles, so I mixed things up a bit to make each vehicle unique.  As my understanding was that by July 1943, the Boys rifle was no longer used much, I've focussed on providing each of these carriers with Bren guns.  One of them carries a PIAT.

Crew are a mix of the figures provided by Die Waffenkammer and some Perry Miniatures' Desert Rats who have been converted to fit into the vehicles.  I haven't glued them in place, as I envision one possible use will be to use the speed of the carriers to deliver a Bren gun team somewhere onto a battlefield where it can be most useful.  The carrier will drive where needed and the Bren team will dismount.  I did some head swaps to give all the crews Perry Miniatures heads.

Here's a photo showing Katie, a Hasty P carrier with more than the approved number of passengers, somewhere in Sicily, July 1943.

And here's my attempt to copy the photo.

For now, my plan is to set the crews inside the vehicles with no magnets.  They each fit nicely, no one falls out unless I do something silly like with my photo above.  If I have trouble keeping the boys on board when the carriers move, I will look at using poster putty or something similar.

Of course, if I try to simulate magic, flying carriers then all bets are off!

For Tim, I have included an officer to ride Katie, a young subaltern gazing up at the skies, looking for raptors or other exotic avians, to represent one Farley Mowat, storyteller, environmentalist and veteran of the Hasty Ps.  

And finally, here is the beginnings of a scout troop for the Piddle-dee Gees.  A full scout troop has 6 carriers, plus 2 scout and 2 armoured cars, but it would be common for smaller groups to be sent out to locate the enemy.

Update!! 2020-03-31:  Found this nifty video in my YouTube feed.


  1. These are absolutely gorgeous!

    I've been eyeing up Die Waffenkammers carriers for some time - as it's the one thing my WW2 Canadians are really missing. Now I know I'll be getting them from him! Not that I have any interest in actually PLAYING any WW2 games at any point in the immediate future, it's nice to know the force is complete and ready for whenever I DO feel the urge!

    The Young Squib figure just made my day! Thank you so much for that!

    Will you also have a version of him with a bundle of rope over his shoulder for climbing the heights of Assoro? (He probably didn't have a bundle of rope... or a climbing axe... or mountaineering boots... or anything out of the ordinary like that, but it might be a fun thing to model!)

    1. Thanks for the comments, Tim!

      I won't be making any specific mountain climbing Hasty Ps, Squib or Alex or any of them. Trying to see if I can make Assoro into a scenario, though! So much depends on the surprise. I vaguely picture it as similar to the Monte la Difensa scenes in the Devil's Brigade movie.

      But I am pleased with the JTFM carriers, and will be placing an order for some other models from him soon. Not carriers, though, I have enough of those for now!

  2. Great work on these. I have 3 on order for my home front British, my Canadians are 1/72. I also have Jeff's TOG and Neubaufahrzeug for Sea Lion scenarios and his SU-76M solely because I like the vehicle.

    Great models

    1. Thanks for the nice comments, Pat. I'm a fan of JTFM models and am already planning the next addition to my collection!