MB Military Vehicle Wasp Flamethrower
Meng, 1/35 scale
Reviewed by Brett Green
The Ronson system was a flamethrower for vehicle mounting developed in World War II and used by the Canadian Army and the United States Marine Corps. The Wasp flamethrower was a continued development of the Ronson system by the British Petroleum Warfare Department.
Having insufficient range it was passed over for British use but taken up by the Canadians for further work.
The Ronson was sufficiently developed in time to be used for production of the "Wasp Mk.IIC" flamethrower variant of the Universal Carrier.
A single Wasp Mk.II flamethrower was adapted for use in a Ford or Willys Jeep by Popski's Private Army (officially No. 1 Demolition Squadron, PPA, a unit of British Special Forces ).
Testing of this prototype proved that mounting the Wasp flamethrower into a jeep was possible, but not necessarily practical due to the extreme heat and other hazards that the operator was exposed to.
In the end, it is believed that the type never saw service beyond testing.
F i r s t L o o k
Meng Model has released this curiosity as a 1:35 scale kit. Although only a single example was produced, it is certainly a crowded and interesting variant.
Meng's 1:35 scale MB Military Vehicle Wasp Flamethrower (it's a Jeep, just in case there was any confusion here) comprises 136 parts in light tan coloured plastic, three parts in clear plastic, a length of soft vinyl tube and markings for a single vehicle.
Moulding quality is excellent. the one-piece main body moulding is particularly impressive.
I could not find any imperfections or flash on my sample. The only thing to watch out for is that some of the sprue attachments intrude on the mating surfaces of parts. Make sure you carefully remove these before gluing parts together.
Detail is very good with a full engine supplied and a separate bonnet (or hood for our American friends) so that you can show off your handiwork.
Inside the cabin, instrument dials and data placards are supplied as decals.
The Wasp Mk.II flamethrower with its associated tanks, valves and details are impressively done. A length of soft black vinyl tube is included for the main fuel feed to the flame nozzle. This is cut into two 60mm lengths that need to be fed under the passenger seat and up the front firewall to the nozzle.
The wheels and tyres are moulded in plastic with inside and outside halves. "Firestone" ad other lettering is raised on the sidewalls. I am so pleased to se that Meng has decided against vinyl tyres!
The front wheels are poseable, although they are not co-ordinated by the steering rack. You'll have to make sure both front wheels are manually posed at the same angle.
The vehicle looks even busier thanks to the eight additional jerry cans (two styles), two large stowage boxes and two spare tyres.
Clear parts are supplied for the headlight lenses and the windcreen, although you wan't be using the latter on this flamethrower variant.
Instuctions are supplied in a 20 page booklet. Assembly is laid out over 24 steps, mainly in two-tone illustrations.
Decals are supplied for the single prototype vehicle tested by Popski's Private Army. The symbol for the bonnet appears to be much bigger than reference photos suggest.
C o n c l u s i o n
This is a very appealing subject and an impressive model.
Moulding quality is world class and detail is very good, including the entire engine and drivetrain.
I have already finished building my sample and the fit is very good indeed. There are a few fiddly assemblies but nothing that should be beyond the skill set of the average modeller.
I look forward to seeing whether Meng continue on the path of British jeep variants. LRDG? SAS? Yes please!
Thanks to Meng Models for the sample www.meng-model.com
Text and Images by Brett Green