Denzil Skinner A3 Staghound Anti-Aircraft Vehicle

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This model is the Denzil Skinner A4 Staghorn Anti-Aircraft Vehicle in Olive. This particular model comes with the original, plain card box as issued under the "Tanks of All Nations" series. This particular model appears to be based on the T17E2 variation of the Staghorn.

In July 1941, the US Army Ordnance issued specifications for a medium armoured car alongside a specification for heavy armoured car (which resulted in the T18 Boarhound). The Ford Motor Company built a six wheel, 6 x 6 prototype which was designated T17 and Chevrolet built a four wheel, 4 x 4 model designated T17E1.

At the same time, the British Purchasing Commission was also looking for medium and heavy armoured cars for use in the war in North Africa. Both the T17 and T17E used the same turret which was designed by Rock Island Arsenal, with British requirements driving some of the design features, such as putting at least two crew in the turret and placing the radio in the turret so that it was close to the commander.

The British allocated the name "Staghound" to the T17E series. British liaison officers had had contact with the Chevrolet engineer in charge of the project and felt they had influenced him sufficiently to produce something that met all their requirements. Accordingly, in December 1941, the British Purchasing Commission formally requested production of 300 vehicles. The US Army authorised the production of 2,000 vehicles in January 1942. The British order was confirmed in March 1942 when the pilot T17E was delivered to the Aberdeen Proving Ground. Testing showed some flaws, but these were expected to be correctable, and a further 1,500 vehicles were contracted for.

Production started in October 1942. The US Army convened a board to examine the state of the multitude of armoured car projects and recommended, in December 1942, the cancellation of the larger designs and standardisation on a smaller vehicle. This lighter vehicle would appear as the M8 Greyhound vehicle. However, the British applied for T17E1 production to be continued for the United Kingdom, under the provisions of the Lend-Lease Agreement, and 3,844 Staghounds were produced in total.

The Staghound was an innovative design that incorporated some advanced features. It had two rear-facing 6-cylinder engines with automatic transmissions (with 4 forward and 1 reverse gears) feeding through a transfer case to drive both axles. Either two-wheel or four-wheel drive could be selected. Either engine could be shut down while in motion and taken out of the drive train. Additionally, a power steering pump was incorporated that could be switched on or off manually from the driver's instrument panel depending on steering conditions. Steering and suspension components were directly attached to the body as the structure was rigid enough to dispense with the need for a separate chassis.

The T17E2 was an T17E1 fitted with a Frazer-Nash-designed turret mounting two 0.5 inch M2 Browning heavy machine guns. The turrets were built in the US for British Motor Torpedo Boats. Redesign of the turret and mounting was carried out. 2,610 rounds were carried. The turret was open-topped and had an electric-hydraulic traverse system with a maximum slew rate of 55 degrees a second.[18] It had a reduced crew of 3: commander/gunner, loader and driver. 1,000 units were produced between October 1943 and April 1944, when production stopped.

A data sheet for the T17E2 can be found here

The model features no opening parts, but the turret does rotate. All features are finely cast into the body casting. At the front two forward viewing hatches are cast into the main body. Above these is a finely cast turret with two tiny anti-aircraft guns. On the both sides there appears to be fuel tanks, lockers, and hatches into the vehicle. The rear body consists of the engine hatches, and rear radiator grille or locker. The model has no glazing.

All wheels are cast metal - solid one piece cast metal hub and tyre shapes fitted to a steel rod. The rods are soldered or glued in place and the wheels do not rotate.

There is no base plate as the main body is a single casting, and the underside is not marked with manufacturer's mark or country of origin details. The locating "rivet" for the turret casting is clearly visible.

Chevrolet T17E2 - Armored Forces Board Photo - US Forces photos are Public Domain
Armored Forces Board 1943 - Public Domain.

I do not know exactly when this item was issued but believe it to be between 1953 and 1966. I believe the scale to be 1:109 as the length of the T17E2 was 5436mm (see datasheet link above) and this model is 50mm long (5436/50 = 108.72).

Item: 4003