W.W.II British Airborne Weapon & Equipment Set
This is a very comprehensive accessory set for British WWII Airborne vehicles or dioramas. The parts are well molded, and have very good detail. There are many very small parts that will require care to assemble, but will result in nice accessories.
The kit includes a Welbike that can be assembled unfolded or folded for transport, a Welbike container that can be either open or closed, a collapsible trolley cart, BSA military bicycle that can be assembled either unfolded or folded, No. 18 Wireless Radio, various weapons, pigeon container, PIAT, several PIAT ammo containers, wicker pannier, airborne helmets, airborne rucksack, and type B airborne container.
The weapons include Sten MK IVs, PIAT gun and ammo, Webley revolvers, Lee Enfield rifles, and Bren guns.
The kid comes on 25 gray plastic sprues, with duplicates of several of the sprues for multiple pieces. The kit also includes a small fret of photoetch details with very fine detail for the bike spokes, and a small sheet of decals.
Instructions come on a 5 3/4 by 8 1/4 color booklet. The instructions include a color rendering of the kit pieces, list of colors for Mr. Hobby, Hobby Color, Humbrol, and Tamiya paints, and a layout of the sprues. Assembly of the various pieces is shown in exploded drawings. The photoetch parts and parts to be removed are shown in different colors, which is very helpful. Icons for assembly instructions are also shown in color. There are color illustrations for the painting and decal placement guides.
Assembly begins with the Welbike, with options to be folded for transport or unfolded for use. The Welbike was a British single-seat motorcycle produced during World War II. Between 1942 and 1943, 3,641 were built and used by the British Airborne Divisions, with some used at Arnhem during Operation Market Garden.
I decided to do the unfolded Welbike version. The Welbike has over 50 pieces for a very little assembly, including photoetch, and also requires some stretched sprue. Assembly begins with the engine and, unfortunately, I could not find the second half of the cylinder part A8. Looking online, I found that the early Bronco kits contained mis-cast parts, which Bronco will replace. The parts are corrected in kits produced later.
The wire spokes for the wheels are photoetch and need to be just slightly bent to fit between the two tire halves. On the first wheel I first glued the spokes to the center hub, part A10, and then pressed them into the tire. This didn't work very well, so for the second wheel I glued the spokes to the tires first, and then compressed them to fit in the sprocket A9. It would be nice if there was a jig to shape the spokes like there is for the bicycle wheels.
The location of the engine in the frame is a little unclear so I used the chain assembly P7 to get it located correctly with the rear tire. There are three microscopically small photoetch pieces, P1, P2, and P10 that need to be folded, fastened together somehow, and fit around the seat post. I did not even attempt to try and fasten them together because of their small size, but bent a piece of 28 ga. wire into a U-shape and substituted that. Steps 4 and 5 show stretched sprue being used for the various control cables and fuel lines.
The next pieces to be assembled are for the Welbike container, which can be built in an open or closed position. I decided to use the open position. Note that in step 6, parts 45 and 46 are only to be used if the container is in a closed position.
The third assembly is the collapsible trolley, which goes together very well, and is nicely molded.
British Airborne carried the folding BSA military bicycle as they parachuted during WWII. The kit has plastic and photoetch options for the spokes on the wheels. I used the plastic option on the rear wheel and the photoetch option on the front wheels. The photoetch is obviously much thinner and closer to scale thickness. Make sure to align the valve stems on each side of the wheel to correctly align the spokes. The bicycle can be modeled either folded up for airborne drops or unfolded for use. I decided to use the unfolded version. The bike frame elements are very thin and nicely cast. There are also plastic and photoetch options for the bicycle chain. I used the plastic option, as the photoetch chain appeared unrealistically thin. Photoetch brake levers are also included, and stretched sprue is to be used for the brake cables. There are two parts P 25 and 26 that are not identified, but are multipurpose tools to be used with the bicycle. There is also a scooter on the sprue for the bicycle parts, which is fairly simplistic in it's molding, but it is another part for a diorama setting.
The No. 18 Wireless Radio is a very nicely detailed little assembly. There is an option for the front cover to be open or closed. The face of the radio has nice detail, and photoetch pieces add nice detail to the back of the radio case. The headset assembly is very nicely detailed. Color illustrations are provided for painting the radio.
Three sprues of weapons are provided and they are all nicely detailed. The PIAT Anti-Tank Weapon is a fiddly little assembly for the photoetch mortar tube. The PIAT can be assembled in a firing position with the sights up and a mortar round in the tube, or closed up for transport.
Other miscellaneous pieces include a PLAT ammo container, wicker pannier, pigeon & container, airborne helmets, and airborne rucksack. The rucksack is nicely detailed with separate straps and inside face. Also included are 4 Type E Airborne Containers.
In summary this is a very good collection of accessories for British models or dioramas. The Welbike and BSA Bicycle require experience with small parts, photoetch, and stretched sprue, but will build into nice accessories.
Thanks to Dragon USA for providing the review sample and to IPMS for the opportunity to review this kit.