Bronco Models
T17E2 Staghound AA Armoured Car
Bronco Models Kit No. CB-35026
Review by Terry Ashley

Bronco Models
This forth Staghound release from Bronco Models represents the T17E2 Anti-Aircraft vehicle produced from 1943 which saw the original 37mm turret replaced with a powered Frazier-Nash twin cal .50 turret that was originally manufactured by the Borge-Warner Corp for British torpedo boats.

As the turret was too small for the No.19 radio set this was moved to the hull front resulting in the hull machine gun being eliminated and the inclusion of a specially designed raised “plug” to fill the standard Staghound turret ring to fit the smaller AA turret.

The T17E2 was used by British and Commonwealth forces in NW Europe as well as with units in Italy but due to Allied air superiority it is not clear if they were actually deployed. Those in NW Europe were also not called on for their primary function due to the Allied air superiority with some used as Command vehicles, they were also quite handy for engaging soft ground targets.

The Kit:
This kit uses the lower hull and suspension from the previous Staghound kits along with two new sprues for the AA turret and other details with 324 parts in olive drab plastic, 17 in clear plastic, two small etched frets, 18 small plastic wing nuts, a length of thread and of course the decal and instruction sheets

Dimensionally the kit matches well to the 1:48 plans in the Hunnicut Armored Car book blown up to 1:35 scale as well as the turret dimensions matching available data within acceptable tolerances.

Standard of moulding is very good over all with very few pin marks and virtually no flash with just the normal moulding seams to be removed. Many of the parts have the sprue attachment points that overlap the part instead of butt joining and this makes it easy to remove the sprue spur leaving the detail intact, this is especially helpful with many of the smaller parts.

The surface details are very well done with nice weld seams and other detail as well as many very finely moulded parts that will need care during cleanup and assembly with the etched parts are also cleanly etched with the usual bending lines where required.

Clear and Etched parts
Bronco Models
Bronco Models

Main Hull:
This is made up of the lower floor pan, the two side panels with the lower front and rear panels and added to this is the upper rear plate, glacis plate with separate panels for the front and top driver’s compartment and finally a new upper hull panel with revised turret ring details for a total of 8 parts to make up the main hull.

The side panels have separate entry hatches and the engine deck access doors are also separate parts in case an engine comes along later and the Driver’s visors are also separate allow them to be shown open or closed.

All other details are separate parts allowing for excellent detail definition as is the lower suspension and obviously the fit of the main hull parts is all important and these went together quickly and easily without any trimming or filler needed.

The only thing to watch is the location of the lower rear plate (part C9) as there are no locating pins and the angle is not clear with the instructions showing to fit this to the lower hull pan first off but I found it easier to glue the two side panels in place and then fit the rear plate between them.

The suspension is fairly simple and has the large axles/differentials in two halves with just a small join seam to content with and separate diff housings and on the front axle the two wheel hubs with steering linkage. This is not designed to be steerable but it wouldn’t take too much work to reposition the hubs or even make them steerable for those wanting to go this far.

The four leaf springs are in two halves each and you should ensure the mating surfaces are smooth before fitting these together as there were a couple of raised pin marks on each that will stop them fitting together evenly if not removed. After joining the springs together there is a sizable join seam down the middle but this will be mostly hidden by the wheels after assembly if you didn’t want to fill these.

Once the axles and leaf springs are added to the lower hull along with the 2 new drive shafts (parts M13, M14) and numerous smaller suspension mounting parts added to the hull sides there are a number of additional suspension linkages to add between the axles and the hull sides. All these fitted without any problems if a little tedious but the detail definition once assembled is excellent.

The large wheels are moulded in two plastic halves in the conventional manner and have the correct hub detail for the front and rear wheels and also have 3 inner locating pins that ensure the tread pattern on the tyres lines up correctly which is a nice touch. The actual tread pattern is fairly simple on these military tyres and is nicely rendered along with the sidewall embossing and just adding the tyre valve would finish off the wheels nicely. Just watch as the hub detail is different front and back so make sure you fit them correctly which the instructions show.

The two side entry hatches have detail on the insides as well as a small pin mark to fill but as there is no interior included in the kit it would be best to glue these closed at this point.

Added to the hull sides are the large storage boxes/fuel tank supports with the fuel tanks made up of four parts with just a small join seam to remove and the tank attachments and linkages are very nicely detailed. The two fuel tank straps are provided as etched parts with fine plastic linkages either end and these will need care to assembly but the finished item matches the real straps very well. Also included are the fuel line linkages at the back of the fuel drums as well as those at the top behind the tanks for excellent attention to detail resulting in very detailed tank assemblies.

There are numerous other smaller fittings in the hull sides such as the tail lights and guards and all the tools which have fine etched securing straps provided for more nice detail definition as well as the 4 large fenders with very fine rear view mirror stalks on the front that will need extreme care removing from the sprues.

On the rear lower plate are the tow shackles and also two long brackets in etched metal but these are not present on all Staghounds so checking reference pictures would be the best to determine if needed?

On the upper rear plate are the large offset exhaust mufflers with separate armoured outlets with the mufflers made up of 7 parts each with alternate end caps with again just fine join seams on the mufflers to remove before fitting along with the large storage box between the mufflers. The fit of the rear hull plate to the main hull was again very good with no need for trimming or filler.

Moving to the front there is a new glacis (part C1) without the machine gun coaming from the previous kits as this is not fitted to the AA as noted above.

Also added to the glacis are the two head lights that come with etched bush guards. Included on sprue D is a small jig for bending the etched guards to the right shape which is very handy as getting the correct bend otherwise would have been an adventure for sure.

Again the fit of the glacis to the main hull is excellent and fitted above this is the front and top Driver’s plate with separate front visors and also additional separate vision port covers which can be shown open if you wish. There are also inner clear parts for the windshields if showing the visors open.

The top driver’s compartment panel has excellent contours and weld seams around the three periscopes that are provided as clear parts with separate mountings and top covers allowing you to position the periscope at any angle or even leave them out if you wish.

Finally there is the new hull top plate and the surface detail on this is excellent with revised detail around the turret ring and the new raised turret ring “plug” that fits inside the original Staghound turret ring to provide the smaller ring required for the AA turret. This has nice details around the outsides and includes casting numbers but as there are no locating pins you have to ensure you align this correctly along the hull centreline.

At the back are fine intake grills with the engine access hatches as separate parts but again as there is nothing inside so these are best glued in place. The hatch hinges are all small separate parts as are the other fittings on the doors that again will need care removing from the sprues and during assembly with other items such as the two part fire extinguisher handle and front siren plus the cover over the intake grills added to the hull top.

The four fenders are separate parts that fit neatly to the hull and have etched mud flaps and inner brackets along with extremely fine plastic rear view mirror mountings that will need care removing from the sprues without breakage and you may want to consider replacing these with thin wire for more strength and a perfectly round appearance. You can use the kit parts as guides to make the wire mountings.

As with the other parts the fit of the top panel to the main hull was excellent again not requiring any trimming or filler making the overall fit of the hull parts as good as you will find on any kit.

This as you would expect is completely new for this kit and is a very detailed little assembly with a lot of very small parts that will need care removing from the sprues and in cleaning up the small mould lines and the odd bit of fine flash due to finesses of the parts.

The two M2 cal.50 HBMGs can best be described as average by today’s standards with the receiver detail okay although the cocking handles are way undersized but the top sights and rear firing thumb levers are moulded solid. The cooling jackets are also rather basic without the taper required and the barrel tip is way oversized but the muzzle is drilled out a little. For this review I have replaced the cooling jackets/barrel with the new revised metal barrels from Lionmarc/Passions Models (set # LM10026/P35-027) for better detail definition but it’s your choice regarding this update.

The M2s are added to the lower cradle which is then trapped between the two cradle bearings which have fine detail on both sides but you should take care as each is numbered differently so make sure you use the right one in the right place.

This assembly is trapped between the two gun tub side panels but at this stage you shouldn’t glue the gun bearings in place until final assembly when you decide on the elevation required, the two side panels are only joined at the back for now.

There is an issue where the rear firing levels and pin foul the back of the tub not allowing the gun to elevate and some trimming is needed here. One can also assume that the M2s would not have the butterfly firing levels fitted in any case as the gun is fired from triggers on the gunner’s hand grip so you can cut these away completely and after minor trimming of the pin and thinning the rear wall of the tub the guns elevated as intended.

You are provided with moulded plastic of vinyl ammo belts to add to the feed assembly attached to the sides of the guns but the belts caused some problems with the elevation where they foul on the inner detail and it may be better to just insert the section of belt into the feed bracket and cut off the rest until later to get these to fit depending on the elevation of the gun.

The front support brackets are very small requiring care during cleanup and assembly and initially you shouldn’t glue parts M9, M10, M11, M12 and M16 together as their position varies depending on the final elevation and if glued now you will have problems later.

The two gun tubs are joined by the central assembly made up of 8 parts and you may want to assembly this and let the glue dry before fitting between the gun tubs to make things easier, you also trap the small front support assembly between the tubs but again don’t glue the supports here.

The instructions show to fit the large sight frame next but it is easier if the two gun tubs are glued to the lower turret ring (part L12) which allows you to glue the front support brackets and gun bearings depending on the elevation you choose.

You are provided with two alternate sight frames with the early and late style sights, the early frame is made up of three parts with an etched visual sight while the later frame is in one part and has an optical sight and as most photos I have seen of the AA use the later sight this was used.

There are four very small brackets attached to the sides of the gun bearings to which are attached the thin connecting rods between the front supports and the sight frame which in turn is mounted between two side mounting posts, the connecting rods ensure the sight is aligned correctly with the barrels depending on the elevation.

Sorry if all that sounds a little complicated but the assembly has many small parts and is a little fiddly to assemble due to some parts being left unglued until the final fitting. It’s not an assembly for the inexperienced builded but the final appearance is one of finesse and looks the part nicely.

The turret sides can be added next which are in three parts with additional items added to the inside walls and lifting eyes to the outside, there is a pin mark on the inside of each wall but the added detail covers these in most cases. The fit of the walls to the lower ring is very robust due to large locating lugs that hold the walls securely in place with the front shield glued in position at the front obviously.

There are two link support arms added between the rear wall and the front shield and these should be added while fitting the front shield to ensure that mate correctly holding the front shield as the correct angle. There is also a top bar between the two sides used to fit the canvas cover that can be fitted when not in action.

There is also a full turret basket provided which has the floor, three side panels, the gunner’s seat and four ammo bins with all these fitting together easily as does the assembled basket to the underside of the turret ring base.

Once you have fitted the basket and ammo bins to the turret ring you can then position the ammo belts between the gun feed brackets and bins incorporating any contours depending on the elevation of the guns.

The assembled turret/baskets fits perfectly to the hull turret ring and this just sits in place without any actual locating lugs so take note of this if you want to pick up the model at any stage.

The decal sheet is nicely printed with good colour register and thin carrier film with markings provided for three Staghound AAs.

There are four view colour illustrations of the three vehicles in the instruction sheet giving paint schemes along and the decal locations taking any guesswork out of the decal placement.

The three schemes provided are:
  • Option 1: Royal Canadian Dragoons, Italy 1944
    Bronco Models
  • Option 2: INNS of Court Regt. 1 Corps, France, June 1944
    Bronco Models
  • Option 3: 11th Hussars, Normandy, June 1944
    Bronco Models
Bronco Models
As with the previous Bronco Staghound kits this overall is an excellent kit with well done surface details and some very fine detail parts included as well as the additional etched parts to add to this.

The fit of the parts is also very good overall making for easy assembly as there is very little trimming or filling required on the parts assembled during the review adding to the appeal of the kit although the instructions need careful study before gluing.

The small cal.50 turret is almost as kit within a kit and while requiring a bit of care due to the many small and fiddly parts builds into a very nicely detailed assembly with good fit of parts overall to help.
As mentioned I have upgraded the kit M2s with the Lionmarc/Passions Models cal.50 barrels and it’s your choice on this or stick with the plastic cal.50s that come with the kit.

Overall this will build into an excellent replica of this unusual version of the Staghound family from Bronco Models.

Highly recommended 8/10

Detail and assembly images
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See the Staghound Subject page for reviews of other items for the Staghound.

The Sprues:

Click on thumbnails for larger view
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On the Net:
Armorama Walkaround #1
Armorama Walkaround #2
PMMS Staghound Pics
Staghound Register
Toadman’s Tank Pictures
Staghound T17E1 in detail
Special No.9
Wings & Wheels Publications
The Staghound
A Visual History of the T17E series
armored cars in Allied service 1940-1945

Ampersand Publishing
Model Detail Photo Monograph No.29

Published by Rossagraph
ISBN: 83-89717-26-3

Thanks to Gecko Models for the review kit.

to help the reviews continue, thank you

Page created Novmber 23, 2008

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