(in cooperation with Bronco
) announced and then released the Valentine in 1/35th scale, a major milestone was reached for Allied modelers. Having spoken at great length with both of the companies involved with the development, the intention was clear - not to simply produce 1 or 2 of the more used Marks, but to do a series of models which would also cover vehicles such as the Bishop, and, with this release, the Archer. With Bronco's
release of the (towed) 17 Pounder AT Gun, few were surprised when this was announced.
About This Review
For those unfamiliar with the system we use here, this is NOT a FULL review, rather a 'first look' - a series of impressions of the model. I won't be making many qualitative comments about the model rather giving a first glimpse of what will be arriving in the stores soon.
In the box.
On opening the box, the first impression one gets is there's a lot jammed in. CB-35074: 17 Pdr Self-Propelled Gun Archer
comes on no less than 30 light-grey colored sprues (18 of these are for the tracks) along with a transparent sprue and a very complete sheet of brass PE. Also included is a 28 page instruction booklet and a fairly large decal sheet.
Although the Archer does not, at first, strike one as a particularly complex vehicle, 10 minutes with the instructions may change your opinion radically. This is, without doubt one of the most complex (and by that I mean COMPLETE) kits on the market.
Having an open-topped fighting compartment, it's natural that a lot of detail would have to be included. However, what is surprising is the detail which is also included - making this a super-detailer's dream. Full transmission IS included - something that is normally within the purview of the AM people. A lot of this detail is going to be hidden when the vehicle is built - making the challenge to 'open-up' just that little more difficult to resist.
Regarding the instructions
and bearing in mind my 'gripes' about the instructions of Bronco's
excellent Staghound, these instructions are much more refined. The assembly process is logical and clearly presented. No less than 42 assembly sections are presented with careful notations about where to open up attachment holes and where the PE should go. The final four pages cover the 4 marking options - more of these in a moment...
is good, no damage or flash was present in my own example, attachment points for the parts are as small as is technically possible and no warping is present on the larger parts.
. Logically, the components of the 17 Pounder are from Bronco's
recently released model (without carriage) a FULL review of this bit is covered in Patrick Selitrenny's excellent Review which can be seen: HERE (LINK)
are for four vehicles which are:
1) Polish 7th Anti-Tank Rgt. 2nd Armored Brigade (Italy 1943) with Sand/OD Camo Scheme
2) Polish 7th Anti-Tank Rgt. 2nd Armored Brigade (Italy 1943) with Blue/Grey over OD Camo
3) 3rd Anti-Tank Regt. Royal Canadian Artillery, 3rd Canadian Infantry Division (AoS 1946) OD overall
4) 15th Scottish Division NW Europe Winter 1944-45 Dark Green over OD Camo
Register on the decals is excellent and colors seem correct.
As a bonus
At the end of the instruction book, the sources and acknowledgments are made. With this we're seeing an interesting trend, for manufacturers to cooperate with publishers. In this case, two of the very best are listed - Wings & Wheels
and Armor Color Gallery
It is, when you open the box, a little daunting. This is a VERY sophisticated model indeed. In fact, probably one of the most detailed which has every passed through my hands. Some may dismiss it as over-engineered, looking at my own references on the Archer, I can't see any way that this model could have been done any simpler without losing the detail that modelers now expect. It won't be built in a couple of evenings on the workbench. It's genuinely a very complete project For those who are satisfied with scale 'approximations' it will have little appeal, for those who want a real challenge it'll be high on their wants lists. Although it's complex, it does reflect the complexity of the REAL vehicle - surely one of the reasons we build models?
Once again, the double D for damned disgraceful (not sizes of ladies' underwear) comes bubbling to the surface. It is, when all is said and done, a damned disgrace on the part of the other manufacturers that no-one had previously EVER kitted this vehicle in styrene. No, it was never produced in such large numbers as the M4 (or even the Cromwell) but it is reasonably well-documented and served on several fronts (including the Arab-Israeli Wars). It could have been seen as a type of stop-gap but it NEVER deserved the cold-shoulder it has had up until now.
Kudos to the work of both Bronco
for their development and imagination which has finally made a styrene model of this attractive vehicle a reality!
My thanks to Bronco Model
for the Review Sample.