Monday, February 3

Review build - Clayton makes a sales pitch for Bronco’s 1/35th scale Italian Light Civilian Car (Hard Top) w Lady & Girl w Dog

The little Fiat kit in 35th scale from Bronco has been a very useful new tool for them - This is the fourth development of this tiny car, so we thought we would build one to see how it goes together – We threw it at Clayton who likes small vehicles – with a gulp he dove right out of his comfort zone into the build and diorama to suit it…

Italian light civilian car (hard top) w lady, girl w/dog
Bronco Models
1/35th scale
7 sprues of Injection moulded plastic + 1 clear
1 Photo Etched sheet
Markings for many civilian cars
Available from: Bronco’s Distributors Worldwide

In all honesty I wouldn’t have given this kit a second look on the shelf at the local hobby store but when the opportunity arose to put it together I thought it was a great chance to try something different and potentially use the vehicle in a diorama down the track. So in keeping with my latest trend of building completely out of my comfort zone, I found myself building this tiny Italian hardtop from Bronco Models.

The sprues -  firstly the car
Then the figures and the canine - first the mother

Then the little girl

and even suitcases!

The Decals & Photo etch -  the decals are good for several different number plated Italian cars.
The little poster for inspiration is nice 

The size of the box misled me a little I have to say. Upon opening it I couldn't help but be surprised by how tiny this mobile really is. It is minuscule! That said, on first impression the kit looks beautiful. It has been carefully packaged to protect the shell of the vehicle. 

The instructions are nice and bright and appear reasonably simple to follow.

Now the closest I have build to a civilian car would probably be a Kubelwagen, so the idea of producing a pristine passenger vehicle probably was never going to be a good fit for me. I am an armour guy through and through. That said I didn’t want to take the easy road and put this together as a vehicle commandeered for military use. 
 I liked the thought of some chrome showing and painting a vehicle in red rather than Olive Drab or Dark Yellow. But I wanted to give this vehicle some street credibility too…  so the journey began.

Steps 1 and 2 are the engine and chassis construction. Very basic and I flew through the construction.  I made the decision early in the peace not to be displaying the engine, so I just completed what I had to.
 A word of warning though for step 2. Make sure the rear axle sits perpendicular with the chassis. I later found out that mine was slightly askew. You couldn't tell at this stage but when the shell of the vehicle goes on any error is magnified as the distance around the wheel clearance should be equal…  my wheel was sitting back and looked terrible and I had to make some adjustments. That wasn’t fun.

Step 3 – wheel assemblies – very straight forward. I sprayed the chrome hubcaps with Alclad to give them a real pop on the model. Looks very much like real chrome. Now Alclad does say on the bottle there is no need to seal the paint, but I found it was rubbing off when I touched it. I then decided to clear coat over the top with the Alclad gloss varnish and it completely set the chrome off and went black !

RESPRAY the chrome… Don’t touch it, don’t seal it… just be careful I tell myself. Press on

STEP 4 – fitting the wheels to the chassis and the steering hardware. Just show a little caution as some of the parts can be a little fragile.
STEPS 5-7 are the internals of the vehicle – There really isn’t much to tell here – very basic. I think the vehicle may have had a back seat too, so not sure why there isn’t one in the model? I could be off the mark here though as I didn’t do a heck of a lot of research.
STEP 8 – The substructure of the engine bay goes together here. Given I wasn’t going to display the engine I didn’t give this step the time it deserved. I think If I had taken a bit more care at this stage I wouldn’t have had fit issues down the track at step 10.

And the small frame together - you can take the top shell off whenever you choose without gluing it which is a massive help at the painting stage..
 The engine can be displayed if you take off the bonnet vents - small but impressive..
STEP 9. There are a couple of small pieces shown to fit on the pillars of the roof.  I actually felt they looked too bulky and out of scale so I decided to leave them off the build. I assume they were some kind of air vent and I didn’t feel it was adding anything to the kit. I have seen pictures of this vehicle with and without them so I can only assume it was some kind of option? Putting the windscreen in was interesting.  It literally is just about a perfect fit in the shell of the vehicle.  There are no locator brackets or mouldings to glue it in place.  Be careful not to use an adhesive that will have an effect the clear plastic.

STEP 10-11 Assembling the shell and bonnet on the chassis as well as the doors.  I did have issues trying to get the bonnet to sit neatly, but like I said I strongly suspect a little more care at Step 8 may have avoided this.
A tiny photoetch bonnet ornament is also part of this step.  I pre-painted all the photoetch in Alclad chrome (with the primer pre-coat) but shouldn’t have bothered as it all just chipped and flaked when cutting and handling it. Need to refine the technique there I think.The tiny photoetch door handles are also a challenge to bend and handle. I fudged my way through that.

At this stage I painted the red and masked it up to spray the black for the wheel arches.

STEP 12. Speaking of tiny photoetch…. then came the bonnet clips.  I love the idea of these things in theory, but I think the kit would be better served with something simplified and manageable. These parts were just too fine for their own good.

The grille is impressive but the chrome was difficult to get right
STEP 13. Passenger side doors & windscreen wipers. From what I could see a lot of these cars only had the one wiper…  so I followed suit.  The photoetch again is very fine and fragile, so exercise some care and caution on that one.

STEP 14-15. The finishing touches.


I think the biggest mistake I made with this kit is I underestimated the amount of time and skill would be required to get a good result out of the finish.

I really was trying to get all the chrome to pop on this model, so I spent a lot of time masking and preparing the file lines on the grill, the light surrounds, hub caps as well as small details on the photoetch.  My issues with the Alclad rubbing off really set the painting back some time and became quite a frustration.  In the end I figured I would be dirtying the vehicle up anyway, so I didn’t get too caught up with the chrome.

The car int he first stages of paint
The model was painted with Vallejo Air acrylics and had a number of washes and clear coats.  I am still experimenting with the True Earth products for aging and fading, but the more I look closely at the results I am getting the less I am liking them.  Sometimes it is better to stick to the methods you are familiar with.

Her is the little car all painted and weathered - it came a long way and the end result is very pleasing and realistic to the eye


The kit comes with a lady holding a little girl’s hand and a little dog. They assembled well and look reasonably life-like for a plastic figure.  I think the child’s hair might have looked nicer in a plat or ribbons. As it is it just looks a little bit like a “Lego” head.

The Scene. 
The setting I was working around this car changed so many times before I finally settled on it.  The vignette is entitled ‘The Sales Pitch’.  ‘Da Affittare’ translates (from what I understand) to ‘for rent’. I like the idea of the prim and proper lady and girl, a little out of place needing a ride.  The little scruffy ‘salesman’ is doing his best to secure the next passenger whilst the old fellow watches on enjoying the show.
In conclusion, this kit offers a lot of possibilities.  It isn’t going to appeal to everyone, but it does span the gap between the auto modellers and the armour guys.  As I mentioned before, I really underestimated this kit, and given the chance I would approach it very differently. That said it was a nice change of pace for me and definitely out of my comfort zone but I would recommend it to someone looking for something a little different, or those looking for an interesting subject to build a diorama around.
Clayton Ockerby

Thanks to Bronco Models for sending this kit for us to build