Monday, May 6, 2013

Diecast Vehicles for VBCW

I have been looking for civilian vehicles for my 28mm VBCW gaming, but have been struggling to find some that fit with my 1/55-1/56 military vehicles. Most models seem to be 1/48, and the majority of diecast cars seem to run approximately 1/43.  Both of these option are way too big for my preferences, especially since my building are underscaled (around 1/63, slightly bigger than model railroad S scale).

I asked for advice on LAF, and got various opinions on what looked good and what didn't, but got no real consensus other than people were using some models from Matchbox's "Models of Yesteryear" and Lledo's  "Models of Days Gone" lines (both discontinued, but available second hand).

Some additional Googling turned up a Russian Matchbox site that had photos and scales for the Yesteryear series.  Based on this I made a short list of Matchbox vehicles between 1/50 and 1/60 size that seemed promising.  Sadly, I couldn't find such a guide for the Lledo cars, and had to eye it based on photos helpful LAFers added to my post.

After a bit of searching on eBay, I took the plunge with two vehicles:
  1. Matchbox Y31-B 1931 Morris Courier (though oddly the stamp on the bottom of the lorry says 1933 Morris Pantechnicon - not sure if they are sharing parts); 1/59 given scale
  2. Lledo DG 020 1934 Ford A Stake Truck; no given scale
So How do they look compared to my Copplestone Lanchester armoured car?  I've placed each vehicle against my cutting board grid (sorry it's in inches, 1 inch = 25mm), and added Musketeer (smaller) and Artizan (larger) figures for comparison (base thickness is 3mm).

Lanchester 6x4 Armoured Car
Morris Courier

Ford A Stake Truck

 To my eye, these three vehicles look fairly reasonable to one another. How do they compare to reality?

Source: Wikipedia
The wheels on the model Lanchester seem slightly oversized, but the figures come up to the height of the door, which is a good match to the historical photo.

Source: Grace's Guide
Sadly, I could not find a photo of the Morris Courier, but here is another model from the same era. From photos I've seen online, most of the lorries and vans from this time seem to have cabs about this size, so I think it is a reasonable comparison.  Though there is no person standing next to it, based on the people inside, I think the Matchbox Courier is an acceptable fit.
Source:  Wikipedia
Finally there is the Ford A truck.  In this photo, the man's head is slightly below the top of the door. My 28mm figures are closer to the roof line of the Lledo truck, but if you subtract the base thickness, it isn't too far off of reality.

As such, I think I'm off to a good start with both brands. The Lledo seem to go a bit cheaper on eBay (I got mine for $7 with shipping, vs $17 in total for the Matchbox), so I think I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for these even though I'll have to guess at the scale for each individual model.  Luckily my Ford came in the original box, so that will help me gauge how large (or small) other vehicles are in comparison.

As I add more, I'll post additional size photos.


  1. They are nice trucks and I think that they are about the right size or just on the smaller size. Still very serviceable

  2. I use the Lledo cars and trucks myself and I think size wise they scale up okay.

  3. One thing to keep in mind when you look at die cast vehicles that are allegedly 1/48 or 1/43 scale is that they still have to fit in a defined production box size. So while they state the scale is very subjective. I have take to keeping a couple of minis in the car so if I find something that look suitable I have a mini I can compare its size with.