Plastic kit of a well known Lancherster Armoured car
The Lanchester 4x2 was the second most numerous armoured car in service during WWI. Designed by the Admiralty Air Department for the Royal Naval Air Service, it was intended to support air bases and retrieve downed pilots.
The production version had a circular turret with a narrow horizontal roof, central hatch, steeply sloped at the sides, and continuous loped bonnet plating. This, together with a much more compact form than the earlier Rolls Royce Armoured Car, achieved by positioning the driver beside the engine (which featured an epicyclic gearbox), gives the Lancaster a deceptively modern appearance.
Thirty six of the production version were sent to France in May 1915. One twelve-car RNAS squadron served with the Belgian Army. In addition, Belgium received between 10 and 15 cars on loan from the RNAS.
In 1915, all thirty six RNAS armoured cars were passed to the British Army. Accordingly, all Lanchester armoured cars were returned to Britain. After being overhauled, in December 1915, 22 vehicles were supplied to the Imperial Russian Army. Of these, 19 were later rearmed with a 37-mm naval Hotchkiss gun in place of the standard Vickers machine gun. In January 1916 more Lanchesters arrived with the RNAS expeditionary force deployed in the Caucasus, Romania and Galicia in support of the Russians.
Operating in climates ranging from desert to near-Arctic conditions while serving in Russia, these cars covered over 53,000 miles. They were deployed in a manner that would become the standard for AFV warfare in the 20th Century. Acting as scouts and armed raiders, they operated well forward of the infantry following in their armoured trucks. When operating alongside the infantry they would act as fire-support vehicles. Their last operation was in support of the Brusilov Offensive in mid 1917.
With the outbreak of the Bolshevik Revolution, the RNAS armoured car division was withdrawn back to Britain, while Lanchesters still in Russian hands were used by the White Russian forces. During most of its service life, the Lanchester was considered an admirably fast and reliable vehicle