African white elephant: Swedish armoured truck in The Congo

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Short history:

The m/42 KP-Truck (“KP Bil” in Swedish) was first issued to Swedish units in 1944. KP stands for ”Kaross Pansar” meaning “armoured body”.  They were manufactured by both Volvo and Scania (VKP m/42 and SKP m/42 respektively) and based on standard 4-wheel-drive all-terrain trucks.

The Scania version was used extensively during UN missions in the Congo and Cyprus (where they were often called “White Elephants”), whereas the Volvo vehicles only saw domestic service in Sweden, before eventually being discontinued in favour of the Scania.

The early versions of the SKP and VKP vehicles were fitted with MG-rings on top of the cabin roof, and during UN missions this was complemented with additional armour to surround and protect the MG operator, resulting in a kind of turret.

In the 1980′s, the SKP m/42 was upgraded to incorporate an armoured roof, larger wheels and other updates. It served its last days on the island of Gotland.

Modelling the SKP m/42:

Since I have a big interest in the Swedish (UN) Congo mission in the early 1960′s, building an SKP m/42 armoured truck was high on my priority list. Unfortunately, there is no commercial kit of this vehicle, so the only choice was to scratch build it. However, I am very fortunate that one of my friends at SPHF (Swedish Armour History Foundation) had already scratch-built one of these vehicles, and as such had a fantastic set of drawings, templates AND self-produced resin wheels and dual MG’s for the turret - all of which he kindly provided to me.  Without these drawings and parts, I have to admit that I would have most likely considered this build too daunting a project to embark on, and moved on to something else.

This model was intended as a partner vehicle to my M8 Greyhound, covered in a previous article on this site. My initial idea was to combine them in a diorama in time for the C4-Open modelling exhibition in Malmö, Sweden, in October 2010. That plan did not materialize, but more about that later.

The model

Chassis and body-work:

Using the templates provided to me, I began by cutting out the body panels from 0.75mm plastic card and gluing them together into the complex, angular shape of the vehicle. At this stage, I also took the opportunity to scratch build the chassis and add an engine (which was scratchbuilt around a Panzer 38(t) engine block).

The interior:

The interior of the vehicle is broken down into two sections – the driving compartment, and the open troop bay at the rear.

The driving compartment consists of the expected details such as driver and passenger seats, instrument cluster, transmission controls, foot pedals, steering column etc.

The rear bay is basically a long, open compartment with seats made from two wooden stowage boxes, running down the center of the vehicle, and wooden seats placed above the wheel wells on either side.

The interior was admittedly one of the more complicated parts of the build, simply because of all the reverse angles that had to be accounted for. It became more of a trignometry exercise than a model project, and mathematics was not my strongest subject in school :-) .

Amost all of the interior details were created with plastic card, I prefer to make the wooden parts, including grain detail, from plastic card as well.

The floor of the front cabin is made from Aber diamond-pattern etch plate.

In some of the pictures below, you will be able to see the first two mistakes I made, which were eventually corrected. First of all, I made the driver/passenger seats for the front cabin too large, and secondly, I cheated with the the ring around the roof opening  and attempted to use a round plastic ring I had in my spares box. In the later pictures, these items have been corrected.

Driver’s compartment interior (corrections described above included):

By the way, if you recognize the windscreen heating nozzles its because I stole them from an old Harley Davidson model, they are the fish-tail ends from the exhaust pipes.

Here come some pictures of the rear troop bay (the above described mistakes are still visible here). The round apparatus is the internal housing for the winch:

Painting the interior:

The interior was airbrushed with Tamiya acrylics, in various green shades as well as white. Weathering was done with oil based washes, and chipping was conducted using the hair-spray technique (this is probably better described in existing articles on various forums written by other modellers who have truly mastered this skill, as opposed to my rather clumsy attempts).

Exterior details:

Detailing the exterior was slightly easier than the interior, and included adding the headlights and tow hooks (mounted under the nose of the vehicle), grab handles and foot rails, rear ski/baggage-rack, winch cable wheel (made from a 1/72 scale Sherman road wheel) and of course all the doors and hatches, all of which I wanted to show opened. I have to admit though, modelling the foot and hand rails was a real test of patience. I almost lost all my hair in the process.. :-)

MG-turret:

The MG turret (mounting a double-setup of the Swedish ksp m/36) was scratchbuilt in plastic card around an MG-ring taken from the Tamiya Greyhound.

The MG’s themselves were kindly provided to me by the same friend who supplied me with the resin wheels and all the drawings – so for this model I did not need to scratch build them as I did with the M8.

In the pictures below, the MG’s are only temporarily attached and as such look rather crooked. Also, I was not happy with the ammo-box basket behind the turret and rebuilt this part (seen in later pics of the completed model). The horisontal bar mounted on an arm behind the turret was there to ensure that the MG’s could not be pointed downwards by mistake whilst firing the weapon above the rear compartment. I am sure that was much appreciated by the troops sitting in the back! :-)

By the way: If you are interested in a description of the MG cooling system, please refer to my M8 article.

The white panel inside the turret is the gunner’s backrest, folded up. From what I have seen in pictures, it seems to have been used as a seat by the gunners in some instances, at least when the vehicle was stationary. The rivets are Archer surface details (basically small resin rivets on decal film), a truly fantastic product which saves a lot of time. Just cut out a strip with the amount of rivets you need from the sheet, and apply as a decal.. simple..! :-)

Initial painting, weathering and markings:

Finally time for some painting again! I have to admit that I was rather concerned about modelling a white vehicle. It is not the easiest colour to paint, but I had no choice at this stage but to holster all my fears, jump into the frying pan and get going.

The model was airbrushed in Tamiya German Grey acrylic, followed by a layer of hairspray and then white acrylic airbrushed on top of that. The chipping was then done using the hairspray technique (please see my comment above about this).

Washes consisted of various dark grey and brown oils, even though I wanted to be careful not to apply too much and lose the whiteness of the top coat.

The markings were all custom made on a computer and printed on water-slide decal paper. The most prominent marking is on the front of the truck, and is based on an exising vehicle which served in the Congo. The drawing of “Tuffa Viktor” (aka “Andy Cap” in English) appropriately sporting a Swedish m/45 smg, was created and kindly sent to me by another good friend. I am very fortunate, since I would have never been able to draw this cartoon myself.!

Completion:

The completed model was then mounted on a base with some simple groundwork and plants from various sources. The lower parts of the vehicle were weathered with the same red and dust-coloured pigments as the groundwork, and oils were used to add a little bit of rust here and there around the chipped areas. I mentioned at the beginning of this article that I intended to incorporate “Tuffa Victor” and my M8 “Lulle-Belle” together in a diorama, but I ran out of time to get these two models completed for C4-Open 2010, and as such had to use my backup plan which was to make individual bases and have no figures. Perhaps one day I will go back to my original idea and make a larger diorama with these vehicles and a few figures.

Update Feb 2012: I have updated the groundwork, and all images of the completed vignette are new, photoshopped versions.

Cheers, and thanks for reading!

Sven

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17 Responses to African white elephant: Swedish armoured truck in The Congo

  1. Tor Netterby says:

    Interresting read and the model looks absolute smashing!

    • Sven Young says:

      Thank you for taking the time to read the article, and for your kind comments, Tor..!

      I am glad that you enjoyed it :-)

      Cheers,
      Sven

  2. Christian Wallander says:

    Kickass build and a kickass article about the kickass build!

    Did I mention it’s a kickass build? :)

    /Christian

  3. Johan J says:

    Underbart att läsa och titta på.
    Önskar jag kunde bygga så här. Men jag håller mig till LEGO och min 1:1 Dodge WC52…

    • Sven Young says:

      Hej Johan..!

      Stort tack för mycket vänliga kommentarer.. Verkligen roligt att du tycker om modellen och artikeln.

      Ha det gott, och lycka till med din 1:1 Dodge-modell :-)
      Sven

  4. Nikita says:

    Beatiful, love to buy one !

    • Sven Young says:

      thank you Nikita, I am glad you like it.
      Unfortunately, this model is not available commercially, but you can scratchbuild one instead. :-)

  5. Pingback: ”Tuffa Viktor” – en scratchbyggd KP Bil i skala 1/35 | IPMS Stockholm

  6. I can’t believe how much detail you cram into these fantastic models! Amazing!

  7. Sven Young says:

    Thank you very much Jan! I am glad you like it, your kind feedback is very much appreciated.

  8. Peder says:

    Hi Sven,

    Your KP-vehicle is truly amazing, it is nice to see you are still building models, I remember the model of the burned out T-55 from Desert Storm you had in a diorama.

    I also remember you purchased a Warrior IFV, what happened to that one?

    Take care,

    P

    • Sven Young says:

      Hello Peder!

      Thanks for your message, I am glad you like the truck!

      Yes, I am still building models, but a lot slower now since our daughter was born two and a half years ago.

      Wow, you still remember that old Desert Storm diorama, you have a great memory!

      The Warrior is still sitting on my shelf, one day it will get built :-)

      All the best,
      Sven

  9. Peder says:

    Hi Sven,

    I remember the other two you had at that time. One from the Second World War and “The Battle of The Bulge” when US forces are marching through a ruined town and the other one from the Vietnam war; when the US crew are preparing a river boat; similar as the boat used in the movie “Apocalypse Now” and one figure is drinking a Coke and reading Playboy.

    Are you still working at Ericsson? I left a long time ago and I am now residing in “the New World”

    Take care,

    P

  10. Sven Young says:

    I am impressed by your memory, Peder, spot on in both cases.

    No, I am no longer at Ericsson, left in 2001.

    I will send you an e-mail this weekend, always great to catch up! :-)
    Sven

  11. Peder says:

    I am looking forward to it.

    So you are into the ONUC operation in Congo, 1960-1964, if my memory serves me correctly. I think the Swedish forces in Congo used the Willys Jeep too.

    I’m amazed to see Swedish vehicles here, especially the IKV-91 and the PBV 302.

    Take care,

    P

  12. Sven Young says:

    Yes, I have a great interest in Swedish armour, and the ONUC campaign is at the top of the list.

    The Swedes used Jeeps (CJ5′s if I remember correctly), M113′s, Bedford trucks, M8 Greyhounds, M3 scout cars, a Ward La France recovery truck amongst many other vehicles. Lots of fun projects for the future.

    Mail coming this weekend… :-)

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