In a very short period of time Bronco Models
have become a well established model manufacturer bringing us some very much sought after kits and welcome additions for the modelling world. The subject of this review is one of their recent releases, the German Light Staff Car Stabswagen
Model 1937 (Cabriolet). My knowledge of this vehicle is limited, but I shall briefly out line the history of the vehicle from what I have learned so far.
Prior to the outbreak of war in 1939, the German car manufacturer, Opel, had released a new luxury car; The Opel Admiral to compete against its rivals Horch, Maybach and Mercedes-Benz. The Admiral was produced as a 4 Door Sedan, and also as a Cabriolet (convertible) version. Production started in 1937, and ended in 1939.
At the outbreak of war, many of the ‘Admirals’ were pressed into service with the German forces, but Opel had also developed a 2 door Cabriolet specifically for use by the Wehmacht
for staff officers who needed fast, comfortable transport.
I have added a link here to the Opel Time Line
which may help clarify things further. The instructions contain further data on the vehicle, engine size, production numbers etc, provided by Phil Greenwood
The kit comes packed in a smart presentation box, with the art work on the box top depicting the vehicle with the convertible top rolled down. The same picture is replicated on the ends of the box, and on one of the box sides there is art work showing a captured vehicle as used by the Allies in 1945, which is one of the 3 finish options given with the kit. It’s a fairly large box, probably bigger than needed, but a nice presentation none the less.
The kit parts come packed in 8 sealed plastic bags with the decals and small PE fret contained within a further zip plastic bag. Also included is a 10 page instruction booklet of the exploded picture style.
Although I have a number of Bronco kits, this is the first box I’ve actually opened and delved into. The instruction pages are of an A4 size on glossy paper. They appear logically laid out, containing colour images at the start and painting stage. The build looks fairly straight forward and contains 11 construction stages, 3 pages in colour for the painting element (one page for each finishing/marking option), a suggested painting chart is included on page 1covering Gunze Sangyo, Hobby Colour, Humbrol and Tamiya paint options. The kit contents are shown on page 2 so you can check that everything is in the box.
The main kit sprues are cast in a light tan plastic, they appear to be well cast with good detail and minimal clean up should be required. The car body comes cast as a whole less doors, windows, convertible roof etc. Again the detail seems sharp and well done. An option for the open or closed convertible roof is included, and whichever route you choose this kit should produce a very neat model.
You get internal panel detail to add to the main doors and frame, these are designed to trap the side windows which I thought was a nice neat touch. Pedals, gear levers, dash board etc. are all provided, so there is little you should need to add to this one, unless you choose to do so. The seats are the ribbed leather type and the sub frame has sufficient detail to satisfy most modellers.
The tyres, which are made up of 8 separate parts, are moulded in black. These should give a good representation of the real thing, but I am sure the AM guys will come up with a resin replacement set if needed. Are these over engineered? Perhaps, but I won’t know until build time.
3 small additional sprues of equipment are provided, 2 with some German weapons and one with jerry cans to add further detail to the build.
A simple set of decals are provided depicting 2 unknown German Army vehicles, one in Italy in 1943 and one in North West Europe (NWE) in 1944. A further finish option is also included for a captured Allied vehicle in NWE in 1945.
Windows are provided on a clear plastic sprue.
You also get a small fret of PE for the number plates, light fittings and jerry cans. This is covered with a thin film which is a new feature for me, and I assume it’s to help stop loss of parts while removing them from the fret, although careful handling will be needed when removing it to not deform the delicate PE parts.
Overall this looks to be a dapper little kit of a widely used and famous German vehicle. The detail, both internal and external, looks good. The extra ‘cans’ and weapons are a plus. The easy option of modelling an open or closed roof and the fact that cars, trucks and to some degree tanks, were utilised by the opposing side when captured should make this a very useable kit for either Allied or Axis modellers.
I like the idea of the trapped windows as working with clear plastic and glue is not always easy or successful. There are a few ejection marks, but these look to be in areas that will be completely hidden when the kit is built.
Some research should bring up other civilian uses and overall I’m delighted to see the addition of this vehicle available to the modeller. Our Axis modellers may well be able to add further information, if so please feel free to do so.