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Built Review
135
Staghound Mk. III
Staghound Mk. III Armored Car
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by: Jim Rae [ JIMBRAE ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

Introduction
The Staghound III was like a basic Staghound on steroids. Taking the hull, engine and internal arrangement as the original, an (by that point, in 1943) obsolete Crusader III turret was added along with a 75mm Gun and co-axial Besa MG. The turret was slightly modified by removing the one-piece hatch and replacing it with two separate hatches for the commander and gunner.

Although confirmed as being in service in the last few weeks of the war in Europe, there still remains some doubts as to a) how many were modified, and b) whether or not the vehicle was ever actually in combat. Although there still remains some considerable doubts over its Wartime service, the vehicle WAS in service Post-War in quite a number of countries including Jordan, Canada, Denmark, or New Zealand. Bronco Model, using their excellent kit of the Staghound I as a base, have produced a model which covers an unusual subject although extremely welcome as an injection-moulded kit.

The model.
Bronco Model's kit of the Staghound III comes on seven dark-green sprues. In addition, there is a small Photo-Etched sheet and one of clear plastic. A small decal sheet gives markings for four vehicles which are:

Staghound II - RAC Gunnery School 1943 (?)

Staghound III - 12th Manitoba Dragoons, 2nd Canadian Corps, Germany 1945

Staghound III - Danish Army 1946

Staghound III - 2nd New Zealand Infantry Division, Italy 1945


About this review
Almost a year ago, I reviewed the Staghound I for the site. So, I feel its better to concentrate on the NEW element of this model - the Turret. So, with permission, i'll reprint the details of the 'common' parts and add a new section on the Turret. Since the first review was written, I've been working on two other Staghounds at the same time. The 3/4 finished hull I've put the turret onto will be a standard vehicle, the other (which looks a bit 'bizarre' with a Crusader turret) is being heavily modified with Canadian deep-wading gear, scratchbuilt stowage baskets, and enough stowage for a regiment... I'll also add some build notes and my observations about the decals.

My original Review can be seen here: Staghound I In-Box Review (LINK)

In Detail
Chassis/Sub-Frame: The suspension is very detailed but fairly straightforward in its construction. The suspension springs are, somewhat unusually, moulded in two halves which will require very careful alignment. All the details of areas such as the brake-drums or drive shafts are very crisp with only a few (very) minor mould lines to remove.

The Hull: The basic shape of the hull is formed with just six parts. The top deck consists of a single part with the engine-grills moulded in. The purists may dislike this, although, to replace the grill will require some very delicate cutting, but, on the other hand, there is a protective shield over these grilles so it's debatable just how much is going to be seen.. The access hatches for the engine are moulded as separate parts. Again, it would be 'doable' to open this up and put in an engine, bulkheads, and all the 'plumbing'. What the more experienced modeler may choose to do, is replace areas such as the hinges and handles with AM replacements although the kit parts are VERY delicately moulded. The large mudguards are separate parts with the mudflaps as additional components. Although the hull is a simple enough construction, the real complexity begins with the many smaller parts which have to be added. The full complement of vehicle tools is included (most with separate PE brackets) along with frequently seen items such as the folded tripod for the dis-mountable .30 Calibre MG. The external fuel tanks are also provided along with very well-done attachment straps and the plumbing for the fuel-feed. The side doors are separate parts with the simple locking mechanism well-executed. The rear plate is also well-detailed with each of the mufflers consisting of six-parts. With the Staghound III, two large stowage boxes fit onto the space reserved for the auxiliary fuel tanks. Dry-fitting these show they're well dimensioned. The front plate has a domed cover for the space for the (unused) bow-mounted MG space. The front headlights are also well-done using a mixture of PE and styrene.

The Wheels: The most obvious design of the tread of these particular wheels was their 'Non-Directional' tread. Roughly speaking, they look as if they were moulded in two halves, with the tread pattern not being symmetrical in a cross-section. This distinctive tread has been well-executed in the kit as has the manufacturer's name. The hubs are also excellent, capturing very well the complex form of the bolt arrangements.

The Turret The turret scales up well with an old set of Crusader III plans I found. Construction of the basic 'form' is simple, only comprising four parts. Some care is needed with assembly as there COULD be a slight gap between the upper and lower turret halves. All the mould lines and bolt heads are very delicately done indeed so once again care is recommended. The turret lifting brackets are separately molded as are the periscopes. Two antenna mounts are provided which are well done.The separate Gunner & Commander's hatches have nice delicate detail and can be assembled open or closed.

The Gun. The main armament of the Staghound III was the Mk. V 75mm with a Besa MG co-axially mounted in the mantlet. Unusually, Bronco have chosen to give you two barrels (both plastic) - the Mk. V and the U.S. M3. which are single-piece mouldings - no seam lines and as close as you can get to a replacement aluminium tube! The M3 barrel was (and in this I acknowledge the comments of Terry Ashley of P.M.M.S.) apparently designed for inclusion with the Staghound IV. My first thoughts (cynically enough) were that it was based on a museum example with a dummy barrel - oh ye have little faith! The gun comes complete with a fully-detailed breach. I must admit to NOT liking the co-axial Besa very much at all. This is a part I WOULD recommend replacing with a suitable AM item detail seems soft and a bit basic.

The Decals. As I mentioned in the overview, markings for four vehicles are provided although two of them are extremely doubtful...
Staghound II - RAC Gunnery School 1943 (?) This HAS to be a misprint as the Staghound III didn't enter service until 1945.
12th Manitoba Dragoons, 2nd Canadian Corps, Germany 1945 - there would seem to be NO problems with this although, the nit-pickers will notice that the Canadian Maple-Leaf is a more modern design. This is repeated from the Staghound I and should, for accuracy, be replaced.
Staghound III - Danish Army 1946 - no problems known about with this option...
Staghound III - 2nd New Zealand Infantry Division, Italy 1945. Interestingly enough, one of the members of Missing-Lynx has suggested that these markings are probably fictitious as, by then, the NZ Div Cav Regt was being used in the role of infantry. There is another suggestion that these were markings for deployment to the Far East as part of the 2nd NZ Division for a planned invasion of Japan.

Construction Notes
This is not a difficult model to build however, like many models of this category, a lot of care is absolutely vital. The PE is a little thick and it's recommended that all parts are annealed before bending. Fit is very good indeed although a lot of dry-fitting is recommended and a lot of careful removal of sprue gates is needed. Fortunately, it's the kind of model which can be built with a series of sub-assemblies. The keynote to this model is patience. It goes together slowly but it's worth the effort to carefully compare parts to the instructions. As to the Instructions themselves, I was critical of the Staghound I instructions as they were a little vague and they suggested assembling the hull after all the detail was added. The instructions have improved marginally and there are fewer doubts over placement of parts.

A full Build Log is also available via the Forums to evaluate parts fit and assembly.

Final Thoughts
It's certainly an unusual subject, which, previously, was the kind of vehicle which was only available in resin. I tend to think that the real interest in this subject would be to build it as one of the Post-War vehicles - particularly in service in one of the Middle-Eastern countries where it saw service. I'm not terribly happy over the decal options although I have to acknowledge, that documentation on the Staghound III is sparse.

There are few areas which, in my opinion, need any kind of investment in AM. Built straight from the box, you're going to have a superb model adding those 'personal' touches it could easily be converted into a show-stopper. There are however three areas which would improve the model. Firstly, the Besa - it doesn't convince me at all and there are superb replacements available. Secondly, for simple aesthetics, not based on any real photo evidence - replacing the kit wheels with some of the Heavy-Duty 'Cross-Country' pattern ones (available from Hussar). Finally, the decals. It's probably only a matter of time until someone like Bison Decals produce an alternative set featuring some of the less well-known users.

At the end of the day though, Bronco Model have to be congratulated on bringing out a VERY different subject which only a couple of years ago would probably have been unimaginable in plastic!

VERY Highly Recommended.

Reference: Although the Staghound III is not particularly well-documented, there is a lot on the basic vehicle. Here are some useful publications and on-line resources:
A good starting point are four excellent walk-arounds of the vehicle:

Armorama # 1

Armorama # 2

P.M.M.S.

Toadman's Tank Pictures

Another useful source of data is the 'Staghound Register' which can be accessed HERE

Also, as it specializes in Armored Cars, is this superb site:WarWheels Net

Finally, in books (and other media) the list begins with Easy 1 Productions CD of the Staghound, a review of which can be seen: HERE (LINK)

Book Review # 1: The British Reconnaissance Corps in World War II (LINK)

Book Review # 2 : British Tanks in Normandy (LINK)

Also useful, were the two volumes of Concord Publishing's books on British Armor:

British Tanks of WWII, (Vol 1) France & Belgium 1944”, Concord 7027.

British Tanks of WWII, (Vol 2) Holland & Germany 1944/1945”, Concord 7028

INVALUABLE, was the edition of Military Modelling Magazine ( Vol 37, No.12, 2007) which has three excellent articles on various aspects of the Staghound.

Finally, i've started a full Build-Log which can be seen: HERE (LINK)
SUMMARY
Highs: Quality of the mouldings, the subject area which was unimaginable as a plastic kit a couple of years ago. Possibilities for some very different vehicles of a variety of nationalities.
Lows: The decals - quality being excellent, but the subject areas may be a little too theoretical for some tastes.
Verdict: A stunning model which is complex but ultimately satisfying both as a subject and as a build-project. The Staghound is a truly amazing subject for the modeler!
  ACCURACY :95%
  SUBJECT AREA:90%
  INSTRUCTIONS :80%
Percentage Rating
95%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: CB-35021
  Suggested Retail: $69.95
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Sep 26, 2008
  NATIONALITY: United States
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 88.06%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 87.97%

Our Thanks to Stevens International!
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 Jim Rae (jimbrae)
FROM: PROVINCIA DE LUGO, SPAIN / ESPAñA

Self-employed English teacher living in NW Spain. Been modelling off and on since the sixties. Came back into the hobby around ten years ago. First love is Soviet Armor with German subjects running a close second. Currently exploring ways of getting cloned to allow time for modelling, working and wr...

Copyright ©2017 text by Jim Rae [ JIMBRAE ]. 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

If this is anything like their Mk I kit, I know it will be first-rate. The Mk I kit was an absolute joy to build and is top notch when it comes to detail, engineering and fit. There's every reason to expect that the Mk III is evey bit as good. My only complaint, as Jim has pointed out in the review, is with the Canadian markings. As with the Mk I kit, it appears that Bronco has not corrected the maple leaf used for the 12 Manitoba's markings. Bronco has used a modern maple leaf design and not the WWII style maple leaf that would be correct . This isn't a huge distraction but those looking for absolute accuracy will have to replace or modify this item. Thanks for reviewing this Jim. cheers Bob
OCT 08, 2008 - 10:08 AM
Unfortunately, from what i've seen, the Bison design suffers from the same problems and it really needs someone to take a fresh look at the differences. The kit markings for the Mark III, are, unfortunately, pretty speculative. The ones I'm going to use, will probably be those of 12th Manitoba - there's evidence that they DID have Mark IIIs within their ToE in 1945 the rest although interesting are a little too vague for my liking.. Unless for a 'What If' for the Allied invasion of Japan in early '46?
OCT 08, 2008 - 10:17 AM
I purchased the Bison decals but still had to modify their maple leaf on my Mk I. A little hand painting with some yellow paint and a fine brush fixed it up rather nicely though. I don't want this minor issue to detract from what would seem to be an excellent kit that will build into a first rate model. My experience with the Mk I kit was one of the best I've had and I really enjoyed it. Jim's review is excellent and I'll buy and build this kit someday (maybe the Mk I rocket launcher version too...) cheers Bob
OCT 08, 2008 - 01:06 PM
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