Monday, February 29

Build Review PT.I : Paul takes on Bronco's early war 35th scale Pz.Kpfw Mk III Ausf A (Sd.Kfz 141)

Building the complicated Bronco kits does not have to be difficult. – you just gotta know what to spend your time on! Paul Lee is a Bronco veteran and he wanted this build to be short and preferably sweet – Let’s see if he got his wish with his build of the new Bronco 35th scale early model Panzer III Ausf A (Sd.Kfz 141)

Build Review:
Pz.Kpfw Mk III Ausf A (Sd.Kfz 141)
Manufacturer: Bronco Models
1:35th scale
Type: Multimedia kit
Price: USD $¥6,960/ USD $61.06/ €55.85 from Hobbylink Japan

The Pz III was Germany's medium tank of choice used to engage other enemy tanks. Initially armed with a 37mm gun, the Germans recognized that it might not be sufficient for future combat so they designed the tank with a larger turret ring to accommodate a larger gun should the need arise. It was not long after the outbreak of the war that the Germans began upgrading the armament to a 50mm, although this would only turn out to be a short term solution and the Pz III tank would only remain in production until the middle of the war.
For this release, Bronco have chosen to release the Ausf A, which is the first of the Panzer III variants. Ten of this vehicle were produced in 1936 and are characterized by the five larger road wheels with two return rollers instead of the usual six wheels and three roller associated with the Pz III. The vehicles saw action for the Polish campaign but were withdrawn from service after that.
The instruction booklet comes in Bronco's standard glossy A4 booklet and Is nicely set out in black and white line drawings with the occasional coloured callout for the photo etch parts.
A sprue map showing just what's inside
Then on to the assembly - it does not look all that complicated...

Four marking options are provided at the end of the instructions and are printed in full colour in four profile views, although only the first vehicle comes in brown and grey and the other three vehicles are presented as all grey. However, I would say there is some contention with the colours because research suggests that German tanks were painted in grey and brown until the end of the French campaign. The marking options are as follows:
1.       Unidentified Unit, Germany, 1938-1939
2.       Unidentified Unit, Germany, 1940
 3.       Unidentified Unit, Germany, 1940
4.       1st Battalion, 1st Panzer Regiment, 1st Panzer Division, Poland, September 1939
The sprues are typical Bronco, and by that I mean well moulded, flash free, and a lot of small pieces, which I found to be overkill in a previous kit but in this case, quite reasonable.

You get two copies of Sprue A which will predictably form the suspension and running gear of the tank.
The sprue also contains a machine gun which forms part of the unusual feature of twin turret machine guns. The guns are nicely detailed and comes with the ends hollowed out which is a nice refinement.
The wheels are nicely done and the prominent suspension springs on the sides are well formed.
The louvres on the rear deck are deep and will go nicely with a wash. PE grills are also provided to go over these parts in the box.
Sprue B is an assortment of parts in no particular order. The 37mm main armament can be found on this sprue and has hollowed out at the end and appears to feature the rifling detail on the inside.
The fenders have a nicely done anti slip pattern on the top surfaces but are also detailed on the undersides as well.
 The front  glacis/ mantlet is suitably curved
 The top of the hull has provisions for  open hatches
 The hatches themselves are detailed on top and underneath
Sprue C is another assortment of details and has another pair of nicely moulded louvres for the rear deck.
 The cables and louvers are finely detailed and free of flash
 Lots of slide moulded parts supply a lot more detail and in single parts, this eliminates the need for excessive photo etch and stuck together fingers
Sprue D is mostly composed of the upper hull sections.
 Parts of the hull that are particular to this model are all on this sprue, leaving other variants as an easier process for Bronco
Sprue E comes attached to Sprue D and is composed of the pioneer tools with adorn the outside of the tank. An optional bucket is also included which is good to see.
Sprue F is the clear sprue for vision ports and headlight lens'.
You get four copies of Sprue G which are the track pins which is fairly self-explanatory
Sprue H is the lower hull tub and is nicely detailed on the undersides and the sides.
Sprue J being the commander’s cupola, with some nicely done bolt detail.
Sprue K is a jig for the track links.
Sprue M being the upper turret, and like the turret cupola, has some nice bolt detail.
Sprue N the upper hull.
Sprue P is the sheet of PE which include the grills which go over the louvres on the rear deck.
A small decal sheet rounds out the contents of the box
Oh… and an A4 poster of the box art is also included in the box. 
I am wanting to make this kit in a fast and easy way to cut down on some of the time that I did my last model in. So onto the build...In Part II of this review which will be up in a day or so here on TMN

Paul Lee

Thanks to Bronco Models for sending this kit to review.