Although widely used by British Commonwealth forces, the American-built Staghound has been largely ignored by mainstream manufacturers. Now, modelers have two choices - Italeri and Bronco kits - in 1/35 scale. Both feature photoetched-metal parts, turned-metal barrels, and a bunch of marking options. Let's see how they build up.
Read the model kit review of Italeri's 1/35 scale T17E1 Staghound Mk.I
Bronco's new kit includes a detailed chassis and .30-caliber machine guns, poseable hatches, and periscopes. Photoetched-metal casting numbers and letters are a bonus. Markings are provided for Canadian, Australian, Israeli, and four British vehicles.
The illustrated instructions are vastly different from what I have been used to. There is no numbering of steps, and the illustrations are so busy it's easy to overlook things (like subassemblies). Review the instructions carefully before beginning.
Bronco has you start by adding detail parts to the hull sides, then gluing the halves to the chassis bottom. In my kit, the right hull half was a little warped. I glued the hull sides on, starting from the rear. After this dried, I held the front in place, applied glue, and allowed it to cure.
The leaf springs are a disappointment, with a large gap between the halves. I applied gap-filling super glue and sanded it smooth.
Aligning the front drivetrain's many parts requires attention; with large wheels glued to the axle ends, this joint is fragile.
The hull top presented no issues. No interior is included. With separate hatches for the engine bay, it would be easy to add and display an engine. The access hatches and vision-block covers are well detailed should you want to display them open.
A form is provided to help bend the photoetched-metal brush guards, but they have almost no indexing surface for attachment. Had locating slots been cut in the hull, uniformity and fit would have been better. On the plus side, the headlights have clear lenses.
The main armament comprises many pieces, and the level of detail is good. The breech-to-gun mount is a weak joint, so I was careful with it on final assembly. Bronco has one of the best looking radio sets I've seen, a combination of plastic and photoetched-metal parts.
I painted the model overall with Gunze Sangyo olive drab (H78). The tires are Floquil weathered black. The markings I used were for the 27th Lancers stationed in Italy in 1944. The decals went down fine on the semigloss surface.
The model looks great, but, with the busy construction illustrations and complicated build, this kit demands an experienced modeler.Conclusion
With the industry's fixation on Axis subject matter now delving into prototypes, it's nice to have two new kits of this important Allied fighting vehicle. Both kits offer good detail, bolstered by photoetched- and turned-metal parts as well as great decals. Italeri's kit was easier to build with clear instructions and a partial interior. Bronco's kit gets a leg-up for detail, but it is a fiddly build with more photoetched metal and complex instructions.
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