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In-Box Review
135
Open Top Staff Car
Italian Light Staff Car (Open Top) with Crew ‘Libya’
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by: Darren Baker [ CMOT ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

Introduction

The following is the introduction supplied on the front of the instruction booklet and written by Phil Greenwood.

In 1935 the Italian Fiat company began work on a small car for low income families, which became known as the ‘Topolino’ (little mouse). Powered by a 4 cylinder 569cc engine it was capable of 85kmh. Construction was advanced for its day and although sold as a 2 seater, it was strong enough to carry 5 people. Production started in 1936 at Fiat and it was soon judged a success. A close copy of the Fiat 500 was made in France as the Simca 5 the same year, and in Germany the NSU-Fiat was built from 1937. At the start of World War 2 many of these cars were pressed into military service. Most were used as run-abouts by the Italian and German armies, seeing service in Europe, North Africa and Russia. It was a rugged little car that stood up well to military use, many were “liberated” and used by Allied armies as they drove the German’s across France and Belgium.

Contents

The model is packaged inside the now standard cardboard tray and card upper that Bronco Models use; the card top has a nice representation of the Italian Light Staff Car (Open Top) in a desert scene printed on it. Inside the box you will find;
  • An instruction booklet
  • 1 light grey sprue
  • Car body
  • 5 tan sprues
  • 1 clear sprue
  • 1 photo etched fret
  • 1 decal sheet
  • A poster of the box top artwork

Review

This is fourth Topolino variant released by Bronco Models and the second military version. At the end of this review you will find links to reviews of previous releases.

Instruction Booklet
The instructions begin with a print of the box artwork and an introduction in English, German and Chinese. The next page provides a guide to the icons used during construction and a paint guide which list the colours by name and paints by the following manufacturers;
  • Mr Hobby
  • Hobby Color
  • Humbrol
  • Tamiya

This is followed by a parts list which is worth checking, but I have yet to find missing parts in a kit from Bronco Models. Now the building begins with the kit being complete in 15 stages not including the figures. The instructions finish with an assembly and painting guide for the figures and painting and decals for the model, there are two finishing options provided but there is no indication about what the 2 finishing options represent other than one is green and the other yellow.

Engine and Gear Box
The engine for this tiny car from Bronco Models is very well detailed and with some careful painting, the addition of some wiring you will have an engine and gear box worthy of leaving the bonnet open. The radiator is particularly well replicated in my opinion with some very fine detail for the grill area, and the sprung suspension engine mount is also a nice area to pick out.

Chassis, Suspension and Axles
The chassis is supplied as a single moulding which keeps everything square and provides a stable base to build onto. The rear drive shaft and suspension mounts are very well detailed with Bronco Models having put a lot of effort into an area that will be seldom if ever seen once built and the model finished. The front suspension and wishbones will need care to add cleanly, however Bronco Models has provided the ability to depict the wheels being turned if desired.

Interior
The interior is minimal to say the least but that is due to accuracy rather than Bronco Models skipping areas. The seats are very well moulded with nice detail on what are basic seats.

Exterior
The cars body shell is supplied packaged not only in a specially made plastic tray but also packaged in its own cardboard box. Bronco Models has really gone to town on the exterior of the vehicle with the doors, bonnet and folding roof being able to be displayed in any configuration. The bonnet is especially well moulded, with really nice lines and grill detail.

Figures
The two figures look good with the work put into the feather plumed hat being particularly note worthy. Hand and facial detail is good for plastic and if painted carefully should look good enough without resorting to resin alternatives. Uniform crease detail is good with the lower legs of both figures looking to be especially well done. I cannot comment on Italian uniform accuracy as it is not an area I know a lot about.

Conclusion

With this being the fourth edition of the Topolino Bronco Models I believe have ironed out any problems with the model, but I will not be sure until the metal meets the meat or glue hits the plastic. My personal belief is that having looked at previous versions and the builds that have followed make me think this will be a nice little model, particularly in a North Africa Campaign diorama with the also newly released CV3/33.

DAK Topolino Staff Car Live links
Italian Light Civilian Car (Open Top) w/Lady & Dog Live links
Italian Light Civilian Car (Hard Top) w/ Lady & Girl w/ Dog Live links
SUMMARY
Highs: Very nicely replicated engine and chassis.
Lows: Drawn images of the figures in the instructions instead of pictures of the actual figures painted and assembled.
Verdict: Another good option for the Topolino, recommended.
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: CB35164
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Jan 05, 2014
  NATIONALITY: Italy
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 87.16%
  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 Darren Baker (CMOT)
FROM: ENGLAND - SOUTH WEST, UNITED KINGDOM

I have been building model kits since the early 70’s starting with Airfix kits of mostly aircraft, then progressing to the point I am at now building predominantly armour kits from all countries and time periods. Living in the middle of Salisbury plain since the 70’s, I have had lots of opportunitie...

Copyright ©2017 text by Darren Baker [ CMOT ]. 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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