The US M22 ‘Locust’ was originally commissioned by the British army to provide a light tank suitable for providing armoured support for airborne forces. Its diminutive size and weight was necessitated by the need for it to be transported either by Hamilcar glider or suspended underneath the Douglas C-54 Skymaster aircraft. Due to these rather restrictive design requirements and various problems with its engine and transmission, its rather convoluted development meant that it was only ready for service towards the end of the war.
Regarded as pretty much obsolete when compared with more modern Axis armor. The type only saw action with the 6th Airborne Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment of the British Army, during ‘Operation Varsity’ in 1944. Here, its mechanical and combat shortcomings immediately became apparent, leading to only two of the eight tanks deployed actually being able to take part in the battle.
The type was declared obsolete in 1946 but was subsequently used by both the Belgium army as a command vehicle and also saw combat with the Egyptian armed forces during the Arab/Israeli war of 1948.
This kit covers the American Version of the tank with three different decal options available.
The kit comes in a large top opening box with a detailed run down of the kit parts printed on the side. This includes:
- 1 upper and lower hull section, moulded in green styrene
- 6 sprue trees
- 1 clear sprue with periscopes and lights
- 1 Photo etch fret
- 1 decal sheet
- 1 Instruction sheet
The first thing that struck me upon opening the box was the minute size of the tank, it really is tiny! looking a little like a Bonsai Sherman. The box art does a good job of making the subject matter look quite imposing, but having seen the real thing at Bovington Tank Museium a few years back, I don’t think it would have given Tiger crews any sleepless nights!
The number of sprues in the box and the shear number of parts, bears testament to the amount of detail Bronco
have managed to put into the kit. The interior is well represented with the crew positions and fittings all being present. The addition of the transmission and prop shaft and the gear teeth on the turret ring are also welcome. However, with all this detail present it seems a little strange that there is no engine included.
The turret interior is worthy of mention, the crew positions are all present with the turret floor nicely detailed. The main gun and the breach are also pretty comprehensively detailed. All in all the kit is begging to have all the hatches left open to display all these nice touches. Maybe a figure or two would have been the icing on the cake but I am sure there are plenty of aftermarket items that would fit the bill.
The hull exterior is very well detailed, at first I thought the manufacturers had neglected to put the weld seems on the hull. On closer inspection they are very delicately moulded and would probably only become visible once painted and given a pin wash. The various bolts and rivets are all present and correct and the very intricate clamps for suspension under a C54 transport plane are well rendered.
One criticism is the lack of the cast texture on the turret. A quick look on the internet reveals a very rough and irregular looking texture that is not represented on the kit. I am sure that a bit of time spent with a Dremel and some Mr Surfacer could sort this out, it’s just a shame that on such a nicely detailed model, it couldn’t have been moulded from the start.
The inclusion of a comprehensive P.E. fret is a welcome addition, with the light covers and exhaust shield being very well represented, something that would be very difficult to reproduce in styrene.
Various other interior details and items for the gun breach are also included, as well as clamps and attachments for various items of exterior kit.
The road wheels also display a high degree of detail and the bogies certainly look very intricate, a fact reflected in the number of parts required for their construction. Some of the parts appear a little warped on the sprue, but having done a little test fitting, they go together very well. The tracks themselves come in several separate pieces, with the whole top set of links moulded in one piece and several individual links that go around the idler wheel and drive sprocket at either end. I am sure once constructed they look great, Personally I would have preferred all separate links to give the track a more uneven and weighted appearance.
The instruction sheet is very well presented with large pictures for each step of the assembly. A nice touch is the separate coloured items indicating the P.E. parts, something that makes the location and the part itself, much easier to identify. There are four different decal options listed at the end of the sheet, obviously all the tanks are olive drab but there is a reasonable amount of variation in the different decal options. It would have been good to include the year and the appropriate theatre for each one but this is a minor criticism.
This is very comprehensive kit of a somewhat obscure subject. The interior detail and photo etch items really are first rate with very crisply moulded styrene and a good choice of markings.