Wednesday, January 13

In-boxed: Paul reviews Bronco Models new 35th scale "British Cruiser Tank A34 Comet"

With Bronco Models releasing a new version of the 35th scale Cruiser Tank A34 Comet tank and Paul being a bit of a fan he thought it only apt to let you know how this one differed from their previous Comet. See what’s different (or not) his review...

British Cruiser Tank A34 Comet
Kit No: CB 35010SP
Manufacturer: Bronco Models
Scale: 1/35
Type: Mutlimedia Kit with new tracks and cotton used as cable.
The A34 Comet finally gave the British Army the tank that they had been asking for during WW2 . Armed with the 77mm Mk OQF gun which was the tank version the famous 17pdr anti-tank gun, the British could engage German tanks at equal distances and have a reasonable chance of getting through the thick armour of the German Tigers and Panthers. 
Unfortunately, the shape of the armour betrayed the outdated design of the Comet tank, as well as the fact that the Comet didn't reach units until December of 1944 so they missed all major engagements of the war. This didn't mean the tank was unsuccessful however, as it also saw combat in Korea, and served in a handful of armies. Finland didn't retire their Comet tanks until the 1980's.
You can still see many Comets in working condition nowdays at tank shows lae at Bovington in the UK.
Bronco was the first manufacturer to release the Comet in styrene back in 2006, and this boxing is a re-release of the same kit with different box artwork but sharing the same kit number with an extra “SP” at the end.
The usual top opening box opens up and reveals its contents to be a variety of plastic, paper, and some etch metal.

The instruction booklet is usual well set out Bronco fare in a semi-gloss A4 booklet with the sprue list, line drawings with some coloured highlights for the instructions.
The original box mentions that this is a 4 in 1 kit so you could build any one of the four version of the Comet tank. This boxing does not mention this, and you do not find out until the construction phase where it gives you options for the idler wheels, rear exhaust arrangement, and minor details in the last step of the instructions. The four version are:
1.       Mk IA Early
2.       Mk IA Late
3.       Mk IB Early
4.       Mk IB Late

Markings for six vehicles are provided and each vehicle is presented in four coloured views, although they are all green vehicles. Unfortunately, they do not mention which version that they should be built into, but the profiles do illustrate the differences so make sure you study the profile of the vehicle you wish to build and then take note in the instructions.

The markings provided are:
1.       “Iron Duke” 1st RTR, 7th Armoured Division, Germany, April 1945
2.       “Cobra” 3rd RTR, 29th Armoured Brigade, 11th Armoured Division, North Germany, March 1945
3.       “Celerity” 3rd RTR, 29th Armoured Brigade, 11th Armoured Division, Belgium, March 1945
4.       “Crusader” 3rd RTR, 29th Armoured Brigade, 11th Armoured Division, Germany, April 1945 
5.       3rd Royal Tank Regiment, Sek Kong Camp, New Territory, Hong Kong 1957
6.       Finnish Armoured Brigade Training Unit, 1961 – 1980
Moving onto the kit, sprue A consists of the upper hull, lower hull outer sides and the main armament. 
The upper hull looks nicely moulded and detailed, as well as the outer sides of the lower hull. 
The main armament comes in two halves so there will be a long seam to deal with. The muzzle doesn't quite look right so I think a metal barrel would definitely be an improvement here, which Bronco has previously released this for sale separately, but other brands are available as well.
Sprue B is the hull tub which has some nice rivet and raised hatch details.
Sprue C are the four separate idler wheels that come in the kit.  These wheels are for the Mk IA Early and Late versions, and there is some conjecture about whether the ones in the original release were resin because they were supposed to be but looked like plastic to some. These ones look like plastic to me so they may be the same as the original.
You get two copies of sprue D, so predictably these will include the road wheels as well as other assorted details of the tank. You will find the spoked idlers for the Early and Late Mk IB version on this sprue. 

more suspension and shock absorber, towing cable and other details on Sprue D
Mouldings are typically very nice, although maybe not quite as crisp as top manufacturers such as Dragon or Tamiya.

Sprue E consists of the turret, and as you can see come in individual plates except for the top and rear which comes in one piece which will help with alignment of the plates.
The breech of the main gun can also be seen and very nicely detailed, although that is all the interior detail you get in the kit. One thing that is missing in this kit, and from the original as well, is the canvas cover for the mantlet. Bronco has previously released a vinyl replacement for this fairly significant piece of detail.

Notice the cast numbers on the mantlet, hatches and bolts are sharply detailed
 The rear of the turret and top details...
Sprue F has the partial side skirts, and other assorted details.Fenders, hatches and tools along with the rear 
Hatches are thickly moulded and the rear exhaust shroud is thin in comparison
 Fenders are separate to all ow later  placement..
The tracks are listed as Sprue G, and this is the biggest difference between this version and the original release. The tracks came in vinyl where this one comes with individual links. They instructions say not to glue them, and they do have the pins characteristic of Bronco individual tracks so that they just click together. However, my previous experiences with these tracks is that there are some pins which are not quite strong enough to hold the tracks together and will need glue to hold them in place.
A small fret of photo etch is listed as Sprue P and this mostly covers the exhaust grills and shrouds.
The decal sheet and a small length of string for the tow cables finish off the contents of this kit. The decals look nicely printed, although the red triangle with white borders appears to be out of register, however the box art and profile portrays this so it may be intentional.
Overall, the original was considered to be a good release so this will be the same, but with the vinyl tracks being replaced with individual links, this release will have that little bit of extra refinement compared to the original. With no interior provided, this looks like a much simpler build than some other Bronco kits so there should be happy modellers all round with this release.

Paul Lee

Thank you to Bronco Models for providing this kit to review