by: Darren Baker [ ]
Bronco Models would appear to have purchased the moulds for the Great Wall Hobby armour models, and have recently released another from their line, the sWS with 2cm Flakvierling 38. The sWS designed and manufactured by Bussing-Nag was designed as a cheaper solution to the Sd.Kfz 6 and 11, and it was intended as a gun tractor, but was also used in many other variants as well. Some of these vehicles as the war progressed and Allied air power became more of an issue, were converted to carry anti-aircraft guns and this review covers just such a vehicle.
This offering from Bronco Models is packaged in a cardboard tray with a card lid, as such the packaging will need further protection to protect the contents against the post office. The parts inside are packaged in individual sealed plastic bags except for identical sprues which are packaged together. The contents break down as follows;
15 grey sprues
A grey chassis
2 brown sprues
A photo etched fret
A decal sheet
A box top artwork poster
An inspection of the contents reveals that Bronco Models appears to have gone to the trouble of adding their own company logo to the sprues and removing GWH’s. Judging by how clean the mouldings are I believe the moulds have also been given a spit and polish while they were at it. The parts are very cleanly moulded and there is no flash present, there are some mould seams present, but that is to be expected. News looks good as regards ejector pin marks as nothing jumped out at me as an issue at this point.
The chassis of the model is a single piece moulding, this may I believe have resulted in the need to not replicate all of the detail on the chassis, but Bronco Models have got around this by making the tubes where the torsion bars locate on the real vehicle as separate parts. While the chassis is a single piece moulding it does at least insure that everything is square as a basis for the model to be built onto. It should be noted that as this chassis is used in a number of models there are some openings that will need to be filled, Bronco Models has done a good job of identifying this aspect in the instructions.
The swing arms of the suspension are not workable, but it would be an easy task to secure the arms in the required orientation should the model be displayed on an uneven surface. All of the wheels for the halftrack area of the model look to be very nicely detailed, and these should look good on the finished model. The tyres at the front of the vehicle have been designed in slices and so a very nice tread pattern detail is achieved. The wheels themselves are separate from the tyres and so make sure to have the tyre slices in the correct order and that you trap the wheel itself in between them. I like that the tyres have long pins for assembly of the tyre slices, this insure the tread is correctly assembled.
The tracks provided with this model are in the form of individual track links, yes I know the argument for rubber band style tracks, but I prefer this approach. These will require some cleaning up unlike magic tracks, but they do have good detail present. For those that are still not happy workable metal tracks are available I believe.
The front suspension has been well tackled in this model, and while it is again not workable it will look the part. The steering for the model has been made workable, and so the front wheels can be orientated left, right or straight on, I like this feature as I think the model will look more interesting with the wheels turned. While the moveable aspect of the front wheels can be retained, I suggest that you decide how you want them displayed and then glue them in position.
The model has very good detail as regards mechanical guts. The transfer box for driving the winch mechanism is nicely detail, as is the main drive for the vehicle. This model even includes a detailed fuel tank. The engine is a lovely little model in itself, but as it has been covered as a single stage with lots of sub-assemblies, take your time and get it right. If you do take it steady you should end up with a very nice engine and gearbox in the model, and better still the model is designed so that you can display it if wished. The addition of some wiring detail will lift this aspect of the model to a high standard I feel.
The armoured cab interior has been dressed up despite that it will likely never be seen in most model, that said I like that it is supplied with the model, as it does mean you can have the hatches open if wished and you will not have to wedge a figure in the opening, you also have a limited view from the rear of the armoured cab. Also supplied with the model are decals for the instruments on the dashboard, even the steering wheel and steering column are present. Despite there being no crew for this model supplied, and to the best of my knowledge no figures designed for it, Dragon Models have a crew set that could be used for a gun in action and Master Box and Dragon Models have suitable seated figures including a driver in either set.
Moving to the exterior of the armoured cab a good number of options have been provided for. To start with, the bonnet or if preferred hood can be left open or closed and that does allow a good view of the very nice engine that you have added. The driver’s vision ports can be closed and so looking through the slit or opened up for a better driving view. Both of the ports can be open or closed or combination of. The split hatch on the roof of the armoured cab can be assembled either open or closed; it is this hatch that I feel will offer the best view of the cab interior.
The exterior detail of the cab is very nice, even the vents on the split hood/bonnet are open and also of a realistic thickness. The lights and width indicators look right to me and add further areas of interest. The tools that are mounted around this area are supplied with moulded on clamp detail, but also included are photo etched clamps should you wish to remove the moulded on detail, but there are only seven clamps and seven are required. I should point out that photo etched clamps are not provided for the either the blade of the shovel or the axe, they are for the handles only. The result so far should be what I would consider a very well detailed and pleasing model for the modeller.
The bed of the vehicle is well moulded and has a nice texture on the upper face. The locations for the feet of the gun mount are clearly visible and so placement will not be an issue after you have drilled the holes through from the base. There are three circles indicated on the texture of the upper face, but I do not know if they are supposed to be there or they are locator marks for a different gun mount. The underside of the bed has nice rib detail present, but in the centre area there are a couple of ejector pin marks that may be seen from underneath; however I do think that these will most likely be hidden by the various details you have added to the chassis. The drop sides of the bed are very nicely provided with photo etched mesh and so should look very convincing once painted. The rear bench seat has not been forgotten and if some figures are seated there will attract attention. If you are a sadist workable hinges are provided in the photo etch for the rear of the vehicle, but all I can say to that is “rather you than I”
At this point the sWS is finished other than the need to bring the sub-assemblies together.
This 2cm anti-aircraft gun is a nice little model in its own right. The parts break down involved is not silly for the most part and so assembly should be relatively easy apart from some photo etched detail parts that are small in size, despite being small in size they do add some nice detail to the gun. The four barrels have been slide moulded and so have very good muzzle detail for plastic offerings, the main bodies of the guns also rate highly with me. For those modellers who have to add turned metal barrels; these can be had relatively cheaply, but they will not be a huge improvement over what the model provides. The gun can be assembled as in use or packed away, regardless of which option you take the model has magazines a plenty and receiver mouldings for a gun shown out of action. The gun shields are moulded about as thinly is possible for plastic and they have good detail present, but for those that are not happy there are plenty of photo etched offerings that will do the job. These shields can also be finished in a closed or in action position.
You can now bring all of the sub-assemblies together for a completed model, but wait what about painting? I am sorry to say that Bronco Models has only provided a single three colour camouflage scheme for this model and Wehrmacht number plates, you are supplied with numbers and so you decide the designation. No details are provided as to a specific unit in a specific location.
The assembly instructions are of an acceptable standard, but they do get a little busy in places and this may catch out the unwary. With that said if you take your time you are presented with a model that could be built up to a very high standard; I do feel that this model really deserves a crew in action or on the move, but that is a decision for you to make.
Despite that I believe this to be a re-release of the Great Wall Hobby model offering, I am very pleased to have had the chance to look it over. The detail throughout is very good, and there is little in the way to catch you out. The instructions can be a little busy at times, and so you will need to pay attention, but general assembly looks to be pretty straight forward. There is little in the way of moulding issues other than some ejector pin marks, but all of the ones that matter look to be on the underside of the truck bed.