Kit Reviews Bronco 1/35 OQF 40mm Bofors Anti-Aircraft Gun Mk.I/III (British Version)

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Broncos 1/35 OQF 40mm Bofors Anti-Aircraft Gun Mk.I/III (British Version)
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The kit is described as the ‘British Army’ version as opposed to the earlier Bronco release of a Canadian Pattern gun, remember, there was no ‘Mk II’ gun in British service! Used in virtually every theatre, the Bofors was a superb light Anti-Aircraft weapon and more than a bit useful when taking out the odd soft-skin or lightly armoured patrol vehicle

So what do you get for your money?
Basically a British specification Ordnance MkI or Mk III (the gun), on the Mk III A-A Mount (the bit the gun sits in!), all mounted on the Mk I Carriage (the bit with the wheels!).
Opening the box reveals a bewildering amount of delicately formed plastic, a small fret of photo etched brass details, a sprue of minute resin wing nuts, a steel spring (with two in plastic if preferred) and a modest decal sheet. All illustrated in a 19 page, 33 stage colour instruction booklet.
There is obviously some duplication between the British & Canadian versions as some of the parts are listed as not required, however, there are parts included which are alternatives that reflect the variations that were found on the Bofors. All parts are beautifully moulded & completely ‘flash’ free, although annoying little mould nodules appear on the tiniest parts; the plastic Barrel Recoil Springs are an excellent example of superb modern mould technology! Included in the kit are the obligatory spare barrel & packing case, plus a small selection of ammunition boxes with rounds in clips & fully packaged. All together the kit contains 54 rounds - only enough for about 25 seconds firing (at 120 rounds a minute!) – so quite a few more would be needed in a diorama! As mine is going to be towed behind a Bedford QLB, any extra ammo crates will get chucked on the wagon.

Anyone wishing to build this kit - beware it is extremely complex. The level of detail is such that even individual bolt heads & wing nuts are included; therefore almost all stages of construction leave the modeller vulnerable to inadvertently breaking off or losing an item that has been carefully placed at an earlier stage. In addition, whilst appearing quite comprehensive, the instruction booklet can be a little vague as to the exact location of some miniscule details. This is most apparent when applying the PE brass items.
The instruction booklet offers the builder a choice of configuration but is a little vague clarifying either what is applicable to the ‘MkI’ or ‘MkIII’ (with the notable exception of sighting arrangements), or how the gun is arranged when travelling or in action. So check the following:

Ensure that the axle cross connections are correct (Stage 16, parts B4, B7, B8 & B15) so that all wheels are correctly aligned & that the steering mechanism is correctly located at the leading end of the carriage.

If the gun is modelled in the travelling configuration remove all ready use ammunition from the Feed Guides & reserve clip stowages; fit the Feed Guide Cover (Part F 11) & add a wheel brake operating lanyard (26 ft long in real life!) to the brake operating mechanism (Part A 43), running from its adjacent anchor point, back around the operating pulley, then forward to the driver’s position in the gun tractor.

If the gun is to be modelled ‘in action’ follow the directions given as per the instruction booklet but check reference sources for various firing positions

Lastly, consider the period & location you wish to portray? For the ‘Mk I’ gun, do not mount additional ready use ammunition as described in Stage 8 as this was a later modification. Never fit the ‘Stiffkey’ sights to any gun in use before 1943 as this & the ready use ammunition stowage are far more representative of later war ‘Mk III’ weapons.

As with all modelling, check & double check your references as there will always be exceptions to the rule or traps for the unwary - even if you only aim to replicate a generic representation of a much used bit of kit!

Conclusion

The Bronco Bofors Ordnance QF 40mm Anti-Aircraft Mk I/III is a well detailed & accurate model of an extremely effective & widely used piece of ordnance. Even without the original Reflector Sighting System or the oft-derided Kerrison Director, this kit can be placed in any scenario applicable to the British & Commonwealth forces from 1940 to the 1950’s. There is great scope to achieve an extremely accurate portrayal of a Bofors gun in British service without too much resource to expensive ‘after-market’ accessories.

Rating: I'll give it a strong 3/5.
Vague instructions and poor moulding in places spoilt a good kit.


Smeggers
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#2
I was looking for one of these in 1:48 and found one - only to be very put off by the price. This photo really grabbed me.

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