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|Last Update: 12 May 2008|
Bronco 1/35 Humber Scout Car Mk.I
This article discusses building the Bronco 1/35 Humber Scout Car Mk.I using the Eduard Interior and Exterior Detail Sets and some other aftermarket items. This article is a modification of my build-review of the Eduard detail sets posted on the IPMS/USA Review website.
I would like to thank Eduard and IPMS/USA for providing the Interior and Exterior Detail Sets.
The Cast of Characters
My first impression on receiving the kit was to wonder if they could have reduced the hefty price by using a smaller box -- it's about 40% full, at best. OTOH, it is well packaged - each sprue is in it's own baggie and all that is held inside one big baggie. The only thing loose in the box was 'Michael Caine' and both of his arms which had broken off -- I almost lost one right off the bat.
Having said that, there are lots of parts, well over 200, with lots of interior and exterior detail, to include the engine compartment and a small sheet of photo-etch. A driver would have been nice. Parts look very detailed and molding is crisp and fairly clean. One issue I see is that in an effort to keep the exterior of parts clean of sprue attachments, most of them attach on the mating surface - nice idea in concept but one that guarantees lots of mating surface cleanup time.
The instruction book requires a lot of study. The back cover is labeled "Color Guide" but is really an assembly page belonging between the numbered pages 11 and 12. Parts show up installed before they are actually are, a few haven't been referenced anywhere, and as you will see later, a few are shown but not identified. The color and decal guides for the six options have been shrunk to a total of less a half page. There is very little detail color info in the construction steps -- you don't even find out the interior color until nearly done. Fortunately, to apply the Eduard detail sets, I'll have to go through the instructions with a fine tooth comb and I should be able to sort all this out.
These comments aside, it really does look like a very nice kit and I am looking forward to this build.
A first look at the Eduard Detail Sets
The two sets contain a total of 3 shiny brass photo-etch sheets. One nice thing is that the total MSRP cost is less than the street cost of the kit. Each set comes with a single A4 instruction sheet, in black and white. Typical for Eduard, they are well done and detailed.
I do recommend the Eduard website ( www.eduard.cz ). The instruction sheet may be downloaded as a 4-page color PDF and there are many photos of the sets already built onto a model (so why am I doing this review, you ask). I did this and was able to start planning my build several days before the actual sets arrived on my doorstep.
The Interior set only applies to the driving/fighting compartment only, not the engine compartment. It contains lots of trays and straps useable after you cut/shave the same off the kit parts. The roof gets lots of panel construction, why I'm not sure. Whether the interior set is of use depends on whether you intend to open up all the hatches and even then not much can be seen - particularly on the inside of the roof. It all looks great when the compartment is open but when the top and bottom of the model are clamped together it gets dark in there.
The Exterior set provides all the usual exterior details -- straps, can holders, light brackets, reinforcing strips, etc -- even a couple padlocks for storage compartments. On the big plus side, it contains many details for the inside of the engine compartment and a replacement hood to allow opening the engine compartment. Another plus is that no photo-etch has been provided to replace already thin kit parts, such as the fenders. There are several options, such as storage bays for the right side of the vehicle but in the limited pictures I have I have not seen one of those in use.
For some reason, the exterior set replaces the two kit sliding hatches with bent-up photo-etch; I do not know why at this point. The odd part is that the interior set provides inside handles for the kit hatches, but the exterior set does not provide them for the photo-etch hatches. Other than this, there does not appear to be a lot of replacing for the sake of it.
Unfortunately, there is nothing in the exterior set for the Bren Gun and mount -- surprising and disappointing given the prominence and the complexity of it. I haven't decided if I'm going to use it, but if I go to all the work to use these sets, I'm not then going to leave an un-adorned machine gun on top. Likewise, but not unexpected, there are no detail parts for underneath.
Also unfortunately, and as usual, the photo-etch instructions bear little relationship to the kit instruction sequence. I spent about two hours comparing and cross-marking the kit instructions and the two detail instructions so I knew what to do when and where. It is my opinion that all after-market instructions should refer to and conform to the kit instruction sequence, regardless of how good they may be or not.
I should also mention that I have lots of historical information on the British Army starting from the mid-1600's and ending in the Western Desert of the early 1940's. The Humber Scout car didn't come into service until 1943, in Italy and NW Europe, nor could I find a whole lot of pictures of the Humber in use ... oh, well ...
I have done two things to start off. I removed from the inside/outside of the hull all those things Eduard said to -- so I wouldn't be scraping away later with delicate parts installed. I also installed the firewall and gear box cover (A7,A8,A26) into the hull so I wouldn't have to do that with delicate parts installed. The firewall doesn't lean against the little ridge in the hull, it sits on it and there is nothing to hold it in place -- see mini-pins holding it in place. Also see the fill of ejector pins - maybe they won't be as visible as I first feared but I went after 'em anyway.
I decided my build plan would be to make as much of the Interior Set as possible, attach the main pieces to the unpainted interior, paint the interior, then add all the boxes, straps, and other details before closing it up. I also decided to treat the engine compartment from the Exterior Set as "interior".
I decided that I would use all the brass, especially on the interior, whereas if I were doing this for myself, I probably wouldn't have used half. Because of this, I decided to build this with most everything opened up, whereas I might not normally do so. As I worked, I realized there would be issues with the open vision ports and painting, so I closed the rear side and end ones, the latter because I'll have the hood open.
I'll not go through either the Bronco kit or Eduard detail item-by-item -- if you've studied both sets of instructions, it'll all work out with little real fuss. I will cover some of the things I came up with.
Notation I am using: Parts identified A#, B#, C#, F#, or P# are kit parts. Parts identified I# or E# are from the respective Eduard Interior and Exterior sets. There are no "I" parts in the kit; there is only one labeled "E" and that is the roof so there shouldn't be any confusion.
The Service Instruction Book (SIB) and/or the Capricorn book are most helpful to identify parts and to clarify their function and location. I also used the shaded black-white drawings as an indicator for painting.
Having the kit, the photo-etch sets, and the references on the workbench summons the AMS demon -- we have had several ear-bitin', eye-gougin', groin-kickin' sessions already ...
Fighting Compartment Body
Batteries: Bronco part A2 represents two batteries as a single piece; Eduard doesn't address this piece at all, probably because it is mostly hidden behind the gunner's seat. AMS kicked in and I made two batteries; can't be seen but I know it's there.
Seats: The Humber has a crew of two, but can carry a 3rd in an emergency. The kit has a driver's seat, a gunner's seat, and the emergency seat. Eduard adds a lever to the driver's seat and provides high-fidelity thermos holders for the gunner's seat mount. The gunner's seat can be installed in the up or down position although neither Bronco nor Eduard makes any mention of this. The kit provides the emergency seat (two pads on the floor) in the open position and the strap that forms the seat back. Eduard provides a better looking strap and related parts. But it is an emergency seat, and really should be folded forward and the strap stowed away -- which is what I have done.
Radio: Kit part C60 consists of two side brackets and a shelf for the radio. Eduard provides a "molding" (I1) which appears to go behind C60 - I left it out as not necessary or visible and possibly obstructive. Concerned about the height of the radio, I cut away the shelf at an angle, leaving just enough for the radio to sit on. Also be sure you know the height of the radio before you install the Eduard brackets and boxes above it. The kit provides a nice photo-etch radio guard that Eduard replaces with an even nicer one.
· Eduard says to leave off a kit bracket (P15) which is clearly shown as present in the SIB.
· Eduard correctly adds a bracket (I28) to the front of the driver's compartment.
· Eduard adds what I believe to be the Inspection Lamp holder (I60-61), but there is no Inspection Lamp for it.
· Be careful with the two hatch handles (C38,I49) so they don't appear to prevent the hatch from opening/closing when in the desired position.
· The magazine rack (I25) mounted on the left-side hatch (B43) sticks out so far as to block entry/exit -- I folded the supports behind the rack.
· Be sure the air-cleaner assembly (C26/27,I45/54) doesn't get too high and hinder putting on the compartment roof.
Fighting Compartment Roof
This is the big "Why?" of the Eduard sets. The kit part (E) has structural detail on the inside of the roof top. Eduard wants you to scrape all that off and replace it with a half-dozen brass parts which might be more accurate and look better, but given how little one can see, is it worth it ? You judge -- I would normally not have bothered. But it does look nice.
If you do add this detail then fit and clean up the vision port frames (B8-11) before you add the detail to the roof just to avoid bumping the detail later.
Bronco and Eduard both have the driver's port mechanism covered. Bronco provides photo-etch parts for the mechanism on the 5 smaller ports (4 side, driver left side) -- Eduard did NOT provide replacements for these kit parts which is surprising and a shame. Neither provide parts for the rear port.
The kit port opening mechanism consists of 5 tiny photo-etch parts. The front port is slightly different than the 4 side ports. The assembly drawing for both can be described as "and then a miracle occurs". The side port drawing points to only 2 of the 4 side ports -- there are enough parts for all 4. The kit photo-etch comes with just enough parts (P8,P9,P22,P25,P31; P3,P11,P14,P25,P30) to do the assemblies so be careful. On the other hand, the photo-etch sheet contains many similar looking parts (P2,P7,P26) not used anywhere that can be spares. Also note the instructions for the 4 side ports are right side up, but you will be working upside down. Frankly, I faked it and then used some of the extras to fake a similar mechanism for the rear port.
· Eduard correctly adds a fire extinguisher holder (I21,I39,I50) to the roof of the fighting compartment but erroneously places it on the rear wall rather than above the right rear vision port.
· Eduard adds straps (I43) to hold wire cutters and a matchet (machete) inside the roof, but of course no parts to hold in them. I scratch built some wire cutters and used a grossly oversize bayonet from Tamiya's Universal Carrier as a matchet.
· Eduard adds a "block" (I29) on/over the hinge plate of each vision port frame (B8-11), but I'm not sure what that is meant to represent, nor do things fit well once they are in. I folded them flat rather than a "U".
Engine and Compartment
Bronco gives you a really nice engine, plus a radiator, fuel tank, and starting crank. As I'll note later, Bronco doesn't give you a hood to raise to display these parts. Anyway, Bronco gives you a decent 30% of the engine compartment detail.
Eduard adds another 30%; the rest is up to you if you want. Eduard provides a wiring harness, a corrected crank holder, a radiator fan, caps for the fuel tank and radiator, an oil can holder, a couple brackets, and parts E53,E92, which after studying the SIB prove to be a oil filter.
The Bronco engine is just fine, except the fan belt assembly (B66) has a single grossly over-thick belt -- I carefully sanded/trimmed that down, but didn't try to split into the correct two belts. I am surprised this was not an Eduard replacement part as it is one of the few items in the kit that needed replacement.
It took a while, but it finally sunk in that 3 parts were missing from the kit -- two radiator hoses and the air cleaner hose -- but by missing, I don't mean from my kit -- they just don't exist!! They are shown on the instructions, but with no part number -- a clue something is amiss. I searched the sprues for similar parts to no avail. So I made radiator hose from wire. The missing air cleaner hose, if it had been provided, would have been too small so I would have had to remake it anyway.
Building the engine-radiator assembly is challenging; it starts held together by the fan shaft while you try to put the (non-existent) radiator hoses on. After having this collapse a couple times, I built a small .010 card floor to glue the engine and radiator in position. Getting the exhaust from the header to the floor is another challenge.
Study of the SIB shows there should be another oil can holder and a hand pump holder on the wall to the rear of the fuel tank. There should be a support arm from the firewall to the radiator also. And, of course, lots of wires and lines, but that is another level.
The Exterior and Done
I put on the front hood (covering the nifty Thompson, sob!), the fenders, and most remaining big kit pieces. I also put the engine into the compartment. The fenders, etc, went on smoothly.
Unlike the Interior Set where I built most everything then added them in, the Exterior set, with a couple exceptions (hood, water cans), is built right onto the vehicle.
I worked back and forth in the Bronco and Eduard instructions, side to side, back to front, etc, putting on pieces. I finally reached the point that my instructions were becoming illegible, so I got all the sprue and frets out and made a list of every unused part. Then I went back to the instructions, back and forth, until I found each and every one -- I annotated my list with what the part was then either X-d it out as not needed (replaced by PE, etc) or circled it as a part I needed to deal with. Then I went down that list continuing to add parts until the list got really small.
Front Axle. Be sure you understand the proper location of all parts and the interaction of them as you go through the assembly, or the front tires will never sit upright. Also recognize that much of that detail is hidden under the floor pan.
Things I found, in no particular order
Here we have a problem. The kit provides 2 sets of water cans on the back of the rear fenders. Not all Humbers had them, check your references.
Eduard has you scrape the plastic detail off, split the cans, add handles, and make new racks. They then show the racks laying sideways, with the top facing out -- so far I have only seen that configuration on a picture of the Humber in a Belgian museum -- in the kit, and most every photo I have seen, those cans face upwards. Anyway, check your references.
The other problem is the racks are longer/taller than the "standard" upright racks by about 1/16" -- thus the kit water cans are lost inside them. I decided to use the kit parts and photoetch instead, tidying up some of the detail using Eduard parts. In my opinion, Eduard should have provided both racks or at least noted the ones they provided were different than the kit and why.
Engine Compartment Hood
The hood assembly is the only photo-etch assembly that takes some skill and even it goes well. If you think the little tabs on E20 are just to hide the seam, check the real photos. I applied an unofficial MWO and put a couple small pieces of .010 Evergreen on the inside seam as reinforcement. I'm not a gentle person.
Eduard provides hinges for the hood, what appear to be release buttons, and the pivots and clamps to hold the support struts on the inside of the hood. They do not provide any indication of how to make those struts, etc -- without a supplemental reference you would be lost. I winged it.
I've already whined about Eduard not providing detail for the Bren and mount -- here's another whine just in case you missed it, although their omission pales compared to Bronco's instructions. On the other hand, if Eduard had provided details, I might not have had to deal with the Bronco instructions.
Here we go again, another unlabeled part -- looks like some kind of semi-circular hollow counter weight ??? I searched back and forth through the parts and instructions and finally came up with P6 that, after further study, looked as if it would form up properly. Bronco provides no instructions on how to do this. That's OK, most of the mount assembly is a mystery because the perspective of the drawings hides the relevant detail. If I did not have other refs, I probably would not have come close.
I believe the gunner's control (C8) inside the compartment is supposed to be perpendicular to the gun; plan ahead. Also if you want the gun tilted up or down, you'll have to do that when you assemble C58 to C11/C32. Enjoy.
AMS and me
Yeah, I succumbed a bit.
I added a map case and a couple black boxes inside the compartment, much as I see in the SIB. I also added headsets/mics for the radio, a folded up map in an empty rack, and a few clusters of wire in strategic places. You can't see much when closed up but at least something is represented and some of the white space covered over.
In the engine compartment, I went a bit more nuts -- all based on the SIB, although it's more representational than exacting detail. I added fuel lines, air cleaner hose, radiator/condenser lines, oil filter lines, a couple clusters of wire on the firewall, and of course the hood support struts.
That plus a few bags, boxes, and sacks finish it off. I resisted the urge to pile lots of gear inside and out -- for one reason, I'm not very good at doing it realistically.
Painting and Final Assembly
I used White Ensign Models ARB19 Olive Drab SCC15 enamel for the exterior and Tamiya XF-2 Flat White acryl on the interior; the rest of the colors are the usual bench stock of various colors and media. I don't weather much, but I did a little highlighting with paints, washing with oils, and dusting with pastels and Tamiya weathering powders before hosing it down with Dullcote. I have basically converted to White Ensign enamels for the major colors -- they airbrush great at 50/50 and brush wonderfully right out of the tinlet; you can touch up a spray job and not even see the difference.
As noted above, the decals are Archer dry transfers and that went just fine. The only problem is that the vehicle is so small and there are so many pieces on the outside, there is no place to put fingers to hold the model and the transfers while rubbing.
Final assembly took longer than I wanted. With the exterior coat on and some detailing, I still had many small parts to put on. I was still trying to preserve the open interior for the final few shots. That finally left me with the roof, complete with hatches and parts, which had to be glued on and touched up. That was a hairy operation with lots of breakable things in the vicinity of not-so-gentle fingers. Nonetheless, we both survived.
The Bronco kit, by itself, is highly detailed and well-engineered - the parts fit. With the exception of the ejector pins noted, I had to do very little filing or filling. There are many very small delicate parts. The detail provided in the kit and the detail on the parts is simply excellent. Their photo-etch isn't that great but it's useable. But in the end, the instructions are the major downfall and make this kit for experienced modelers only.
The Eduard photo-etch sets are valuable enhancements to the kit. The Eduard brass is excellent -- very thin with crisp detail on both sides where needed and with well-defined fold marks, etc. The attachment points are very thin, making parts easy to separate with minimal distortion. The folding scheme is simple and, in most cases, obvious. I probably "hand-folded" over 80% of the parts, using my Hold & Fold less than 20% of the time. The Exterior Set is slightly thicker than the Interior Set, but that makes no difference in the preceding remarks.
Less than 10% of the Eduard Interior Set consists of new detail or corrections to kit items; leaving 90% as simply more detailed replacements for that already in the kit. Nonetheless, it is undeniable that the Eduard Interior set greatly enhances the kit interior. The boxes and bundles look better held by real straps, the Bren magazines look great in their holders, and so on. If you are going to have any hatches or ports open, the Interior set is a great way to go. If you are going to build a super-detail interior, then you're most of the way home -- with the SIB you can easily figure out what's missing.
The Eduard Exterior set is a bit of a mixed bag, also due to instructions. The exterior set suffers by not delineating options and by a rather rote application of parts that may not be appropriate. There are extras and options that simply aren't well explained and there are necessary parts (or instructions) not included. Not including the external Bren/mount is a shortfall. Other than that, the brass is still of very high quality and with a couple exceptions not difficult to work with.
I had a lot of fun with this whole project -- everything went well, a tribute to both Eduard and Bronco. The kit being so small and the compartments so full of stuff make for a busy and interesting little model. If you want a great looking Humber, this kit and the Eduard photo-etch are the way to go -- but make sure you get some other references. In retrospect, I wish I had built an "exploded" view model with the roof on stilts above the body so all the interior detail was visible.
A highly recommended project, for experienced modelers.
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