Bronco Models 1/35 YW-750 Armored Ambulance
|KIT #:||CB 35083|
The Type 63 (industrial designation YW531) is a Chinese armored personnel carrier that entered service in the late 1960s. It was the first armored vehicle designed in China without Soviet assistance. The design is simple and is comparable to other APCs of its time such as the M113.
Approximately 3,000 were produced by Norinco, and around 2,300 are still in service. It also equips several armies around the world and has seen action in different conflicts including the Vietnam War, the Sino-Vietnamese War, the Iran–Iraq War and the Gulf War.
The vehicle is amphibious, a folding trim board stowed at the front of the hull needs to be raised, and the vehicle can then propel itself in the water using its tracks.
The kit comes in a very sturdy box with some attractive box art on top. Inside you will find sprues of tan colored, crisply detailed plastic. None of the pieces, including the tons of individual track links, exhibited any flash. Options include placing the many hatches in the open position, though no interior is provided. One clear sprue gives you visor ports and finishing things off are a brass photo-etch fret and a piece of twine representing towing cable. The photo-etch includes many screens that are pretty much essential to the build along with many other plates and brackets; some needed, some not.
Instructions consist of a very nice, full color booklet printed on high quality glossy paper. It adds to the high initial impression one gets upon opening the box. The steps are laid out logically and full color painting guides are included in the final pages. These consist of an all tan and a tan/green vehicle; both from the Iraqi Army during the 1991 Gulf War.
Decals are pretty generic, consisting of nothing other than Red Crescents.
All in all a fine looking kit.
Okay, an armored vehicle with no turret and no cannon …… should be a snap, yes? Well read on and see. Things started off on a pretty brisk pace. I located and put together any sub-assemblies I found. Some parts of these assemblies I left off, like detail parts on the inside of the doors. I was going to close everything up anyway, but I did find it odd to have these parts in the first place since there is no other interior detail. The machine gun was assembled next, and with almost 20 pieces in it alone, it is a little kit in itself. Most of these sub-assemblies were attached to the upper hull. Many of these, like the side lights, use photo-etch parts integral to the assembly, not just to dress it up later. However, on the flip side of the coin, there are some that serve no purpose, like brackets that go behind the side skirts …. parts that I had no problems gluing on by themselves.
A few assemblies, like the front lights, were fiddly in the extreme. Take two tiny hoops, add three even smaller pieces of straight plastic between them to make a cage, and then glue the light inside this cage. Then glue this to the side of the upper hull in the general area. Here is my biggest beef with this kit: the majority of parts attach to the hull with no positive locators. The hull may have a tiny indentation or just a score mark locating the parts position. In this large scale, to me anyway, there is no excuse for this. One thing it does do is to make these assemblies very delicate and prone to getting knocked off at the slightest touch. Don’t ask me how I know this……...
|COLORS & MARKINGS|
A trip to the paint booth coated the majority of the parts, both assembled or still on the sprue, with tan enamel … in this case some Model Masters British Light Stone, which looked close enough in the color profiles for me. I painted the road wheels a very dark gray, almost black, and glued these to the lower hull. This isn’t too tedious, as there are only four to a side. Wow, this build is going quick.
Well, quick until now. It is here that this build came to a crawl. I was stopped in my tracks by, umm, the tracks. Understand, this is my first attempt at 1/35 armour of any kind. Virgin territory, if you will. I had seemingly thousands of individual track links to assemble. In reality, just a two hundred or so but it may as well have been thousands. This actually started off well; after removing and cleaning up about a dozen from their sprue, I quickly had six or so snapped together. Unfortunately, I was never able to duplicate this feat again. Looking back, that was just sheer stupid luck. I tried. Trust me, I tried. I’d get two together, maybe three if the planets were aligned just right. But then things would start falling apart (literally) when I tried to add just one more track link. I figured it best to put everything back in the box before it all ended up slamming against a wall. A few days or a week would go by when I would try again, but with the same results. I ended up adding small strips of tape to the inside of these small sections of track to try to hold them together. After several more frustrating sessions, I had accumulated about ten small lengths of taped together track, but I still had about ¾ of the track yet to assemble. This is going downhill fast.
It was here that one of the Modeling Madness forum members came to my rescue (Thank you Tank!!!!). He directed me to a company that sold 1/35 track assembly jigs for some of the most popular tanks. Even though they had nothing for this vehicle, it did give me an idea. I made my own jig. I took a scrap piece of 2x4 lumber about 10 inches long and cut one slot across its width, about ¼ in. deep, with a miter saw. I then measured the tank track guide spacing and cut another slot next to the first so that the track would lay flat on the piece of wood. It was crude, but it worked perfectly. I was able to lay a two track links down and push them together with ease. I placed a metal ruler on top of the assembled links as I attached the next links to keep the assembly from buckling. In no time at all I had all the links assembled. I still put narrow strips of tape on the inside to keep everything together though, as I did not want sections coming apart.
The track was painted and weathered and then carefully laid and glued onto the wheels and sprockets. YEAH!!!!! WOHOOOOOO!!!!! Yep … I was a happy camper. I was finally able to glue the upper hull to the lower and have a complete Ambulance.
Decals were added next. I can’t really say much about their quality. They were reluctant to part with the paper backing and seemed a bit thick and stiff. But they laid down and adhered well. Next came a thin black wash to pop out some detail and this was followed by a thin brown wash to dirty it up some. At least I thought it was thin. It didn’t flow all that well and my attempts to wipe it away ended poorly. So to keep the dirty look balanced I continued to slather this “a bit too thick” wash around the whole vehicle. A brush damp with turpenoid was used to try to thin things out. The end result is okay … a decent “three-footer.”
Even after all my grief during this building, I like this kit. It is a superbly molded, well detailed replica of a tracked vehicle nobody else has done. (And understand that 95% of that grief was my lack of experience on those track links.) It will definitely add some dimension to your armour collection.
Your editor would like to thank www.dragonmodelsusa.com for the review kit and to Dale for tackling it.
If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors.
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