Thousands of this combination were made for the military during WWII. Thornycroft had proved themselves very good builders of heavy weight trucks and the Amazon was as good as any. Available in short and long wheel base versions depending upon the task requires Amazon chassis sold well and had many different bodywork options put on the back. Whether hauling articulated trailers, carrying loads on flat beds or as operating platforms for cranes the Amazon proved more than good enough. 

    The Coles MKVII 'E.M.A.' crane was a triumph of electromechanical engineering. Coles had been making steam cranes for decades but as a company were not slow to take up new ideas. One of which was using electrical motors to turn screw mechanisms and cable drums rather than steam. Electrical motors were much smaller and more powerful by the 1920s, clearly ousting steam, and coupled to a diese,l or petrol, motor generators gave quick, safe, clean(er) service than steam ever could.

    To meet War office requirements, for recovery of 'downed' aircraft and damaged AFVs, the Coles crane - Amazon chassis combo' was put together and found to be effective. Coles cranes were put on the standard SWB chassis primarily but the LWB chassis was also used, with an operators platform and guard rails placed between the cab and the crane unit itself. Coles MK VII cranes were also put onto AEC Matador chassis for the Army and Leyland Retriever chassis too. But the SWB Amazon chassis was by far the most common version.

    After the war many of the vehicles were sold off as war surplus, all around the world. They made their way into the civilian market and went on to lead long, productive lives well into the 1960s, even the '70s. During their civilian duties many alterations and additions were made, for the specific jobs they were bought for and probably depending on the budgets available to the owners too, leading to a variety of looks for the cranes.

                                                                     1/72nd scale kit.

                                                                         Built by Ian. 

    Many decades ago Airfix released the RAF recovery set including this Coles crane combo. Ian originally made this model as a young teeanager where the model took it's place on the floor amongst other wargaming toys. After years on the loft it was rediscovered and rather than simply thrown away sparked the idea of being renovated and taking it's place in the Commercial vehicles collection.

    Ian did some research on the internet and found quite a lot of pictures of these cranes, some in better states than others, but enough to get him thinking. Sadly trying to get enough pictures of one particular crane proved too difficult, so this offering isn't a specific crane but more of a representation allowing Ian to pick and choose from some of the many individual 'enhancements' made by civilian companies post war.

    The aim is to show a 1940s built version, slightly later model with double cable operation rather than the original screw lift operation, that has had a hard life in the hands of a small, underfunded, independent contractor.

    What should have been a quick renovation turned into a total rebuild and upgrade lasting several months. Many additional details and conversion enhancements have been made, far more than can be listed. We'll let the pictures speak for them selves. It is all brush painted with Humbrol enamels and Citadel acrylics.