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AEC Matador
Taking The Rough With The Smooth

by Steve Richards

 

 

S u m m a r y

Title and Author AEC Matador
Taking The Rough With The Smooth
by Steve Richards
Self-Published 2009
ISBN: 978-0-9563708-0-8
Media:

Soft, glossy, laminated card, colour covers; sub-A4 portrait format on 80 semi-gloss pages (23 in colour) and includes around 165 photographs.

Price: GBP£15.99 net
Review Type: First Read
Advantages:

An invaluable resource for modellers and historians.  Useful detail as well as many excellent photographs.

Disadvantages: None really, though some 'Walk-Around' photographs would have been nice.
Recommendation: Books on the Matador are pretty thin on the ground, so having all this information in one place is a huge bonus.   Well worth the asking price and definitely one for the reference section.

 

Reviewed by Steve Naylor


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FirstRead

 

Whatever our main transport or modelling interests, I am sure that some of us probably have a favourite military or civilian vehicle, one which, for whatever reason, evokes feelings of pride or nostalgia.  Well, ever since I got to sit in the cab of one as a child, at the firm where my late father worked in the early 1960's, the AEC Matador has been my favourite truck/lorry.  So it was with some surprise and  delight, that I came across this new book at this year's Scale ModelWorld at Telford and knew immediately that I had to have a copy.

Self-published by author Stephen Richards, with printing by Ian Allan Printing and design by Stephen Thompson Associates, this new book covers the AEC Model (O)853 'Matador' (4x4) and Model (O)854 (6x6) vehicles.  Note that the latter, whilst often also referred to as 'Matadors', technically were never given a name and that whilst the '(O)' refers to the oil-burning engined variants (i.e. Diesels), the petrol-engined variant (if applicable) is also covered.

 

 

The book is broadly divided into three sections.  Part 1 covers the AEC Model (O)853 (4x4) 'Matador' and its derivatives; the Armoured Command Vehicle (ACV), Deacon Self-Propelled (SP) Gun and the various civilian adaptations.  Part 2 covers the Model (O)854 (6x6) vehicles; the Refuellers, Coles Crane and the Mobile Oxygen-Nitrogen Plant.  The third section is a series of appendices covering; Military colours (British Army,  Navy and Air Force), tabulation of the various AEC types referred to in the text, a short piece on the four Matadors which were bought by the Irish army in the 1950's, a brief item on AEC's antecedents in the U.S. Four Wheel Drive Auto Company of Clintonville (Wisconsin), a look at the Douglas Timber Tractor (based on the Matador), information on the (O)854 (6x6) flame-thrower versions (for airfield and dock defence), a potted history of  AEC (the Associated Equipment Company) from 1912-1979, a piece discussing the differences and problems with 'all-wheel drive' and finally a list (not exhaustive) on surviving vehicles of both types.

 

 

Mention should be made of the fact that a fair bit of the information contained in the book is drawn from a booklet published by AEC in about 1947, called 'Contribution To Victory'.  This is acknowledged by the author and is totally understandable given the paucity of archival material which has survived.  That said, the sum of information contained in this new book is an invaluable resource and modellers, as well as historians, will certainly find a great deal of useful detail as well as many excellent photographs.  Whilst black and white photographs predominate, colour photographs are included, though the vast majority of these are understandably of the survivors (mainly restorations).  The pick of the historic photographs however, has to be the one at the bottom of page 54 and must qualify as 'Diorama Idea of the Week'.  This picture shows a Short Sunderland GR Mk.V of 205 Squadron RAF Detachment, moored off Direction Island in the Indian Ocean, about to be refuelled from an AEC Refueller embarked aboard a tank landing craft (see sample page)!

 

 

Conclusion

 

Books specifically about AEC's Matador and its derivatives are pretty thin on the ground, so in some ways it is in a class of its own.  On the other hand, to have all this fantastic and detailed information to hand in one place is a huge bonus and well worth the asking price I think.  Modellers certainly have no excuses, what with kits of this iconic vehicle in various scales (1:72, 1:48 and 1:35) and now this great book to guide them -  its time to 'get sticking' as they say!  Peppered with images of Matadors amongst aircraft on airfields, in the deserts of North Africa or rumbling through the streets of Normandy, this book is definitely one for the reference section.

Book purchased by reviewer.  


This book is self-published by the author, Stephen Richards (aecmatadors@tiscali.co.uk), but copies should be available to order from most good book outlets.


Review Copyright 2009 by Steve Naylor
This Page Created on 15 December, 2009
Last updated 18 December, 2009

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