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In-Box Review
135
75mm Howitzer and Crew
75mm Pack Howitzer M1A1 (British Airborne Version) and Gun Crew
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by: Darren Baker [ CMOT ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

Introduction

The 75mm Pack Howitzer was an excellent light weight artillery piece of its time, seeing service from the late 1920s through to the 1960s. Designed to be broken down into parts for transport by pack animals in rough terrain, this gun was a go anywhere artillery piece when needed. Its light weight also made the 75mm pack howitzer an ideal choice for air transportable artillery. The Americans often chose to parachute the various parts to troops where needed, the British preferring to transport by Horsa glider as a single unit ready for use. An excellent example of the 75mm Howitzer is on display at the Army Air Corps Museum at Middle Wallop and if you get the chance to visit you should do so.

Contents

This model is supplied in one of Bronco Models smaller boxes. The box consists of a cardboard tray and card lid, the card will be susceptible to damage from rough handling by postal services. Inside the box you will find;
5 green sprues
3 grey sprues
2 loose wheels
A brass muzzle
A decal sheet
A photo etched fret
An instruction booklet

Review

First Impressions
My initial look over the model leaves me with mixed feelings; the 75mm pack howitzer is clearly the Vision Models offering, as the company name is stamped into the sprues. I know that this model when first released was bashed due to flash and ejector pin marks, in the hands of Bronco Models the flash is no more, unfortunately Bronco Models has not been able to tackle the ejector pin marks. The gun portion of this offering also suffers from some quite large gates between the sprue and the moulded part on some areas, these areas will require care when removing the parts or damage to the moulding is likely to occur.

The Carriage
The carriage does appear to be a very good match for my reference pictures of the howitzer at Middle Wallop. Construction looks fairly straight forward except for some of the very small detail parts offered. The ejector pin marks I mentioned earlier should be mostly hidden on the carriage, but make sure you take care of any I have missed on the unassembled model. It is good practice to follow the adage if in doubt fill the pin mark. I will say that the spade looks to have been particularly well replicated.

The Gun
It is the gun where i have the most concern about the ejector pin marks. Down one side of the barrel there are two ejector pin marks, one large one small and they will be in my opinion a pig to fill and sand. Fortunately the cradle and the iconic saddle of the 75mm pack howitzer are not affected by this issue. Also of note is the fact that there is a selection of ammunition supplied with the model and a selection of small arms in the form of:
SMLE
Bren gun
Sten gun
Webley revolver
Webley revolver in holster
Colt 45 in holster

The Wheels
There are three sets of wheels supplied with this product, two of the wheels sets have a road tread pattern tyres acceptable for the World War 2 period and supplied as both one piece and a 2 part offering, it is the two part offering that the instructions tell you to use. The box art depicts a gun with the rough terrain pattern tyres which I am familiar with on 25pdr guns. All of the images I have seen of the 75mm pack howitzer show road tyres in place, but I have not seen an image of the 75mm pack in action and it is guns in action that I believe would use the rough terrain tyre pattern. I cannot prove this to be a fact, but it is my belief.

The figures
The figures are Bronco Models own work and an excellent job they have done. Anyone who has built one of the British Airborne kits that Bronco Models has released, will I am sure attest to the excellent quality of the injection moulded figures. Uniform detail is very good, which with the bottom of the jackets being supplied as separate parts look very realistic. Crease detail is second only to resin figure detail when it comes to a realistic and natural look. Bronco Models has even supplied the soles of the boots as separate parts where this area will be visible. The camouflaged helmets look very good and even have separate chin strap detail; no painting around them required. The facial and hand detail is of an especially high standard. Figure B is the only one of the five figures I do not like, this is not because there are any problems with it, but the stance does not fit well with a gun in action and the figure looks like someone who is bored rather than firing on the enemy. Another plus point with the figures is that Bronco Models has supplied decals for them in the form of Para Wings and rank insignia.

Conclusion

The gun itself is a mix of highs and lows, with the biggest issue being the ejector pin marks on the barrel. None of the other ejector pin marks should present a major issue with the clean up, other than there being a fair number of them. The figures are the real stars of this release from Bronco Models and I hope to see Bronco Models release more dedicated figure sets as an area of the hobby in which they are becoming very good. If you put some work into the howitzer and your figure painting is reasonable, this model could make for a very nice small diorama or part thereof.

Related articles and reviews

US M1A1 75mm Pack Howitzer Live links
British Airborne 75mm Pack Howitzer & Ton Truck w/Trailer Live links
SUMMARY
Highs: Without a shadow of a doubt the figures are the stars of this release, being of a very high standard overall.
Lows: Ejector pin marks on the howitzer mare what is a good release.
Verdict: If you want a 75mm Pack howitzer with crew this is I believe the only option. The howitzer has its problems, but the figures do in my opinion make up for it and justify the work.
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: CB35173
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Jan 06, 2015
  NATIONALITY: United Kingdom
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 87.16%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 87.97%

Our Thanks to Bronco Models!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.
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About Darren Baker (CMOT)
FROM: ENGLAND - SOUTH WEST, UNITED KINGDOM

I have been building model kits since the early 70s starting with Airfix kits of mostly aircraft, then progressing to the point I am at now building predominantly armour kits from all countries and time periods. Living in the middle of Salisbury plain since the 70s, I have had lots of opportunitie...

Copyright 2017 text by Darren Baker [ CMOT ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of TankRat's. All rights reserved.


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Comments

I think we are getting way here!
JAN 12, 2015 - 07:54 AM
Would you know off-hand how the AFV CLUB M24 stacks up against BRONCO's? Also a question for Darren- Has ARMORAMA done a comparo of the AFV CLUB M24 vs the BRONCO kit?[/quote] When I built my Bronco version, the AFV Club kit wasn't out yet. Given the choice today, I would buy the AFV Club kit. Bronco typically gives very good detail, but at the expense of extremely fiddly design choices that make building a basic model more difficult than it needs to be. Things like the suspension attachment points, and the multi-piece engine deck. For a basic/intermediate modeler, those types of things can pull all the fun out of a build in a hurry.[/quote] Hi, ALL! I had the pleasure (?) of building a heavily-modified TESTORS/ITALERI M24. With A LOT of work, I managed to do a passable example of the ITALERI kit. All of a sudden, the FORMATIONS resin M24 Update/Conversion specifically designed for the ITALERI M24 hir the market. This was something that I couldn't pass up, so I bought another ITALERI kit, only because this was the ONLY 1/35 M24 on the market. The FORMATIONS M24 was a VERY LIMITED conversion, and it is currently out of production. What is contained in this conversion is virtually an ENTIRE M24. You only wind up using the ITALERI M24 as a donor kit, using the bottom hull and a couple of other parts. Even "repacement" wheels and tires are included in this GREAT conversion! Rob Irvin certainly did an EXCELLENT JOB on this M24 conversion kit. Aside of the conversion kit itself, I "only" needed to buy the following: An interior kit- (I used the VERLINDEN M24 Interior and Engine Bay w/twin Cadillac engines kits.) Photo-Etch- I used EDUARD, ROYAL MODELS and VOYAGER. Tracks- I elected to use the FRIUL ATL-39 M24 Metal Cleat Tracks w/Sprockets and Rear Idler Wheels set, in lieu of the vinyl tracks supplied in the donor kit. Armament- I used RB Metal Barrels for the Main Gun and .30 cal. MG's, and a DRAGON Gen 2 .50 cal., with a LION ROAR Barrel w/Cooling-sleeve and Carrying Handle, along with a nice resin Ammo Box from my extra parts "weapons" drawer. Stowage- BLAST, VERLINDEN, and LEGEND. Crew- I mixed-and-matched various figures to lend some variety to my M24. I like to do this every so often to avoid the "easily identifiable look" that comes when you use the same figure sets over and over. I used some bits and pieces from the DRAGON WWII US Tankers set, a WARRIORS US Tank Commander, (Casual pose, smoking and sitting on the rim of the Commander's Cupola, with one leg dangling inside the Turret. The other leg is bent at the knee, with his foot resting on the turret top.) Various WARRIORS US TANKER head sets, some of the EXCELLENT HORNET US TANKER Heads, and a VERLINDEN TANK DRIVER were all used to . The model was painted in the standard US Olive Drab, for which I mixed TESTORS MODEL MASTER II Enamels FS34086 Green Drab- two parts, and FS34087 Olive Drab- 1 part. Everything was pre-shaded in a 2:1 mix of Flat Black and FS34086. I didn't use the MODEL MASTER ANA Olive Drabs because once dry, they seem to turn out to be a little bit too Gray-ish to my eye... It was a challenging but rewarding effort. I also have another GREAT FORMATIONS conversion- A "reman" M4A1 75mm VVSS (Dry), for which I'll use one of my un-built DRAGON M4A1 (early) "Direct Vision" kits...
JAN 13, 2015 - 04:45 AM
You're RIGHT, Biggles!!!
JAN 13, 2015 - 04:48 AM
PS- My error- I meant to type T41 tracks instead of T51 tracks...
JAN 14, 2015 - 02:40 AM
Hope this gun isn't as hard to build as their 6 pounder.
JAN 14, 2015 - 10:37 PM
It has a few small parts, but nothing tricky. You will have to add weld beads (home-made or Archer) down the middle of the box-trail legs. Nice kit!
JAN 15, 2015 - 04:14 AM
Can someone who has Vision Models M1A1 howitzer confirm if it is the same kit? To me the sprues look the same. Thanks, Angel
SEP 14, 2015 - 02:46 PM
The base kit is the Vision kit, the parts on my sprue even have the Vision logo on them. Bronco has replaced some of the parts with their own molding and added PE and British specific parts to it.
SEP 15, 2015 - 12:43 AM
Thanks John, Angel
SEP 15, 2015 - 01:04 AM
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