by: Matthew Robeson [ ]
The M22 Locust is an American designed airborne tank that (excuse the pun) never really took off. It was a light weight tank designed by Marmon Herrington and was designed to be air-portable by the C54 Skymaster aircraft. The idea was to remove the turret and place it in the aircraft and carry the hull under the aircraft secured by the clevises on each side. The tank never saw active service with US forces but a limited number saw service with the British Parachute Regiment in the form of the 6th Airborne Reconnaissance Regiment during Operation Plunder, on that occasion they were transported in Hamilcar gliders and so there was no need to remove the turret. This diminutive little tank is not much larger than a Bren gun carrier and it is one of those armoured fighting vehicles I never expected to see from an injection moulded plastic manufacturer.
Inside one of Bronco Models typical boxes you will find;
• 5 green sprues
• An upper and lower hull
• 2 slide moulded idler wheels
• A clear sprue
• A photo etched fret
• A decal sheet
• A glossy print of the box art
• An A4 glossy instruction booklet
First thing is that the box is quite large considering the size of the vehicle hidden within. There is some great artwork on the cover, and is a quick hint to the quality inside.
One of the first things you see inside the box is the one-piece hull top and bottom, and that's where it first hits you how tiny this tank is. I would put it on about the same size as the Panzer I, which makes sense given the job for both vehicles. The detailing is very nice straight from the box, even the engine grill on the back is molded open. That part is very fragile, so be careful with it. You can also see that the hull top comes with the toothed gun turret ring molded on. Hidden inside of the hull parts are the wonderful one-piece idler wheels. I'm not sure how they molded them, but they look great, and should make assembly much easier.
Putting the hull aside, you're presented with just a few sprues of olive green plastic, as is the norm for Bronco Models now. The first large sprue contains the fenders, turret, and various other hull details. The kit comes with some basic detail inside, including the transmission, and a couple of small pieces to provide a representation of the interior. The hatches are all separate, so if you wish to add some detail, you're able to open up the tank and show the insides. Where the kit provides detail is inside the turret. It provides the turret pedestal, along with a full gun breach and co-axial machine gun. Nice detail in there if you want to open up the top hatches. The turret molding has casting numbers added, and a bit of cast texture on it, but nothing too extreme. One thing that is a little annoying is that there is no engine in the back, so you will have to paint the engine bay black to make sure you can't see inside of it.
Going down through the box, you find the parts for the suspension next. These are all very nicely molded, and look like they shouldn't be too complicated to assemble. Each bogie assembly is made up of a few parts, but luckily Bronco Models molded the basic structure as one piece, to aid in alignment later on. You'll also see on the suspension sprue the link-and-length tracks. I know those aren't everyone's favorite, but with such small links on this tank, it will make life easier. If they're not your speed, I'm sure someone will offer alternatives for it at some point, Bronco might even offer workable tracks for it.
Attached onto the suspension sprue is the gun for the British version, which is the normal 37mm cannon, but this version comes with the Little John barrel, so has a brilliantly slide-molded barrel with open gas vents on it.
Underneath the plastic bits are the great instructions, clearly showing where everything goes on the kit. Under that, you'll see two small frets of photo-etch. The large fret contains the engine grills, exhaust shroud, and various other tie-downs and brackets. The tiny second fret contains parts for the British specific tow-eyes. This is different than the US version, so there is a small addendum sheet to cater to these changes.
The final bits in the box are a small decal sheet, to cover the four versions in the box. While it does provide enough numbers to do a large number of Locusts, the decal instructions only cover 4, even though they're all basically the same vehicle and paint scheme. Along with that is a small clear sprue for the vision blocks and periscopes.
Under all of this, right at the bottom of the box, is a nice full color print of the box-art, perfect for framing after you're done. I wouldn't mind if every kit company did this.
If you haven't noticed through my review, the operative word here is small. This is a small kit of a very small tank, but the parts look very easy to assemble. There is nothing overly complex about this build at all, it looks like it could even be a weekend build for someone with some free time. I would also think this could work for someone looking to get into armor, since the suspension and tracks are easy to assemble and work with.