Bronco Models
British Cruiser Tank A34 Comet
Bronco Models 1:35 Scale Kit No. CB-35010

Review by Terry Ashley

This second release from Bronco Models has been much anticipated by Allied Armour fans as the Comet has not been released in 1:35 scale plastic before with just the excellent but expensive (relative to plastic kits that is) resin kit from Accurate Armour and with the Bronco kit about to hit the shops we can have a close look at what you get.

The first thing to mention is there are numerous detail differences between the initial production, late war and post war Comets with three different style of road wheels, two styles of return roller and idler wheels for starters. There are differences between the contours of the mantlet, different hinge attachments on the commander’s cupola hatches, different mounting plates for the turret top periscopes with square and round plates on different vehicles plus others.

Therefore to look at one set of reference photos or one set of plans and say the kit is incorrect is being hasty to say the least. This also applies to Bronco’s first release of the H39 which was produced by at least three different manufactures I know of with many detail differences between them and so to say that kit is wrong based on one set of drawings or photos is also not quite correct.

With this in mind I can say initially that Bronco has done a very good job overall with features like very clean mouldings and fine details such as weld seams, some very fine casting lettering and numbers plus well defined bolt and rivet details. But as with any kit there are small detail issues and areas where additional detail can be added which I will mention during the review below, but overall the wait has been worth it.

The kit is labelled “4 in 1” and the options are (1) Early production Mk1A with early style idler wheel, (2) Late War production Mk1A with early style idler and split exhaust cowling, (3) Post War early Mk2A with ribbed idler, fishtail exhausts and (4) Post War late Mk2A with ribbed idler, fishtail exhausts and smoke discharges on the turret sides.

The Comet was armed with the Ordnance, QF, 77mm gun (OQF) and was the same calibre as the 17-pounder but was called 77mm to avoid confusion. The barrel was shorter than the 17-pounder and used different cartridge cases developed for the Comet’s 77mm gun and had a slightly lower muzzle velocity than the standard 17-pounder.

The Kit:

237 parts in olive drab plastic, four resin idler wheels, 14 etched parts and a short length of twine for the tow cables plus an extensive instruction sheet make up the box contents with the standard of moulding being very good with virtually flash free plastic parts although there are quite a few large moulding nodes on the inside of many parts but these are easy to remove and don’t compromise the detail. There are also optional parts for the different versions offered such as the idler wheels, rear engine exhaust shrouds and turret smoke dischargers for the Post War version.

Etched parts
Bronco Models
resin parts
Bronco Models

Lower Hull:

Bronco ModelsThe lower hull tub is fairly plain with underside access panels and separate front and rear armour panels which feature nice weld seams and additional parts for the tow shackles and rear mounted towing assembly. The axles are separate parts fitted to pins on the hull side for the neutral position but you can easily remove the pin to articulate the axles if you wish. The outer hull panels are nicely detailed with panel details, bolt heads and return roller bases as well as the final drive housings and outer axle housings and this fits snugly in place over the axles much the same as with the Tamiya Cromwell.

The road wheels are of the type with conical central hub with three small holes and six small holes around the outside of the rim and the correct ten attachment bolts. The central conical part is unfortunately a bit too shallow when compared to available photos and this results in the hub cap being slightly under sized but may not be that noticeable on the assembled kit. The other types of wheels have cylindrical central hubs with some having the six small holes around the outer rim and others with just three outer holes and some photos of Comets show a mixture of wheel types.

Bronco ModelsThe drive sprockets are nicely represented with nice hub and outer rim bolt heads which are also on the inside sprocket and the nine lightening holes included but the drive teeth are slightly undersized but as you only see half the teeth with the track fitted again may not be that noticeable.

With the return rollers there are again two types shown in photos I’ve seen with one style having four small holes in the rim and the other with no holes. The contours of the kit rollers are slightly too rounded inside the hub with a more flattened contour shown in photos but this is getting really picky.

There are two types of idler wheel included in the kit, the early solid type with six lightening holes included in resin and the later post war spoked idlers in plastic with both having the extended central hub and the wheels match photos very nicely.

The tracks are full length vinyl with well defined details on both sides for this type of track and you will have to heat bond the ends together as they don’t react to plastic cement.

The inside of the rear side panel overhang had a couple of large pin marks to be removed but this was the only cleanup needed and the fit of the hull parts was spot on for a quick and easy assembly.

Upper Hull:

Bronco ModelsWhile I don’t have 1:35 plans available the width and length on the upper hull match the actual dimensions very well with again nice surface details included but you may want to remove the many moulded on grab handles and replace with thin wire for a better appearance. On the rear deck the large intake cover is separate as are the two engine bay doors with the rear intake mesh nicely represented.

The front driver’s panel is a separate part with a two part circular hatch and the hull machine gun mounting is in two halves for good definition including very fine casting numbers on one side that will test your eyes. The circular machine gun securing plate has the bolt heads nicely defined and the MG is trapped into the front panel by this plate. The MG was quite a loose fit inside the panel cut-out meaning it flops about a bit and to fix this I applied plastic cement to the ball mounting and rotated this inside the mounting recess until the glue lost it’s tackiness and the resulting roughed up surface was enough to hold the MG in place but still allowed movement. You will also need to drill out the MG muzzle for a better appearance and the fit of the front panel to the hull was very good not requiring any trimming.

Detail on the glacis features nice weld seams and fender mountings with separate two part head lights and head light guards which are a little on the thick side as are the two tow cable securing brackets but again I may be getting a little picky.

The side mounted hull hatches are in two parts for good definition of the side welded support and upper latch detail with the insides also having basic details included and the assembled hatches fit very well to the hull cut-outs with separate hull hinges which easily allow you to show the hatches open or closed as you wish.

The three upper periscopes and central ventilator cover are separate parts with nice details but there are some minor sink marks at the front of the periscopes that will need attention.

Moving along the fenders which are included with the upper hull there are nice fender support bolt heads with two part fenders storage boxes and pioneer tools with moulded on tool attachments. The two rear side hull panels (parts E7 and E25) required some adjustments to fit properly with a small amount trimmed from the inner mating surfacers and a small notch added to the inside bracket to fit the upper hull and also the top of this angled panel will need blending into the hull but this is about the only place in the whole kit requiring any major attention.

The fit of the rear intake cover and engine deck hatches was again very good with just the moulded on grab handles that may look better replaced with wire.

Fitting the rear hull panel (part F21) and two side panel fillets (parts E8, E9) was again very good without any trimming required and you get a choice of WWII style exhausts or three part Post War fishtail exhausts and mounting plates which require the locating holes opened up prior to fitting the rear hull plate. The two part fishtail exhausts allow a very good open effect and also include fine casting numbers on top of the exhausts.

Fitting the upper rear fender parts (F3, F65) will fix any slight flexing of the rear fenders due to the open engine intake sides so don’t be too concerned up to this point if the fenders are bowed a little at the back. The forward and side fender sections (F4, F64 and F1, F66) also fit very well but are best left off until after the track is finally fitted in place.

The rear intake cowing gives you a choice of early full length cowing in plastic with inner supports or later two piece cowing in etched metal depending on the version you are building.

The barrel support on the rear deck to slightly the wrong shape but as this will usually sit flush on the deck probably isn’t a problem.


Bronco ModelsThe turret is broken down is a very unusual way with the roof and rear panel in one piece with the two sides as separate parts that include the sides of the rear turret bin which in turn has separate rear, top and bottom parts with a separate front turret plate and mantlet. The lower turret ring is also separate for a total of nine main parts to the turret which does look daunting on first glace with thoughts of tubes full of filler. 

But the opposite is the case with the fit of the parts being superb and some of the best in any kit I have built with the only trimming being removing the small lip along the front of the roof and no filler needed anywhere.

On the inside is a very detailed 77mm gun breech made up of no less than 20 parts but unfortunately this is all but hidden after assembly with just glimpses available if you have the turret hatches open.

The 77mm barrel is in two halves including the muzzle brake and it is easy to remove the join seam after assembly for a nice looking barrel although the muzzle brake appears slightly too short in the larger section but we are only taking less than 1m if that so is probably not a problem with the muzzle brake looking a lot better than in some aftermarket barrels costing as much as this full kit.

The cast mantlet has the distinctive contours included as well as fine casting numbers at the bottom left of the mantlet but again there are different types shown in photos with different contours and the casting numbers at the top in some photos so don’t get confused when looking at particular mantlet photos.

Bronco has also released separately a resin canvas covered mantlet (Set #AB3508) to replace the plastic kit items adding this prominent detail feature to the kit.

The separate Commander’s cupola has hollow periscope openings but no inserts are provided so you can add your own from clear or solid plastic while the cupola hatches are also not quite the right shape with minor differences shown in photos. While talking hatches there are also differences in the welded hinge attachments with some as depicted on the kit hatches and others with the attachments extended almost to the lip of the hatch.

The cupola hatches and Loader’s hatches don’t have any inside details but it should be easy to add this detail which is basically pads on the inside of each hatch.

There was a minor issue when attaching the gun to the mantlet which in turn is attached to the inner breech trapping the turret front between them allowing the gun and mantlet to elevate. Where the neck of the plastic barrel passes though the mantlet it was too narrow to actually attach to the mantlet leaving this to move about uncontrollably and to fix this I added a plastic collar around the gun to better fit the mantlet opening and also the co-axial MG barrel needs to be drilled out for a better appearance.

Other detail added to the turret is the two periscopes and also note here that some have round bases as in the kit while others have square bases, so again don’t let this detail fool you when looking at one set of reference pictures.

The large shield in front of the cupola fits over the raised section on the roof and has weld beads around the bottom edge and a cut-out for the vane sight mounting as well as the searchlight mounted on the left side of the turret.

Optional smoke grenades are provided for the Post War Hong Kong version and for earlier versions the two moulded on mounting strips on the side of the turret have to be removed but this is not a problem.

Additional etched parts are provided for the complicated vane sight mounted in front of the Commander’s cupola but the assembly diagrams for this are very unclear and care will be needed when working out the required assembly. Also the rear turret mounted antenna base is provided in etched metal to replace the plastic part and this is quite straightforward to assembly for a finer look to the base.


The decals are well printed with thin carrier film and good colour register overall but the red/white triangles for the Hong Version on my sheet were out of alignment but all others were spot on.

The sheet has markings for six Comets with the featured vehicle being “Celerity” of 3rd RTR, 29th Armoured Brigade, 11th Armoured Division, Belgium March 1945 in British Olive Drab No.15.
Additional small etched square panels are included as these were fitted to the upper rear plate and it also had the canvas mantlet cover and square wooden blocks were carried on the glacis easily made from card stock.
Also included is a separate sheet giving a brief history of “Celerity” and its crew with special mention to Dick Taylor and Stephen Pannell, the son of “Celerity” driver Trooper Dennis Pannell for their contributions to this kit.

The other markings are for:

Each vehicle has small three view drawings showing the location of the decals and a colour chart gives paint numbers for Hobby Color, Gunze Sangyo, Humbrol and Tamiya paints for all colours called out during the construction sequences.

Decal Sheet
Bronco Models
Bronco Models


Overall this is superb effort by new company Bronco Models with the fit of the parts befitting the more established companies with the kit offering a few alternatives giving a good excuse to build more than one.

There are some niggling minor issues such as with the road wheel hubs and some detail than can be refined as with any kit but overall this long awaited kit in plastic should make Allied fans very happy.

It really is a shame the nicely detailed bun breech is hidden from view after assembly as this would add more to the kit but the separate resin canvas mantlet cover is also a bonus.

Highly recommended

The Sprues:

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On the Net:
Bolton IPMS
Bolton IPMS (Interior)
IPMS Finland
Prime Portal
SVSM Photo Gallery
Toadmans Tank Pictures

Toadman's Photo CD A34 Comet
Ground Power Magazine
No.49 6/1998


Thanks to Bronco Models for the review kit.

Page created April 10, 2006