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1/72 Chinese Nationalist (Kuomintang)

6x4 Armoured Car Model Photos


Model and Photos by Ley Reynolds - Australia



Chinese Nationalist (Kuomintang) 6x4 Armoured Cars

Historical Notes

In 1936/37 the Soviets delivered four BA-3 and about forty BA-6 heavy armoured cars to Republican Spain – I know this article is about Chinese armoured cars (but bear with me) which were built on GAZ-AAA truck chasses. These were, in turn derived from the Ford-Timken 6x4 chassis. Between 1937 and 1939, Union Naval de Levante and General Motors Peninsular SA, advised by the Soviet Colonel Nicolai Alimov, constructed about seventy “Chinese copies” on the slightly longer Chevrolet Series S and Series T 6x4 truck chassis. These were known as Autoametralladora Blindada Chevrolet 1937, the survivors of which had a varied career with the French in 1940 and the Germans in 1941-43.

Now we come to China! In the late 1930s the Kuomintang (KMT) built a series of armoured cars on GMC 6x4 truck chasses, probably in Shanghai. At the time, the Soviets were providing large numbers of military advisers and armoured fighting vehicles to the KMT. As such, it is reasonable to assume that, being familiar with the BA-3/6 series of armoured cars, they had some input into the design and construction of these vehicles. One type even had more than a passing resemblance to WW1 Russian types of armoured cars, probably due to many Chinese warlords employing ‘White Russian’ mercenaries in the 1920’s.  The KMT’s National Revolutionary Army defeated and absorbed some of these warlord armies and mercenaries, who presumably found further employment with the KMT.

The Vehicles

Comparison of numerous photographs from Spain and much fewer and poorer photographs from China show that the chassis used by the KMT were very similar, if not identical. However, the single rear wheels on the Chinese armoured cars point to lighter bodywork.

There were at least three (3) distinct designs, hereafter referred to as Types 1, 2 and 3. Type 1 vehicles were noteworthy for the semi-cylindrical sponsons at the rear – reminiscent of the WW1 Putilov designs. The front hatches are hinged but those on the doors and on the sponsons, seem to be internal sliding affairs. The overall colour seems to be three or four shades, possibly green/brown/sand/grey. They also displayed a blue/white “sun-disc” on the hull sides and a single digit number on the doors. There may have been a rear door between the sponsons and the armament seems to be light machine guns – Czech ZB26, Finnish Lahti SAloranta M26 and Canadian manufactured Brens as they were in use with the KMT at this time.

The Type 2 armoured car was generally similar but without the sponsons. The colour scheme seems to be two or three shades, all rather dark. On both types accessories such as lights, mirrors and wheels all have a definite 1930s civilian look about them.

The Type 3 is a more 1940s looking design. Note that the turret has two gun-ports and may have a pintle mount (not shown on the drawings).  In addition, the sand-channels are only shown in elevation. The vehicle colour is a medium shade (darkish grey?) again with the “sun-disc” displayed on the hull sides.


The few photographs available of the three Types all show urban surroundings. As the best trained and equipped KMT Divisions were stationed in and around Shanghai and along the Yangtse River, it is probable that is where these vehicles were employed. Presumably many of these armoured cars were lost during the destruction of these forces by the Japanese invaders in 1937-38. However, photographs of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Victory Parade in Peking in 1949 show quite a number of Type 3s participating. Therefore, these at least may have been built in large numbers and/or for several years. Finally, you should note that there were detail differences between the vehicles, so more than one factory may have been involved in production.

The Model

Any model of these vehicles must be scratch-built. No doubt there are some kits which can provide a suitable 6x4 chassis, but this will not save much time. I've decided to build a 1/72 model of the "Type 1" Armoured Car.  The first step is to cut a floor plate from 1mm plasticard. The chassis/engine/drive train/springs/etc are then added to the underside of same. The hull can then be created in various thicknesses of plasticard and added, making sure that all is square and plumb. Detailing will be in plasticard and rod, although kit parts from your spare box can be used for the front mudguards will save time/effort. Finally, any 1930s pattern truck wheel/tyre combination will complete the model.  You can see my 1/36 scale drawings if you click on the "PDF" Logo below.





Copyright - Ley Reynolds 2022