by: Darren Baker [ ]
Originally published on:
The following introduction is as listed by Bovington Tank Museum.
In June 1934, the War Office contracted with Vickers for a new medium tank (A9 – see E1949.352) for the Tank Brigade, and a better-armoured version (A10) for the Army Tank Battalions, which would support infantry in the assault. In time A10 was specified with a 30mm armour basis, and just one auxiliary turret, while the A9 was specified with 14mm armour and two auxiliary turrets.
Vickers started assembling both A9E1 and A10E1 in 1935, but fell behind schedule with both, and focused on A9E1, so that A10E1 was not delivered until July 1937, without turret or fighting compartment. It was also larger and heavier than expected, mostly due to a larger engine by AEC, which Vickers had added to the A9E1 in October, in place of the engine by Rolls-Royce. Nevertheless, both A9E1 and A10E1 failed their cooling trials with the new engine, as they had with the old engine, until the Mechanization Experimental Establishment standardized a more efficient fan, aluminium baffles in place of the louvers, and a ventilating aperture in the bulkhead between the engine and fighting compartments.
In 1938, the minimum specification for cruiser tanks was raised from 14mm to 30mm; the A10, which met the 30mm standard but lacked capacity for the infantry tank standard (60 mm), was procured as the Cruiser Tank Mark II (Cruiser II). By then, the Mechanization Board and the General Staff agreed that A9 and A10 were “stop gap models” pending more capable and producible cruisers.
In July 1939, Vickers delivered the first Cruiser II production vehicle for trials. This resulted in minor modifications, of which the most significant was a reduction in the compression ratio of the engine to 5.2:1, and a final reduction ratio of 1:1.
On 22 June 1938, the War Office contracted with Vickers for ten A10s. On 22 July, it contracted with Birmingham Railway Carriage and Metropolitan-Cammell for 45 each. In April 1939 the War Office contracted for another 70 Cruiser IIs, the last to be delivered in December 1940.
In July 1939, Vickers delivered the first Cruiser II production vehicle for performance trials, resulting in minor modifications. In March 1940, Metro-Cammell produced its first Cruiser II. Production ran out in July 1941, for 170 vehicles, after the pilot (A10E1).
The first few vehicles were delivered as Cruiser IIs with the same turret as the Cruiser I, with a 14mm mantlet, a 2-pounder gun, and coaxial Vickers machine-gun of 0.303 inch calibre; most vehicles (Cruiser IIAs) were delivered with a 2-pounder gun and coaxial Besa machine-gun of 7.92 mm calibre behind a mantlet 30mm thick. Some Cruiser IIAs were converted with a 3.7 inch mortar/howitzer in place of the 2-pounder gun.
Most saw service in Libya. As of 1 June 1941, 21 Cruiser IIs or Cruiser IIAs were in service at home, 114 overseas: these would be replaced with Cruiser VI (Crusader) tanks by November.
In June 1934, the War Office contracted with Vickers for a tank to equip the Army Tank Battalions, which would support infantry in the assault. For this purpose, the A10 project was to deliver a better armoured version of the A9. In 1938, when the minimum armour standard for a cruiser was raised to 30mm, A10became Cruiser II, while other projects, with thicker armour, took over the infantry tank role. 170 A10s (after the pilot) were produced from July 1939 until July 1941, a few of which served in France in June 1940, most in North Africa, until replacement by Crusaders in November 1941.
This offering from Bronco Models is packaged in the usual manner we have come to expect, but surprisingly there are only:
Five tan sprues
A clear sprue
A photo etched fret
A decal sheet
An instruction booklet
An examination of the contents reveals no obvious issues that I can see and I am pleased to see that Bronco Models looks to have released a model that should be buildable by modellers of all skill levels as they have avoided using microscopic parts on this offering.
The kit manufacturers around the globe are covering many vehicles now that not so long ago would be next to impossible to obtain, Bronco Models has continued this trait with the release of a British Cruiser tank Mk 10 with SIX finishing options.
The lower suspension on this offering has a nice level of detail present, but it is not workable, but as Bronco Models has opted for link and length tracks with this offering it does not really matter. A few of these tanks saw service with British Expeditionary Force but of the few built most went to North Africa and were quickly superseded, as such displaying this model on a simple diorama of sand means the lack of articulation will not matter. There is some photo etched elements in this area and so the modeller will need to be comfortable with this facet of modelling; again Bronco Models has used parts of a manageable size.
Going back to the tracks; link and length tracks are usually a step up from rubber band tracks, but not as good as workable track links. Many of the link and length tracks I have encountered have issues with ejector pin marks which makes their use a pain due to the difficulty of sanding and filling all of those marks that often results in damage to the detail, Bronco has provided these tracks without any marks to take care of and if you are not happy with what’s in the box I believe a set of Matilda tracks could be used if individual links are what you want.
The upper hull has surprisingly few parts that need to be brought together. The upper hull is very blocky in design and has a huge number of rivets; it is the number and placement of these rivets that Bronco Models has replicated so well. I am not going to say that every single one of them is present, but I could not find any missing when compared to my reference. The track guards are very pleasing as Bronco Models has moulded them so finely I could believe they are a scale thickness. There is a downside in this area of the model and that is the hatches for the driver and machine gunner, they have not been provided in a way that they could be displayed open with figures inserted.
The exhaust is a combination of plastic and photo etched parts. The photo etch has to be shaped into a cylinder and once done should look very good. The easiest way of doing this that I know of is to form it around a metal pin such as a suitably sized drill bit and rolled on a piece of vulcanised rubber. The storage bins, tools and extinguishers are all supplied as separate parts and are all nicely represented. The ring around the raised platform for the turret has four this strips to go around it, that has enabled Bronco Models to provide the raised rivet detail well.
It is the turret where all of the different versions come into being and so this is where you need to decide what tank you wish to finish. Bronco has done a good job of clearly identifying which tank type you are looking at, and so providing you take your time you should not struggle here. Bronco has again done an excellent job where the rivet detail is concerned and so the result should be pleasing. The hatches on the turret can be left open or closed and if open is chosen a figure will need to feel the hole. Both barrel types have been slide moulded and so are open at the end to an acceptable depth.
When it comes to finishing the model Bronco Models has provided seven finishing options for this model.
Kreuser Panzerkampfwagen MkII, Kummersdorf, Germany 1940
A10 Mk1 T5911, HQ 2nd Armoured Brigade, 1st Armoured Division, France May 1940
A10 Mk1A ‘Edinburgh’ HQ Squadron 2nd Royal Tank Regiment, 7th Armoured Brigade, 7th Armoured Division, Libya 1940-41
A10 Mk1A, T5941, A Squadron, 1st Armoured Division RTR, 3rd RTR, Greece April 1941
A10 Mk1A, T9219, C Squadron, 1st Armoured Division, Alexandria, Egypt October 1940
A10 Mk1A CS, Eastern A Squadron , 5th RTR, 2nd Armoured Division, Libya, February 1941
A10 Mk1A CS, T5939, 3rd The King’s Own Hussars, HQ 7th Armoured Division, North Africa, January 1941
All of the Bronco Models I have looked at in the past have been beyond the average modeller in my opinion due to the very small parts that go into making sub-assemblies; however this model is one that any modeller could build provided they are able to use photo etch. Some of the finishing options are particularly pleasing from a visual stand point. The instructions are clear and regardless of the build option chosen you should have no issues with following the correct section. The moulding of the tracks is especially good and should present no issues for the modeller as regards clean up.