Monday, July 17

In-Boxed: Bronco's colourful Cruiser - Mk.II/IIA/IIA CS (A10 Mk.I/1A/1A CS) in 35th scale

Bronco Models has released a new 35th scale British Cruiser Tank in several marks - Mk.II/IIA/IIA CS (A10 Mk.I/1A/1A CS) – Clayton has got his out and is building it already – but first he stopped off to show you what is in the box in this – his In-boxed review...
In-Boxed: British Cruiser Tank Mk.II/IIA/IIA CS (A10 Mk.I/1A/1A CS),
Bronco Models
Kit #CB-35150
1:35th scale
New tooled kit
Plastic injection parts including transparent parts
Photo etch parts included
Price: 5,100yen/ 44.97USD at 1999.co.jp
Product Link on the Bronco Models Website
History of the Cruiser Tank
To meet the requirement of modern tank concepts, in 1936, the British War Office designated two different categories of tanks for future development. The first category is a fast mobile cruiser tank designed not only to perform reconnaissance and patrol tasks but also capable of making forays deep into enemy territory. The second Category is an armoured infantry tank designed to be used in close cooperation with infantry during attacks. Tank, Cruiser, Mk. II (A10)

Tank Cruiser MK. I, code A9 was the first ever built cruiser tank in the United Kingdom. But while the A9 was still a prototype type in 1934, the British War Office had requested the production firm, the Vickers Armstrong Limited, to develop a more heavily armoured vehicle for better infantry support role.
On September 1937, a soft steel prototype Tank Cruiser MK. II, code A10 was produced. The armour thickness has been increased from 35/64 inch (14mm) in the A9 to 15/16 inch (24mm). To reduce weight, the two front single man machine guns turrets were removed. The increase in protection was achieved by bolting extra armour plate to the exterior of the hull and turret. This is the first practice of the application of additional steel plate design ever in British Tank.

Tank Cruiser MK. II according to their own weaponry can be sub-divided into three variants.
1. Tank Cruiser MK. II (A10 MK. I) Equipped with a QF 2-pounder cannon and two 0.33-inch Vickers water-cooled machine guns.
2. Tank Cruiser MK. IIA (A10 MK. IA) Equipped with a QF 2-pounder cannon and two BESA air-cooled machine gun.
3. Tank Cruiser MK. IIA CS (A10 MK. IA CS) The CS (Close Support) version had a 3.7 inches (94 mm) howitzer in the turret assigned for infantry support role.

The production run A10 tank has turret, engine and suspension identical to A9, but the thickness of bolt plates has been increased to 1 and 3/16 inch (30 mm) and weighs has been increased to 14.3 tonnes. The maximum speed on road, however, drops to 16 mph, while off road only 8mph. As a result, the A10 tank is too slow to perform the cruiser tank duty such as forays deep into enemy territory. This shortcoming self-explain although the A10 tank saw combat in most of the early battles, such as France, North Africa and Greece, the final production number was only 175 and phased out very quickly when the new type of cruiser tank enter into service.
(taken from the notes on the Bronco Instruction Sheet)

First look
There is no doubt, that the A10 Cruiser has been one of those subjects that seem to have fallen through the cracks, and has been ignored by the mainstream model manufacturers over the years. There have been resin offerings in the past, but nothing accessible to the average modeller, so I was quite excited when I saw this release pop up in my news feed.
I do have a soft spot for these dorky looking early war tanks, and I do love the camouflage schemes that went along with them, so I knew this kit would need to make my workbench as soon as possible.

The first thing that struck me, even before cracking open the box, was the bright blue camouflage scheme depicted on the box art. In the past, I have done a lot of reading and research into these British Caunter schemes, and die a little death every time I see them popping up wearing a bright blue. The fact of the matter is, that scheme never had blue present. The colour was actually a greenish colour called Silver Grey. It would seem that the blue colour is a compounding error, and was brought about by one of the tank museums misinterpreting the colour…and everyone followed suit.
To my surprise, once I opened the box and took a look at the schemes noted in the instruction sheet, the actual colours were called out correctly. Furthermore, the kit offered a generous 7 different schemes to choose from. Each scheme is interesting and quite unique. So, bonus points to Bronco straight from the start for coming to the party with having the correct colours noted and offering such a wide variety of choice in markings, but points lost for the misleading colours on the box art…. But more on the schemes –

OPTION 1 – Kreuzer Panzerkampfwagen MkII Kenn Nummer 742(e), Kummerdorf, Germany 1940
Option 2 – A10 Mk.I HQ 2nd Armoured Brigade, 1st Armoured division in France, 26th May 1940.
Option 3 – A10 Mk.IA ‘Edinburgh’, HQ Squadron 2nd Royal Tank Rgt 7th Armoured Brigade 7th Armoured Division, Libya, 1940-41
Option 4 – A10 Mk.IA, T5941, A Squadron, 1st Armoured Division Royal Tank Regiment, 3rd Royal Tank Rgt, Greece, April 1941.
Option 5 – A10 Mk.1A, T9219, C Squadron, 1st Armoured Division, Alexandria, Egypt, October 1940
Option 6 – A10 Mk.1A CS, ‘Eastern’, A Squadron, 5th Royal Tank Rgt,2nd Armoured Division, Libya, Feb 1941
Option 7 – A10 Mk.1A CS, T5939, 3rd The King’s Own Hussars, HQ 7th Armoured Division, North Africa, January 1941.
As stated before, these schemes offer the modeller a great deal of variety, and if you can’t find something here you like, then you aren’t trying hard enough. The markings and schemes are a real strong point of this kit.

On to the kit...
I have found with Bronco kits, you either get something reasonably simple to build, or something extremely over the top with a huge part count. That said, one thing I have found, is that you always get a decent looking model at the end of the day. This Cruiser falls under the more simplified kits from Bronco. It has absolutely no interior detail, and the tracks are link and length, so it is clear from the get go, this is going to be a quick build. That is of course if you choose to build it straight from the box.
Instruction Sheet
The instructions are supplied in an A4 booklet form and appear to be clear and concise. There are 20 steps in total, however two of those steps will not be relevant as the modeller needs to choose the variant of tank they are going to build….so essentially there are 18 steps in the build process.
The kit contains only 222 moulded parts, with five parts in clear, and 18 pieces on a photo-etched fret. Let's have a look in a little more detail.
The kit sees 2 sets of sprue A. They contain the link and length sections of the tracks as well as some of the wheels and running gear
The moulding of the pieces seems to be clean, with no real extra material needing to be removed from sprues, and small details, like nuts on the wheels, for instance, are in sharp detail.
A close up of the tracks and more suspension.
Sprue B houses the top side of the tank as well as the guards.
Again, the moulding is excellent. Pay particular note to the screw head fixings toward the rear of the tank. They aren’t so obvious looking at the piece on the sprue, but I can tell you, with a little bit of paint and a wash on them, they will come alive.
Sprue C – some of the detail in and around the rivets and hinges is lovely. The catches on the tool boxes probably could have used a little more refinement, but in the scheme of things, this is a minor thing, and an observation only.
Sprue E contains the mantlet and barrel for the Howitzer option in the kit – You will need this sprue for the MK. IIA CS variant. It is worth noting the fine moulding of the barrel and the rifling on the inside of the barrel – really quite outstanding – (Ill highlight this in later shots)
Sprue F is the turret. Riveted detail looks good. Pre-moulded positions for PE parts are present, which concerns me a little, as they may be noticeable once the parts are set in place. It may be worth considering sanding them down prior to fitting the pieces.
Sprue D is the underside of the tank – Hardly any cleaning or work is required here. Well formed and ready to go.
A small clear sprue is included in the kit and contains the lenses for the lights as a couple of periscopes.
The kit supplied photoetch set is a nice addition. Simple, clean, usable etch to enhance the model and not taunt the modeller too much. The exhaust grill and supports for the running gear will have a big impact on the finished model and will add that taste of fine detail.
The decal sheet is printed cleanly and in registration from what I can see. These vehicles didn’t see a lot of markings, but as noted earlier, the kit supplies 7 different options, so the decal sheet has everything you need to take your pick. Looks like you will have a few decal options in the spares box after you have finished.
I have already pretty much built the kit – so next week will come the build guide – followed by my painting and weathering guide in part III – Stay tuned!

Clayton Ockerby

Thanks to Bronco Models for sending this kit to me to review & to build...
See more of Clayton’s work at his website “Workbench Hobbies” or join him on his Facebook page