Type 63-1 (YW-531A) Armored Personnel Carrier (Early Production)
The YW-531a was the first APC manufactured by Norinco for the PLA. It was designed in the early 1960’s and first appeared in 1964. It can carry a crew of 4 to 10 troops. The YW-531 was first used in the Vietnam War by the North Vietnamese Army (PAVN) and was in action again in the Iran-Iraq War.
APCs are usually armed with only a machine gun although variants carry recoilless rifles, anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs), or mortars. They are not usually designed to take part in a direct-fire battle, but to carry troops to the battlefield safe from shrapnel and ambush. Amor on APCs is usually composed of simple steel or aluminum, sufficient for protection against small fire arms and most shell fragments. Just about any type of anti-tank weapon can defeat the armor of an APC. Some APCs also come with NBC protection, which would protect its crew from radioactive fallout or the like.
Bronco has put out a really nice kit; you get 5 spurs of flash free parts, also (1) PE and (1) transparency. The packaging is top notch, each spur is individually wrapped and the PE and decals come is a Ziploc bag. The instructions are printed in full color; they provide a nice Decal and Color Guide to help with painting of 3 variants; PAVN Armored unit in Saigon liberation 1975, PLA Armored force 1995 and China’s 30thNational Anniversary parade (1979). The color guide has listings for Mr. Hobby, Humbrol, Hobby Color and Tamiya paints.
The kit has lots of small parts to build up the details on the outside; they also provide options for open and closed hatches. The down side is that all the details are on the outside, so if you open the hatches there is nothing to look at but an empty hull; i.e. no driver seat or controls.
The kit comes with a Type 54 Anti-aircraft Machine gun made up of 15 parts. The tracks are individual links, very well made; the molding is clean and crisp and they fit together nicely.
Over all a very nice kit, all the parts fit together with minimal adjustments.
I would like to thank Bronco Models and IPMS/USA for the opportunity to conduct this review.