November 2021

FV623 Stalwart

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Alvis FV623 Stalwart Mk.2 Artillery Limber

Royal Artillery, BAOR, West Germany 1969.

ACE 1/72

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Building the ACE FV-623

This was my first build of an ACE kit, and it delivered a mix of frustration and  satisfaction.  The kit is complex, with very small and delicate parts, as well as instructions that are decidedly vague.  The main problem area is the suspension, which has a commendable number of parts, but not all fit and their drawings are less than helpful.  

Cab windows are  acetate - a handy template is provided, which I duly used, only to find that a pre-printed piece of acetate was hiding in the bag with the decals!  The most delicate parts, including the etched brass and the support/stand for the hatches/water screen went on with astonishingly little trouble and really draw the contrast between this kit and the old white metal model I built many years ago.

Decals are good, but with the exception of the privately owned (and “What-if”) West German scheme, they have no details describing which unit or base the subject belonged to. The ammunition pallet load comes from Kingfisher Models.

To sum up then, a good kit for the more experienced modeller, with good eyesight, delicate touch and patience !

Entering British Army service in the mid 1960s, the Stalwart, or "Stolly" used much the same running gear as the rest of the FV600 series, although its Rolls Royce engine was moved to a low  central position underneath the load carrying deck and connected to a pair of steerable Dowty waterjets, making the Stolly fully amphibious.

As well as a 5 ton carrying capacity and creditable performance in the water, the Stalwart had a remarkable off-road ability, although its rather crude transmission was prone to excessive wear and breakdown when it was used on-road.

Stalwarts gave excellent service, but were finally withdrawn from service in the early 1980s, not least because of their very thirsty petrol fuelled engines.

Image Copyright: Timothy Neate