Full Review with Mark Rooks
Kit ref: A1375
The Austin K2/Y is a British heavy military ambulance that was used by all Commonwealth services during the Second World War.
Built by Austin, it was based on the 1938 Austin K30 30-cwt light truck which as the K2 chassis was built during the war for many uses.
The K2/Y could take ten casualties sitting or four stretcher cases. The rear body, known as No. 2 Mk I/L was developed by the Royal Medical Corps and built by Coach builder Mann Egerton. Simple canvas closures were used in place of driver’s cab doors.
The interior dimensions were approximately 2.6 metres long, 2.0 metres wide and 1.7 metres high. At the rear of the vehicle there were two large doors. From the driver’s cab the wounded could also be accessed through a small internal door with a seat. The exterior was mainly made from painted canvas.
The Austin K2/Y was generally regarded as having a widely spaced four-speed Gearbox that needed to be “understood”, but once mastered provided good service. It had two petrol tanks, one on each side (total capacity: approx. 2×12 Imperial gallons (2×54.5L)). The top speed was around 50 mph (80 km/h).
A total of 13,102 Austin K2/Y ambulances (the front mudguards ended at the ‘doors’) were built at the company’s Longbridge plant almost continuously from 1940 until the war ended. An estimated 50 or more remain today. The Austin chassis was one of three main designs fitted with Mann Egerton bodies, the others being Morris Commercial CS11/30F (the front mudguards ended underneath the rungs) and Bedford 54 (the front mudguards ended before the ‘doors’). It is estimated there are two remaining Morris Commercials, but no Bedford examples are said to survive.
One veteran of the North African campaign stated he once managed to carry 27 wounded, with passengers seated on the wings, bonnet, rear steps, and in extra stretchers suspended by rifles across the rear walkway; he was mentioned in dispatches for this feat.
The then Princess Elisabeth was trained to drive one during the war.
The design was popular with British and Commonwealth troops, as well as American forces which received them in reverse Lend-Lease. The K2 (K Two) was often affectionately nicknamed “Katy”, also by British and US troopers in occupied Germany of the 1950s.
The K2/Y ambulance was also used in the Korean War. (Source Wikipedia).
As Geoff has already done a in-depth video In-Box Browse of this kit, I’ll go straight into the details of the build. Neil P is also building the model and that will be in SMN soon as well.
One quick point that I’d like to make is the fact that each of the kit sprues is identified by a large cut-out letter making selection of the correct sprue so much quicker and easier. Well done Airfix!
And so just before we get into the build, here’s a quick look at how it all turned out…