18 Jun 2019

12mm Bantam Blitz Buggy from Butlers Printed Models

One Bantam Blitz Buggy. Available in 6mm (1/285), 12mm (1/144), 15mm (1/100), 20mm (1/76) and 28mm (1/56).

The forerunner to the Willys jeep, most of those produced were sent via lend-lease to the UK and Russia

By now the war was under way in Europe, so the Army's need was urgent and demanding: Bids were to be received by July 22, a span of just eleven days. Manufacturers were given 49 days to submit their first prototype and 75 days for completion of 70 test vehicles. The Army's Ordnance Technical Committee specifications were equally stringent: the vehicle would be four-wheel drive, have a crew of three on a wheelbase of no more than 75 in, later upped to 80 in, and track no more than 47 in, feature a fold-down windshield, carry a 660 lb payload, and be powered by an engine capable of 85 lb⋅ft (115 N⋅m) of torque. The most daunting demand, however, was an empty weight of no more than 1,300 lb.

Initially, only American Bantam and Willys-Overland entered the competition. Ford joined later. Although Willys was the low bidder, Willys was penalized for requesting more time, and Bantam received the contract, as the only company committing to deliver a pilot model in 49 days and production examples in 75. Bantam's chief engineer, Harold Crist, who had previously worked on the first Duesenberg, and been an engineer at Stutz Motor Company of Indianapolis for 18 years, drafted freelance Detroit designer Karl Probst to collaborate. Probst turned down Bantam initially, but agreed to an Army request and began work on 17 July 1940.

Probst laid out full design drawings for the Bantam prototype, known as the Bantam Reconnaissance Car, or BRC, in just two days, and worked up a cost estimate the next day. Bantam's bid was submitted, complete with blueprints, on 22 July. To save time, the vehicle was put together using commercial off-the-shelf components as much as possible. Bantam adapted body stampings from its car line: the hood, cowl, dash and curvy front fenders – and the engine was a 112 cu in (1.8 l) Continental four-cylinder engine making 45 horsepower and 86 lb⋅ft of torque. Custom four-wheel drive train components were provided by Spicer.

Using off-the-shelf automotive parts where possible had partly enabled drawing up the blueprints quickly. By working backwards, Probst and Bantam's draftsmen converted what Crist and a few others had put together into drawings. The hand-built prototype was then completed in Butler, Pennsylvania, and driven to the Army vehicle test center at Camp Holabird, Maryland. It was delivered on 23 September 1940. The vehicle met all the Army's criteria except engine torque. The Bantam pilot (later also dubbed the "Blitz Buggy" or "Old Number One") presented Army officials with the first of what eventually evolved into the World War II U.S. military jeep.

Bantam Blitz Buggy

Bantam Blitz Buggy picture 1

Bantam Blitz Buggy picture 2

Bantam Blitz Buggy picture 3

Bantam Blitz Buggy picture 4

Bantam Blitz Buggy picture 5

Pictures shown are for 15mm models

All models supplied unpainted, unbased and without crew (figures)

3D printed to order

Butlers Printed Models

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