by: Darren Baker [ ]
Black Dog has a good selection of figures, diorama/vignette bases and a fair selection of stowage for armoured fighting vehicles both specific and general. Black Dog has recently released a stowage set for the British Cruiser Mk II, and I believe that it is designed for the Bronco Models offering. It is this set I will be taking a look at in this review.
Inside an end opening box you will find a zip lock bag containing eight light grey resin castings for the British Cruiser Mk II. It is worth mentioning that when this set was sent to me the box had been filled with polystyrene peanuts to prevent movement and damage to the resin castings.
This set for the British Cruiser Mk II has items for the turret, engine deck, glacis, mud guards and the side skirts. Starting with the castings in general I have to say that I was very pleased as there are none of the issues sometimes seen in resin castings such as air bubbles, mis-mouldings, shrink marks, or soft spots, all aspects of these mouldings is top notch.
Starting with the mouldings for the turret; you get one moulding for each side which, while consisting of similar equipment, are significantly different. The mouldings consist of helmets, backpacks, ammunition pouches, water bottles, and kit bags, each item is identifiable and has been laid out in such a way that painting should not pose too many issues.
Moving onto the engine deck there is a huge moulding which consists of tarps and I believe tents stacked over ammunition boxes with very realistic tie downs which even show the rope detail. This piece will require some work to remove from its pour plug as there is a shape to the plug meaning a saw will be a must. I particularly like the detail that is portrayed on the ammunition boxes and the natural appearance of the canvas sheets with the rope ties holding them in place.
The tarpaulins for the mud guards and side skirts again have an excellent natural look to them with good strap and rope tie detail. The loosely tied canvas for the rear right mudguard is particularly nice and should be eye catching if painted well as the replicated sagging and creases will show a good variation in colour.
The two groups of sandbags for the front of the vehicle cause me some concerns as while they are very well replicated there is nothing to indicate how they are being kept in place. Now due the fact that no securing method is replicated your only real option as I see it is to show a net securing them in place as ropes would have shaped the sandbags, or if you consider showing them unsecured they will be good to go as is.
I know that it is frequently said that these sets donít allow for any variation but you could add to the base set to provide variation on your model, but there again if you are only building the one kit variation should not really be a great concern. For those of us that donít find scratch building an easy task these sets are a god send which allows us to make a vehicle look lived in rather than factory fresh. I highly recommend that this set, and for that matter the stowage sets in general, be considered for your builds as a quick and easy upgrade.