by: Kevin Brant [ ]
The C15TA was an armored car that was developed as part of the Canadian Military Pattern program during World War Two. The main use of the C15TA was as an armored personnel carrier, but the vehicle was also modified as an ambulance, designated the C15TAA. The development and production of the ambulance variant occurred in late 1944 and 1945. It has been stated that only two prototypes were built, and the initial order of 1000 was cancelled due to the end of the war.
As part of the CMP Series kits being released by Mirror Models, the C15TAA Ambulance has joined this list. The kit comes in the standard Mirror Models box, packed with parts. In the box there are 7 sprues molded in grey plastic, including a few lose parts in a small zip lock bag. There is also a small plastic bag that contains some resin pieces and bits of wire, mostly for the drive train and the radiator. Five resin tires are included as well as three frets of photo-etched. As for decals, there are markings for one vehicle, which will match the C15TAA that is restored and on display at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, Canada. The printed instructions are the standard Mirror Models sheets, printed in color and showing images of different stages of the assembly.
Having built the initial C15TA kit from Mirror Models that was truly a multi-media kit, the C15TA Ambulance is a step forward for Mirror Models, as most of the resin parts have been replaced with molded plastic. This is a definite advantage for the average modeler, who may shy away from multi-media type kits.
The molding of the plastic has greatly improved since the first C15TA kit, it is crisp with little to no flash, and there are no ejector marks. The surface detail is well represented and the detail of smaller parts is sharp. For those who have built some of the other Mirror Models CMP kits, most of the parts will be recognizable, as for the ambulance the new parts include the body sides, top, and a few detail bits.
The parts of the frame are the same as all Mirror Models CMP kits, which build up great, and includes PE detail for adding braces and some wire for some extra detail. As most of the parts have been converted to molded plastic, there are still a few bits of resin which includes parts for the drive train, the radiator, and the rear towing hitch. There are resin cast tires are included, and look to being the newly released tires from LZ Models, stamped as Dunlop Tires. The tread pattern is well cast, and tires look great.
Having built three of these frames to date, they build up nice, and look great.
The kit contains the basic driver and passenger interior detail, including a piece of PE for the floor. The detail of the interior of the front and door hatches is included, for those who like to leave them open. Unfortunately there is no rear section interior detail of the racks for the stretchers. Having seen the restored vehicle in the Canadian War Museum, this would not be difficult to scratch built as it is mostly tube steel and angle iron, very simplistic.
The sides, rear, and top are the new parts for making up the Ambulance. These look good, with molded on detail, to include the tie downs for the top. Based on previous experience, it is good to dry fit the parts as you go, and watch the installation of the front grill parts, this can be tricky to ensure the parts are lined up correctly.
It should be noted that the basic Ambulance kit from Mirror Models include plastic molded fenders, but for those interested, there is a PE detail set from LZ Models that will add the PE fenders, as well as a few other detail bits.
Looking over the instructions, this kit will build up similarly to the previous C15TA kit from Mirror Models, with the exception of the sides and top. The instructions do not include paint call outs during construction, so a little research will need to be done to find appropriate colors, though most of the vehicle is Olive Drab. The Mirror Models instructions are not the easiest to follow, as they are for the most part images of assembly completed at different stages, with some diagram help included.
The instructions include one paint scheme, to match the well printed set of decals that are included. These decals match the reference photos I have of the actual vehicle at that Canadian War Museum.
As for the accuracy of the Mirror Models C15TAA Ambulance, while the kit is the standard C15TA kit, with new sides and top, it does to a great job resembling the C15TAA Ambulance. However, there are a couple of details missing from the kit. The ambulance did not use the night light covers on the headlights, thus this will need to be replace with some aftermarket lenses. There was also a light with a red cross located just ahead of the driver door on the actual vehicle, this is missing from the kit.
Overall, this is another great kit from Mirror Models of a rare subject. The kit uses the basic kit and parts set out by Mirror Models for the CMP C15TA, and adds the right parts to build the C15TAA Ambulance . Even with a couple of small shortfalls, this kit will build a great looking model and is a great addition to the CMP Series. I highly recommend this kit.
Personal Photographs, Canadian War Museum Restored Vehicle
The C15TA in Canadian Service – Roger V. Lucy, Service Publications