Manufactured by the Rootes Group, approximately 2000 Humber Mk. IV's were produced beginning in early 1943. The 15mm Besa used in the Mk. III was replaced with the U.S. 37mm M5/M6 cannon, which cut crew members down from four to three to make room for the larger gun. Issued to Reconnaissance Regiments attached to Infantry Divisions, the Mk. IV served in NW Europe, Italy, Middle East and the Far East.
With only 3999 units in the production run of the special transparent edition of the Humber Armored Car Mk. IV from Bronco Models
, this one is nearly sold out at the time of this writing. The good news is the full production run of this kit without the clear body parts has arrived at vendors worldwide, and hopefully this review provides some insight in what should be included in the standard kit.
For such a small vehicle, this one comes packed to the top in a good size slip-top box. Somewhere around 700-800 pieces make up this kit, giving a good indication of the details provided for. My kit included not only the clear hull and turret pieces, but also the 'regular' opaque counterparts providing the possibility of mixing & matching between the two.
• 9 sprues molded in grey
• 3 clear sprues
• 5 styrene tires
• 1 photo etch fret
• 2 vinyl mg belts
• 2 decal sheets
• Instruction manual
The instruction manual is well deserving of the name and I wish all manufacturers would include instructions this good. Consisting of 40 staple bound glossy pages, the construction sequence spans 50 steps. The front cover contains a potted history of the Humber by Phil Greenwood while the back cover gives special thanks and a web address to view photos of the Vandal
Where appropriate, multiple views of the construction are shown along with CAD style insets to ease the construction process. The steps range from very simple (adding two shock absorbers) to very busy and complex, but each step appears to be clearly shown and well laid out. Paint color callouts are provided throughout the assembly guide and although helpful, further research is recommended.
The parts list doesn't show any 'not for use' parts, although some options exist and PE parts may replace the styrene ones. All in all, it's doubtful there will be much leftover for the spares bin.
Each of the five marking options have their own full color page and include:
• Captured by the German Fallschirmjager for reconnaissance, Italy 1944
•17th Duke of York's Royal Canadian Hussars, France, July 1944
• 49th Regiment, Reconnaissance Corps, 49th (Wessex) Infantry Division, France, August 1944
• 15th Regiment, Reconnaissance Corps, 15th (Scottish) Infantry Division, Belgium, September 1944
• 53rd Regiment, Reconnaissance Corps, 53rd (Welsh) Infantry Division, Goch, Germany, February 1945
All finished in Olive Green SCC 15, with the captured vehicle a two-tone green.
The waterslide decals are beautifully printed on a thin, matte carrier film in fine register. Two U.S. stars are included though not shown on the marking options. Dashboard gauges and fire extinguisher placards are also included to add further realism.
All parts appear to be excellently molded with sharp, crisp details. Flash and seam lines are minimal, and the very few pin marks are in areas that should be hidden. Sprue layout appears to be logical with a minimum amount of part hunting needed.
To get this kit motoring along, construction begins with the engine. No less than 30 parts make up the basic engine and details look excellent. The radiator with respective plumbing along with the transmission round out the first step. The frame rails and sub-frame are constructed with individual cross members to support the running gear and floor pan.
Judging by the instructions, it may be best to leave the hi/lo transfer case shifter (part C91)unglued and the 2-4WD shifter (C92) off until the floor pan is in place. The transfer case and differentials/axles are all multi-part affairs and well detailed with respective linkages and driveshafts.
Front steering is designed to be movable by means of mushrooming the pins using a hot pinhead or knife blade. The leaf spring assemblies have multiple 'not to be glued' areas indicated in the instructions which, I believe, are for alignment reasons when adding the axles and driveshafts.
The tire treads are molded in styrene and have a minimum amount of clean-up. The pattern is very accurate and they appear to be 'factory fresh', so if a worn down appearance is desired some sanding/scraping will need to be performed. The sidewalls and rims are molded together, with sharp and clear markings on the sidewalls. I assembled one of the wheels and it went together perfectly. Since the tires are directional, the instructions are very clear on assembling the right and left sides.
The hull sides are molded separate from the hull top, with the left hand side providing a separate opaque access hatch which looks to be functional. The right hand side is molded closed as the spare tire mounts here. An issue with the clear parts is that cooling lines (proper term?) are present and, although faint, may detract from the finished model. The same lines are present on the opaque parts but should not affect the painted model.
The hull top has a separate engine access hatch which can be positioned opened or closed. An optional unditching channel can be mounted to the front, if this is not used it's possible the 'drill here' marks will be seen on the clear version of the hull.
The slide molded turret has a separate base and is molded flawlessly, no cooling lines present. Turret hatches can be modeled opened or closed with excellent details either way. Fine bolt, screw and weld seams are depicted very well on both the clear and standard versions of the hull and turret.
The main gun barrel is molded as one piece with just a fine seam line to deal with. Both the 37mm and Besa have hollowed out barrels. The externally mounted Sten and other included weapons, if used, will need the barrels drilled out for a better appearance. The fenders are loaded with storage boxes, flimsies and other accoutrements with further detailing in the form of photo etch parts. The antenna mounts are included, but surprisingly, no antennas. The instructions indicate to use stretched sprue although no length is given, so we're on our own here.
Interior detailing is extensive from stem to stern covering the drivers and fighting areas. Details such as the finger grips on the steering wheel and separate hand grenades are present. Ammo abounds, with the ammo clips molded on the shells, some separate empty shell holders would have been a nice addition to this kit.
Locating pins are not always present and, coupled with the complexity of this kit and the minuscule pieces, will make construction a bit of a challenge. Glue surfaces in some areas are also very small. The styrene used is on the softer side which makes for a stronger glue bond although it will 'tear' easier if cutting too close to the sprue connection points.
If I had the time I could write pages on this kit, it's that complete and that good. Bronco stuffed a lot of detail into this armored car and even with the opaque body/turret, I believe much will be able to be viewed through the hatches and by removing the turret.
I believe WWP has just released a new book on the Humber Mk. IV (R63) which may be of interest.
Just for fun:
YouTube Humber Videos