by: Pat McGrath [ ]
The Staghound AA was fielded late in the war when there was little need for it in its AA role, but its twin .50 cal MGs were probably very useful against ground targets. The focal point of the AA Staghound model is surely the twin MGs and this set provides twin barrels and receivers as well as plenty of stowage for the outside of the vehicle.
The set comes in an attractive brown and tan box with colour photos showing the accessories in use. Funny thing about the box is that I'm short sighted and work with my glasses off, I kept catching sight of the box on the other side of the table and thinking it was a box of Bailey's Irish Cream truffles. Shows what way my mind works. The box is quite big: 120 mm x 200 mm x 30 mm and the set would fit in a box half this size (which would also stop short sighted modelers mistaking it for a box of chocolates).
The set contains:
▪ 2 turned brass replacement barrels for the .50 cal MGs
▪ 2 barrel receivers for the .50 cal MGs
▪ A large stowage bundle for the rear deck.
▪ 2 replacement external fuel tanks
▪ 4 rolled tarpaulions- one for each of the fenders/mudguards
▪ A folded canvas for the rear deck
▪ 5 small packs to attach to the turret
▪ 2 mk 2 British helmets
▪ A rolled tarpaulin for the side of the turret..
▪ A pe fret of barbed wire
▪ A one page instruction sheet showing the placement of the stowage and how to replace the MG barrels.
The MG Barrels:
These really look the part. They are very sharply turned and the separate receivers really enhance the look of the machine gun. Replacement seems easy enough; simply slice the plastic barrel off the MG and drill a small hole to receive the end of the barrel. Apply a small amount of CA glue and there you have it.
Ok, first the good things. The pieces are really well cast in a light cream colored resin, and apart from the large bundle of stowage for the rear deck the resin plugs should be easily removed with a razor saw.
The large bundle for the rear deck consists of rolled tarps and kit bags with a mk 2 helmet placed on top. The helmet shape is warped and the rim, instead of sitting flat, follows a dip in the shape of the stowage. Strangely the instruction sheet shows US helmets while those included are the Mk 2 infantry helmet. The loose helmets are solid casts so can only be displayed top up. Staghound crews would have worn the RAC helmet and I think that would have been a better alternative here.
All the tarps have very well defined rope or strap detail. The small packs, although well cast, are the US type. As far as I know, the Staghound AA was operated exclusively by UK and Commonwealth forces and while itís feasible that their stowage might have included the odd US bag picked up somewhere, itís unlikely any vehicle would have had 5 of them strapped to the turret.
These are well cast with the joining weld added. They also have dents added. Judging from wartime photos this is overdone almost as if a Jamaican steel band had let loose on them.
The Barbed Wire:
This comes on a fret in connected rows. The fret is sandwiched between two sheets of clear film. Each row is connected to the fret at each end and to the next row in two places. It would be a good idea to leave the film in place when separating the strands of wire from the fret, unfortunately I didnít think of that until I had removed one sheet of film. I havenít used PE barbed wire before but I am impressed. While it is flat, when it is rolled and twisted into a coil it does look very effective. I separated about 12 strands and twisted them around a brush handle. There's enough I think for two reasonable sized coils in the set. A word of warning: although the barbs are only 1/35 scale they are sharp so watch out.
I like this set. The stowage, even though it may not all be suitable for the AA Staghound, will come in useful if you build Allied vehicles. Although the set is marked as suitable for the bronco kit, I canít see any reason why it couldnít be used on the Italeri version. In fact many of the pieces, including the MG barrels, could be used to dress up many other allied vehicles.
This is marked as a limited edition of 600, so if you like the look of it pick it up now. The price is very high for what you get, maybe because it's a limited edition.