by: Darren Baker [ ]
The Humber Scout Car entered service in 1943, probably too late to see service in the Tunisian campaign, but was then widely used in Italy and North-West Europe. As it was a Scout Car, it was used by many different units, including the Royal Armoured Corps, Armoured Guards battalions, as well as by the Royal Engineers, Royal Artillery and at the various Formation Headquarters. In some cases it seems that units ‘tweaked’ the establishment to put the larger Humbers in the HQs, with their Dingos being used at Troop level. Users included Liaison Officers, Intelligence Officers, Signals Officers, Technical Adjutants, and Commanding Officers as their ‘run-around’ when not mounted in their tank. It was frequently used in Formation HQs as an un-allocated ‘pool’ vehicle. It was also used by Britain’s allies, including the Canadians and Poles.
It has already been noted that production was stopped in 1945, as the war in Europe ended. A decision had been made to continue to use the smaller but generally more capable Dingo as the Scout Car for the post-war army, and thus most of the Humber Scout cars were scrapped or sold off. They did continue to serve in Malaya until the early 1950s, being used by Brigade HQs and Armoured Car regiments, some converted to mount twin MGs with a spotlight between, for anti-ambush purposes. They were used by the French, Belgian, Dutch and Danish armies, the French apparently using them in Indo-China in the war with the Viet Minh. A few surviving examples can be found in museums, and a small number of beautifully restored examples survive to grace military vehicle rallies.
This offering from Bronco Models is a re-release of an offering from nearly 10 years ago, but it does now offer upgraded wheels and a four figure set, this is two thirds of the crew from their WWII British/Commonwealth Crew Set which was released about 5 years ago. The model is packed into a cardboard tray with a separate card lid, there is quite a lot of space in the box and so it is good that Bronco Models has placed all of the contents into separate plastic bags for the most part. The contents break down as follows;
2 grey sprues
1 green sprue
1 clear sprue
7 tan sprues
Upper hull roof
1 photo etched fret
1 decals sheet
An instruction booklet
No box top artwork in this offering
When this model first arrived I had visions of old and brittle plastic covered with flash due to its age, but nothing could be further from the truth. The sprues and parts are all very cleanly moulded, I can only assume that Bronco Models has done a stellar job of cleaning up the moulds or they are holding up exceptionally well. Sure there are some ejector pin marks to deal with, but these are shallow and small for what I have located thus far. I will also say at this point that while this is a small vehicle, Bronco Models certainly managed to up the parts count.
In the belief that you are reading this having not seen the model before, you are in for a bit of a treat as Bronco Models has supplied a very full interior for this model. The interior crew compartment will certainly look very busy if you add all of the detail that Bronco Models supplies, I will say that it is not a perfect match for the reference material that I have, but it is pretty damn close right down to the Thompson machine gun. This interior with the added crew members will make this a very busy place to be (Remember only three in a Mk 1). As with the next area of this review it will pay to do some scratch work on this model and add in some of the exposed wiring that should be present to add that kind of detail that really stands out.
In order to really impress the detail fanatics Bronco Models have also included a full engine, not forgetting the fuel tank and cooling system. Considering the age of this model I am very impressed with the engine detail, but as with all engines it will be further improved via the addition of some wiring and window dressing in the engine bay itself. The more detail you add the better it will look as Bronco Models has made the hatches so that they can be open or closed. On the subject of the engine bay, if you are going to glue the hood down then save yourself a lot of work and don’t bother with the engine, but I believe you have two alternatives if you do want to work on the engine. You could open the hood up correctly and depict it being worked on or inorder to show off your building skills, alternatively you could build the hood as closed, but not glue it down, then you could lift it off as a sub-assembly and display the jewel within.
The external detail of this model is still up to current standards in my opinion and better than much of what is produced today. The various panels are thin and while maybe not scale thickness are realistic. So far as I can see every panel that could be opened on a real vehicle can also be opened on this model. From comparison to my reference material, the angles and overall appearance looks good. The underside of the mud guards do have ejector pin marks that ideally will be dealt with, and if tackled prior to the application of the mudguards to the model will be easily remedied.
The underside of the vehicle has not been ignored by Bronco Models. The model has a chassis, axles and suspension, my only concern here is that the leaf springs of the suspension have been supplied in two halves, I will be honest and say that I am at a complete loss as to why Bronco Models has tackled this area in that manner. The exhaust system looks good and even provides an open tail pipe. An under guard is provided from the front and a good way to the rear, as there is no sump to protect I believe its purpose was to protect the front drive axle and steering elements of the vehicle. An examination of the front axle parts indicates that the front wheels of this model can be steered, if I am wrong that can certainly be set in a turned position with a minimal of work.
The wheels and tyres on this offering from Bronco Models are a new addition to the model, gone are the vinyl rubber offerings that so many of you dislike and in comes moulded plastic ones instead. The side walls of the tyres are moulded separately from the tread pattern, and they have been designed to allow rotation of the wheels. The tread pattern offered looks appropriate to me, but I am not going to stick my head out too far as I know it is an area that can become heated. On the outer faces of the side walls of the tyres you will find ‘DUNLOP’ present and some other data I cannot read.
Finishing the vehicle by covering the armament, you are provided by Bronco Models with a Thompson MG, a Bren gun with drum magazine, a Sten gun and two SMLE rifles. The Bren gun has been supplied as the defensive armament for the Humber, and it and all the other weapons look to be nicely detailed.
Four finishing options are provided for with this model which are listed below.
Guard Armoured Division Germany 1945
HSC of AFV Driving and Maintenance School Lulworth 1943
RHQ-3RTR, 29th Armoured Brigade, 11th Armoured Division Germany 1945
64th Anti-Tank Regt, RA, 78th Infantry Division Italy 1944
The figures provided with this offering from Bronco Models are four figures wearing winter pixie suits and berets. Two of the figures are in seated poses and two are stood upright. The baggy quilted material of the suit is nicely replicated and I really like the crease detail present, but there is a downside in that the seam lines on the legs of these figures is going to be a right royal pain to remove and clean up without damaging the really nice detail. The face and hand detail on the figures are fair to good, but the hands could be further improved with a little detailing work.
I will say that this figure set will work really well with the vehicle as you can have a driver in his seat with the commander and gunner up top. The other possibility is to have two seated in and one up top on the vehicle. By providing these figures with the model it has instantly offered up an easy way to have all of the hatches open and a crew in their rightful places.
Having never looked at this model from Bronco Models previously, I am very impressed with what has been offered and the visual quality of the parts. I am well aware that neither of the two products brought together here are new, but guess what I really could not care less; I have been offered the chance to pick up a well detailed model and a good set of figures that just shouts add base here. Sure there are a couple of areas that will require work on the part of the modeller, but I guess that is why we are called modellers and not kit builders.