by: Matthew Toms [ ]
In 1933, the need to rapidly outfit newly formed armored car companies in the German Army forced the Waffenamt to adapt commercial passenger automobile chassis to carry light armored bodies. Daimler Benz and Adler vehicles were used for this purpose. The chassis were modified by strengthening the axles and suspension, increasing cooling capacity, and upgrading the electrical system.
The armor on the front was only capable of stopping 7.92mm AP rounds; and the side armor could only provide protection from 7.92mm rifle rounds. The vehicle was armed with one 7.92mm MG13 machine gun. Not a very formidable vehicle, but the troops on bicycles and in Kubelwagens admired them greatly!
The vehicle was dubbed Maschinengewehrkraftwagen Kfz. 13, and 116 vehicles were completed between 1933 and 1935. 102 of these were built on the Adler sedan chassis.
I purchased the Jordi Rubio resin kit of this car in 2009, convinced that we would never see a styrene kit of this vehicle. However, Bronco has been surprising and delighting armor modelers of all camps since their first release. Broncos penchant for not releasing the mainstream subject has now become a trademark of the firm, and each Bronco release is rarely predicted, highly anticipated and widely praised.
I now have Broncos Kfz.13 kit for review, and I can also compare it to the Jordi Rubio resin kit as we go. This will actually help greatly, as photos, measurements, and specifications on the Kfz.13 are few and hard to find.
The Bronco kit comes in a standard lift top box with an accurate painting of the car on the box top. The kit is molded in a very high quality orange tan styrene and comes molded on 5 sprues. A decent sheet of photo etch is included and a fine, perfectly printed set of decals completes the set. This model will build beautifully right out of the box as all the details needed are included. No aftermarket is needed to trick it out and it will be a relaxing and enjoyable build.
Sprue A is the largest and contains most of the major body panels. The frame is molded in one piece and includes the fenders. Alignment of suspension components is simple and positive. The complex angles of the front and rear body sections are molded in one piece each making for easy assembly of the armored body. All this mounts positively to the one piece floor pan. The grill, hood, and side panels assemble easily into one component and mate flawlessly with the firewall. There is no full engine; just the oil pan and transmission are represented.
Sprue B features tools, levers, equipment boxes, headlights, and small detail parts.
Sprue C (x 2) includes the suspension springs, wheels, and tires. There are no mold lines across the springs. Tires are molded in one piece with no mold lines marring the nicely detailed, crisp tread pattern. Cleanup and assembly will be a breeze.
Sprue E (there is no sprue D) has the early and late versions of the MG 13 machine gun. The detail on both guns is exquisite, with slide molded open muzzles and separate magazines. Interestingly, sprue E is large, with 46 parts listed as Not for Use. However, these include gas cans, canteens, an MP 40, stick grenades, mess kits, tools, and a helmet that can be used to dress up the open interior very nicely right out of the box.
The photo etched fret is well done and has all the fine details you need without getting too fiddly and crazy. The finished model will look very well appointed.
Molding quality on all of these sprues is outstanding. Detail is fine and sharp. There is no flash on any part, anywhere in the kit. Every ejector pin mark is on the interior of parts, where they will be invisible after assembly. Mold lines are also almost nonexistent. This kit will require a minimum of clean up and will be a joy to build. Fit on all the parts Ive tried is perfect.
The instruction booklet is done in large, clear, well drawn line drawings. Placement of parts is clear and simple. Construction is broken down into 13 easy steps. Detail paint colors are called out along the way. There are 3 color plate profiles with marking options. The black and white decals are finely printed and in perfect register.
Dimensions of this kit size out very well to the original and this is a very accurate kit:
Actual Length 4130 mm - 1/35 118mm Bronco 118.5mm
Actual Width 1650mm 1/35 47.14mm Bronco 47.5mm
Actual Height 1500mm 1/35 42.86mm Bronco 43mm
Since Kfz. 13 dimensions are rare, I also compared the Bronco and Jordi Rubio kits directly to each other in several critical areas. Heres how they measured up:
Tires: Bronco 23.293mm JR 23.081mm
Firewall: Bronco 25.896mm JR 25.802mm
Rear Fender: Bronco 30.40mm JR 28.68mm
Rear Superstructure: Bronco 38.91mm JR 37.55mm
Armored Grill: Bronco 18.99mm JR 19.07mm
Hood Length: Bronco 23.82mm JR 23.90mm
As you can see, the Bronco kit measures out perfectly against the actual dimensions and the much more expensive resin kit.
With outstanding detail, excellent molding, included photo etch, extra stowage items, and perfect dimensions and engineering, Bronco has produced a real gem and a definite winner with the Kfz. 13 kit. This will be an enjoyable build for modelers of any skill level. The subject is unique, rare, and interesting. Highly recommended.
German Early War Armored Fighting Vehicles by George Bradford.
Panzer Tracts #13 Panzerspaehwagen by Jentz and Doyle.
Standard Catalog of German Military Vehicles by David Doyle.
Militarfahrzeuge of the Wehrmacht by Rieger and Feist.
Armored Vehicles of the German Army 1905 1945 by Walter J. Spielberger.
None of these reference books have more than 2 pages or 4 photographs on the Kfz. 13 in each, so its difficult to recommend one good reference for this vehicle. If I had to get just one, I would buy the Panzer Tracts book.