British Airborne 75mm Pack Howitzer and 1/4 Ton Truck with Trailer

Published on
January 8, 2015
Review Author(s)
Product / Stock #
Company: Bronco Models - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Dragon Models USA - Website: Visit Site
Box Art

Over time, I find myself becoming fonder and fonder of Bronco Models and their products. They consistently seem to offer fascinating subjects done with a real flair, and this set is no exception. It consists of a 75mm Pack Howitzer along with a jeep, trailer, four riding paratroopers, and a wealth of personal equipment. The box is packed with good, firm plastic which takes fine detail well, and it also includes three sheets of photo-etch and two decal sheets: one for the equipment and one for the soldiers. As this is a variant of the regular jeep offered by Bronco, you wind up with a host of useful extras, including wheels/tires, windshields, and steering wheels. The instructions are actually a 27-page full-color manual, and they are extremely well laid out and informative. In addition, for the most part, parts are logically laid out on the sprues. This helps in piecing together this complicated set and saves an immense amount of time searching for some elusive bit.

I began with the jeep itself. This comes with a fully detailed engine and drive train, plus all the assorted undercarriage items one would hope to see. The body is equally complete, down to separate foot pedals for the driver. The body itself is a nicely done, one-piece affair with the exception of the rear plate, and just a couple of small bits need to be carved off to convert it. The wheels specific to this version show terrific detail, including correct tread and markings on the sidewalls. The only issue I encountered during assembly was with the hood. It had difficulty sitting down over the fully furnished engine. I finally had to remove some of the upper detail to get it to lie properly, which was acceptable as I intended to present the model in a diorama setting anyway. If you are planning on showing this vehicle with the hood open, the ever-so-slightly oversize engine should pose no problem.

The trailer was tackled next, and surprisingly, it turned out to be the single most complex subassembly of them all. The model is detailed to the nth degree, including the electrical wiring for the lights and brakes, which the modeler is supposed to make from “the plastic frame channel with the heat of fire” (sprue stretching for us Westerners). There are extra parts here as well, including no less than two extra sets of wheels for some reason. The trailer comes with an optional slatted wooden cover. I particularly liked the fact that they included two sets of suspension springs for either an empty or fully loaded trailer. Unfortunately, the desire to depict it ALL on this trailer subassembly means that it’s a fiddly build at best. The suspension, which in most kits would have been represented by a single piece on each side, is duplicated using no less than sixteen parts, making for a very fragile assembly indeed. The loose fit of the wheels to the axle doesn’t help much either. Care needs to be taken here. Despite a few frustrating moments, this assembly makes for a very realistically detailed ammunition trailer.

The howitzer was perhaps the easiest build, with appropriate parts for the British version of this useful little weapon. The only real bugaboo on this assembly was fitting the howitzer barrel unit to the carriage, as the brackets appeared too small for the mounting pegs. I had to ream these out a bit for a good fit, but otherwise, things went together well. Again though, the axle is a somewhat loose fit and you may want to give this a chance to dry thoroughly before proceeding.

When it comes to equipment, boy does this kit give you equipment! You’ll find ammunition, ammo baskets, jerry cans, weapons, and personal equipment galore. You’re going to have a LOT leftover for the spares box, all of it beautifully rendered. Surprisingly, though they provide a sprue with six complete jerry cans with excellent detail, they only provide photoetch to complete three of these, which struck me as a bit odd.

The figures were particular fun for me, as I’d never made a Bronco figure before. I was quite pleased with the overall detail as well as the nicely done poses. However, you may want to consider replacing the heads, as they seem oddly narrow and are lacking in detail, as well as all having essentially the same face. As I was building these, I was having fits trying to get them all into the jeep, as per the cover art, until it dawned on me that two of them were meant to ride on the ammo trailer instead. Although the instructions give you good information on both assembly and painting of these figures, they fail to mention where they’re supposed to go. However, once that confusion was settled, I was quite pleased by the arrangement provided.

The decals are very nice and offer some colorful alternatives. Painting the set was a breeze and the final result is very pleasing indeed. In the town where I live, there happens to be a 75mm pack howitzer on display at a local park, and I am happy to report that the model shows excellent fidelity with the full-scale version. All in all, this is a fun kit to build and should be showing up at numerous shows in the future, as the diorama potential is enormous.

My heartfelt thanks to Dragon Models USA and IPMS/USA for the chance to build this wonderful set.


Add new comment

All comments are moderated to prevent spam

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.