“Verdorie! Those are German paratroopers!” shouts the shocked commander of a Dutch Landsverk M36 armoured car as the Germans begin to invade the Netherlands on 10 May 1940.
Including a Landsverk in May ’40 Miniatures’ growing Dutch range for WW2 wargamers has long been a dream of owner Sander van der Star. The model’s development has been lengthy and torturous, as Sander is a stickler for getting everything right. But his dedication has paid off, with the recent launch of this impressive model in resin and white metal.
The model comes well-packaged in a colourful box. It consists of two resin parts, and a number of smaller white metal components such as the wheels and guns. It is accompanied by a fully-illustrated instruction sheet and a set of decals with Dutch and German markings. If you want a commander and crew, these need to be ordered separately.
I should point out here that I bought this model when it was still Version 1.0. Sander was not in fact completely satisfied with his first version, and is now onto Version 2.0, which he says is a much higher quality model. But to my eyes, Version 1.0 still looks pretty good!
Assembly was simple and straightforward. I did decide to pin the machine guns to the body for added strength, and aligning the commander to hold the open hatch was slightly fiddly. But all in all, assembly took only about half an hour.
Painting was also easy, as the Dutch Landsverks were simply painted green. I started with a black undercoat (which I did before attaching the wheels), and then dry-brushed the model with grey to bring out the detail.
I then painted the whole vehicle green, followed by a black wash over all details such as door frames and hinges, grilles, filler cap etc. To blend the black wash in, I then dry-brushed the model with the same green I had used previously.
Finally, the magic step – the absolute driest of dry-brushing with white to highlight all the edges, which makes the whole model pop.
The decals are incredibly fine and thin, so care must be taken applying them. It is fair to say I found this the most difficult step in making my model.
Make sure you trim right to the edge of the marking before dipping it in water, and be patient for the decal to slide off the backing paper. When the decals were dry, I protected them with a coat of matt varnish. The end result is so fine that you can hardly tell they are decals.
I did chicken out and decided to hand-paint the triangle on the front grille, rather than trying to mold the slippery decal over the lines of louvres. Luckily triangles aren’t too difficult to paint!
So there we a have it – a Dutch armoured car to strike fear into my German wargaming opponents!
The Landsverk is available from May ’40 Miniatures at the cost of €27.50, plus shipping from the Netherlands.
History of the Landsverk
In 1934 the Netherlands ordered twelve Landsverk L181 armoured cars and one spare chassis from the Swedish company AB Landsverk. These so-called M36 vehicles had a Daimler-Benz chassis with a Swedish body and turret. The Dutch changed the 20mm cannon to a 3.7 cm gun and fitted an extra machine-gun to the rear.
In 1937 another twelve were ordered, this time of the type L180 on a Büssing-NAG chassis, to be known as the M38. Two command variants were also ordered.
The Landsverk was quite a modern armoured car for its time. The 37mm gun was relatively heavy for an armoured car. However, the chassis was quite rigid and proved unsuitable for rough terrain. Tracks could be fitted to the rear wheels, but this was impractical under fire.
The M36 served with the 1e Eskadron Pantserwagens and the M38 with the 2e Eskadron (1st and 2nd armoured car squadrons). The squadrons were divided between Vesting Holland and the Grebbelinie. Two platoons were stationed at Ypenburg Airport, and the other two on the Grebbelinie.
The Landsverks performed well during the five-day war in May 1940. They were quite capable of handling themselves in modern conflict. Not one Landsverk was taken out of action due to direct enemy fire. The cars that were disabled had engine trouble or were damaged due to the bombing of Ypenburg.
Landsverk armoured cars took part in combat with the SS Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler and the 227 Infantry Division, as well as the defence of Ypenburg against German paratroopers.
After the capitulation, the Landsverks were used by the Germans under the name Panzerspähwagen L202 beute (‘prize’). May ’40 Miniatures includes decals for the captured version with their model.
- Armament: one 37mm Bofors semi-automatic gun, three M20 (7.9 mm) machine guns.
- Ammunition: high-explosive and high-explosive armour piercing.
- Crew: Five (two drivers, two gunners, one commander).
- Maximum speed: 60 km/h forwards, 40 km/h backwards.
- Armour: turret 9mm, rest 5mm.