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Built Review
Video Review included
135
Panzer III A Built
Bronco Panzer III Ausf. A Buiild Review
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by: Adam Mann [ MANNLOON ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

I want to start off by saying that I really wanted to like this kit. It's a great subject, being such a different variant of the very popular Panzer III. Different from the MiniArt B,C,D is that the A is actually a very sharp looking vehicle. I didn't have a good time with the kit, but I gave it as fair of a shake as I could.

The Panzer III A was the initial variant of the Panzer III and did see limited action in Poland. An Ausführung A is easy to spot as it has 5 large road wheels, and is the only Panzer III that has such a suspension.

I reviewed the kit in a video, so if you'd like to see what the contents of the box are, I've
embedded the in-box review below. It's a multi-media kit, with quite a lot going on, so my
hopes were high.

Step 1 & 2 - Lower Hull


The initial steps didn't really present much a problem. The PE in step one was painless and and plates seemed to fit well. In step 2 the sub assembly of the bit that sits below the turret
basket was my first inclination that the plastic may be a bit hard to work with. Small parts, with inadequate point to glue anything properly.

Steps 3 - 5 - Suspension


Step 3 is where I really started to have trouble with this build. The step where you assemble the springs on the coil spring system was a mess. The springs cannot sit flat, nor do they have a proper attachment point to glue anywhere other than just to the surface they sit on. So I spent a large amount of time on this step trying to get them to look right. In the end I just gave up and have them sitting as close to right as I could. They were a huge pain to clean up as well, but that's a styrene thing. The engineering, or lack there of with the
assembly is unique to this kit. The swing arms and final drive housings were fine.

The wheels in step 5 I had to be very careful with as they didn't always align up correctly, so I found myself shaving off locator pegs and just flat gluing them to sit correctly.

Steps 6 - 8 - Lower Hull and Suspension


The drive sprockets are interesting as one goes together correctly and the other is misaligned so the guide teeth do not match up evenly. This would be a huge problem with the workable tracks, so luckily I was told by another modeler who was building it at the same time, so I was able to get the thing apart in time to shave off the locator and correct the alignment. I decided to glue the wheels on in step 7 as they weren't sitting correctly, so a bit of glue helped to melt the area so I could hold them straight. This is a problem I often see on Imperial series Dragon kits from the 90s.

Steps 9 & 10 - Lower Hull


The front hatches were no problem and the lights although lacking concise locator hoels went together and on pretty well. The towing extensions as well were no issue so this step was pretty straight forward. But the clean up was abnormally tough.

Steps 11 & 12 - Tracks and Fenders


The Modelkasten style tracks were step 11, and I actually did them then. THey went together pretty well with just the occasional stiff area due to too much glue. I think these are actually one of the high points of the build, I ended up leaving the Idler and sprocket off so I could paint everything by taking the tracks off.

The fenders have an awfully large amount of tiny PE pieces that are hard to work with. The PE in this kit seemed to break on me when the parts were this small. I mean on the first fold, so it's pretty fragile stuff. The fender supports are similar to Dragon's style, and the tool clamps are adequate for the fidelity of Bronco plastic.

Steps 13 & 14 - Fenders Continued


Parts A52 and P22 indicative of my problems with this kit. I talk a lot about it in the After Action Report video down below, so please watch that if you want a more articulate explanation of the issue. Basically the molds and plastic could not handle what Bronco wanted to do. So this fender holing bit, similar to a hood latch seen on earlier American Jeeps is just plastic mush. The PE is little better, and there is no way to assemble it that looks pleasing. So I did my best with it, but it turned me off from further PE use in some places.

The other tools and front and rear fenders in this section are decent, the PE needed for the jack block is nice tough, but again it snapped on me as I was fitting it to the model. The tool for connecting the track (it looks like two hooks connected by a rod) was another victim of the engineering not matching the plans. SO it ends up looking a bit rough due to the holes not being very cleanly molded.

Steps 15 & 16 - Fenders and Engine Deck.


The fenders go on in step 15, and that was easy enough. I had to clamp the model a bit, but they stayed down. The engine deck has a lot of clamps for holding the tow cables, some of which I had to abandon. The PE clamps again snapped when folded, so I had to leave them off. The rest of the assembly went OK in this step, although research suggests that parts P15 may not be accurate to real Panzer III As. SO you can leave them off if you want. I suggest looking up images and making up your own mind. I left mine on.

Steps 17 - 19 - Upper Hull Interior and Bow


The interior detail of the side vision ports was so muddy and poorly molded I couldn't get it anywhere close to right so I left it off. Again the fidelity of this plastic was not very good. The same can be said for parts of the bow MG and drivers visor. I would have a go at assembling it, but with the poor plastic detail and instructions I made the call to leave a lot of it out as it wouldn't be seen. The drivers port for instance on my example is just the outer piece, the inner parts were just muddy plastic.

Step 20 - Lower Hull Final Assembly


The tow cable is a bit muddy as well, and as the PE clamps had snapped I didn't use the the second part of that assembly. The smoke launcher on the rear was easy enough and the upper hull fit well on the lower.

Step 21- 23 Turret Interior


The seat in step 21 is again an example of plastic that doesn't match the instructions because it does not have adequate fidelity. Bronco wants us to construct the seat out of various bar pieces that should slot in to other pieces. There are no locators or pegs on the plastic. The instructions have them, but the plastic was just globby sticks. So the modeler has to do their best to just glue these things together to create something resembling a seat. second seat is slightly better, but again has parts that you have to figure out a way to glue together. Assuming you can get all the little assemblies together, they are very fragile so be careful.

The turret machine gun assemblies are again a bit hard to follow beause the plastic is soft and unrefined. The main gun itself just glues end to end in parts without locators or anything of the sort. I know that's a common thing with upgrades like resin, but it's an odd way to engineer a plastic kit.The main gun was a bit difficult, but anyone with some skill could get that together, unlike the earlier parts. Step 23 sees us putting the turret bits together which mostly goes pretty easily. The only hang up I found was the ports for the guns with their PE were very fiddly, so I chose to model mine closed. Someone with more PE skills would probably do a fine job.

Steps 24 - 26 Turret continued


Again the interior of the vision ports, this time on the turret was insufficient to accomplish what the instructions suggest. So again I chose to skip that detail and model them closed. The hatch doors fit alright, and vision port exteriors fit well enough that I am happy with the look with it buttoned up. The step involving the cupola vision block installation is hard to figure out at first, but went together alright considering. Again the plastic is very unrefined.

Step 27 - Final assembly


Final assembly is pretty basic with the turret parts going together, and the turret going on the tank.

Conclusion


Overall I think this was the worst kit I've reviewed so far. My lasting memory of Bronco will be that the plastic was muddy and lacking in detail. The clean up was laborious and the kit was just in general a disappointment. I don't know if all of their kits are this bad, but I'm not going to line up to find out. I'm giving this a score of 55.

In-Box Review Video




After Action Report Video

SUMMARY
Highs: Cool early Panzer III variant. Early war German armor.
Lows: Poor modling, bad plastic, tons of clean up.
Verdict: I would pass on this kit unless you absolutely need a kit of the Pazner III A
Percentage Rating
55%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 35143
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Aug 26, 2016
  NATIONALITY: Germany
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 78.00%
  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 Adam Mann (Mannloon)
FROM: WISCONSIN, UNITED STATES

I am a professional video game artist specializing in hard surface modeling and PBR texturing. I started making armor models a few years ago and have been trying since to translate my digital skills to paint and plastic, which isn't always easy. My specialty is German Armor in 1/35.

Copyright ©2017 text by Adam Mann [ MANNLOON ]. 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

Perfect...not by a long shot. But it was the right level of challenge for me and will be for some and not for others. I also recommend finding all reviews, build logs, etc, before starting.
AUG 26, 2016 - 10:10 AM
could the PE have been made softer by heating with a candle so it wouldn't break.
AUG 26, 2016 - 11:57 AM
Yes. The process is called "annealing". Check my post relating to this review in the FIRST "Comments" thread that responded to Adam's review... Also check my last post in WIERDY's "DRAGON StuG.III Ausf.E In Detail" thread: Check it out- Some good news over on the DRAGON USA site: DR-6851 StuG.III Ausf.C/D Looks like it's going to be another "winner". A short description of the new kit is provided, along with a single CAD-type illustration. There is a short history, and a short list of some of the new kit's features. No mention of Tracks. It's worth a look...
AUG 26, 2016 - 12:08 PM
I watched the video and also the "after battle report". While the parts look nice and all (and I'm not someone to complain about over engineering) Adam's bottom line is very accurate: the Bronco kit looks like a toy, while DML's looks like a scale model.
AUG 27, 2016 - 04:41 AM
I've built both DML (kit 6632 Pz III F) and Bronco's Pz III A and I think the toy vs. model statement vastly overstates the difference(s). What surprised me was how close the two kits seemed in level of detail, and perhaps even engineering.
AUG 27, 2016 - 05:53 AM
Dragon hasn't ever done the Ausf A Pz III
AUG 27, 2016 - 05:56 AM
Dragon hasn't ever done the Ausf A Pz III [/quote] I think Adam was comparing another Pz III just to illustrate the difference in detail in general. The Bronco did seem a bit softer in detail to me, and not at all as nice as some of their older kits, of which I have a few. Maybe they switched plastic due to supply issues and have a situation like Miniart (or was it Master Box?) where the new plastic was an inferior quality.
AUG 27, 2016 - 08:55 AM
Except it's not really a step back at all. The parts for the kit look completely fine in both moulding and casting area from every picture I've seen of the kits contents.[/quote] Agree- My BRONCO Pz.III Ausf.A's parts look beautifully cast, with no "soft" details or edges. If anything, the moldings are as "crisp" as ever... BTW Jonathan, comparing a DRAGON Pz.III Ausf.F to BRONCO's Pz.III Ausf.A is, to use a really tired old phrase, "like comparing apples to oranges". Please don't take offense with that last remark, as I don't mean to "put you down" in any way... Between the two designs, the Ausf.A & Ausf.F had different Upper & Lower Hulls, completely different Suspension designs; the Ausf.F uses SIX Road Wheels per side, as opposed to the Ausf.A's FIVE larger and different Road wheels per side. The Sprockets & Rear Idlers were of different designs, altogether. The Ausf.A also features a different Commander's Cupola, different Front & Rear End details, plus a bunch of other details. If I'm not mistaken, as I'm certainly no "Panzer-expert", I THINK the Engines were different, as well as the Engine Access Doors on the Engine Deck. I'm not familiar with the ACTUAL internal differences between the Ausf.A and the Ausf.F, so I can't make any comparisons in that particular department. Maybe some of the "Panzer Gurus" can shed some light, or correct ME as well...
AUG 28, 2016 - 11:58 PM
No offense at all. I figured the two kits were the same ballpark in terms of subject. The Stug kits will be a much better apples-to-apples comparison.
AUG 29, 2016 - 01:09 AM
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