The Rolls-Royce Armoured Car

Published: August 14th, 2012     
Author: David Fletcher, illustrated by Henry Morshead
Reviewed by: Andrew Birkbeck - IPMS# 27087
ISBN #: 978 1 84908 580 9
Other Publication Information: Softcover, 48 pages, b&w period photos, color camo and marking profiles, color cutaway drawing
Price: $17.95
Product / Stock #: New Vanguard 189
Product provided by: Osprey Publishing

At the outset of the First World War, motorized weaponry was still in its infancy. The machines of today's modern military had not yet been invented: the tank, the armored personnel carrier, self propelled field artillery. Among the very first Allied armored cars, the very best were built atop chassis produced by Rolls-Royce, with the very first Rolls-Royce armored car being a privately owned vehicle fitted with a machine-gun and limited sections of armored plating. It was pressed into service by the Royal Naval Air Service in Flanders, 1914. By 1915, approximately 100 Rolls-Royce chassis had been acquired by the British Army, eventually finding themselves sent to units scattered across the globe: India, the Middle East, Europe, and South Africa. Post WW1, they were to be found from Ireland to Shanghai, making a final if brief appearance in the initial days of the Second World War. The Roll-Royce armored car's most famous proponent was T.E. Lawrence, aka Lawrence of Arabian, who apparently claimed that "a Rolls in the desert is above rubies."

If the reader of this review is familiar with the Osprey format, this book will not provide any surprises. It is a slim volume at 48 pages, but is very well written and illustrated. There are 41 black and white period photographs to help illustrate the written text, along with 11 color camouflage and markings side profiles, together with a nice color cutaway drawing. I do wish Osprey would put such cutaways on one page, using a landscape format, rather than across two pages with a resulting fold in the middle. But this is a minor criticism.

The book is divided into two main chapters and one minor: World War One, The Interwar Years, and a small third section covering World War Two. For anyone interested in modeling the Rolls-Royce armored cars, this book will make a great read to build up enthusiasm for the modeling project. The kits that I am aware of off the top of my head are in 1/35th scale: Resicast's resin 1914 Pattern World War One kit, and Roden's post war 1920 Pattern kit. Kengi produce a lovely post WW1 resin kit in 48th scale, while in 72nd scale Retrokit and Milicast produce three resin kits between them.

This is a great book on a scantily covered topic. I would like to thank the publishers, Osprey Publishing, for providing IPMS/USA with the review sample, and Steve Collins for providing it to me for review.

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