Wednesday, October 29

Review: Bronco’s 1/35th scale World War II British Airborne Weapon and equipment Set

We sense a massive British paratrooper diorama in the offing – with Bronco models already making new models of 6 pounders, jeeps, several parras and weapons and a Horsa glider on the way we see the need for some stowage and weapon paraphernalia and guess what? Bronco are now offering that as well – we thought we would build it all up for you in our review.
Review: WW2 British Airborne Equipment
World War 2 British Airborne Weapon and equipment Set

1⁄35th scale
24 small sprues in grey plastic
Photo etched sheet
Waterslide decals &
Instruction booklet

Available from Bronco's Distributors worldwide

Bronco Models is building up to a large scene with British “Red Devil” Paratroopers. They have several kits to suit your WWII airborne drop scene, with a real plethora of new kits in 5th scale to suit your after D-Day needs. Now we liked the look of this set in the previews of the kit built from Bronco, but with one eye on a future large diorama we thought we would me them up to show you if they are any good or not.
I can just see a para drop resupply or landing with a set like this making up the props..
The kit comes in a medium/small size box packed with twenty four small sprues of grey plastic. There is a photo etched fret inside with a small waterslide decal sheet as well.
The plastic comes in good order. Although there are lots of small parts there really isn’t many of the seams you will need to remove – well not as much as other kits like this. Only a little bit of scraping here and there was needed to have these ready for painting and gluing.

The use of slide moulding on some of these parts like the Bren guns are a welcome sight - it's good to see their big barrels opened up
The brass photo etched sheet features in majority spoked wheels for the pushbike and the smaller wellbike. There are also tiny parts for the cage of the homing pigeon and straps, cords and other details for things like the radio. Tiny detail is replicated here – but you just have to be careful in the application. Thin superglue that dries fast and use the thinnest tweezers to apply them to limit collateral damage.

The PE sheet and Decals compared to a "massive" 1 pence coin
The decals are a small sheet and cover the stencil lettering for the Wellbike and the PIAT anti-tank gun as well as some other small numbers. These decals lend some detail far neater than you could paint yourself.

 The instructions are in a black and white but highlighted with colour  twenty four page booklet. The instructions were easy to follow and error free in the building of the kit we had. The colour shows you a basic painting guide for each of these parts and it is helpful to a certain extent.
These plastic sprues are often in multiples to make the plethora of goods in a finished kit and there are lots of them – anything you might find in the back of a Horsa glider or even a paratrooper’s cargo drop like Sten MK IVs, PIAT guns and ammo an the wicker boxes they come in, Webley revolvers, Lee Enfield rifles, Bren guns, a collapsible cargo trolley plus Airborne drop containers that these were dropped in and finally a pushbike and even a fold-up tiny Wellbike! There are heaps little plastic sprues in this box – and opening the box it all looks tiny and delicate. So let’s have a look at the sprues and build the bits as they occur on the sheet

We though you want to see the weapons first - these weapons come on several small sprues and do not really need much clean up before they are ready to go – no real flash present here is a good thing as some of the parts are delicate and could easily break when stripping plastic from them.

there are several things that go bang included herea nd all are typlcal "Red Devil" issue for the late WWII armoury. Heaviest of them is the P.I.A.T. which uses photo etched parts to complete the thinner sections of the loading chamber. Here it is -w e did forget to make this one up sorry! but you can see it pretty well on the sprue.
 These four sprues are from left to right :
4 Camouflaged Helmets - The pidgeon - a PIAT and projectile & the cage of the carrier i thought that we would mention the carrier pigeon and cage in 35th scale - i am not aware of too many of these on the market just now but i know that especially around D-day and of course Market Garden and onwards carrier pigeons were used extensively and were the only reliable method of communication with the rear when the radios didn't function so well during Market Garden but all through the war on all sides

"A little birdie told me...!
Was this the place that launched the first "Tweet" ? The photo tech makes a good cage in scale thickness but it's a little fiddly - use thin superglue and very thin pliers. I could not find any pigeon boxes like this but i am happy it is included here!
The original No#18 radio
On the left side of the picture above is the No#18 Wireless set which is is something not often seen in a kit like this . It has the folded canvas covers and the metal case which can be shown as closed up or open for operation as you can see in the instructions below. The receiver and speaker are included and some photo etch again can be used to help recreate scale thickness with these items.
Included in this kit are three Bren machine guns with three Sten MkIV SMG’s, six Webbley revolvers,  of which three of these are in holsters (why they would be lying around in holsters is anyone’s guess but handy anyway) and lastly three Lee Enfield .303 SMLE rifles on multiple sprues.
 They sure do give you plenty of laid aside ordinance!
The weapons are shown in this picture above in the five Wicker Panniers that the parras used to carry general goods and ammunition.
 Here is the wicker pannier closed up - some have the metal locks on them like this but the parra droped ones were strapped up - just like this one int he RAF manual showing how the parachute harness was attached.
 The wicker is very well reproduced in injection moulded plastic and under a dry brush it will look great!
Wonder what's in this one? It looks heavy..

The Wellbike

This tiny fold up bike of the Parras turned out to be more of a hindrance than a help – you could not duck off a bike as quickly as you dove into a ditch!
They came folded up inside their  drop containers and you have the option for a folded up bike or one ready to ride.
 You can see here from the instructions that it is a tiny handful and again thin tweezers and superglue were the order of the day. The spokes were from photo etch brass - but there was not a conical template for them so they were more than a little difficult to get into the right and equal shape on all four halves of the wheels.

The parts for this bike were mostly here in plastic although there was some tiny (tiny) PE included for wheels, chain and straps and the brake handle.
You have the option of making this bike in a folded position and a ready to ride version.
Having made a Harley WLA with  lot of photo etch a few weeks ago and knowing the time it took and the sticky fingers from slightly misfitting spokes I wasn’t keen on this one. Having no template to push the wheels into to shape them further daunted me but we must press on and I thought that a “Red Devil” wouldn’t let this hold him back if he had to make one – I dived in! Some sticky fingers later i found i had the smallest but neatest little and packed with detail bike on the block.
There are several decal choices for this bike included which is great - shame there is only one bike really.
The folded up version of this bike was dropped in the E Airborne Container of which there are five of them included here. They can be shown open or closed up. We think open with the bike inside it being built or folded is a better bet!
Included as well in an "open or closed case" are Radio Set in a Parachute Container - there are four of them and made from eight parts of plasice they are quite detailed. Although designed just for radios they were used for other stowage as well especially after the parras were setting up  base.
Four sprues make these useful diorama accessory that looks the part.
Collapsible Trolley
These trolleys were used for general "safe manual handling" and they are not often seen in pictures. There are several lock nuts here which secure it together and these will detail up very nicely.

This trolley went together easily and in real life they were canvas with rubber tyres.
 I found some pictures of a barn find trolley here - it should give you a good guide - notice Bronco have captured the little details of the strapping and locknuts and wheel tread pretty well .
Backpacks - there are nine of these on three different sprues. These are quite detailed and well sculpted with straps and flaps looking convincing and even a few of the backpacks are able to be constructed with straps on the rear of the bags shown.
 Here they are all made up with the camouflaged helmets next to them - pretty convincing!
BSA folding bike
Lastly there is one BSA folding Bicycle that is included in this kit. It is the Dio-Park kit with the option of either being made simply without the photo etched spokes or with plastic spokes which are a little thicker (a little too thick but twice as quick) - they take so much less time and potential mess that they are worth it and that is how we have made ours.
Photo etched chain and brakes with affore-mentioned PE wheel or no choice make this a good dio accessory that can be displayed folded or ready to ride.
Here it is completed...
The chain can still be made from plastic as seen above - simple and easy to make this bike is pretty good and another good thing to pack in there.

Now you can see why there were twenty four small sprues! All of this gear that does suit parras from the British and Commonwealth and their allies is all top shelf and pretty cheap as you used to have to get these all in resin.
Easy to make (the Wellbike was a little time consuming) this kit is a great addition and i like the fact i have it all mde up for when i add the "Red Devils" and all their gear to the Horsa in 35th scale that is soon to come

Well done Bronco this is a great set which is cheaper, easier to make and just as good looking as anything else in this class!

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to Bronco for sending us this kit to make and review.