by: Adie Roberts [ ]
The 37 mm Gun M3 was the first dedicated anti-tank gun fielded by US forces in numbers. As the US had no experience building such weapons 2 German 3.7cm PAK35/36 guns were acquired for evaluation in January 1937. Introduced in 1940, it became the standard anti-tank gun of the U.S. infantry with its size enabling it to be pulled by a Willy's Jeep. However, the continuing improvement of German tanks quickly rendered the 37mm ineffective. By 1943 it was being gradually replaced in the European and Mediterranean theatres by the more powerful British-developed 57mm gun M1. In the Pacific, where the Japanese tank threat was less significant, the M3 remained in service until the end of the war.
In the box you will find:
1 Instruction booklet
4 Dark green sprues
1 Small photo etch sheet
1 Small decal sheet
The Bronco models box is a top opening lid with very sturdy cardboard inner box. The art work is fairly basic but ok. The kit comes in a dark green moulded plastic. The first sprue that I picked contained ammunition boxes and some ammo which included some spent shells, the box detail on the sides contained some good detail for the size of them. I liked the shells considering how small some of them were.
There is two different types of tires one set of off road tires and a set of road tires the detailing on both sets are very well designed with the deep tread on the off road tires and the finer tread for the road tires, both sets come with the firestone writing on the side walls and little logo. I thought it was a really nice touch. The wheels come with an outer hub full tyre and a small inner hub which connects to the axle with a very small insert, I can foresee trouble here for anyone with porky little fingers like myself.
The main gun barrel comes in two sections with a connecting nut and the rear fitting into the breech. Some nice detail on the breech albeit very small, so far I cannot see any issues with fitting. A large metal shield that fits snugly into the front of the mount on the axle giving some protection to the gun crew, the detail on the shield is fairly basic but well designed and fits well.
On the rear of the gun set onto the side of the breech is shoulder guard with, there should be a traversing shoulder bar that fits in here but seems to be missing? I like what they have done with the shoulder guard which is very much replicated to the real thing with great detail.
Around the main gun was the elevating hand wheel, traversing release handle, the main frame goes over the top of the gun barrel where a telescopic M6 sight sits. The sight itself is very thin and delicate looking and so care should be used while cutting away from the sprue.
The trails and wheel segment all seem to fit together well and with all the added extras like the rammer, lifting handles which again are very small and looks extremely fragile, trail locks start to look how you would expect an anti-tank gun to look.
The instruction booklet consists of 10 pages broken down to 16 stages for the build. The instructions are clear and well-presented allowing a youngster or novice builder as well as the more advanced modeller to avoid problems with following the instructions without any issues. Every time there is a part where photo etch is to be added you get a yellow colour piece on the instructions as well as a computer generated separate picture showing exactly where it is to be placed.
They do the same for different parts options it is a simple yet extremely easy to follow. The last 2 pages of the instruction book are the colour profiles and where to put the decals. It comes with a single small decal sheet which is mostly for the ammo boxes.
It does have a small photo etch sheet which does have some very detailed parts that will make the model more realistic, but the parts are very small and delicate and again will require some care while separating the etch parts.
Bronco Models have done a solid job here on a gun that was phased out during the war in the European and Mediterranean theatres, this was due to it becoming ineffective, but it did however do well in the Pacific theatre. The Japanese tanks being of lighter armour than the German counter parts made them a much easier target to knock out. I believe that had Bronco Models released this gun with a crew it would be a top seller, however it is a great looking model without to many issues to have to correct.