Tuesday, July 26, 2016


REVELL-MONOGRAM CONTINUES TO DIVE into the tooling bin of the original Renwal company, retrieving and releasing kits more or less as they were, ‘way back when.’

Mat Irvine: The new Lacrosse Missile box design (below) is a tweaked version of the original. It features the famous Renwal Blueprint style, and, apart from details such as the SSP (Selected Subjects Program) logo and the modern ‘age and skill’ levels, it’s much as it was when first released in 1960. There has only been one reissue since then, in 1974, though this was in a far less evocative box. This latest Renwal Lacrosse is the first such for more than 40 years.

The Renwal kit, consisting of the surface-to-surface Lacrosse missile on its mobile transporter/launcher, assembles to make a large model, even in 1:32 scale.

The components (below) are now all moulded in light blue-grey. The original truck parts were in olive drab, the missile in white.

Considering its age, the kit tooling has survived remarkably well, with little flash and few signs of the mould’s longevity. Renwal kits have always had working features, and these have been kept for this reissue, which includes a launch truck with rotating wheels, the front pair being steerable. Cab doors open, and the windshield folds forward. The canvas top can be placed in position with the windshield up, or removed if it is down. The engine cover can be placed in position, or removed to show the engine bay. The missile launch rail can be elevated and two sets of steps placed at the rear, or it can be left stored in the horizontal travel position. The final operating features are a door over the control panel, and the Lacrosse missile's rear fins.

Most of the launch truck can be assembled ‘as one’ for it should be finished in overall olive drab. However, I found it easier to separately assemble (above) the chassis, front cab section, rear launcher, and engine. I painted the engine in a metallic shade, frankly to break up the scheme a bit, though it would almost certainly have been the same olive drab. Throughout the world, armies seem to work on the same principle of, ‘If it moves - salute it… If it doesn’t - paint it…’

Completing the rear section and chassis (above, below). I finished them in overall olive drab, with the engine in contrasting colours.

Unfortunately, you don’t get separate vinyl tyres in this kit. Tyres and wheels are moulded integrally, making for a careful painting job. But there’s enough of a demarcation line between wheel and tyre to make it a reasonably straightforward task.

The windshield glass is clear acetate sheet, typical of the time, and of course far more accurate in thickness than if it were moulded in injection styrene. However, the instructions manage to avoid mentioning it at all. I simply matched the sheet to the frame recess, cut the acetate to size, then cemented it in place with a clear modelling adhesive.

The canvas top (below) can be used if you choose to have the windshield in a vertical position.

The dashboard instruments and control panel are worth picking out to bring up the details. The seats and canvas top are listed as olive drab, though will have a slightly different appearance to painted metal. In military service, the missile would likely to have been camouflaged, but prototypes were mostly black and white, with a red nose cone. This adds a bit of colour for a more visual display. Cross-checking Humbrol olive drab and Testors same shade in enamel, they are virtually identical, so presumably conform to the same FS (Federal Standard) number. In fact, I sprayed most of the kit with Humbrol acrylic, using Testors for some small areas (as I, ahem, ran out of Humbrol) and you can’t, as they say, see the join.

The completed model (below) on a battlefield base I constructed for the occasion.

As is common with Renwal kits, figures are supplied, five of them with the Lacrosse. The detail varies on each, and there are sink marks in the backs of a couple. This is fairly common with tooling of this age, but such defects are corrected easily with model filler. With careful painting, the addition of figures certainly adds to almost any model, and the Lacrosse is no exception.

Two sets of access steps (above) add interest to the transporter/launcher's rear.

Closeup of the cab (below) with half-open doors, and part-folded windshield. Note the steel hawser and winch in front of the radiator grille.

Original Renwal instructions (below right) compared with the new set.

The somewhat uninspiring box (below) for Renwal’s second, and only other, issue.

The Revell 1:40 scale version (below).

Which chassis?
The Lacrosse was carried on a 6x6 transporter/launcher, based on either the 2.5-ton M-387 or M-398 vehicle. The kit version looks more like an M-62 5-ton chassis, as used in the Renwal wrecker truck. But this detail aside, the overall look of the finished model is more than acceptable.

Military model scales
The Renwal Lacrosse is to 1:32 scale, one of two principal measurements that American companies used for military AFVs in the late 1950s and early 1960s. 1:40 scale was also common, and Revell used this for its own Lacrosse kit. In fact, 1:40 almost certainly came first, with Adams using it for AFVs. Revell worked closely with Adams in the early days, so this is most likely the reason Revell opted for that scale. But 1:40 scale wasn’t a standard Imperial engineering measurement, whereas 1:32 was, and of course has subsequently been used for large model aircraft.

How and why 1:35 scale became the standard for AFVs is one of those modelling mysteries, made even more so by the fact that it wasn’t the Japanese that first used 1:35 - it was Monogram. At one point Monogram had both 1:35 and 1:32 scale AVFs in the same catalogue! But maybe that’s a discussion for the future.

Scale stats
Renwal: Lacrosse missile
Scale: 1:32
Parts: 139
Assembled length: 240 mm (9.5 in)
Manufacturer’s ref: 7824

Click here for heaps more Renwal stuff.