Bronco Models
7.62cm FK36(r)auf PzJgr
Selbstfahrlafette Zugkraftwagen
5t 'Diana' (Sd.Kfz.6/3)

Bronco Models 1:35 Scale Kit No. CB-35038
Kit review by Terry Ashley
Part 1

Bronco Models
Introduction:
The Sd.Kfz.6 5ton Half Track was produced by both Büssing-NAG and Daimler-Benz with 3660 vehicles built between 1935 and 1943.  The initial versions with the Büssing-NAG designation BN 1 5 and BN 1 7 featured 5 road wheels per side and were powered by the Maybach NL 35 or Maybach NL 38 6 cylinder liquid cooled petrol engine.  

The next type BN 1 8 and the final version BN 9 both had an extended chassis with additional axle and 7 road wheels per side and was powered by a Maybach HL 54 TUKRM 6 cylinder liquid cooled petrol engine producing 115hp for a top road speed of 50 km/h. The BN 9 was produced in the “standard” artillery/engineer versions as well as the basis for the Sd.Kfz.6/2 3.7cm Flak and the Sd.Kfz.6/3 7.62cm Pak 36(r) auf 5t Zugkraftwagen "Diana".

Originally designed as a towing vehicle for the 10.5 cm leFH 18 howitzers and similar sized guns the performance of the expensive to produce Sd.Kfz.6 was not much better than the smaller and cheaper Sd.Kfz.11 3ton Half Track.

The Sd.Kfz.6 was phased out of its original role by 1941 and ceased production in 1943 in favour of the Sd.Kfz.11 and sWS with most remaining in service used as troop carriers. The modified 3.7 cm FlaK 36/37 anti-aircraft gun (Sd.Kfz.6/2) vehicles were phased out in favour of the larger Sd.Kfz.7/2.

A total of 9 BN 9 vehicles were converted in early 1942 to carry the captured Soviet 76.2mm M1936 (F22) divisional gun mounted in an armoured box superstructure and designated 7.62cm Pak 36(r) auf 5t Zugkraftwagen "Diana". All 9 vehicles were issued to the 605th Panzerjaegerabteilung in North Africa until the end of that campaign.

The Kit:
This new kit from Bronco Models is the first injection moulded plastic kit of the Sd.Kfz.6 5ton Half Track and is sure to please modellers. The version released is the final BN 9 type depicting the modified "Diana" used in North Africa with captured Russian 76.2mm M1936 (F22) Divisional Guns (Bronco kit #CB-35045) mounted in an armoured box fitted to the rear of the vehicle.

The kit has 523 parts in light beige plastic, 7 in clear plastic and 93 etched brass parts plus the usual decal sheet and instructions. 224 of the parts are for the individual working track links. The standard of moulding is excellent with just the odd bit of fine flash here and there and virtually no pin marks in places that will be seen after assembly.

Etched parts
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Clear parts
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The moulding seams are very fine on most parts making for easy cleanup as well as the usual plastic nodes used to keep pin marks on the parts to a minimum with the etched parts cleanly done with engraved bending lines and embossing on some parts.

Dimensionally the kit matches very well against the 1:35 planes is the Wydawnictwo #287 'Sd.Kfz6' book apart from a few areas although some of the plans are incorrect which doesn't help things, some areas are not covered well in the available references and don’t give a lot of detail on the inner chassis or Maybach engine but the exteriors are covered well.

The kit is basically made up of 5 sub-assemblies that come together to form the full kit; the chassis/engine/running gear; front fenders/radiator/engine hood; central driver’s compartment; rear box and the 76.2mm gun. Part 1 of this review will deal with the vehicle itself with the 76.2mm gun in Part 2 to follow.

Chassis:
The chassis is moulded in one piece that includes the two sides, front and rear bulkheads and the lower halves of the torsion bar suspension channels. This is moulded perfectly square without any warping to for a sound basis for the remainder of the kit. The only cleanup required is mould lines along the insides of the chassis sides; these are easy to remove with a quick scrape of a #11 blade.

Adding the upper halves of the suspension channels is straightforward, just watch the part numbering as there are different details on the channels so make sure these are fitted correctly. Inside the chassis are the two fuel tanks with small etched plates and the two large air tanks with etched strip mounting brackets. These require care when bending to shape around the tanks as it is very easy to snap these off at the engraved bending lines during the bending stage. No winch is included but from I can ascertain this was not fitted to the “Diana” conversions but I stand to be corrected on that.

At the front is the 6 part transmission with a bit of excess flash to remove from the ribbing on my example and the bolt heads around the top section are very fine and may benefit being replaced to enhance the detail definition. When fitting the two outer axle stubs note the left side stub (part F27) is longer than the right side stub.

The front suspension is made up with some very small parts and the single leaf spring requires the moulding lines to be removed and this is trapped between the two mounting brackets. These have small pins that fit into the springs but you need to trim about 0.5mm off the end of each pin for a proper fit.

There is an issue where the length of the main axle is 4mm short (2mm each side) meaning the track of the front wheels sits too far inside the fenders after assembly and you will need to lengthen the axles accordingly. This is fairly straightforward thankfully, just cut the ends from the axle and insert a 2mm plug (allowing for the saw thickness) as per the image below, the sprue runners are the exact diameter of the axle so the 2mm plug can be cut from a section of sprue. The steering arm (part F61) will also need to be lengthened by the same 4mm to fit to the widened steering brackets with the rest of the assembly as per instructions.

Modifications to widen the front axle as above
Bronco

Assembly is fairly straightforward but while the parts are not designed to be workable it wouldn’t take a lot of effort to make the steering and suspension fully workable. The biggest job would be modifying the main wheel axle stubs to allow movement; all the other suspension arms and attachments are already separate parts so just adding larger pins and drilling holes is all that would be needed. I have modified some of the parts in my kit accordingly but not the wheel stubs at this stage.

At the back is the towing pintle in 2 parts with separate pin but the inner chassis shock absorber piston is not included and this could be added from plastic rod if you wished?

Included in the kit is a full engine although this is the earlier Maybach NL 38 TUKRM engine which was not used on the Sd.Kfz.6/2 with BN 9 chassis but only on earlier versions of the Sd.Kfz.6 but has the correct type gearbox although this is devoid of detail such as the many large bolt heads and other details

While the engine is the wrong type it is a nice representation of the NL 38 TUKRM engine with all the main features included, the main block is in two halves with separate head and sump covers, the exhaust inlet and outlet manifolds with the two exchange pipes as well as the smaller items such as the oil filter, magneto etc.

The large two part air cleaner is nicely done along with the front mounted fan belts, 6 bladed fan and the front engine bearer mounting. This bearer has to be perfectly aligned horizontally for the engine to sit correctly in the chassis and it may be an idea to temporarily fit the engine into the chassis while fitting the bearer (part F49) to get the correct alignment.

There is scope to add additional details to the engine should you wish such as the radiator hoses to the 3 part radiator that features fine mesh detail on both sides with a separate top cover and the opening for the fan at the rear. When the radiator and engine are fitted to the chassis the fan lines up perfectly with the round opening, the only ‘nit pick’ is that the fan could stand off from the engine block a little more if you were going to expose the engine on the final model.

Running Gear:
The large front wheels are moulded very well with the nicely defined full tyre tread and front rim/hub in one piece that also includes the air valve stem on the rim for excellent detail although there is no sidewall embossing included. The rear sidewall section traps the back of the wheel rim allowing the wheels to rotate freely when attached to the axle stubs.

The drive sprockets are also very well done in two halves with excellent rim and rubber pad detail that includes the correct offset of the drive rollers (teeth), this means you have to make sure you fit the sprockets on the correct side of the chassis, the rollers face forward on either side.

Other detail includes the rivets around the insides of the outer rim although there are fine mould seams to clean from between the rivets which need care but the round hub step lacks the tread plate pattern required.

The sprockets are designed so you attach the inner sprocket half to the separate final drive housing with a small pin cap (part A3) to allow the sprocket to rotate with the outer sprocket half than attached to finish the assembly. This is rather tricky as the contact for the pin/cap is very small and gluing this securely without getting glue on the sprocket is rather fun to say the least. It may be easier to just glue the assembled sprocket to the final drive housing, the choice is yours basically.

The two different style of road/idler wheels are again very well done with the lightening holes being free of flash and well defined hub detail, the only cleanup required is the sprue attachment scar and mould seam around the outer runner tyre. The wheels again have the small pin cap (part A3) to attach the inner wheels to the axles but again it would probably be easier to just glue the wheels to the axles.

All the axles are separate parts with just the mould seams to be removed and the separate rear idler mounting also has the rear long threaded adjustment bracket and adjustment bolt for good definition.

To attach the axles there is the moulded on attachment bracket on the chassis sides with large holes for the axles and small locating pins for small holes on the end of the axles to have all the axles aligned. Unfortunately these smaller locating pins are set too high and result in the road wheels being in the compressed load bearing profile and not the lower “neutral” profile as seen on most photos of the 5ton and also for the “Diana” (see reference images showing the appropriate road wheel alignment.)

This means you have to lower the road wheel profile by 1.5mm, doesn’t sound a lot but the difference in appearance and ride height is quite noticeable. This is quite easy to fix thankfully by not fitting the locating hole on the end of the axles onto the pin provided but fit the axles 1.5mm lower on chassis, this angles the axles down more and results in the wheels aligning correctly.

The only photos available showing the 5ton with the compressed road wheel profile are some 3.7cm Flak vehicles in action with full ammo load and crew on the rear deck, also the occasional heavily loaded engineer vehicles. All photos of the ‘Diana’ show the road wheels in the “neutral” profile and as mentioned the modification for this is very easy to do.

Tracks:
The Zgw 55/320/160 tracks supplied are individual link workable track broken down in the usual manner for German Half Track kits with the track link and separate rubber pad that traps the pins from the previous link during assembly to form the workable track runs. An unusual feature of these links is the rubber pad also includes part of the track shoe itself sticking out either end of the pad so don’t be tempted to cut this off if it looks a little unusual on the sprue.

Updated:
There is an issue here in that the tracks are slightly too wide, the 320mm width measures out to 9.1mm in 1:35th scale while the kit track links are 10mm wide, this isn't a lot and will probably go unnoticed as there is a not much you can do about it anyway other than use the new Friulmodel Sd.Kfz.6 tracks (set #ATL-112) which are the correct 9.1mm width but this opens up further issues such as the road wheel spacing which is too wide for the 9.1mm width track links.

After assembly this extension on the pad forms the forward rib of the track shoe resulting in excellent detail definition as you have the hollow opening under the rib as well as the lightening holes, a simple yet ingenious design that works really well.

The assembled track runs are very robust due to the assembly method and fit very snugly around the drive sprockets for a very good appearance.

Close-up of the assembled track showing the excellent detail.
Bronco Models

Front Fenders:
The two fenders are moulded together with the front body section in one piece with the only cleanup being some fine mould lines around the front towing brackets, take care not to damage the panel and rivet detail while removing the lines.

The fender contours are nicely done with two small sections of tread plate added at the rear on both sides; the corner join for these is bevelled making for an excellent join thus avoiding any cleanup that might damage the tread plate embossing. You may wish to add the underside fender supports for additional detail as these aren’t included.

Other details added to the fenders are the two hollow head lights with alternate lenses, either clear plastic ‘glass’ or the blackout covers with single slit. The Notek light has an etched bracket that is easily bent to shape with two small locating ridges on the fender to get this in the right place, but I found it better to trim off the top ridge as the etched bracket was slightly longer than the space between the ridges.

Peculiar to the “Diana” was a mounting on the fenders for two spare track links and again these are supplied in etched brass with more ridges on the fenders marking the location for the brackets. After bending the brackets to shape (take careful note of the part numbers as all four are numbered differently) the brackets again were wider than the locating ridges and I had to reposition these ensuring they sat perfectly horizontal in relation to the ground line.

This meant the outer edge of the spare track link when fitted compromised the position of the width indicator stalk if you add this; not all ‘Diana’s’ had the width indicators fitted, so if you model one without the stalks this wouldn’t be a problem. 

The most impressive part of this sub-assembly is the large radiator housing, this has the Büssing-NAG name badge included with perfectly legible writing, the ribs on the front of the housing are all moulded open with just the odd bit of fine flash to trim off the ribs. This makes for a very impressive moulding and adds considerable to the final appearance as you can see the radiator mesh through the open housing ribs. The fit of the radiator housing to the fender moulding is very precise, the instructions show to attach the fenders to the chassis before adding the radiator housing but I chose to attach this beforehand to the fender moulding for easier handling?

While the radiator housing is well done it seems someone forgot the radiator cap, this is not numbered in the instructions and only “appears” already fitted to the radiator top in step 9. I couldn’t find the cap lurking anywhere on the sprues in my kit so you will probably have to make one from a scrap plastic disc? Another minor issue is the small etched part (P3) that is bent to the contours of the front bodywork and fits over the small crank bracket at the base of the radiator housing. Unfortunately the hole in the etched part doesn’t line up with the moulded on crank bracket and the easiest fix is to cut off the crank bracket and reglue to the etched plate once attached.

The two separate engine compartment sides also feature open cooling louvers for excellent definition and you can also widen these a little by slightly thinning the edges of the openings and louver lips with a quick pass of a sharp #11 blade to improve the look even further. The separate top hood fits precisely to the side panels and you can leave off the side panels to expose the engine for improved cooling as if often seen in hotter climates.  

The fender sub-assembly fits precisely to the chassis by way of two locating lugs on the chassis frame that fit into corresponding holes on the underside of the fender part.

Crew Compartment:
This is made up of the main cabin floor that includes the side fenders along with the forward engine firewall with the instrument panel added to this. There are numerous smaller parts added and care is needed cleaning up the fine mould seams on these to avoid damage.

The floor section has fine tread plate included with the addition of side frame sections and the battery with separate cover plus the three finely done gear levels/hand brake and even smaller brake/clutch and accelerator pedals which need care when gluing in place due to the small size but I guess that goes without saying, even though I did.

The firewall has details included on both sides and is free of any pin marks with the two support brackets and smaller equipment items added to the engine side with everything fitting without problems. On the crew compartment side are the two instrument panel mounting brackets and a two part oil tank, this has moulded on securing strips but you will need to trim these off from the back and ¾ of the front to allow the instrument panel to sit correctly aligned with the firewall, this was the only issue fit wise with any of the parts.

Added to the instrument panel is the separate central dial panel with all the dials represented with raised bezel surrounds but flat dial faces as there is no actual dial/needle detail included, nor is there decal faces included. A rather strange omission as the instruction diagrams show detail on the faces but I guess we will have to hope Woody at Archer Fine Transfers will come to the rescue to give life to the dial faces?

Also added to the panel is the separate grab handle and dial plus the full length steering column and steering wheel that includes the rippled finger grips on the rear side of the wheel for good detail.

The two side walls are nicely moulded with details on both sides and the only cleanup being some very fine flash inside the open hand grips plus a couple of pin marks that are hidden after the sidewalls are fully assembled. On the outside of each wall is a separate turn indicator arm and six extremely small etched hooks (parts P13) and to say these need handling with care is an understatement.

The major issue here a is the cab front/instrument panel is 2mm too narrow which translates to the windscreen also being too narrow so it can mate with the cab top section. The two side panels have a distinct inward kink as a result which is incorrect, the actual panels have a smooth curve with the lower edge of the crew entry opening almost straight without the kink of the kit part. To explain this a bit more the kit has the solid side panel parallel with the vehicle sides but in fact this panel has a slight inward curve which continues with the open crew entry part and to the side of the engine compartment rear of the hood line. This section should curve outward more than it does on the kit to meet with the front of the cab/windscreen if this was the correct width. See comparison review of the Sd.Kfz.6/2 3.7cm FlaK 36 for full details.

This configuration is conformed in period photos on the 5ton half-track and in both the Panzer Tracts and Tank Power 1:35 plans but would take quite a bit of work to correct the kit parts unfortunately.

There is also two small lights with separate clear lenses plus a larger spot light on the left side again with separate clear lens and two separate grab handles, it would be advisable to not attach the lights until after the cab is fully assembled to avoid any damage. On the inside of the right wall is the radio receiver and transmitter with etched mounting bracket which needs careful bending to shape.

Probably the most important fittings are the two separate windscreen mounting posts (parts F45, F46) as these are quite small and need to be glued ensuring they are aligned parallel to the cab sides so the windscreen will fit properly later.  

When it comes to assembling all the components the fit was superb with the firewall fitting precisely to the lower floor and the sidewalls and when fitting the top body panel (part B11) between the sidewalls and firewall you will need to squeeze the sides together as the glue dries to ensure a tight fit at the sidewall joins. But once the glue has dried there is just a very fine join line either side of the body panel that is easy to remove with light sanding or scraping with a #11 blade.

There is a choice of standard windscreen with clear plastic screen inserts plus the inner wiper motors and two extremely small 3 part etched brackets for the upper left side opening windscreen section or a canvas covered windscreen as often seen in Nth Africa which will be attached in the lowered position. It is possible to fit the standard windscreen in the raised or lowered position as required.

I deviated a little from the instructions with the rear cab wall and seats as they would have you attach these to the front wall of the rear armoured box to meet up with the cab interior as you fit the box to the chassis later. I preferred to fit the rear wall/seats to the cab for a full sub-assembly separate from the rear box as would be the case with the real vehicle.

The rear wall has the two part Commander’s and Driver’s seats plus two small brackets and a fire extinguisher added without any problems and the wall assembly was then fitted to the back of the cab assembly. You will need to ensure this is positioned correctly to allow the box to fit later as the wall sits about 2mm inside the back of the side panels level with the front of the square mouldings on the inside of the sidewalls. (See image).  

Position of the rear cab wall
Bronco Models

The fully assembled cab section fits very well to the chassis by way of large locating lugs as well as sitting nice and snugly against the front fender and hood assembly not leaving any gaps at all showing the excellent overall fit of the parts.

Rear Amoured Box:
This is made up of the floor and four wall sections that are moulded perfectly flat without any warping at all with the four walls being commendably thin, translucent even against a strong light yet still perfectly flat and of a uniform thickness. The sidewall panels also have fine rivets and securing strips moulded on both sides with separate doors on the side and rear panels with the fit of these being again spot on and giving you the option of positioning open or closed.

On the underside of the floor section are two part side mounting frames, just take note of the part numbers to fit these correctly and between these are smaller rear mounting brackets and the spare wheel cage rack mounted centrally. You can leave the spare wheel off until later as this has no obstructions when adding to the cage for ease of painting.

On the top of the floor are the large rear lockers in two parts with more of those small etched hooks and forward bulkheads for the gun wheels as well as the large travel lock with separate mounting brackets that allow the lock to be moveable after assembly.

It should be noted you would assemble and fit the gun to the floor with the etched securing strips supplied before assembling the box walls but as I am leaving the gun to part 2 of this review I’ll move straight to the box assembly. Note that the four walls will only be spot glued with white glue to allow their removal to add the gun later; this will also show the superb fit of the walls in the process.

Detail added to the box sidewalls included fine grab handles and latch on the doors as well as inner mountings for the 3 tilt cover frames and etched strips below the side doors. There is also another 22 of those miniscule etched hooks to add around the tops of the walls and while these take a bit of time to fit do add to final overall look of the kit.

The edges of the wall panels are bevelled with small notches to ensure correct alignment and the bevelling results in perfect seamless corner joins that don’t require any trimming of filling after assembly for a perfect finish to the assembled box. This resulting assembly is impressive but you do need to make sure you align the edges perfectly while gluing or you could end up with small gaps but if done with care the result is perfect. As mentioned the walls on my sample were just spot joined with white glue that illustrates the perfect fit even more.

The assembled box also fits perfectly to the lower chassis with more of those locating lugs on the lower frames, these are on the inside so are hidden from view after assembly. Note the box fits inside the cab side walls to sit flush with the rear cab wall and this again was a perfect fit.

Due to the excellent fit of all the parts and the assembled sub-assemblies it would allow you to paint these separately for easier handling and bring them all together for the final assembly.

Decals:
Included in the kit is a small decal sheet with markings for one complete ‘Diana’ #7 as captured by British at El Alamein and a sequence of small black and larger white numbers to allow you to make any vehicle that can be identified? Also included is four view colour profiles on #7 and #8 vehicles of the 605th.
Option 1: 5t 'Diana' No.8 SP AT gun, 605th Panzerjäger Abteilung, Libya, N.Africa, Spring 1942.
Overall Dark Yellow/Red Brown.
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Option 2: 5t 'Diana' No.7 SP AT gun, 605th Panzerjäger Abteilung, Libya, N.Africa, Spring 1942.
Overall Dark Yellow
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Instructions:
These are the usual exploded view drawings showing the assembly sequences and I found these to be very clear without any problems or hard to follow sections and no miss numbered parts to make things as easy as possible.

Conclusion:
Overall this is a superbly engineered kit with very cleanly moulded parts with just very minor flash here and there with fine crisp details and excellent fit of the parts for an impressive model.

There are a few issues along the way, the most significant being the cab width and side panel contours plus the ride height alignment of the road wheels being too low but thankfully this is easy to fix during assembly by reposition the axles without the need for any other surgery. A couple of smaller issues such as removing the strips for the can tank for the instrument panel to fit but there is nothing that should prove too taxing for the average modeller.

The model while nicely detailed also provides scope for additional details to be added if you wish with the finished model being extremely impressive. Hopefully other version such as the Sd.Kfz.6/2 FlaK 36/37 will follow?

Highly recommended

The Sprues:

Click on thumbnails for larger view
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Detail and assembly images
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Sprue detail images
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References:
mZgkw 5t Sd.Hfz.6
Tank Power Vol.LVIII
Wydawnictwo Militaria No.287
ISBN: 9788372192875
Book
Rommel's Funnies
Thomas L. Jentz
Darlington Productions
ISBN: 0-9648793-6-0
`Book
German Medium Half-tracked
Prime Movers 1939-1945

Schiffer Military History
ISBN: 0-7643-0263-9
book

Halftrack Vehicles of the
German Army 1395-1945

Schiffer Military History
ISBN: 0-88740-758-7
Book

others include:
Concord 7021: Armor of the Deutsches Afrikakorps
Tanks Illustrated No 17 Africa Korps

These 2 books contain the same photographs that apprear in those shown above but little or no text.

Thanks to my credit card and the excellent service from Hobbyeasy for the review kit.


Page created August 8, 2010



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