by: Darren Baker [ ]
Bronco Models have been in the game for some time now and continue to release a steady supply of models covering all genres. One of the latest offerings out of this company is the Staghound Mk 1, this is described as a late production offering and is supplied along with 12ft of assault bridge which is an interesting addition.
This offering from Bronco Models is packaged in the typical cardboard tray and separate card lid that they usually use. Inside you will find the sprues individually packed in plastic bags except where sprues are duplicated. An examination of the sprues presents the viewer with the usual high quality that Bronco Models has become capable of. The sprue gates are small in both size and quantity, and that is a plus when it comes to clean up of the parts. One of the complaints levelled at Bronco Models is their habit of over complicating models due to separate very small elements that make the build a chore for many modellers and deters others; this example does have some very small elements present, but they are not excessive as far as I can see.
This model builds up very quickly by any standards let alone Broncoís having only 22 stages to the build. The body of the vehicle is very quickly assembled having a minimal number of elements. There is a grill behind the turret ring which has a restricted view and which has been reproduced as part of the upper body in plastic, I would have liked to see this offered as a photo etched part and knowing Bronco Models I am surprised it is not included as at least an option. The engine hatches are supplied as separate parts and I like this approach as it will help those modellers wanting to add an engine to the vehicle, yes they have been moulded with an open or closed option considered. One thing that is pleasing is that all of the ejector pin marks here are in hidden locations.
The suspension, axles and drive shafts are well replicated in this offering and also look to be very easy to assemble and attach. Looking at the parts I do have one concern and that is that the leaf spring suspension has been moulded in two halves, I know this removes any concerns about ejector pin marks but it also means that there will be joints that are difficult to fill if needed and hide. The axles are quite substantial on this model and I like the effort that has gone into an element that will rarely if ever be seen on the finished model. The wheels and tyres have been moulded in two halves; the wheels are very nicely detailed and the tyres with a seam around their circumference will be easy to hide.
The exhausts have been slide moulded where it matters and so openings are present; this will be good enough for most of us and provides a guide hole for those wanting to make it deeper. The hull machine gun is nicely detailed if mostly hidden, but this has not been slide moulded and so it is time to get the small drill bits out and put to work. The visors and periscopes on the hull have been supplied as clear moulded parts and that is an aspect that I am very pleased to see. The wipers on the visors have been moulded as part of the clear part and so will need to be painted; I like many can appreciate the photo etched wipers that are often supplied by Bronco, but I also appreciate the ease this provides to modellers who find working with small photo etched parts difficult.
The steering mechanism for the vehicle has been tackled in great detail, and while I appreciate this effort it will make assembly tricky in terms of parts clean up and placement on the model. I would have liked to see the steering mechanism allow the wheels to be shown in a turning aspect, but it has not been tackled that way in the model and will I believe be very difficult for the modeller to represent it in that manner. The mudguards are very cleanly moulded and have good shape and form, but there is a very slight mark on the inner face of each one which ideally will be sanded out as it is I feel to slight to require filler.
Moving onto the turret and starting with the main gun. The barrel of the 37mm gun has been moulded in various lengths rather than in two halves, and I approve of this approach to the barrel. The muzzle of the weapon has not been slide moulded, but it is still hollow due to being moulded on its side on the sprue. The approach taken with the muzzle by Bronco Models does mean that clean up of the muzzle will have to be tackled very carefully due to its small size and the ease with which it could be distorted or damaged.
The turret itself is a fairly simple aspect of this build due to a minimal number of parts. Bronco Models has provided the rear of the main gun and a radio for inside the turret, as such the separately moulded turret hatches can be left open and with a figure in place will be pleasing. The turret top machine gun is again well detailed but again needs work on the muzzle in my opinion. Looking at the turret as a whole I am very happy with what is offered in the model.
The bridge sections and vehicle mounting parts are surprisingly simple, but I suppose if you give it some thought that would be the case. The bridge sections are easy to make and still have good detail on them. Disappointingly there are five ejector pin marks that are very visible on the underside of the central portion of the bridges, due to the framework in this area clean up of these ejector pin marks will be difficult. The arms that hold the bridge sections are an easy addition to the model.
Bronco Models has surprisingly only offered one finishing option with this model of the Staghound and that is a:
F215580, D Squadron, Royal Canadian 12th Manitoba Dragoons, Caen, August 1944
I quite like the model being offered here by Bronco Models as it will be a less challenging build. The model has its roots back in 2007 when Bronco Models released their first Staghound with this offering having some new parts. The moulds are holding up very well judging from what I can see here, and despite being 10 years old the model itself is still a competitive model. Some aspects that I donít like such as the leaf springs being in two halves and the lack of a photo etched grill for the top vent are overcome by the ease of construction, clear periscopes and general detail overall.