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Land Craft 7: Land Rover (Paperback)

Military Versions of the British 4x4

Transport Modelling Photographic Books Colour Books Military

By Ben Skipper
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Series: Land Craft
Pages: 64
Illustrations: 200 colour & black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781526789730
Published: 8th January 2021

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After the Second World War many American military vehicles become surplus stock and soon found their way into the hands of farmers and land owners across Great Britain. The subsequent heavy use and the real possibility of difficulties obtaining spares led Maurice Wilks, the Rover Car Company Chief Engineer, to design and build a replacement. Not only would the new Land Rover fill a gap in Rover’s portfolio, but also bring in much needed post-war money.

Intended as a stop gap, the Land Rover would cease production almost 68 years later, after a production run that had produced over two million vehicles. During that time it would transform how the military saw and used motor transport. From utilitarian General Service truck to cutting-edge weapon’s platform the Land Rover would prove its worth time and again.

This latest LandCraft title looks at the design and development of the Land Rover as well as the military specific variants designed and built, including the famous SAS Pink Panther, the nimble Light Weight and powerful Forward Control gun tractor. The title will also look at those key conversions that took place on standard Land Rovers throughout the duration of its life span.

From the humble beings of the box like Series 1 to the formidable firepower and pace of the WOLF WMIK, the Land Rover was a constantly improved military vehicle. Through numerous trials, lessons learned and operational requirements the Land Rover was a vehicle that grew with the times.

This LandCraft title removes some of the mystique that surrounds the myriad versions and how the Land Rover developed. It also includes the story of the design and development of the exclusively military Light Weight and Forward Control versions. It also charts how the Land Rover became a virtual barometer for the technological and engineering developments that have occurred over the past 70 years.

It demonstrates how the Land Rover’s flexibility to change was its core strength. How the innovation of Rover and military mechanical engineers created a series of unbeatable military trucks.

This section also looks at the smaller, important developments and variations in design which showed how adaptable the Land Rover really was. From specialist signals line layers to first responder fire and rescue vehicles, to the unit- and theatre-led changes, the Land Rover was a vehicle that took all in its stride, proving its versatility.

For the modeller there is nothing more important than the little things and this image-rich section of LandCraft’s Land Rover title delivers the goods. Filled with crisp images, that chart the Land Rovers development, combined with detailed accompanying text, forms an enviable visual guide for the enthusiast and modeller alike.

I have ridden in Land Rovers many times, and driven one once, on private land at the back of the Stevenage Central Library back in 1969. I remember saying that I wanted one, and on my 17th birthday, my Dad bought me one - a 1/48th scale model of one which sat on my bedroom window for many years. Superb vehicles, superbly described in their military versions by Ben Skipper...

Books Monthly

Video review on Scale Modelling Now

Scale Modelling Now

​Highly recommended.

Click here for the full review

AMPS Indianapolis

Review by Major Gerry Bartlett

Well done Ben Skipper, this is a fascinating book with many wonderful pictures of Land Rovers for addicts like me.

Scratchings, March 2021

This offering from Pen and Sword as part of their Land Craft book series looking at the Land Rover Military versions of the British 4x4 is a great new addition to the Land Craft series of books, covering a vehicle that has performed so many different roles for the past 70 years means the modeller will have a life time of models to cover.

Read the full review here

Armorama

All together a good reference to a vehicle which has been so well known, especially in British military services for over 70 years. Modellers and Land Rover enthusiasts should like this one, and so good to see it added to the LandCraft series with what I think is author Ben Skipper's first book.

Read the full review here

Military Model Scene, Robin Buckland

About Ben Skipper

Ben, a RAF veteran, is an avid modeller and writer of military themes, specialising in 20th century subjects. Ben’s work has been featured in previous Pen & Sword titles and has, on occasion, won prizes.


His interest in British armour was cemented by a visit to the Kings Royal Hussars in the early 90s as an undergraduate in the Territorial Army. Upon graduation Ben joined the RAF, where he served for five years, clocking up the air miles in a range of RAF transport aircraft including the VC10 and C17.


It was while serving with the RAF that his first foray into writing occurred, reporting on his experiences of a Kosovo/FYROM tour for an in-service trade magazine. On leaving the RAF Ben continued to develop his writing and research skills working within the third sector and NHS researching military and veteran subculture. Some of this work would be used to shape key government veteran policies.


Using this experience he decided to strike out and write about a range of field sports topics. This included researching and writing numerous pieces, from visiting the magnificent Horses and Gunners of Kings Troop, RHA, to reviewing the sometimes questionable behaviour of gun dogs. In 2018 Ben successfully completed the British Guild of Agricultural Journalists John Deere Training programme, finishing as an Honour Roll Student. The highlight of the course was to be let loose with a 26 tonne quad track tractor.


Ben is also a visual designer with a love of fashion items and has designed clothing and accessories for Help for Heroes.

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