by: Gremlin56 [ ]
Originally published on:
First off I would like to give a big thank you to Jan Willem at Mol Modelbouw in Beverwijk for managing to get hold of one of the first examples of this model in Holland. I mentioned the news flash by Sean Ford on MSW to him a few weeks ago and was pleasantly surprised when he e-mailed me that he had the Ting Yuen ready for me.
The model is so out of the ordinary that for me it was a “must have “ item, reminding me very much of the white metal dreadnought that was included among the player tokens in the old game of Monopoly when I was a child. I wonder how the real vessel was at sea; low free-board, heavy and with the turret stuck slap on the bow I can’t imagine the Ting Yuen being a comfortable or dry ride.
The “Ting Yuen” was an armored turret ship built in Germany at the Stettiner Maschinenbau AG Vulcan yard as flagship for the Imperial Beiyang Fleet. The ship was well armored for it’s time and was heavily armed. The keel was laid in March of 1881 and the launch took place in December of the same year. The Ting Yuen was delivered to China in 1886. The Ting Yuen’s career came to an end in 1895 when the vessel was scuttled after being hit by Japanese torpedoes and cannon fire.
The Weihai Port Bureau in China built a replica of the Ting Yuen in 2003 and it serves as a museum ship. Further information and photos of the real Ting Yuen can be found online, (where would we be without Wikipedia!).
The Ting Yuen is my very first Bronco model and I am very impressed by the quality of the moldings, photo etch parts and presentation of the package in general, although the box art itself has a rather toyish quality . The box is well filled with five sprues, one stand, two sheets of photo etched parts, a sheet of decals and a colored instruction booklet. The parts are made in light gray plastic that is hard but not brittle.
The use of a slide mold is obvious on the hull sides which are constructed in such a way that the waterline fans can remove the underwater ship without compromising the strength of the finished hull. The main guns are also very nice examples of slide molding. All the parts are crisp and the few ejector marks I could find are on parts of the model that won’t show up after building, (check the bridge deck as an example: the ejector marks are beneath the deck). There is next to no flash on the parts.
Doors and portholes could possibly have been made more pronounced and will certainly benefit from replacement by PE parts. The masts are suitably delicate, to such an extent that it might be necessary to replace the derricks and yards with thin brass tubing to be able to hold the rigging.
The photo etch parts supplied with the model are sufficient to make an acceptable out of box build but if you want more detail on ports, doors, hatch covers etc. you will have to wait for one of the after market sets that undoubtedly will appear.
The lighter caliber weapons will also profit from an update with after market gun barrels. One omission did surprise me and that concerns the rigging with ratlines leading up to the crows nests on both masts; that could have been made easy by supplying it as PE but will be a challenge to scratch build in this scale so that I consider a large disappointment.
Another thing that puzzled me was the inclusion of PE dragon carvings to replaced the very nicely molded dragon carvings on the ship’s hull; I cannot imagine anyone wanting to perform this surgery as it will not improve the looks in any way.
The photo etch is suitably delicate looking and the packaging deserves mentioning, being sandwiched between two thin layers of polythene to prevent it snagging other parts in the box and getting bent and also to prevent unwanted take-off and loss to the carpet monster when removing the pieces from the sprues, something some other unnamed PE producers should consider doing as well.
The stand is plain black plastic, no more and no less, and the decal sheet contains two rather flashy dragon flags to hang at the masthead.
The instruction booklet is well laid out, easy to follow and looks classy with the glossy and colored layout.
The model consists of 180 parts and costs 42 Euros, which I consider extremely reasonable for the quality of the parts. I cannot say how the fit is yet, I did cut and clean the hull sides and the main deck to get a quick feel of Bronco’s workmanship: the bow and stern come together and fit like a glove, the keel itself will need some clamping to get the two halves to stay together. The main deck dropped in and fit very neatly with no gaps and cracks. Not quite Tamigawa but getting close enough to breathe down their necks.
So what is my final opinion? I would suggest doing some research before jumping into the build and track down some photos of the replica in China, (Wikipedia again).
If you follow the color instructions in the booklet you might end up with something looking like Barbie’s little battleship. With some toned down colors, Naples yellow instead of Cadmium yellow for the masts and stacks, some subtle weathering for the hull and decks and you will have a potential prize winner that represents a more realistic impression of the Ting Yuen. Detailing is generally good even thought the ports and doors could have used some enhancement.
The PE supplied is well thought out and suitably delicate although I consider not including rigging and ratlines for the masts a major miss by Bronco.
All in all not many gripes, so I would definitely say 8 out of 10 for Bronco’s Ting Yuen.
I most certainly would consider buying another Bronco model after seeing their workmanship on this one, ( heck, they also just brought out the 1/35th Seehund. Now if I can only smuggle that one past my wife then………….)