Tuesday, May 19

Paul Tzech’s out Bronco models Panzerbefehlswagen 35(t)

Today our man Paul Lee takes on the complicated command version of the new Bronco Models Pz.35(t) in 35th scale. This kit has a full interior so expect some in depth coverage here. Let’s see the insides in Part I.

Build Review: Panzerbefehlswagen 35(t)
Manufacturer: Bronco Models
Scale: 1:35
Type: Multimedia kit

Part I – interior construction..
The Lt vz35 was a tank that the Germans took into service after taking over Czechoslovakia, and redesignated as the Pz.35(t). While it didn't turn out to be as successful as its other brother, the Pz 38(t), the Germans still took about 244 of the Pz35's into service, where they saw action in Poland, France and Russia. 
Ultimately, like all other tanks of the time, the Pz35 was rendered obsolete overnight once that German shell bounced off the front of that first T34 they encountered. Of the 244 Pz35's the German took in, about 20 were converted into Befehlswagen command tanks.
This is the follow up to the base model Pz35(t) that Bronco first released, and is the aforementioned command variant with the antenna frames at the back of the hull and extra radio sets on the inside.

On opening the box, you will find numerous individually bagged plastic items, two frets of photo etch, an instruction booklet, and decal sheet.

The instruction booklet is nicely printed on glossy paper and done in colour, although the instructions are mostly in line drawings with some colour highlights.
The last two pages are devoted to the two marking options provided in the box. You get four profiles, consisting of the front, back, left and right sides. The first option also has a section of the rear deck with a white stripe on it, although both options are completely grey vehicles.

Option 1: Panzer R07 Light Tank Platoon of HQ II. Bttn, Pz Rg 11. Pz Brigade 6, 1st Light Div, Poland. September 1939
Option 2: Panzer A03, Signal Platoon. HQ Abteilung 65, 6th Panzer Div, France May- June 1940
One bone of contention about these markings is that there is research showing that early war German vehicles were a combination of grey and brown so you may wish to do your own research before you decide how you want to paint your completed panzer.

Sprue A is mostly comprised of the lower hull sections which are provided as individual plates.
By providing the sections as individual plates, Bronco has been able to do some nice details on the both sides of each piece. The outside plates are nicely adorned with rivets, just like the real vehicle, and fenders feature some nice ribbing detail as well.

Rivet detail
Fender detail
You get two copies of sprue B, and predictably, this is most of the running gear with some interior parts as well.

Sprue B
Once again, there is some very nice bolt details on the wheels.

Wheel detail.
The BESA machine gun can be found on this sprue along with its perforated jacket. The parts look nicely done although it will be interesting to see if etch would have been a better choice for these fine pieces.

Machine gun
Sprue C is a mixture of parts including the drive sprockets and some interior and exterior sections.
There is some fine wiring detail that is moulded on and should be ok once painted up.
The drive sprockets also feature some nice bolt detail consistent with the rest of the kit.

Sprue D consists mostly of the turret, although there is some hull interior parts there as well.
The rear firewall of the tank is on this sprue and has some very nicely moulded on detail which should come up very nicely with a wash.

Rear firewall
The E sprue is the clears for the vision ports which can be posed open.
The F sprue is the antenna frame, and very finely done so care should be taking when removing them from the sprues.
Sprue G is some radios and the rack they come on. The radio faces are very well detailed.
The upper hull is provided in front and rear tubs. The turret is also provided as a tub.
The main armament is a fairly complex moulding and comes with the end drilled out. The muzzle is perforated and will be interesting to see how it turns out.
The tracks are separately bagged in left and right sections and nicely moulded, The box and instructions say that tracks are workable and do not need cement, so these will be put to the test later on.
Lastly, you get the small decal sheet and two photo etch frets.
Construction starts with the lower hull plates and the interior. General fit of the parts is very good, although the location of some of the smaller parts is a bit vague in the instructions, so dry fitting is definitely recommended.
The hull floor features the two crew stations, and a radio rack. Some of these pieces are absolutely tiny, including some mouse head screws which go on a hatch behind the driver station. Three out of six of them shot out from my tweezers so take extreme care with them.

Unpainted driver station and circle hatch behind 
The driver station has several sub-assemblies for steering columns and foot pedals. While the drawings make these pieces seem reasonably sized, they are tiny, and each sub assembly requires round ten pieces which will definitely test your patience.

(Australian) 5c piece as a comparison
Some ammunition boxes are provided and their handles are provided in etch which is a nice touch but somewhat questionable about how visible they will be. The radios are also nicely detailed.

Ammunition boxes and radio 
There is a rack provided for the radios and ammunition boxes. They are very fine and will require care removing from the sprues. Alignment is also tricky because the ammunition boxes are a tight fit.

Unpainted radio rack on hull
I chose to skip ahead of the instructions and decided to work on the turret, which feature some ammunition racks, I think. Some PE details are provided which again are a nice touch but questionable how visible they will be.

Turret ring with ammunition racks
In an odd decision, Bronco has chosen to provide the upper turret as a tub rather than in places like the lower hull, which means that interior bolt detail needs to be scraped off the sprues and glued around the lower section of the turret shell. Once again, how visible they will be is questionable. I would say that the rivets on the rear are definitely invisible due to the ammunition racks.

Unpainted turret 
Up until this point, I can say that this build was a real struggle with all the tiny pieces and sub-assemblies. However once you get past this point, you will also find that all this work was really worth it as you start putting it altogether. I chose to start painting now since it would be very difficult to do so once the parts come together. Unfortunately Bronco does not provide any painting instructions for the interior so you will need a mix of research and guesswork, so if my colour choices are questionable then that is why.

As you can see in this picture, I had some fit issues with the radio rack.
Putting the rest of the hull was a dream though with the fit of the hull plates being almost perfect. 
This is the end result. As you can see there is no engine detail provided in this kit which I think is a strange decision given that Bronco has chosen to go to town with the detailing in the rest of the kit.
The turret also comes up very nicely.
As you can see, this is the start of a beautiful looking kit, although a lot of work is required to get it to this point. I'll be continuing on with the exterior of this kit, although if you choose to close everything up and glue everything on, you can pretty much skip everything I have done so far and save yourself a lot of work. However, you will be wasting a lot of the wonderful detail that Bronco has provided you with.

Paul Lee

Thanks to Bronco Models for sending this kit to review and build