Bronco's excellent Cruiser Mk.I(A9) with thanks to Jane at Bronco Models
Bronco 1/35 Cruiser Tank Mk.I/I CS/British Cruiser Tank A9/A9 CS
I am very pleased to present the first of two new release Bronco Models British Cruisers in the shape of this Mk.I/I CS – A9/A9 CS. The second is the Mk.IIA/IIA CS – A10 Mk.IA/IA Cs (Balkans Campaign) which will appear in the next issue of the mag and then the full ‘with multiple images’ version will appear on here.
For those of you who are not familiar with this series of tanks, the Cruiser Mk.I (A9) was designed and developed in the mid-1930s as a light and fast machine capable of slipping behind enemy lines, disrupting communications and any other mischief it could get away with, before rapidly withdrawing. The Mk.I (A9) entered service in January 1939 and was presented in the same two versions replicated by Bronco. These were the Mk.I (A9) armed with a QF 2-pdr cannon and three .303in Vickers machine guns; one of which was coaxial-mounted on the turret while the other two were contained within mini turrets mounted on the upper forward hull. This was not a large tank but because of the forward machine gun positions it required a crew of six to make it effective; a commander, gunner (for the QF) and a driver who was flanked by the two forward machine gunners – a cosy set up! The other version was the Mk.I CS, the latter standing for Close Support. This variant was equipped with a 3.7in (94mm) howitzer plus the same Vickers machine gun arrangement. Only 125 of these machines were built as it was soon realised that in action, sacrificing protective armour for speed was not the way forward which was quickly found out during the Battle of France in 1940. However, the Cruiser still faired reasonably well in France and in the hands of the 2nd and 7th Armoured Divisions, also in North Africa up to 1941.
Realising how popular this subject is on this website let’s have a look at what we have got here. Topped off with some very nice box art of an A9 in action complete with some very hostile looking tracer, this is a typical ‘filled to gunnels’ kit by Bronco. There are ten main sprues, a lower hull, upper hull, main turret, a pair of forward machine turrets (left and right), two quality sheets of PE and a nice set of decals. An A4, 16-page full colour instruction booklet is supplied for a build which only takes 21 stages. This is mainly in part to the tracks, which only comprise five major sections on each side and is only individual links where the track wraps around the main, large front and rear drive sprockets. The four, three wheel track bogies (a pair on each side) are more challenging than the tracks themselves although not for the experienced modeller. There is no interior to contend with, although the option to build the commanders, drivers and the front machine gun hatches open is there for those who want to add something else to look at. External detail looks pretty impressive to me, every one of those potential ‘life-threatening’ (to the crew) rivets appears to be in the right place. There is just the right amount of PE to keep you interested and I particularly like the bank of water cans which can be fitted along the rear of the Cruiser; fiddly, but worth it!
The decals and supporting colour guides allow the builder to create one of three different machines. Option 1 is a Mk.I (A9) called ‘Arnold’ which served the 1st Battalion Royal Tank Regiment, 7th Armoured Division at Abbassia, Egypt in May 1940; Option 2 is a machine called ‘Antelope’ (PMV572) again serving with the 1st Battalion RTR at Derna Pass, Libya in April 1941 and finally Option is a Mk.I CS registered T7245 serving with HQ, ‘A’ Squadron, 3rd Battalion RTR, 2nd Tank Brigade, 1st Armoured Division, Calais, France in 1940 which is the machine on the outside of the box.
Once again this is another great kit from Bronco which plugs British armour gap during the inter-war, early war period. Thanks to Jane Lu at Bronco for supplying Military Modelling with this kit for review.
Product: Construction kit
Parts: Approx 280 + 42 PE
Price: Approx £35.99
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