Bronco Models 1/35 A34 Comet Kit First Look
|Date of Review||November 2006||Manufacturer||Bronco Models|
|Kit Number||35010||Primary Media||Styrene/PE + Aluminum Barrel|
|Pros||Nicely detailed kit||Cons||Bi-lingual instructions are mostly Chinese and minimal English leaving the modeler to wonder which parts go to which variant|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$43.00|
Based on the combat experience in the North African desert, the British sought an improved tank armed with the 17 pounder anti-tank gun. Leyland Motors took on the task to upgrade the Cromwell with the new gun. This effort resulted in the Challenger, but the design compromised armor protection to accommodate the gun (among other compromises) and the result was deemed unsatisfactory.
Back to the drawing board, Leyland again built upon the Cromwell, but this time accommodating a highly modified 17 pounder for a main gun which allowed for improvements in armor and mobility over the Cromwell and Challenger.
Due to the protracted development time, the A34 Comet was the last tank to enter service with the Royal Army during World War II. The first Comets reached the 23rd Hussars/11th Armored Division in Belgium in January 1945, too late to participate in any of the major tank battles. Nevertheless, the Comet did cross the Rhine and ultimately participated in the Berlin victory parade in July 1945.
During the Korean War, the Comet was deployed into combat along side the newer Centurion. Comets would remain in service with the Royal Army through 1958 before being transferred to allied armies where many would remain in service into the 1980s.
This is my first look at a Bronco Models kit and I must say, I am impressed! The kit is molded in medium green styrene and presented on five parts trees (duplicate trees not shown) plus the lower hull. The kit also includes a fret of photo-etched details, a turned aluminum barrel, and two lengths of rubber track.
Construction of the model is well laid out in the instructions and appears to be very logical with no challenges that would require three hands and a good sense of timing. In most cases, the instructions clearly show where parts selections must be made whether you're building a World War II era A34 or one of the post-war options.
The instruction sheet is bi-lingual (Chinese and English) and there are a few spots where parts are identified in Chinese only. Page 5 of the instructions is one case where toolboxes, light guards, and other details do not explain what is going on in English. Pages 7 & 9 have discussions about the Hong Kong version of the Comet, and aside from only identifying the Hong Kong variant in English, the remaining instructions are in Chinese only as if nobody outside Hong Kong would be interested.
Despite the instructions, the kit is beautifully detailed and yet not comprised of hundreds and hundreds of detail parts that hint at over-engineering.
Available separately, Bronco Models also has a cast resin mantlet with cover that replaces the kit mantlet (without cover) which is appropriate for most post-war variants.
Markings are provided for six Comets:
- 'Ironduke', 1st RTR, 7th AD, Germany, April 1945
- 'Cobra', 3rd RTR, 29th AB, 11th AD, Germany, March 1945
- 'Celerity', 3rd RTR, 29th AB, 11th AD, Belgium, March 1945
- 'Crusader', 3rd RTR, 29th AB, 11th AD, Germany, April 1945
- 3rd RTR, Sek Kong Camp, New Territory, Hong Kong, 1957
- Finnish Armored Bde Training Unit, 1961-1980
This kit is very nicely done and can be completed without dealing with dozens of tiny parts. If you do want to get your Comet looking just right (especially with the translation problems in a few spots within the instructions), check out Toadman Productions photo CD of the Comet.
This kit is highly recommended!