Bronco 1/48 Staghound A.A. Armored Car
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The Staghound was part of a US Army 1940 requirement that included light, medium and heavy armored cars. The war in the desert was getting the most attention so the emphasis was on speed and range. For the medium category, there were several designs submitted and several requests for prototypes. The weeding out brought things down to two; Ford's T17 Deerhound and Cheverolet's T17E Staghound. Thanks to the unreliability of the Ford, the Chevrolet version was chosen as the winner.
However, the Army was having a real re-think about things and decided that they didn't really want a medium or even heavy armored car, instead going for the M8 Greyhound, a light armored car. These were not lightweights with the medium class weighing in at about 14 tons. However, the British were very interested and put in an order for several thousand of them. In fact, aside from a few handfuls of Staghounds kept in the US for testing, the entire production run went overseas.
By the time these reached the front lines in 1943, the war in the desert was over and so was the real need for a fast moving, long range, somewhat heavy armored car. Those units in Italy who first got the Staghound spent little time using it as designed, as most of the fighting was over rugged mountainous terrain, an area not suited for the Staghound. When the chance for open running was provided, as in later in the war in Italy and during the Normandy breakout in France, the Staghound did superbly.
The British didn't particularly like it as it was so large, going with the Dingo in most cases. This meant that Commonwealth units were those that made the most use of it. In fact, the Canadians were particularly attracted to it as it required so little in the way of maintenance. According to records, the time to get one up and running in the morning was about 10-15 minutes, while daily maintenance on the Dingo was in the 1-3 hour range. Postwar the Staghound was used by many Allied nations and found use in many other places around the world including Israel, Cuba and Nicaragua.
The T17E2 was an anti-aircraft version of the standard T17E1 fitted with a Frazer-Nash-designed turret mounting two M2 Browning heavy machine guns. The turrets were built in the US for British Motor Torpedo Boats. Redesign of the turret and mounting was carried out. 2,610 rounds were carried. The turret was open topped and had an electric-hydraulic traverse system with a maximum slew rate of 55 degrees a second. This variant had a crew of 3, commander/gunner, loader and driver.789 units were produced between October 1943 and April 1944, when production stopped.
Once you pry open the kit box, you find the usual superbly molded tan plastic that Bronco has been using for several years. There are six plastic sprues of various sizes with one of them being clear plastic. The sprue with suspension bits and wheels has been duplicated and sprues are in separate bags to keep bits from breaking away or getting broken during shipment. The kit also includes a photo etch fret for some bits and a section of line.
One does not get shorted in terms of parts as this is not a Tamiya quick build kit. Some of the pieces are quite small, so care will need to be taken during construction. The main hull is built up from a floor section, two sides, front and rear piece. This is a curb side with no interior, though the space is there for the aftermarket folks.
The suspension is actually quite detailed and the tires/wheels come in halves. These are held on by polycaps so once you have the wheels in place to assure alignment, you can pop them off again until after painting. The kit provides many options in terms of hatches open or closed, but since nothing is inside, you will want to keep these closed.
The difference between this kit and initial offering is the turret sprue. This sprue includes the adapter ring, the guns and the turret bits. The guns are very nicely molded and are designed to elevate. Vinyl shell bands are provided to feed each of the two guns.
Instructions are well done with a variety of paint brands in the color chart. The paper for these instructions are not the usual slick paper of some kits, but more like what one gets with Revell AG kits. Markings are for vehicles, both in overall British Olive Drab #15. First is with the Royal Canadian Dragoons in Italy during 1944. This is the box art option. The second is with the 11th Hussars in Normady during July 1944. This particular option is the one the uses the white stars on the top and turret sides. It also has the Desert Rats marking used by the British 8th Army. The decal sheet is well printed and provides the usual markings these vehicles used.
A welcome addition to Bronco's small 1/48 offering and one wonders if additional variations on the theme will be offered in the future. A well detailed kit that is not for the beginner, but those with experience will enjoy building it.
Staghound Armored Car 1942-62, Steve Zaloga, Osprey, 2009
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