by: Adie Roberts [ ]
With the worsening war in Europe many different companies took on military contracts for increasing the Army's armoured corps strength with various small tanks being designed and tested. The design that ultimately became the Tetrarch began as private venture by the Vickers - Armstrong company. The company had made progress on an evolutionary series of light tanks and a new three-man tank design.
Four large road wheels were set to each track side and the track link sections were thin in their width. The hull was basic looking housing the driver at the front of the tank in a central position. The drivers position was behind a hinged armour plate with an integrated slit offering basic protection. The turret housed the other two members of the crew, the commander and gunner while the tank lacked a cupola for the commander. A smoke projecting system was fitted allowing it to be moved or retreat during combat.
The armour of the tank itself was between 4mm and 14mm offering protection against small arms fire and shell splinters. Primary armament was the QF 2-pounder main gun fitted to the turret this gave the tank a decent weapon against other light tanks of the period and a high-explosive (HE) round could be used against dug in enemy troops. Some 177 tanks were produced by the end of 1942, despite aggressive German air raids on the factory.
First thing you notice is the lovely art work on the top of the box, the box has a top lid which is thin with the bottom being thicker cardboard making it more secure. Bronco Models have been manufacturing a lot of D-Day products including of course the huge 1/35th scale Air Speed Horsa Glider MkI and MkII. The parts breakdown as follows:
1. Five light grey/blue colour sprues which contain all of the main parts of the tank
2. Two separate light grey/blue parts which is the bottom of the hull and the turret
3. Two brown coloured sprue which contain the individual track links.
4. One small decal sheet
5. One photo-etch sheet
6. One clear sprue with light covers and periscope
7. One colourful instruction booklet
First impressions are good, the detail looks very nice. So on to the first part and I pick up is the bottom hull of the tank, there is a small amount of detail in the bottom at the front of the tank which is locating areas for the drivers position. The side of the bottom of the hull has some small detail and some rivet marks that run the full length of the hull. On the back are a couple of service panels which look good.
The next part I looked at was the turret, now this did have more in the way of detail on it with two post box type slits on it allowing the gunner and commander to be able to look out each side of the turret. Rivets run all around the different panels of the turret adding some realism to the overall look.
Sprue A which contains some of the larger parts like the top of the hull also has the rivets running along the length of the sides. Some of the plastic I have found to be very thin some almost paper thin and care will be needed not only when cutting from the sprue but also when gluing them to the tank.
The sides of the tank are better as far as thickness of the plastic goes, and the detail itself I find to be very good, although I cannot help thinking that the rivets on some of the panels are a little too big.
Sprue B has some very nice detailed parts including some machine gun parts a superb large radio which I am very pleased with the detail off.
The main barrel is not the best gun barrel I have ever seen but is sufficient, a large fuel barrel with authentic cap is a nice touch.
The mantle is nice with a good level of detail, some of the drivers parts are on this sprue. It has a full drivers compartment in this tank although the way the tank is I am not sure if you will be able to see this apart from when first building the tank. Lots of very small parts are also included on this sprue one or two of these look quite brittle.
The C Sprue has some more of the interior of the tank on it. It has some of the stowage equipment like the ammo boxes and bags both of which have some nice detail. A shovel, crowbar and cutters are also present along with parts for the exhaust plus numerous smaller parts that again go to make up some of the interior.
The D sprue which there is two off contains the main parts for the suspension with large good looking coil springs.
The detail on the wheels is very good and look very authentic to the real ones as does the baffles of the exhaust with its molded fixings with which to place on the back of the tank. Quite a few shells are present and have holders to build to have them mounted in.
The E sprue there is again two of. These contain the individual track links which are incredibly small they are going to be very tricky to cut them of the sprue. Ok I cut three of these of the sprue just to how they would fit together they pushed in together well, but the moment you go to move them they fall apart.
The clear sprue has lights and periscope the periscope is not very clear
Bronco Models have produced a really easy to follow set of instructions any parts that require photo-etch has a small box with coloured parts so you as to let you know of the change. The instruction book is 19 pages of which 13 pages are the build which breaks down 30 building parts but, 34 boxes three extra showing how to combine the photo-etch. The last three pages are the colour profiles which include
Option 1 Tetrarch T9338 "Apple Sammy" 6th Airborne Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment (6AARR0 Normandy June 1944.
Option 2 Tetrarch I CS T9290 Independent Airborne Light Tank Squadron RAF Tarrant Rushton UK 20th January 1944.
Option 3. Tetrarch T9333 Independent Airborne Light Tank Squadron UK 1943.
The decals I like as they are very well done and colourful plus not to thick. The photo-etch sheet has the same clear film over it that makes it so much easier to cut from the sprue. I really like the photo-etch the details are fantastic really have to give them 10 out of 10 for this.
Bronco Models have really put a lot into the D-Day kits which you can build up into a very nice and some what large diorama. I do think that with some care and attention this kit could be made into a really nice kit. You will have to be patient with this kit during part of the build which will be challenging but your patients will be rewarded.