Saturday, April 26

Clayton builds the 1/35 Bronco CV3/33 Tankette Serie II – Early Production

There is something that appeals to me about little tanks. I don’t know if it is the whole David Vs Goliath thing, or the disbelief of how the crews actually functioned in these machines. I like their toy like appearance and the part they played on the battlefield....
CV3/33 Tankette Serie II – Early Production
Bronco Models
1/35th scale

Available from Bronco's Distributors Worldwide.

When I saw Bronco were releasing this little CV3/33 tankette I was really keen to get my hands on it and build it up. I have seen variations on the kit before and loved the cramped interior the kit was providing.
On opening the box it becomes very apparent just how small this tank was. It really looks like it should be 1/48, but it is definitely 1/35!

The kit itself comes with a full interior and engine. I had decided from the start to not have the engine showing on my build, but thought I would build it up in the interests of the article.
Now I am pretty time poor these days, so I thought I would rip through the instructions and do as much sub assembly as I could to speed the build up. In hindsight this was a mistake, but more on that later.
Some basic sub assembly work. Be careful on the wheel assemblies. Because I rushed ahead I think my alignment of some of these pieces caused me issues with the tracks and wheels lining up properly. If I had followed the instructions and worked through them I feel this would have been avoided.
Forgive me for not taking a few more progress pics. I tend to get in a zone and forget. These pictures show the interior of the tank coming together. I wish Bronco had had some form of colour reference for the interior (and the engine for that matter) It was hard to get any form of decent information on the interior colours.  
The best I could come up with was a red oxide colour for the floor, a greyish white for the interior and the transmission was a burnt oil / metal finish. I am happy to be corrected on this, but this was the best I could come up with. Like I said, Bronco could have made it real easy and given us some colour specs !
There are some nice little photo etch parts for the pedals and levers in the cabin. The storage bays for the ammunition were empty, so it would have been a nice addition to have the option to load them up with something. That said I remained conscious that most of the interior would never see the light of day, so I tried not to get too tied up on the interior details.

I found the fit of the radiator (think that is what it is??) and engine extremely tight. Again I think this was a matter of me not running through the build in the order I should have. I really only included them in the interests of the build, so I wasn’t too upset with some misalignment as it was all about to be lost anyway 
Also in this pic you can see I have put all the wheel assemblies on the tank. That large brace that aligns all the wheels has to fit through the holes in the wheel assemblies. My wheels didn’t sit flush on the track because I had pre made them and couldn’t make any fine adjustments. I figured at the end of the day you probably wouldn’t notice it anyway.
I was a little disappointed there wasn’t a few spare links for the tracks.  My cat decided to help with the build and misplaced a couple of the tiny links… There were no spares… I did the best I could with joining them all up but as you can see it was far from ideal. The skewing was just the way it dried. That angle is the worst it gets. From the sides it looked fine.  Just be careful to keep track of the parts and keep your build in motion and it should all come together for you.
About to seal the model. Was a real shame saying goodbye to all the work on the interior.  Thought I would take a couple of last shots. I was planning on having a driver in the seat, but it was so tiny and cramped in there I thought better of it as most of the figures I was considering would have taken a lot of surgery to make them fit.
With the lid all sealed and the interior full of tissue the model is primed with an Alclad white primer and filler. 
The base is coated in Vallejo Air Sand Yellow. I was going to display both hatches open initially but later went in a different direction.
Skipped a few steps again sorry… Here I have free-handed the green camo pattern and added the decals as well as a basic oil wash. Because is the shrunken scale of the subject I feel that the overspray on the green is really noticeable and toyed with the idea of going in a different direction but figured it would tone down with further washes and dusting. Having said that, most of the reference shots I found had the tank looking pretty messy. 
The camouflage seemed to be applied in the field and generally quite random and varied in design and coverage.
Here you can see one of the exhaust pipes. I used a compound to add the texture is simulate a rusted pipe. It was coloured with pigments. Up close it looks a little odd, but to the naked eye it was reasonably convincing. I did however find the pieces didn’t line up as well as they could have. 
I went on to further shade the darker areas with the airbrush and did a number of further washes with oils.
I made the mistake of trying to chip it up a bit with a sponge and some black/grey paint. I feel that rather than looking like chips it just made the model look dirty. I had come too far to do anything about it though, so proceeded to give it a light dusting with Vallejo Ivory Sand and created a few streaks and rust marks with pigments.
I ended up closing one of the hatches because I felt it looked a little more interesting and you really couldn’t see much of the interior anyway.
There were a lot of tiny parts, especially the handles on the hatches that were really inclined to knock off. In the end I just had to replace missing handles with some cut wire. In reality they are so small on the actual model I decided it was a reasonable substitute.
I wanted to show just how tiny these tanks really were.  There are a number of Italian tanker figures available but the one I settled on was a WOLF miniature.
He was painted with Vallejo acrylics and oils. The molding on the resin figure is bulky but beautiful.  
When displaying the figure next to the tank you really get a feel for how claustrophobic and uncomfortable these things must have been for the crew of two.
The base is a simple plaster cast with kitty litter used to simulate rock. I was inspired by a pic I saw. Obviously different markings but I liked the terrain and the angular aspect. 
On reflection I would approach this build a little differently next time. I guess that is the thing with this hobby…there is always a lesson to learn. Some of the techniques I employed work on the larger scale tanks but tended to mess the smaller subject up. The small subject magnifies imperfection and is far more difficult to mask any errors in the build and finish.  That said to the naked eye the subject is tiny and reasonably forgiving. The camera really does show it all up.

I still love the subject and am a big fan of this Bronco kit. 

I can’t vouch too much for the accuracy of the kit or the number or position of bolts and rivets. The hobby has never been about that for me. It would have been nice to have a few spare tracks and handles, but that could have been avoided with a little more care on my part. The gun barrels were also a little unconvincing as they never really sat straight and parallel. A couple of metal barrels would have been an amazing addition, but that is a minor complaint.

Just be gentle with it, take your time and follow the steps in a methodical order and you will end up with a tasty little piece of history for your display cabinet.

Clayton Ockerby

thanks to Bronco for sending this model for Clayton to build - It is available from Bronco's Distributors Worldwide.
Feel free to check out some of Clytons other work at