Curiously enough, although the Staghound was a U.S. design, it never actually saw active service in the U.S. Army. However, it was certainly used by Britain, the Commonwealth nations and various Allied combatants such as Poland. Post-war, it served in a number of Latin American countries, in the Middle-East and various NATO member-states.
For the modeler, it's an excellent source of inspiration - from the AA version to the Canadian-variant equipped with 60lb rockets and from the U.S. (trials) vehicle with the M8 turret, to the Mk. III, which was fitted with a Crusader turret, a lot of very interesting projects begin to suggest themselves.
This year, for the first time, Commonwealth A/Cs and Scout Cars are featuring as injection-moulded kits. Prior to this, only the resin-manufacturers were prepared to consider these vehicles in 1/35th scale (apart from Tamiya's old 'Dingo' kit). Nor, happily does the story stop here with this release. Bronco
have recently announced another Humber Scout Car (with twin Vickers 'K' guns) along with a Canadian Staghound (with 60lb rockets) and the Crusader turret-equipped Mark III.
in the box
CB35011 - T17E1 Staghound Mk. I Late Production
is moulded in a dark-green styrene and consists of 307 styrene parts (17 in clear plastic), two sheets of Photo-Etched brass (one with casting numbers, the other for additional details), a turned-aluminium 37mm gun-barrel and a medium-sized decal sheet. The parts come on a total of seven sprues along with a 10-page instruction booklet.
On opening the box, the first thing one notices is the care that Bronco
have taken to protect the contents. Each sprue is seperately packaged in a (sealed) plastic bag with the entire contents sealed within a larger bag. Since mine came from Japan (and subject to various Postal services en-route) everything came in perfect condition...
: Looking quickly through the various sprues the quality of the moulding is excellent. This is particularly notable with areas such as the wheels which have no sink-marks or other defects.
Chassis and Wheels
: The suspension is very detailed but fairly straightforward in its construction. The suspension springs are, somewhat unusually, moulded in two halves which will require very careful alignment. All the details of areas such as the brake-drums or driveshafts are very crisp with only a few (very) minor mould lines to remove.
The basic shape of the hull is formed with just six parts. The top deck consists of a single part with the engine-grills moulded in. The purists may dislike this, although, to replace the grill will require some very delicate cutting, but, on the other hand, there is a protective shield over these grilles so it's debatable just how much is going to be seen.. The access hatches for the engine are moulded as seperate parts. Again, it would be 'doable' to open this up and put in an engine, bulkheads, and all the 'plumbing'. What the more experienced modeler may choose to do, is replace areas such as the hinges and handles with AM replacements although the kit parts are VERY delicately moulded. The large mudguards are seperate parts with the mudflaps as additional components. Although the hull is a simple enough construction, the real complexity begins with the many smaller parts which have to be added. The full complement of vehicle tools is included (most with seperate PE brackets) along with frequently seen items such as the folded tripod for the dismountable .30 Calibre MG. The external fuel tanks are also provided along with very well-done attachment straps and the plumbing for the fuel-feed. The side doors are seperate parts with the simple locking mechanism well-executed. The rear plate is also well-detailed with each of the mufflers consisting of six-parts. and the stowage bin being 'optional' in brass or styrene. The front plate has the bow-mounted MG well detailed although, as this was a casting, some 'roughening-up' would be welcome. The front headights are also well-done using a mixture of PE and styrene.
: This is a pretty complex part which is somewhat facilitated by being built as a series of sub-assemblies. Both the co-ax MG and the 37mm gun come as COMPLETE assemblies, although as little will be seen after building, it will only be of value to know that they are there... Internally, only the No.19 Radio set is provided - this is a real gem as it includes the protective bars in PE along with the battery pack - no doubt this will find its way into other models. The top includes as seperate parts, all the items one would expect - the periscopes, aerial mounts, the searchlight, etc. etc.
One of the distinctive areas of the later Staghound turret, was the 'bulge' on the righ-hand-side. This is present on the model along with welded seams (no, they AREN'T defects in the moulding process, they should be there). On the debit side, like the bow-mounted MG 'blister', the texture of the turret is lacking somewhat. There should be something to indicate the fact this was a single-piece casting it's simply too smooth. Another area (confirmed by hours of poring over plans and photos) is that the front of the turret should be a liitle more 'angular' than the kit parts. It's a minor point and NOT really that noticeable but it might be worth the effort correcting.
The most obvious design of the tread of these particular wheels was their 'Non-Directional' tread. Roughly speaking, they look as if they were moulded in two halves, with the tread pattern not being symmetrical in a cross-section. This distinctive tread has been well-executed in the kit as has the manufacturer's name. The hubs are also excellent, capturing very well the complex form of the bolt arrangements.
The Decals: Cartograf
seems to be cornering the market in providing the decals for the styrene manufacturers - this is no exception. Good register and solid color are notable in this sheet which covers seven vehicles:
Royal Dragoons, British XII Corps, NW Europe 1944-45.
Israeli Defense Force, 1956.
12th Manitoba Dragoons, Canadian II Corps, Armoured Car Regiment, Belgium 1944.
Polish 12th Polldian Uhlans Reconnaissance Regiment, 3rd Carpathian Infantry Division, Italy 1944
27th Lancers, Italy 1944
Australian CMF, Western Australia 1944
2nd Household Cavalry, VII Corps, NW Europe, 1944-45.
: Oh dear. They are decipherable - given a lot of patience. However, it has to be said, that, given the quality of this model, they simply don't do it justice. They are pretty confusing with several parts being seen in different pages of the instruction booklet. It's also worth mentioning that the SUGGESTED assembly is going to cause more problems than solutions. The instructions suggest that all details are added to the hull, before the hull is assembled. Commonsense would dictate the opposite - construct the hull and THEN add on the many details..
One thing which is lacking, is positioning references for the excellent sheet of casting numbers. It would have been helpful to find some reference to them in the instruction booklet.
Simply put, it's a superb model. However, I would like to point out some areas that, in my opinion, deserve some consideration. Firstly, it could be argued that it is a touch 'over-engineered'. I'm not sure that seperate spring-leaf halves is a necessary 'complication'. To counter that, the accuracy
(going by the numerous plans/references i've consulted) suggest that it really doesn't get much better than this. It is a complex model - if you want something simpler, then look elsewhere. This will not go together in a few hours. It will build beautifully from the box, that is something I have few doubts over but it's going to require a lot of care.
The Variants within the Variants
: with the amount of eye-strain i've subjected myself to over the last few weeks, one thing has become clear, there were a lot of non-standard modifications done on the Staghound. Some were done in the field, others were done at higher-level maintenance depots. Therefore, depending on what you're building, it would be very advisable to look at good comtemporary reference material to appreciate the differences. A good example of this would be for the I.D.F. vehicle - the Israelis seemed to see 'standard' as something that happened to others...
Although i've been critical of a few areas of the kit, in the final analysis, it really has, for Bronco
, broken new ground in terms of sophistication and accuracy. There will be (and are) various upgrade sets for this model, but apart from conversion sets for the AA version or some of the Canadian modified vehicles, I don't see this as particularly fertile ground for the AM Manufacturers. It's virtually all there in the box - all that's missing is additional stowage and some suitable figures. Oh, and dedicating the time to an excellent subject.
VERY Highly Recommended
The Staghound is technically
, well-documented (due in part to the number of good, preserved examples around) although, in book form it really requires some publisher to take up the challenge. A good starting point are four excellent walkrounds of the vehicle:
Armorama # 1
Armorama # 2
Toadman's Tank Pictures
Another useful source of data is the 'Staghound Register'
which can be accessed HERE
Also, as it specializes in Armored Cars, is this superb site:WarWheels Net
In links, for another point of view on this kit, is Terry Ashley's recent analysis of the model: P.M.M.S Staghound Review
Finally, in books (and other media) the list begins with Easy 1 Productions
CD of the Staghound, a review of which can be seen: HERE (LINK)
Book Review # 1: The British Reconnaissance Corps in World War II (LINK)
Book Review # 2 : British Tanks in Normandy (LINK)
Also useful, were the two volumes of Concord Publishing's
books on British Armor:
British Tanks of WWII, (Vol 1) France & Belgium 1944”, Concord 7027.
British Tanks of WWII, (Vol 2) Holland & Germany 1944/1945”, Concord 7028
INVALUABLE, was the edition of Military Modelling Magazine
( Vol 37, No.12, 2007) which has three excellent articles on various aspects of the Staghound - including plans and details of the Canadian modifications.