CB35111, OQF 40mm Bofors Anti-Aircraft Gun MK.I/III (British Version). 1/35th-scale injection-molded styrene/multimedia kit. Contains: 343 styrene parts, one photo-etched brass fret, one metal spring, one water-slide decal sheet, and 20 pages of instructions in 33 steps, plus full-color painting guide.
The 40mm Bofors Anti-Aircraft Gun was the product of a Swedish design effort that can be traced back to a 1928 Swedish navy design contract. There was a possible, but minimal German contribution due to the fact that in order to illegally abrogate the Treaty of Versailles, Krupp bought part-ownership in Bofors! By 1934, the definitive and highly characteristic form of the gun had been established. Since then, up until the present day, the Bofors 40mm anti-aircraft gun has seen wide service with a host of nations, and still continues in production and use, in one form or another, to this day.
Representing an extremely versatile subject, one would think modelers would have been treated to a series of styrene kits of this gun long ago. In 1/35th-scale we had multimedia kits from Lead Sled and Denpro, while Airfix produced a Braille Scale version. Recently Italeri released a styrene version of this gun both as part of a PT Boat kit and as a stand-alone gun; typically and unfortunately for the manufacturer, the kit left much to be desired. AFV Club is on the verge of their release of the subject at hand, but the lead in the race to produce a state-of-the-art kit goes to Bronco with this, their second version of this important piece of ordnance.
Note that I have had this kit for some time, but as many will well-know, a defective part, noted by Terry Ashley in his recent PMMS full-build review, prevented the kit from being properly built. For a detailed build review, see the link below. Regardless, Bronco has now made good with the re-tooled part, so here goes!
Wheels and Suspension.
Starting with the tires, these are produced using a slide-molded ring for the tread section, and inner and outer halves for the side-wall/wheel rim. Two wheels receive three-part brake drums along with tiny etched brass detail parts, while the two others do not. With care, all wheels will rotate. This design allows for extremely crisp tread detail without the use of softer vinyl material, which has some disadvantages. It will also free the modeler from having to replace the wheels with resin items. And, they look great!
The main axles fore and aft are made up of two main parts, which are inserted into the cruciform and are designed to meet up with a geared, half-round disk. The design will allow for the axles to be positioned in travel or firing positions at will, but will require some skill to achieve without gumming up the works with glue. The PMMS review shows a simpler way to achieve this goal by slightly modifying the parts and adding a length of styrene rod. On each main axle, three more parts make up the section that meets the wheel rims. The modeler is then instructed to make an antenna using stretched sprue, which connects each of the four completed axle assemblies with the cruciform mount; four more then connect to the wheel rims. One would assume these are flexible brake or lubrication lines and so, if using stretched sprue, they will impede the movement of the axle assemblies when they are moved from the travel to firing position, or vice-versa. Perhaps some fine flexible tubing, such as that made by Verlinden many moons ago, will do a better job. Ill have to dig into my spares bin to find them
The cruciform mount is based on the newly-revised part, B-1, which is crisply-rendered from a slide-mold. This part in the original issue of the kit was defective in that the axles, when placed in the appropriate openings were not square. The new part B-1 fixes that. Slide molding allows for the proper placement of rivets, panels and other details on the sides and the top of the part. Four separate parts are fitted in the area that will take the folding support arms, and a fifth closes the bottom of the assembly. The final main part is the turntable base, to which the gun platform will fit.
The folding support arms are composed of three more parts and are movable after assembly. On either end of the cruciform mount is fitted a four-part crank, which was used to lower the (separate) leveling pads. The crank assemblies that fit on the folding support arms include two more parts that represent some sort of linkage. These assemblies can be depicted deployed for use, or folded.
The front end of the cruciform is fitted with a six-part movable towing lunette. This mounts to the moving axle assemblies and will swing into its proper position depending on the position of the axles. The rear end mounts a five-part movable gun tube travel lock. Tolerances here are quite fine, so extreme care with the glue will be required if the assembly is to remain movable.
Other detail items are added to the cruciform using fine styrene or etched brass parts, as well as rivet heads that must be shaved from parts of the sprues. These will be a challenge to any modeler and may take this kit beyond the abilities of those less-experienced. Four, two-part ground anchors are stowed in various locations when in travel mode. Their locations on an emplaced gun are not shown in the instructions or on the box-top art. Photos indicate that they should be placed in the channels created in various locations by parts C-42. So, if depicting an emplaced gun on a diorama base, the modeler should also place the ground anchors in position as recommended here. The final item of note is a small two-part stowage box, which is embellished by tiny etched brass parts.
The platform is based on a multi-part tubular framework, which also includes the circular connection to the cruciform mount turntable base. To this is added a large platform segment as well as two smaller ones. A very intricate, multi-part, styrene and etched brass assembly provides for the device that channeled spent shell cases below and out of the front of the gun platform. This assembly also calls for the use of rivet heads shaved from the sprues. The gunners seats are presented as multi-part items, and they come in two variations. Multi-part foot rests and other small assemblies complete the area.
Gun and sights.
The assembly begins with a multi-part gun tube, created by a slide-mold. The bore end features a scale thickness, opened flash suppressor. Towards the rear, a collar and a smell segment of the gun tube is added, while the separate recoil spring is presented as a styrene or metal part. Either will allow the piece to be pushed in if the modeler desired to play with it. In the end, however, this method provides for excellent detail definition. Further back a seven-part breech and feed mechanism is then fitted. This is further encased in a two-part receiver cover/elevation gear quadrant, which is embellished by a two part cylindrical assembly. Various levers, plates, linkages and a two-part shell ejector port are then fitted. Two shafts are fitted below, to which are connected the pair of equilibrator cylinders. An auto-loader unit with four rounds is then fitted in the receiver; actually, two are often seen, one atop the other.
The so-called toaster rack, consisting of two W-shaped strips of metal, mounted on a rectangular base is provided as a multi-part etched brass assembly. The PMMS review reports that the previous release of this kit had a styrene jig to properly form the shapes; this fairly vital item is absent from this kit. So the modeler is in for a bit of fun in this department, since it will not be easy to create a uniform shape on two identical parts. Styrene shafts connect this to the gun mount and two spare magazines can be fitted.
The trunnion mounts each trap the receiver group between them and either side receives multi-part gear boxes, linkages and motor units. The gunner and trainers handles are then fitted as are a myriad of etched brass and styrene detail items.
The main gun shields consist of four parts, two to a side. These have beveled edges to simulate the scale thickness and since the shields are a sandwich, this works very well. The shields fit to the pipe frame of the gun platform and braced by separate struts. Alternately, they can be left off.
The gun sights come as two options. One is the Mk.I, or so-called H-sight, consisting of a tubular assembly in the shape of the letter H. This receives four etched brass ring-sights, which are detailed with supplied styrene wing-nuts. The Mk.III, or Stiffkey sight is also provided. This is a complex and delicate assembly which consists of no less than 17 styrene and seven etched brass parts. Well-engineered, this is not for the faint-hearted and will require extreme care in assembly.
Two multi-part ammunition boxes, each with etched brass details are provided to compliment the gun. Each has a separate lid along with ammunition to fit inside. For the latter purpose, 18 rounds in tubes are given as are a total of six ready-to-fire groups of four rounds each in their auto-loaders. For the latter configuration, four auto-loader clips fit in one box and an etched brass part to separate them is then fitted. Save at least one (or, better yet, two) for the feed mechanism, and two more for the toaster rack.
A spare gun tube is also given along with a multi-part stowage box. The spare gun tube is slide-molded, which means the bore/flash suppressor is properly opened up and has scale thickness profile at the bore end. The recoil spring is also included on the part. The stowage box has a separate lid, which is designed to be held in its open position by two extremely tiny etched brass parts. The ammunition boxes are the reason there are water-slide decals in the kit, so the instructions show their placement as well as the colors of the boxes; the gun tube stowage box is un-marked.
Molding, Fit and Engineering.
Molding overall is excellent, with slide-molds in wide use where appropriate. There are no visible ejector pin marks, but the remains of these must be removed from a number of areas. Separate ejector nodes are widely-used; these will require clean-up, but they are far easier to deal with than an actual mark on the surface of the part. The sandwiched gun shields have beveled edges to replicate their thin profile. Flash is non-existent, while mold part seams are subtle and easily dealt with. Fit is reported to be very good. The engineering is very complex, sometimes overly so, especially when it comes to the use of the myriad of small etched brass parts.
Accuracy and Details.
The kits features compare very well with photos; there are no extant scale drawings of this version that I am aware of; certainly none in the cited references.
The instructions are well-drawn but EXTREMELY complex. This may put some off, but if cautiously followed, they ought not prove daunting for the more experienced modeler. In addition, due to the placement of some of the smaller parts, the modeler might wish to alter certain sequences to preserve the more delicate items from damage during construction.
Decals and Markings Information.
A small water-slide decal sheet is given, and it is almost exclusively devoted to the ammunition boxes. One tiny item goes on the gun. They are crisply-printed and are covered in thin, satin finished carrier film that is cut close to the edges of each individual design. Since all are one-color designs, registration is not an issue.
Painting information is rather minimal with nearly everything being painted Olive Drab. The tires, gun tubes and some of the smaller details are separately called-out, as is the ammunition. The latter calls for copper cartridge cases, but no colors are noted for the projectiles; the full-color instructions show them in black. Colors are keyed to Tamiya, Humbrol and Gunze hobby paints.
This is a remarkable, but complex kit. Its design and execution will, in all probability, put it above the reach of the novice, and will be a challenge to the intermediate and advanced modeler. One hopes for the US version and perhaps an airborne gun as well. Only time will tell.
Frank V. De Sisto
References consulted for this report included the following books:
1. Anti-Aircraft Guns; WW2 Fact Files, ARCO, by P. Chamberlain & T. Gander.
2. The 40mm Bofors Gun, 2nd Edition; Patrick Stevens Ltd., by T. Gander.
3. Allied-Axis Issue 13, U.S. Bofors Guns; Ampersand, article by K. Dugan.
4. PMMS review at:http://www.perthmilitarymodelling.com/reviews/vehicles/bronco/cb35111.html
Note: Since May of 2005, I have been working on books for Concord Publications, a sister company to DragonUSA, Broncos current N. American importer. The reader may wish to take this into consideration. For my part, I will attempt to maintain an objective viewpoint when writing these reports.
Bronco kits are available in North America from DragonUSA. For details see their web site at: www.dragonmodelsusa.com.
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