SADF Gecko

KIT number Review by Erwin Bovyn erwin(dot)bovyn(at)telenet(dot)be
Edited by Rob Haelterman

Type : resin
Scale : 1/72
Paint : Vallejo, MIG
Accessories : scratch
References : Internet

Not much history to tell here, as I do not know much about its development.
It is designed as an air-transportable vehicle that can be cargo dropped as well. Designed to replace the SADF Jakkals jeep-like paratrooper transport, its main use is an all terrain vehicle that can be coupled to specially designed trailers like a cargo trailer, radio/command trailer or 108mm recoilless gun trailer. It can be armed with a machine gun or an 81mm mortar. Unarmed it is capable to transport 4 soldiers or 2 stretchers.

It has a low silhouette and towing capacity front and rear. It’s an 8-wheel vehicle carrying one spare wheel; the trailer has 4-wheels and a spare.
I found some pictures on the Internet but unfortunately no detail pictures of the driver’s cockpit layout.

The kit:
I received this BaxMod kit directly from South-Africa and I was told it was only available for a short period. It is still included in the BaxMod catalogue but I have not seen another kit than mine.
The hard cardboard box is typical for BaxMod with a picture of a finished model on top. All resin parts are packed in a clip opening plastic bag. The 14 separate wheels are not fitted to carriers what makes me think they have been moulded separately, probably by an other manufacturer as their detail and resin used is far superior than the BaxMod resin.
Unfortunately the BaxMod resin is not bubble free and you’ll need to replace certain parts.

Compared to pictures of the real thing it becomes clear that a lot of detailing will be necessary.

The instruction sheet consists of a couple of drawings indicating the position of the few parts.

Chassis, engine, seats, loading bay and driver’s compartment come as one piece. The other parts include a rollover bar, front and aft, and the wheels.
The main block is cleaned up and compared to pictures of the real thing. This shows that the following items need to be added or changed:
- steering column and steering wheel, both not provided in the kit,
- there are no pedals, hand brake or gear change handle,
- the front seat back cushions need to be cut in half and two reinforcements need to be added,
- a safety bar must be added between the front seats, two others each side of the upper seats,
- both engine radiator grilles need to be replaced,
- a fuel cap and its side protections need to be replaced,
- an exhaust must be added,
- the mudguards on both sides need to receive their reinforcements,
- addition of four towing eyes, two on each side, for securing when transported by air,
- six small hand grips also used for securing cargo must be added to the loading platform,
- the front towing pintle must be detailed.

The trailer also needs detailing, especially:
- the rectangular openings in the middle of the loading platform need to be drilled out,
- eight small hand grips used for securing cargo must be added to the bottom of both sides of
the loading platform,
- four towing eyes, two front and two rear, for securing when transported by air must be
- four triangular reinforcement panels must be added to both trailer beams at the front of the
loading platform.

Add to all of this filling up the resin bubbles and sanding and you see that there is a lot of work involved.
The complete Gecko + trailer is only about 7 cm long and the amount of work looks more like micro surgery than modelling.

Once all the work above mentioned done, wheels can be added taking care they all touch the ground. Look out for their shape; there are left and right wheels
The Gecko driver has no window protection so no clear parts need to be added. There are no rear view mirrors.



Painting and decals:
Referring to pictures of the real vehicle, it was painted US Medium Green with the centre of the panels receiving an extra light coat of medium green + yellow to give a contrast. All is sealed with a coat of Klir (Future).
Next came some pin wash painting using MiG Dark Wash around seams and protruding parts.

The body front probably representing some kind of bumper made from black plastic, receives black paint. Pictures did not show any markings at all so none are added. As I have no reference to the dashboard details, I added a couple of instrument decals to it before adding the black painted modern type steering wheel.
As this kind of vehicles is intended to be used in the South African bush with its distinctive dark red brown earth, I decided to use only MIG pigments to obtain a dusty weathered effect.
Headlights are painted silver.

A used appearance is given to the vehicle by use of a gunmetal pencil on the loading platform and driver’s position.

I decided to present the Gecko on a small vignette of a South African bush scene. This was build up using a picture frame, an old Matchbox kit base, some modelling plaster, a piece of wood and some green scenery items representing grasses and bush. The sand covering the plaster is real South African bush earth with its typical red brown appearance. Some MiG pigments have been used to add some colour shades.



Certainly not the easiest kit to build if you make the effort of detailing it, but when I compare my build to the few parts provided in the kit, I’m pleased with the result.
Unfortunately the Gecko is very diminutive in size and I’m afraid it will be passed by many when presented at events.
Time will learn what effect it will have on fellow modellers.

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Article Last Updated: 12 January 2012

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