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Armor/AFV: Allied - WWII
Armor and ground forces of the Allied forces during World War II.
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Build Blog - Bronco Hotchkiss H38/39
ricknroll
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Posted: Saturday, September 27, 2008 - 06:39 AM UTC

Quoted Text


Have set my heart now on the upcoming Dragon figures ... with the 2 surrendering French tankers ...



These should look great in your scene.

I'll echo the others, nice build.

Rick
Drader
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Posted: Monday, September 29, 2008 - 11:34 PM UTC
Lovely work on the interior Frank. BTW the thread on the French site I linked to on the first page of your blog now has a link back to this one!

David
Plasticbattle
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Posted: Wednesday, October 01, 2008 - 10:48 AM UTC
Thanks Rick and David for your comments. Cool that this thread is linked ... cheers for that!!

Anyways ... next step was the tracks, and in my opinion the most dissapointing part of the kit.
Firstly ... the black tracks are horrible to work with. Clean up was hit and miss because you really can´t see what you´re doing. ModelKasten brown seems so right for this part. Companies please take note.

The tracks went together nicly enough ... I used model master cement, which gives loads of working time. I assembled the length and waited for about 20 minutes for them to cure a little and then tried to place them. Trying to slide them under the fender was so tight, both between idler and fender, and also width ways, as the fenders width allows the track with no room to spare. The tolerences are practically zero. Same goes for fitting over the return rollers .. a little too tight for my liking ... and again meant zero gap between feders and tracks. This meant the tracks run kept bending while threading through ... something that hasn´t happened me for years. I guess we´ve been spoilt of late with Dragon, AFV Club and Tristar tracks. Definatly the low point of the kit. The idler is adjustable, but the parts need to be sanded down a little to use their lowest level. I didn´t bother as its a review item, but realise what a mistake that was!

Joining the upper and lower hull was perfect. No problems. I brushed Mr. Surfacer 500 around the joint just to make sure there were no gaps.









Jamesite
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Posted: Wednesday, October 01, 2008 - 09:12 PM UTC
More great progress Frank, great to see this ticking along. The interior looks great.

That new DML kit would be perfect for your dio, which is already looking like it will turn out very nicely indeed!

James
Plasticbattle
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Posted: Thursday, October 02, 2008 - 07:58 AM UTC

Quoted Text

That new DML kit would be perfect for your dio


Thanks James .... will definately get it as soon as it comes out!

The last 4 steps of the build, contain the instructions for pioneer tools, stowage and the tail-skid. No hassles with these last steps, but worth noting are the location points. A lot of these are rendered as small dimples, and the mating part has a location pin .... so you either cut off the location pin or drill the dimple. Some might see this as extra hassle, some might think this is ingenious, as it makes adding AM or alternating the stowage plan, so much easier.!


Don´t attach part B48 at this stage ... add when connecting the tail-skid at the end. this will allow for a perfect fit!




The exhaust didn´t fit positvly .. so I cut off the port that part that inserts into the manifold B16, so it would attach straight. I rounded the heat shield on the hobby knife and then the exhaust before placement. The etch is very very thin and easy to work with .... but also easy to damage/crease.




The tail-skid went together really well and is moulded quite thin. A little clean up in the inside, but its easy to get at.
Plasticbattle
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Posted: Thursday, October 02, 2008 - 08:02 AM UTC








Plasticbattle
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Posted: Thursday, October 02, 2008 - 08:08 AM UTC
Its pretty much built now .... so some small touch ups and then its painting. For a subject Id give this 8 or 9 out of 10, but buildabilty ... because of the plastic used, black tracks, fit of tracks and the bad joint on the turret, Id give this 5/10.
Not a bad or tough build, but faced with the quality of some of the more recent Dragon or Tristar kits, this is definatly a lower division. Pleanty of room for improvements and I had fun with it, so overall Id even go as far as recommending it ... but hopefully theres enough food for thought contained in the build for you to make up your own mind!


panamadan
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Posted: Thursday, October 02, 2008 - 09:34 AM UTC
Frank, 5/10 for the price that is asked for it here in the States is just not going to cut it for me. I'm sorry to say that as I like this little guy. Dan
Plasticbattle
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Posted: Thursday, October 02, 2008 - 10:04 AM UTC
Hello Dan.
To be clear ... this is not a difficult build, and it has a lot of positives .... I really can´t wait to get painting this now!
As far as building the kit goes and the few issues I highlighted, but also comparing with some other recent builds, I feel 5/10 for the build is adequate. Some things that are an issue for me, may not be an issue for others. I feel my duty is to report it as I see it.
I must also point some of the things like the mold quality, instructions and most importantly ... the subject, that are all major pluses.
But Bronco want to play in the big league, so its Dragon, Tamiya, AFV Club, Tristar, etc they are competing against, and the score is also reflecting a comparison to these.
Bratushka
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Posted: Thursday, October 02, 2008 - 11:39 AM UTC
Hi Frank. Even though my kit is a different version of the same basic tank, (39(H) Befehlspanzer Observation Vehicle, CB-35003, Weijun Models) I agree with your assessment and rating 100%. I'm getting ready to do the tracks on mine tonight and I can't say I am looking forward to it. I'm glad you described in detail what you encountered, especially trimming down the adjustable idlers.

Some issues I have with my version included some very small assemblies that could have been molded as one piece with no loss of detail that are separated into three tiny, awkward to handle pieces, a second seat for the radio operator not included in the kit, poorly shaped hinges for the engine deck covers (these open to the sides) need squared off to fit, and no PE. Just a mesh cover for the muffler would have been nice. The instructions also lacked in showing some assembly details and had minimal English, none in the assembly instruction part. It may be that the kit was issued for sale in China since the name on the logo is Weijun rather than Bronco.

I still think it will come out OK, especially since you were good enough to share your build here. It helped me enormously! Oddly enough, I could find no information on the 39(H) Befehlspanzer Observation Vehicle version of this tank.

One other comment- the chain on yours looks to have bigger links than the one that came with mine. How accurate is that chain, size wise? It looks enormous to me, but it may just be that the tank is so small.

Again, thanks for posting this. I hope I can find the charger for my camera soon so I can post some pictures.

EDIT: The chain with my kit is the same size as yours. It has a black finish which is probably why I thought it was smaller.
panamadan
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Posted: Thursday, October 02, 2008 - 05:25 PM UTC
Frank, This has been a good review and build. Dan
Plasticbattle
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Posted: Monday, December 29, 2008 - 12:35 PM UTC
Well guys, due to my unreliable schedule with work, I missed a few months again. But I managed to get a little done again since Christmas.

Firstly the figures .....
Figure 1 is from Dragon´s "Panzermeyer Lssah Division Mariupol 1941" set. I used an extra Alpine head as it had better details than the Legends one shown earlier. I also completed the belt with one from Abers "belts and buckles" set.







The French tank crew are from Dragon´s new "Blitzkrieg in France! France 1940 (6478)" set. They are both completed with Hornet HFH04 heads. Nice figures, and they´re perfect for this scene IMO. Slightly sharper details than normal for Dragon, but still require clean up and care to get the best out of them.









Lastly is the pointing German. I used some Gen II gear for him, but included the map case. Head is a Hornet bare head with suitable expression and the helmet is from the kit, and hollowed out to allow the Hornet head to sit properly.





All heads and weapons are seperate, to help easier access when painting. Comments and critic are welcome.
Plasticbattle
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Posted: Monday, December 29, 2008 - 12:49 PM UTC
I also managed to get the Hotchkiss painted and weathered. Just some small touches to do when its attached to the base.










Plasticbattle
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Posted: Monday, December 29, 2008 - 12:52 PM UTC
And finally, some images of the scene and how it will appear when complete. Suggestions here are welcome.






Grumpyoldman
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Posted: Monday, December 29, 2008 - 02:30 PM UTC
Looks great so far Frank.
Tarok
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Posted: Monday, December 29, 2008 - 03:24 PM UTC
That looks terrific, Frank. Who manufactured the base (street & building) - MiniArt? Any chances of a picture of the rear? Would love to see the inside just to satisfy my own curiosity...

Rudi
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Posted: Monday, December 29, 2008 - 06:19 PM UTC
Nice to see this one come back to the front burner Frank, the figures and the planned scene look great. Love the little touches on the H39 with the grass/mud and thrown track as well.
marsiascout
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Posted: Monday, December 29, 2008 - 10:36 PM UTC
It looks super! Your vehicle is nicely weathered and your scene is allmost perfect!

Lars
Plasticbattle
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Posted: Tuesday, December 30, 2008 - 12:10 AM UTC
Thanks a million Dave, Rudi, Bill and Lars. Much appreciated. It feels great to get some time to actually build and paint something again.
Yes the building is one of the MiniArt diorama kits ... the one with the advertising column. I removed this and a bit of the cobblestone area, as it was too big for my needs.
Some images from the back side ....






Tarok
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Posted: Tuesday, December 30, 2008 - 12:41 AM UTC
Thanks for the extra pics, Frank.
exer
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Posted: Tuesday, December 30, 2008 - 01:09 AM UTC
Nice work Frank. I like the weathering on the tank and the base will really set off the tank and the figures when they are finished.


Quoted Text

Suggestions here are welcome.



At the moment the figures are very spread out , what about pulling the tank back a bit and have both French Tankers face the German Officer near the front of the tank with the Nco either beside the Officer or up on the deck of the tank. I think having the figures grouped closer will give more of a focus to the dio.
newfish
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Posted: Tuesday, December 30, 2008 - 01:22 AM UTC
great diorama ive only just seen this thread

only one thing you could like explain a bit more how the track come off like with tools next to it doing some maintanace

besides that it looks great !


Plasticbattle
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Posted: Tuesday, December 30, 2008 - 04:48 AM UTC

Quoted Text

At the moment the figures are very spread out , what about pulling the tank back a bit and have both French Tankers face the German Officer near the front of the tank with the Nco either beside the Officer or up on the deck of the tank. I think having the figures grouped closer will give more of a focus to the dio.


Hi Pat. Thanks for replying and your suggestions. I have tried them in front and thought they also looked a bit "placed". Im trying to get the placement both natural and with as many of them as possible facing out .. so their details can be seen. I tried the guy with his arms raised, standing up on the tank, but the German´s heads cannot be raised to connect without major alterations. Nothing is fixed yet, so I´ll play a bit more before I start painting. Cheers.

Quoted Text

only one thing you could like explain a bit more how the track come off like with tools next to it doing some maintanace


Hi James. No maintainence .... the tracks were either thrown or damaged .... I guess the viewer can make their own minds up. Whichever, the tank crew have surrendered after one got shot in the arm, in a breif battle after the tank threw the track, and was going nowhere fast. Thanks very much for the comments and suggestions though.
Bratushka
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Posted: Tuesday, December 30, 2008 - 08:15 AM UTC
Hi Frank! First rate piece of work you have there! I REALLY like the paint and weathering. The wood handles on the tools are superb! That's one thing I still can't seem to get quite right. I look forward to seeing the figures done.

A comment on the broken track: In my experience with tracked vehicles when tracks come apart the vehicle almost always drives off the broken track. In your diorama the broken section is at the front. If the vehicle was moving forward when it broke I don't think the end result would look quite that way unless the vehicle stopped at the very second the track broke. WIthout anything to keep the track tight against the rear idler there would be some very loose track there as the track stayed stationary while the vehicle continued to move forward. Your tank looks to have the full tension still in the area between the idler, where the tracl goes down to the rearmost roadwheel on the ground. While I know tracks can come apart anywhere, having experienced this incident myself, the crew often doesn't become immediately aware of the track breaking and will often drive forward for some distance before it becomes apparent something is wrong. My first impression of your diorama struck me more that there was a maintenance issue being attended to than a track broken in action. I was waiting to see how you depicted the effort to repair it. I'm not criticizing; only offering a comment. Regardless, it is a fine piece of work!

As an aside: we pulled tracks back together by backing the vehicle up on the separated track to get enough of the track out in front to go over the idlers and part way around the drive sprocket. The idler was cranked in as much as possible to allow some slack when the final reassembly was done. We would tie a rope to the end of the track out in front of the vehicle and the other end of the rope was secured to the center of the drive sprocket. The engine was started and transmission engaged with power transmitted only to the side with the thrown track using the drive sprocker as a winch. As the drive turned it would wind up the rope and pull the track up and over the idler and support rollers to the drive sprocket. After the track end connecters had engaged a couple of the cogs so it would stay in place and the inside track links were accessible to put the end connectors on, the engine was shut down and the rest was muscled ito place. The end connectors were put on and the center guide reattached, although sometimes the vehicle had to be repositioned to gain access for that. Lastly, the idler was adjusted back out to get proper tension back on the track and all was right with the world again. I offer this only as a possible idea for someone who may want to build a diorama with a theme similar to yours.

(BTW: I wasn't happy with the tracks that came with the Hotchkiss viariant i'm building so I bought a set of Fruilmodel metal tracks. They will be a first for me and interesting to install as I will have to file the drive sprocket cogs to fit the tracks and the sprockets are already glued on. I bought a second kit for insurance lest things go awry.)

Plasticbattle
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Posted: Tuesday, December 30, 2008 - 04:08 PM UTC
Thanks Jim for your input. As you´ve probably guessed, Im not a tanker ... so thats why it makes sense to me and not to you.
Its a bit late for changing the tracks now as they are fixed an painted. I´ll just go with what I have ... I´d rather throw it in the bin than start a new dio for accuracy´s sake. I´ll just have to live with this one.