Bronco Models
Sd.Kfz.6 Mittlerer Zugkraftwagen 5t (BN9b)
Pioneer Version

Bronco Models 1:35 Scale Kit No. CB-35041
Kit review by Terry Ashley

Bronco Models
Introduction:
This is the third kit in the Sd.Kfz.6 series from Bronco Models being the Pioneer Version which has new parts for the rear section with three rows of crew seats and a small rear storage compartment and uses many parts from the previous kits as well as some modified and some new parts for this version, it unfortunately also inherits most of the issues highlighted in the previous kit reviews which will require attention if you see fit.

The Kit:
The kit has 412 parts in light beige plastic plus another 232 for the individual working track links, 7 in clear plastic, 68 etched brass parts, a short length of twine plus the usual decal sheet and instructions. 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. 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 measures out quite good overall against the 1:35 plans in the Panzer Tracts and Tankpower books listed below although there are a few notable discrepancies which will be looked at closer below.

Etched parts
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Clear and other parts
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Chassis:
Detail on the chassis is nicely done with well defined suspension mounting detail correctly offset axle locating holes (upper and lower) on each side of the chassis with additional upper halves of each suspension channel, you do need to take care when fitting these to not mix up the location as it’s easy to misinterpret the instructions.

The rear chassis cross members are correctly depicted for the BN 9 chassis with perforated upper and lower panels and the perforated inner support beams although these should be angled outward slightly and not parallel as indicated, the parallel beams were used on earlier chassis.

Included are the two angled fuel tanks but a notable omission is the two compressed air tanks located between the rear suspension channels but as these are completely hidden after assembly not such a big deal. The large winch assembly should have round holes around the rim of the top guide disc and not the rectangular holes included on the kit part, also the winch mounting is not correct for the Sd.Kfz.6 but depicts that of the later Sd.Kfz.7 but again this is hard to see after assembly.

On the rear panel the multi-part tow cable guide is nicely detailed and builds into an excellent replica of the real item with twine for the tow cable and a small plastic hook to add to the end of the cable. The tow hitch also well done as is the compressed air bracket but there should be a series of 14 small grease nipples under the tow hitch which could be added as per the original.

The front suspension is made up with large mounting plates plus some very small parts and the single leaf spring requires the moulding lines to be removed, this is then trapped between the two mounting plates. 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
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The suspension linkages are nicely done but need a little care during assembly, although the two moulded on damper cylinders are undersized. There is a separate steering rod with V stabiliser bar and linkages added to the left chassis side, these are all fixed in place as the wheels are not steerable after assembly.

Engine/Gearbox:
This kit inherits from the previous kits the earlier Maybach NL 38 TUKRM engine which was not correct for the Sd.Kfz.6/2 on BN 9 chassis but used only on earlier versions of the Sd.Kfz.6  while it 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.

The radiator is in three parts with textured ‘mesh’ on the radiator panels (front and rear) with a separate top cover and rear shroud with the assembled radiator fitting precisely to the front of the chassis.

Running Gear:
The drive sprockets are the correct size 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 final drive housings are the correct style and detail for the BN 9 chassis with the sprockets 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 not easy. The easiest method I used was to attach the small cap with a dab of thick cyanoacrylate to the pin and holding the cap and final drive firmly between the thumb and forefinger turn the drive sprocket half so the cyanoacrylate touching the drive sprocket will not bond. You have to do this fairly quickly after attaching the cap and make sure the cap itself doesn’t move while turning the drive sprocket but the resulting join held the sprocket halve firmly in place while allowing it to rotate, you just glue the outer drive sprocket half to the inner half to complete the assembly.

The road wheels have nicely done details with the correctly sized and shaped ‘teardrop’ lightening holes in the outer wheels and dish detail with the hubs also include the offset grease nipple on the wheels and idlers. On the inner wheels the dish detail is nicely done but the outer ring of lightening holes appear slightly longer than references indicate, 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.

The axles are also nicely detailed with detail on the hull attachment and arms, there is an additional location tab on the back of the axle to secure to the hull but this is totally hidden behind the road wheels when fitted. One thing to note is the position of the axles results in the kit sitting a little lower on the suspension than is “normal”, or representing a fully loaded vehicle with full crew, if you wanted to model the kit with “normal” unweighted suspension fitting the axles slightly lower than indicated would raise the ride height slightly, this doesn’t require any alterations to the kit other than positioning the axles, this is entirely up to the modeller of course.

The rear idler axle mounting has the axle correctly offset from the mounting with the additional tensioning bolt to allow the idler wheel to be adjusted for the correct track tension as on the real vehicle, it’s best not to glue the idler axle in place until fitting the tracks to allow for any such adjustment on the kit track for the right amount of track sag.

Tracks:
The actual track links are 320mm wide which in 1:35 scale is 9.1mm with the kit links being 10mm wide, the resulting 0.9mm difference also shows up in the spacing on the road wheel pairs which is also too wide by the same amount. If you are using the kit track this is probably something most will overlook as it doesn’t stand out and there is little you do about it in any case other than use the recently released Friulmodel Sd.Kfz.6 track set which has the links the correct width. This also requires the wheel spacing being reduced accordingly, see full review of the Friulmodel Sd.Kfz.6 tracks for details.

Other than the width issue the track is very nicely detailed and after assembly (45 links per side used) articulates freely giving natural track sag when fitted to the kit running gear, you will need to leave the idler axle separate until fitting the track to adjust the tension for best fit.

Close-up of the assembled track showing the detail.
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Front Fenders:
The fenders are re-tooled for this kit and are moulded commendably thin with the support bars included inside the fenders. There are fine mould seams to be removed from the front section and care is needed not to remove the actual panel joins that should be there.

The contours are quite well done but the most noticeable issue is when looking from head on the lower outward curve is correct but the outside fender shoulder curve is too sharp and should have a more rounded curve profile, this effects to position of the width indicators as you have to fit these slightly inboard from where they should actually be.

The instructions indicate to drill out the width indicator holes but these are in the wrong place as mentioned and you should position the etched indicator brackets slightly inwards on the flat surface of the fenders, you can then drill small holes for the indicator pins. The rear view mirror is also added to the left hand indicator stalk.

Other items added to the fenders include the rear crew steps in two parts with tread plate texturing, the front head lights with a choice of clear lens or blackout slit covers plus the Notek light with separate mounting post and etched mounting bracket. The number plate is in plastic and fits to the front panel in front of the radiator housing, there is also a small etched bracket added to the front of the radiator housing that has to be carefully bent to shape as it’s quite thick requiring care.

On the front section the tow shackle mountings are located centrally and should be slightly higher towards the top requiring a bit of work cutting away the brackets and repositioning higher if you deem this a problem?

Engine Compartment/Firewall:
The firewall is the correct width and has two perforated support brackets plus the early style horn and three other smaller items along with some details on the firewall along with moulded on wiring and panel detail to give a good representation of the engine firewall.

The engine hood is dimensionally good in width and length but it is about 1mm too shallow at the rear due to the cab side panels also being too short in height, more on this below. The two separate engine compartment side panels are the right size as are the height of the intake louvers that feature open cooling vents 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 re-tooled side panels have the recess that fits over the fender contour enlarged to better represent the actual panel profile while the separate top hood fits precisely to the side panels.

The large radiator housing, has the Büssing-NAG name badge included with perfectly legible writing, the louvers on the front of the housing are all moulded open with just the odd bit of fine flash to trim off the louvers. This makes for a very impressive moulding and adds considerable detail 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?

The fit of the compartment panels to the fender part is good without any trimming needed and there are fine T brackets added to the rear of the side panels along with two fine grab handles.

Cab:
The cab is made up of the main cabin floor that includes the side fenders sections along with additional parts attached to the engine firewall such as the instrument panel plus the side and rear panels, the seats and numerous smaller parts added with care needed cleaning up the fine mould seams on these to avoid damage.

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 image.

This configuration is conformed in period photos on the 5ton 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.

The instrument panel while being too narrow has nice details included along with the separate instrument cluster with decals for the dial faces and small data blocks, the cluster has the correct top corner curves with the dial layout being one of two styles noted in reference documentation for the Sd.Kfz.6 BN 9. A two part oil tank is added under the panel but you will need to trim these off  ¾ of the moulded on securing strips on 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. Also added to the panel are the separate grab handle and dial plus the full length steering column and steering wheel that include the rippled finger grips on the rear side of the wheel for good detail.

The floor section has fine tread plate but the central hump under the gear levers should be more pronounced, the gear levers themselves are nicely done with good definition of the hand brake handle. The brake, clutch and accelerator pedals are separate parts but are undersized and the accelerator “pedal” should actually be a small piston with the pedal attached and not the same as the other pedals. There is a separate battery box with a separate top that can be left off if you wish to show the terminal details.

The seats are in four sections, two for the cushions and two for the backrests, the driver’s backrest has the side extensions included but these should be blended into the main cushion to form a curve and not the distinct protrusion as on the part, also the backrest should be located a little lower on the rear panel and not level with the wider passenger back. It is easy to just trim the locating ribs on the rear panel and fit the cushion lower down as shown in the assembly images, there are also two small etched brackets fitted either side of the driver’s backrest.

The two side panels 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 with a separate turn indicator arm added to the outside. As mentioned there is a distinct kink in the crew entry opening that shouldn’t be there due to the narrow firewall but despite this the parts assembled without any problems.

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.
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.  

Despite the dimensional issues assembling all the components was straightforward 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.

The windscreen itself is moulded quite thin with two clear ‘glass’ sections added from the inside along with the two wiper motors and outer blades. 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 which will be attached in the lowered position. It is possible to fit the standard windscreen in the raised or lowered position as required.

Rear Body:
The rear body has the floor deck with upper tread plate detail and adder underneath are the side fenders that include additional large foldable mud flaps with fine two part etched hinge brackets as well as very small inner plastic springs between the main fender and folding mud flap for excellent detail definition. Note there is a decal data block added to the left rear of the fenders as well as two small etched reflector discs, these discs were not very common going by period photos so fitting or not is up to the individual? There are the two long chassis mounting frames (parts C18, C19) which are new for this kit but the older parts are still on the sprues so ensure you use the appropriate C parts, the spare tyre rack is also new and again the older rack is still included so make sure to use the newer C parts. You should leave off the rear bracket (part C11) until you have added the spare wheel.

Each of the three seats has the rear bulkhead, lower base and separate seats; care is needed when fitting the lower base as the location points are not that positive and the seat just ‘sit’ on top of the base without any locating pins and you need to make sure of the alignment.

Before fitting the seat base the locating holes for the tools have to be drilled and these differ between the bases, the tools have a combination of moulded on clips and etched brackets for the two axes and once assembled the seats can be added to the floor plate along with the rear storage compartment bulkheads.

Added to the back of each seat assembly are very fine rifle rack clips with small etched parts and support beams plus the floor bracket and the racks will need care during assembly, you are provided with a full compliment of 15 KaR98 rifles with separate bolts for good definition, all that is needed are the slings and you can add as many rifles as required. The one piece clips are fairly simplified and you need to fit the rifles before adding the clips as the rifles won’t fit into the clips once the racks are assembled, no doubt we will see etched rifle clips produced to improve the detail?

Once the seats are fitted the side panels can be added and these have fine surface details and the open hand grips but there is a small inward bend along the bottom edge of the panels that isn’t evident in period photos of the vehicle, the rear body panel with separate compartment door is also added. The door has inside detail included and two small wing nuts used to hold the door closed for added detail.

The assembled body fits precisely to the chassis without any problems and there is a choice of early or late style lights, the early lights are two small lights on the rear body panel that needs the location holes opened out while the later convoy light mounted on the fender above the number plate.

A notable feature of the kit is the inclusion of the fully extended canvas tilt cover in two parts, the full roof section and separate rear section; both sections have detail included on both sides for an excellent appearance. There are separate short frames added along the sides between the cover and the body when fitted as well as alternate parts for the folded tilt frames and folded cover if you want to show this in the stowed position? Fitting the extended tilt cover will require some trimming on the inside of the rear lower lip to fit over the rear body and test fitting will determine what is required. While you get the full tilt cover the small canvas “doors” for the side crew entry openings are not included.

Decals/Instructions:
The decal sheet is well printed and has WH number plates for five vehicles with another two blank WH plates and a selection of numbers to allow you to make any vehicle. There is also a selection of data blocks and instrument dials and unity tac signs although there is no unit identification for any of the marking options.

The instruction booklet is well laid with the usual exploded view drawings for the assembly sequences, while some are quite busy they are relatively easy to follow without any real traps, but as always careful study of the assembly before gluing is advisable. The instructions also included a table of paint numbers for Hobby Color, Humbrol, Mr.Hobby and Tamiya paints used with the model.
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Conclusion:
Overall this is an excellent model of the Sd.Kfz.6 Pioneer version buy not without its issues as outlined above, some can be hidden away such as the incorrect engine type, others are easy to rectify such as the front axle width but the instrument panel width and subsequent kink in the side panels will required considerable work if you decide to rectify?

The quality of moulding, detail on the parts and the good overall fit of the parts make for fairly easy assembly despite the number of parts and will build into an impressive model, the inclusion of the fully extended tilt cover being an excellent bonus. And as with any kit there is room for improvement and further detailing depending on the modellers want.

Rating 8/10

The Sprues:

Click on thumbnails for larger view
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Sprue detail images
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Detail and assembly images
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References:
mittlerer Zugkraftwagen 5t (Sd.Kfz.6)
and
Schwerer Wehrmachtsschlepper

Panzer Tracks No.22-3
`Book
mZgkw 5t Sd.Hfz.6
Tank Power Vol.LVIII
Wydawnictwo Militaria No.287
ISBN: 9788372192875
Book
Halftrack Vehicles of the
German Army 1395-1945

Schiffer Military History
ISBN: 0-88740-758-7
Book
Mittlerer Zugkraftwagen 5t
(Sd.Kfz.6) BN 9
Reprint of WWII manual D 606/11
book
Mittlerer Zugkraftwagen 5t
(Sd.Kfz.6) BN 9b
Reprint of WWII manual D 606/13
book
Flak at War
Trojca Publications
ISBN: 83-60041-15-6
book
Thanks to my credit card and Hobbyeasy for the review kit.


Page created August 21, 2010



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