by: Matthew Lenton [ ]
A popular accessory for detailing vehicles and dioramas, jerry cans and fuel drums are represented in a number of plastic kits in larger scales, and resin in smaller scales, now we have Bronco’s new injection moulded 1/72 kit of German cans and drums.
In a small box is a sealed polythene bag of four dark green styrene sprues (photo 1), enough to make 8 x 200L drums and 24 x 20L cans. Instructions and painting guide are printed on the back of the box (photo 2). Both cans and drums are detailed in such a way as to provide a variety of types, although in this scale the differences are quite subtle.
200L Fuel Drums - you get two of each of the following types:
Gb1 = “KRAFTSTOFF 200L WEHRMACHT FEUERGEFÄHRLICH 1943” straight sided drum
Gb2 = “Kraftstoff 200L FEUERGEFÄHRLICH Wehrmacht B 43” straight sided drum
Gb3 = “200L Kraftstoff FEUERGEFÄHRLICH Wehrmacht” lower section with three ridges
Gb4 = “1944 Kraftstoff 200L FEUERGEFÄHRLICH HEER” lower section with three ridges
Gb9 is the fuel hand pump, Gb13 the pump handle.
20L Jerry Cans - there are eight of each of the following:
Ga3 = “Wasser 20L”, with year, manufacturer in centre, production number and “Wehrmacht” (photo 15)
Ga2 = “Kraftstoff 20L Feuergefährlich” then as Ga3 (photo 16)
Ga1 = Stamped “Kraftstoff 20L Feuergefährlich” with “SS” in the centre (photos 17, 20).
Moulding and detail is very fine, as we’d expect for a new mould from a maker like Bronco (in fact, from their Facebook page, it would appear that these were created by Riich), and slide moulding has been used to create the hollow lower two thirds of the drums (photos 4, 5, 6) and the triple handles of the cans (photo 12). There is very little in the way of mould seam to clean up, sprue gates are fine, with some inevitably being located on the narrow rim of a drum top (photo 7), and there are no ejector marks marring any components with all of them being located on the sprue connectors.
In terms of accuracy, the jerry cans have the triple handle, and the off-set cap, but do not feature the recessed side weld seam which I think would be noticeable even at this scale, something which may have been possible had the cans been moulded in two halves instead of as a single unit. The handles themselves are not open, so although they look good from above, they are solid when viewed from the side (photos 13-17). I must admit I was quite relieved however that the handles weren’t presented as tiny separate parts, so things have been kept simple.
The 200L drums have openings on the side and on the top, which, I believe, is not correct, as German drums seem to have had just one opening on the side. This seems an odd error as photos do seem to always show fuel being pumped with the drums on their sides, never upright as far as I can tell, and yet this is an error apparently repeated by a number of other manufacturers. The lettering on the drum tops seem authentic, although looking at photos of drums on the internet, it seems there was a wide variety in terms of both wording and style. The four types depicted here can be seen quite clearly in photos 7, 8, although once painted the lettering is quite obscured (photos 18, 19), to the point where perhaps it could have been a little bolder; in contrast, the recessed text on the jerry cans, although too small to be readable, remains visible once painted (photo 20).
The hand pump supplied looks correct (photo 9), although I’m not sure if the handle should be an L shaped piece, or if it would be more accurate if it was a straight bar attached directly to the side of the pump. In any case, I managed to break both handles as they are so thin, so these are probably best replaced with wire or plastic rod.
A few observations on building the 200L drums which come in three parts (photo 21). Care needs to be taken not to damage the rims when removing the top sections from the sprue. The connection points then need to be carefully sanded (photo 22), and I also used a cocktail stick to tidy up around the rim (photo 23). The instructions are very basic, but after building two or three of them, I opted for this sequence: start with the bottom disc and insert it into the lower half, that is, the two-thirds section of the drum (photo 24) with the lettering aligned with the hole, then apply cement from inside (photo 25) for the cleanest join. Before attaching the top third, I filed down the rim on the lower section (arrowed, photos 26, 27, 28) so that the two parts fitted together with no hint of a gap (photos 29, 30). Just to make sure I then clamped it while the cement set (photo 31) and within a short while I had eight drums (photo 32).
The cans only need to be removed from the sprue and cleaned up (photo 33). In photo 34 we see a Ford V3000 with all of the drums and half of the cans loaded in the back.
I primed everything in black, a couple of drums in photo 35, and in photo 36 one drum has had the side opening drilled to accept the fuel pump, to which I have attached a handle made of 0.5mm wire.
Bronco’s painting guide shows both cans and drums in either dark yellow or German grey, the water cans getting white crosses on top. This looks correct for the cans, and I finished a couple of each colour, with an attempt at some shading plus a few stains and the odd chip (photos 37 - 41).
Looking at photos and several internet discussions, it seems that the drums, until some point near the end of the war, just had a galvanised finish, so would mostly be a dull pale metallic grey. So bearing in mind the painting instructions, and the probability that some modellers will still paint them in yellow or grey, I painted three drums, one in each finish (photos 42 - 48). The yellow (photo 42, 43) and grey (46, 47) drums were sprayed with Tamiya colours and then finished off with pigments and a small amount of enamel wash around the openings and the rim. My attempt at a galvanised finish (photos 44, 45) was more complicated, and I nicked someone else’s idea on how to do it (Pete C’s Tamiya Steyr 1500A Tunisia build on MM). I think it is apparent that the lettering on the tops of the drums more or less disappears under a layer of paint, and in these examples it only remains very visible on type Gb4 (photo 47).
It’s good to see 1/72 accessories like this being produced by plastic kit manufacturers. The quality of moulding and rendering of the detail is very good as we would now expect from this brand, and the very minimal construction of the drums is quick and problem free. It is a nice touch that several types of both the cans and the drums has been included. As mentioned above, the jerry cans are a single piece moulding and as a result lack both the weld seam and openings through the handles. The fuel drums do look good, I think, though there is the apparent error of the openings being included on the tops. Overall, quite a nice set, and I hope to see more of this type of accessory in this scale coming from the major brands. This seems to be on sale in Europe for around 5.5 Euros, so not too expensive.