Bronco 1/35 Cruiser Tank Mk.II/IIA/IIIA CS

The concept of the ‘Cruiser’ tank was presented by pioneering British military engineer and tank strategist Lt Gen Sir Giffard Le Quesne Martel who suggested that large numbers of light fast tanks attacking the enemy would be more effective than a few medium or heavy tanks. This was still cavalry-minded thinking but up to the mid-1930s the Royal Armoured Corps were very unhappy with their ‘mediums’ and were yearning for more mobility on the battlefield. Two types of Cruiser’s were produced, the lighter Mk.I and the heavy, more substantially armoured Mk.II. These two versions of the Cruiser were designated as the A9 and the A10 respectively and it is the latter which Bronco presents us here with this 2017 new tool release. In fact Bronco gives us the option of building three sub-variants of the A10, namely the Mk.II (A10 Mk.I) fitted with a Quick Firing two pound cannon backed up by a pair of .303in Vickers machine guns; the Mk.IIA (A10 Mk.IA) complete with the same cannon and a pair of BESA machine guns and finally the Mk.IIA CS (A10 Mk.IA CS (Close Support) version.

The kit is supposed to contain seven sprues according to the sprue flatplan at the beginning of the instructions. If you are someone who is careful about checking that you’re hard earned cash has purchased everything to build this kit, note that Sprue Ab (x2) is attached to Sprue A (x2). I had to re-write a large portion of this review because I thought Ab was missing and trust me, it is easily missed! Only the lower hull and turret shell are stand-alone components backed up by a very nice PE sheet which actually contains parts that can be seen with the naked eye. The instructions are contained within a nicely produced full-colour A4 portrait booklet made up of just 14 pages. This is not a complex build and as usual the bulk of the components are taken up by the running gear held on Sprue A (x2). The build is made up in just 20 stages and five of these cover the three options depending on which one you choose, while the final stage is just a line drawing of the completed kit; so this should not take up a huge amount of your valuable time. Even the tracks have been made a lot easier to construct and rather than building individual links from the start the track is made up of two long sections (top and bottom), three shorter sections and single links wrapped around the front and rear sprockets (5 at the front and 7 at the rear) (see Instruction Stage 5). I’m not a huge fan of building tracks but this brake down of the components is a very appealing way of going about it; as usual the jury is out on that one.

Never a highly decorated tank during its wartime service there is still enough high quality decals to produce seven different Cruisers beginning with Option 1, Kreuzer Panzerkampfwagen Mk.II Kenn Nummer 742(e), Kummersdorf, German 1940; Option 2, A10Mk.I, T5911, HQ 2nd Armoured Brigade, 1st Armoured Division, France, May 26, 1940;  Option 3, A10 Mk.IA ‘Edinburgh’, HQ Squadron, 2nd Royal Tank Regiment, 7th Armoured Brigade, 7th Armoured Division, Libya, 1940-41; Option 4, A10 Mk.IA, T5941, A Squadron, 1st Armoured Division, Royal Tank Regiment, 3rd Royal Tank Regiment, Greece, April 1941; Option 4, A10 Mk.IA, T9219, C Squadron, 1st Armoured Division, Alexandria, Egypt, Oct 1940; Option 6, A10 Mk.IA CS ‘Eastern’, A Squadron, 5th Royal Tank Regiment, 2nd Armoured Division, Libya, Feb 1941 & Option 7, A10 Mk.IA, T5939, 3rd The King’s Own Hussars, HQ 7th Armoured Division, North Africa, Jan 1941; an impressive choice and range!     

Now as we all know by now, Gecko are also waiting in the wings with their trio of A10s which feature interior detail while the Bronco machine does not. That said, Bronco have pulled a blinder here by releasing this 3 in 1 kit before Gecko but I suspect die hard Cruiser fans will still be tempted by both or all options on the table. Despite having Bronco’s 2017-2018 catologue I did not see this kit coming and there is a convenient batch of kit references missing so that Bronco can respond quickly to competition and produce a good alternative rapidly. They have certainly achieved that and produced a great little tank at the same time.     

Thanks to Jane Lu at Bronco for supplying Military Modelling with this kit for review.  

 

Product: Construction kit

Ref: CB-35150

Scale: 1/35

Parts: approx 190 (+ Sheet x15)

Price: approx £34

Manufacturer: Bronco

Website: www.cn-bronco.com