For experienced modellers only. Experience is needed in working with delicate resin parts,photo-etch and super glue to build the model. This is NOT an easy-to-assemble plastic construction kit. Some warping may be evident, so use hot water to straighten parts as necessary. Do not bend without heating. Damage may occur on parts with thicker casting tabs.When removing the casting tabs, cut them off instead of snapping them off.
In 1954, Lars Larsson, the chief design engineer for a Swedish farm equipment company, AB Westeråsmaskiner, decided to develop a tracked vehicle to take him and his brother on fishing trips in the winter. The company put his snow vehicle into production in 1957. The Aktiv Fischer Snow-Trac was a tracked vehicle was manufactured from 1957 to 1981 in Sweden. It ran on two rubber tracks which gave it a very low ground pressure. It was powered by an industrial Volkswagen flat four boxer engine through a 4-speed manual transmission. The ST4 was suitable for both deep snow and soft surface use. The engine developed about 40 horsepower, but this changed from year to year – earlier models developed 36 hp, with later models developing 54 hp. The steering was a unique mechanism called a ‘variator’ that used a traditional automotive steering wheel instead of levers. Early brochures describe it as “As easy to drive as a car.” With a length of approximately 3.6 metres, the vehicle was the size of a small car. In the cabin, side-facing bench seats could accommodate up to 7 passengers. Entrance was by doors at the rear. (SMM3544 – Civilian Version)
The Snow-Trac proved to be a successful export. Approximately 2,265 were manufactured in Sweden between 1957 and 1981. Numerous accounts from Antarctica related its successful use by research organisations. They were used at all major Antarctica research bases by numerous government research bodies. Several examples now reside in museums with Antarctic research exhibits. Production ceased when VW stopped European production of the engines. 550 were shipped to Alaska. 142 were known to have been shipped to Scotland from 1962 onwards for civilian use.
The British Army had a special NATO role, reinforcing the Norwegian Army in the event of an invasion of Norway. The Army therefore needed vehicles which could operate in snow. It had a load capacity of 0.5 ton. A small number of Snow Tracs was purchased (thought to be 122) for this role in 1970 (SMM3542). Most were operated by the Royal Marines. REME, and REME trained Marine tradesmen, used Snow-Tracs in workshop detachments and as light recovery vehicles. At least one was sent to the Falklands, after the 1982 campaign, used for relief work. The ST4 could be fitted with an electrically powered winch on the front bumper and was capable of being lifted by Wessex or Sea King helicopter.
Small numbers were adapted to carry the 120 mm Wombat BAT anti-tank gun in the rear. It is not known if the gun was ever fired from the vehicle, though two photos do exist which suggests it was. It certainly did not carry its own ammunition, so was dependant on other vehicles for resupply, presumably normal ST4s (SMM3542). The Wombat itself is also available separately (SMM3539).
SMM3543 Aktiv ST4 Snow-Trac Royal Marines 120 mm BAT Wombat Carrier
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