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First Look Review
135
Archer SPG
17 Pdr Self-Propelled Gun Archer
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by: Jim Rae [ JIMBRAE ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

Introduction

When MiniArt (in cooperation with Bronco) announced and then released the Valentine in 1/35th scale, a major milestone was reached for Allied modelers. Having spoken at great length with both of the companies involved with the development, the intention was clear - not to simply produce 1 or 2 of the more used Marks, but to do a series of models which would also cover vehicles such as the Bishop, and, with this release, the Archer. With Bronco's release of the (towed) 17 Pounder AT Gun, few were surprised when this was announced.


About This Review

For those unfamiliar with the system we use here, this is NOT a FULL review, rather a 'first look' - a series of impressions of the model. I won't be making many qualitative comments about the model rather giving a first glimpse of what will be arriving in the stores soon.


In the box.

On opening the box, the first impression one gets is there's a lot jammed in. CB-35074: 17 Pdr Self-Propelled Gun Archer comes on no less than 30 light-grey colored sprues (18 of these are for the tracks) along with a transparent sprue and a very complete sheet of brass PE. Also included is a 28 page instruction booklet and a fairly large decal sheet.


Impressions

Although the Archer does not, at first, strike one as a particularly complex vehicle, 10 minutes with the instructions may change your opinion radically. This is, without doubt one of the most complex (and by that I mean COMPLETE) kits on the market.

Having an open-topped fighting compartment, it's natural that a lot of detail would have to be included. However, what is surprising is the detail which is also included - making this a super-detailer's dream. Full transmission IS included - something that is normally within the purview of the AM people. A lot of this detail is going to be hidden when the vehicle is built - making the challenge to 'open-up' just that little more difficult to resist.

Regarding the instructions and bearing in mind my 'gripes' about the instructions of Bronco's excellent Staghound, these instructions are much more refined. The assembly process is logical and clearly presented. No less than 42 assembly sections are presented with careful notations about where to open up attachment holes and where the PE should go. The final four pages cover the 4 marking options - more of these in a moment...

Moulding is good, no damage or flash was present in my own example, attachment points for the parts are as small as is technically possible and no warping is present on the larger parts.

The Gun. Logically, the components of the 17 Pounder are from Bronco's recently released model (without carriage) a FULL review of this bit is covered in Patrick Selitrenny's excellent Review which can be seen: HERE (LINK)

The Decals are for four vehicles which are:

1) Polish 7th Anti-Tank Rgt. 2nd Armored Brigade (Italy 1943) with Sand/OD Camo Scheme

2) Polish 7th Anti-Tank Rgt. 2nd Armored Brigade (Italy 1943) with Blue/Grey over OD Camo

3) 3rd Anti-Tank Regt. Royal Canadian Artillery, 3rd Canadian Infantry Division (AoS 1946) OD overall

4) 15th Scottish Division NW Europe Winter 1944-45 Dark Green over OD Camo

Register on the decals is excellent and colors seem correct.


As a bonus

At the end of the instruction book, the sources and acknowledgments are made. With this we're seeing an interesting trend, for manufacturers to cooperate with publishers. In this case, two of the very best are listed - Wings & Wheels and Armor Color Gallery.


Conclusions

It is, when you open the box, a little daunting. This is a VERY sophisticated model indeed. In fact, probably one of the most detailed which has every passed through my hands. Some may dismiss it as over-engineered, looking at my own references on the Archer, I can't see any way that this model could have been done any simpler without losing the detail that modelers now expect. It won't be built in a couple of evenings on the workbench. It's genuinely a very complete project For those who are satisfied with scale 'approximations' it will have little appeal, for those who want a real challenge it'll be high on their wants lists. Although it's complex, it does reflect the complexity of the REAL vehicle - surely one of the reasons we build models?

Once again, the double D for damned disgraceful (not sizes of ladies' underwear) comes bubbling to the surface. It is, when all is said and done, a damned disgrace on the part of the other manufacturers that no-one had previously EVER kitted this vehicle in styrene. No, it was never produced in such large numbers as the M4 (or even the Cromwell) but it is reasonably well-documented and served on several fronts (including the Arab-Israeli Wars). It could have been seen as a type of stop-gap but it NEVER deserved the cold-shoulder it has had up until now.

Kudos to the work of both Bronco and MiniArt for their development and imagination which has finally made a styrene model of this attractive vehicle a reality!

My thanks to Bronco Model for the Review Sample.
SUMMARY
Jim Rae takes a first-look at one of the year's most talked-about and welcome releases - Bronco Model's Archer SPG in 1/35th scale.
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: CB-35074
  Suggested Retail: $69.95 US
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Dec 30, 2010
  NATIONALITY: United Kingdom
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 88.06%
  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 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

Hi all, I'm not trying one up Jim's review but as I'm almost done with a full build review I'd just like to clarify a couple of things. The Archer kit doesn't include an engine, just the rear engine bulkhead with twin fans plus the gearbox/transmission assembly with the twin radiators mounted above these with separate access hatches should you wish to expose the inner detail. The tracks are the individual link workable track Bronco previously released seperately as set #AB3536. The road wheels are a different pattern than those on the Miniart Valentine kits. Hope that helps. Cheers Terry A
JAN 02, 2011 - 07:48 PM
Opportunity for the AM folks then. Thanks for the clarification. I wonder if MiniArt will do a crew? Al
JAN 03, 2011 - 03:23 AM
My bad, and my apologies. Unfortunately, at the same time as working on this First-Look, I was also doing a similar one for Bronco's New Gaz Truck which DOES include FULL engine. So, for some reason, I decided to give the Archer an engine as well...
JAN 05, 2011 - 12:27 PM
Went to a local shop this afternoon & heard people saying that the model was about 5mm shorter than the actual scale,can anyone confirm this??
JAN 29, 2011 - 02:17 PM
Could anyone clarify if Friulmodel ATL-113 ARCHER Self-propelled gun tracks are the same as ATL-32 VALENTINE/BISHOP tracks?
MAY 24, 2011 - 12:31 PM
Either one of those track sets will do, there is no difference between the two, I just assembled (25 minutes ago) the kit indie tracks, they went together really well and without any fuss! And because of that I'm 35 Euro richer!
MAY 25, 2011 - 02:13 PM
So, anyone build this kit? Is it complex like all the other bronco kits?
NOV 17, 2017 - 03:10 AM
David, it's not like I'm stalking you or anything, but didn't you contribute to the discussion of this kit with someone who did finish it in 2013? Dmitri Slivkov True that there are a few other starters but not finishers on Armorama, but Dmitri's looked pretty good.
NOV 20, 2017 - 03:23 AM
Interior is busy but the rest is pretty standard. Tony lee
NOV 22, 2017 - 04:47 AM
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