Wednesday, April 30

Brett builds & back-dates the Vietnam Chaffee from Bronco - PT:II - Painting and finishing..

Brett's build of the Bronco Models kit of the M24 Chaffee left us hanging near the end - all that remain to do was to paint this mighty little beast and detail it up - and today we can bring you that in the second part of his build as tracks turrets and hull meet primer, paint & wash...

French M24 Chaffee in Indochina War
Bronco Models
1/35th scale
Kit No: CB35166
Build Review by Brett Reynolds
Available from Bronco’s distributors Worldwide

PT.I: construction..

Pt.II: Paint and finishing

..Yesterday we got to the painting and finishing needing to be the only boxes ticked on Brett's Bronco Chaffe build - and today he shows us how he finished it all off..

Nearly there guys!

In this review I certainly don’t intend to do a how-to on painting and weathering armour subjects as I am definitely not a master in that department, so plan to keep things simple. I also don’t want to detract from what is meant to be a build review.

The hull and turret assemblies were first primed with a coat of Tamiya Grey Surface Primer. The grey primer finish shows off the detail of the kit.

Tamiya Acrylic XF-62 Olive Drab was applied as a base coat and then progressively mixed with XF-60 Dark Yellow for fading effect.
Then assemblies were then sprayed with an acrylic gloss coat (Future) prior to decaling and weathering. The Bison decals were very thin and conformed well utilising the Micro-scale setting and softening solutions. The decals were sealed with another coat of Future.
I then proceeded with some detail painting before weathering with burnt umber & black oil washes. I’ve also wanted to try out some of the AK Interactive weathering products; Earth Effects, Dust Effects, Rust Effects and Dark Streaking Grime. I was happy with my first attempt.
Fitting the Tracks
The tracks received a base coat of Tamiya Acrylic X-18 Semi-Gloss Black. Random weathering with the same AK Interactive products was applied, followed up with some dry brushing.

With the hull painting completed the road wheels were then glued in place. The tracks were installed by sliding over the idler wheel going forward to the drive sprocket. The drive socket was gently rotated pulling the track through enough to join the ends.
Now this is where I discovered the problem with the track link count. There is definitely a sagging issue there.
I managed to find online the instructions for an earlier release of this kit which say the T72E1 track should be 72-to-73 links long. I removed two tracks to correct which looked much better.
I included a sample of the stowage accessories included in the kit; spare track links, jerry cans, .50-cal ammo boxes, a rolled tarp and a couple of field packs. Only the M1 helmet is not included in the kit. The completed .50-cal M2 machine gun assembly was fitted to the tripod mount and stretched sprue was used for the antennas. The hull and turret assemblies then received an airbrush coat of Testors Flat Coat to finish everything off.

I found this kit to have its challenges but overall it was enjoyable to build. The fit was excellent with virtually no flash. Sink holes from the injection moulding are typically hidden after assembly. Extra care needs to be taken when assembling the upper hull segments as no locator tabs are provided, but everything does line up well if the builder doesn’t try to do too much too quickly.

The working suspension and running gear proved to be the hardest thing for me. It was the first time I attempted building such a kit with that feature. Also, being a light tank subject, all the parts to make this work are small and delicate, so care needs to be taken during and after assembly. Assembling the tracks was easier than I expected and they look convincing. 
Trying to use some of the photo-etch parts proved to be futile. With some parts smaller than my finest tweezers, they were very difficult to clean up and fit to the kit. 

Instructions, as mentioned earlier, had some errors but the line drawings are sharp and for most part could be followed. However the drawings for the photo-etch parts are in a really faint gold colour which made it difficult to really understand how the parts were meant to be folded and/or fitted.
I think it would have been better if a basic driver’s compartment was provided like the turret interior. If the builder used an aftermarket torso figure, they might get away with having the driver’s hatch opened.

One thing I discovered while building this kit which I definitely liked is it gives the builder options. Fighting interior, engine and transmission are all possible because of the smart kit design, just need some aftermarket options or good scratch-building skills. I believe Verlinden do a full engine compartment for Bronco’s kit.

It’s not a kit I would recommend to someone who’s a complete novice as it does pose some challenges, but Bronco has produced a very detailed 1/35 Chaffee.

Brett Reynolds

Thanks to Bronco Models for sending us this kit to build.