by: Darren Baker
Bronco Models has released a model of the Hungarian Medium Tank 43M Turán III in 1/35th scale. The Turán III only ever existed as a prototype, and looking at the very few images of that tank I believe it was just a wooden mock turret up on a Turán II hull and I have included an image of it in this review. It is my understanding that the Hungarians designed and built this version of the Turán III because the German government would not provide them with tanks. The Turán III did not go into production because the German Government started to provide the Hungarians with Panzer IV’s, or if you prefer some sources say it was due to a lack of materials and production facilities, I will let you decide which side to believe.
The model is provided in a cardboard tray with a separate card lid, this will do a reasonable job of protecting the contents when in you possession, but it will not hold up to the rigours of the postal system without better protection. The sprues inside are packaged in their own plastic bags except where they are duplicated and so damage is unlikely to occur to them. The photo etch included with this offering is packed inside a Ziploc bag and is in perfect condition. The instructions are provided in the usual format, but the English text on the introduction is very poor. An examination of the contents reveals no issues with the mouldings as regards quality, but there are a number of very small and fragile parts that will require a lot of care during removal and clean up.
Starting with an examination of the bogies offered with the model and Bronco Models has provided a very detailed element of the 43M Turán III, it is true that Bronco Models has gone to the extremes with detail and that makes the bogies fragile and difficult to assemble. This issue is in some part due to the fact that Bronco Models has put in a lot of effort to make the bogies workable and I am not going to knock them for taking on that endeavour. The leaf spring elements of the suspension do have seam lines that will need careful clean up during the build.
The drive wheel and idler are both of the cog type and I believe this vehicle was driven from the rear. All of the wheels are designed by Bronco Models to remain workable on the model and that does include the return rollers. The wheels that are attached via pins will be fragile and I suspect will prove difficult to keep the wheels able to turn. I will say that the suspension will likely be the most testing aspect of the model. I have been informed that a company called SBS make an after market offering to tackle the suspension, but I have not seen this offering and so cannot comment.
The tracks offered for the model by Bronco Models are individual track links that remain fully workable after assembly. So far as I have been able to discover the track links are accurate for the model and being workable should look good on the model. With the bogies being workable as well as the tracks it makes displaying the finished model on an uneven surface or diorama an easier prospect.
Looking inside the hull for a moment and you will find that Bronco Models has provided a reasonable level of detail as regards the drivers’ position. Bronco Models has supplied a reasonably detailed seat, foot pedals, steering sticks and gear shifter, I believe this is a good level of detail for those modellers who want to leave the hatch open and MiniArt also offer a set of Hungarian tank crew figures.
Looking at the rest of the hull and I feel Bronco Models has supplied a very good level of detail when it comes to the huge amount of rivet detail present, and despite the fact I doubt it will ever be seen there is a very nicely detailed under side to the hull. The track guards are both supplied as three separate parts and have a good level of detail present with a realistic scale thickness to them.
The upper portion of the hull has a good level of detail and I am pleased to say no excessive use of photo etched parts. The tools have moulded on clamp detail that will not please everyone, but after market companies do supply clamps if that is something you want. The vented section of the rear hull above the engine has been well tackled by Bronco Models with the side detail around the grill being tackled with four shims. The other access panels on the engine deck have been supplied as separate parts and so if an engine set is available then displaying it in this model will be easy. The machine gun mounts in the front of the hull are well detailed as regards the exterior, but some interior detail would have been a nice inclusion.
The turret which is of course the all new element of the model mounting a 75mm gun has been well tackled by Bronco Models. The turret has some very pleasing angles to it which give it a great deal of appeal and Bronco Models has captured the angles and rivet detail very well. The reason I am talking about these angles is that I cannot recall seeing any other turret like it. The hatches on the sides of the turret have been supplied as separate parts and locking handles are provided for the interior, but no other interior detail is present, not even a rudimentary breech for the main gun.
The main gun is an area of the model where Bronco Models has pleased me most. They have supplies a single piece barrel, the muzzle brake has been tackled in the same way that turned brass offerings are supplied and so you get great detail that is easy to work with. The commanders’ cupola is a multi part affair that will require some care when assembling. The angled sides of the cupola consists of four parts with butt joints only and this is the aspect I am most concerned about as holding and gluing could be problematic. The hatches on the cupola can be open or closed depending on your requirements.
The 43M Turán III was designed and built with the intention of stand off armour panels being in place, Bronco Models has decided to tackle this aspect with pure photo etch through out and that could affect its appeal to some modellers. There are 22 photo etched brackets that need to be added just to mount the panels on the turret and this will be a nightmare for those who do not like using photo etch. The hull armour panels are mounted on plastic brackets which will be an easier task to accomplish. The photo etched armour panels are the vented type and they do look visually appealing, I am also pleased that Bronco Models has protected the photo etch sheets with plastic sheet on both sides which will help to prevent any parts get lost or trying to move about while removing.
Bronco Models has gone with providing the option of leaving the side armour package off of the model if the modeller desires, but my research indicates that it was to be used and so should ideally be tackled. The armour at the front of the vehicle was supposed to be increased via the application of additional armour plates and I am hard pushed to say if Bronco Models has or has not incorporated this aspect of the vehicle.
Bronco Models has supplied five options for finishing this model, surprising when you remember only one was produced and that I believe it was a wooden mock up turret. That said i credit Bronco Models with stating that the finishes are imaginary with the exception of the first vehicle.
43M Turán III Prototype 1943
43M Turán III winter camouflage option
43M Turán III 2nd Armoured Division, Budepest Hungary, 1945
43M Turán III 22nd SS-Freiwilligen-Kavallerie Division ‘Maria Theresa’, Budepest Hungary, 1945
43M Turán III 18th SS-Freiwilligen-Panzergrenadier Division ‘Horst Wessel’, Budepest Hungary, 1945
This is a very nice offering from Bronco Models of a tank that did not go into production and they have provided a finishing option of the prototype vehicle. Bronco Models has also provided four imaginary finishing options that are pleasing to my eyes. As regards negatives only the complete lack of detail in the turret disappoints me due to being able to have the hatches open. I do however like the effort put into the main gun barrel, stand off armour and mudguards.