British Cruiser Tank A9/A9 CS in 1/35...
...one of the latest from Bronco Models
A new release from Bronco Models which I am sure many modellers will have been looking forward too, the British A9 Cruiser. There are elements that are common to the other recent kit of the A10, such as the main turret and the running gear. The hull is where the most visual differences are, so we have a new upper and lower hull, plus associated details of course. The other thing of course are the two small machine gun turrets either side of the driver. With the driver and two gunners in that part of the hull, it must have been a bit cramped and claustrophobic if it was closed up and in combat.
As is common with Bronco kits, there is plenty of fine detail and there are some etch brass parts as well. These provide things like grab handles, support brackets for the suspension units and the mesh guard around the exhaust. Tracks are on the link-and-length style, and went together very nicely when I built their A10, which uses the same parts. There is no interior detail, but the hatches in the main turret and the two smaller machine gun turrets can be fixed open or closed, so there is the facility to fit crew figures in them if you want to. The kit has optional parts to make either the Mk.1, with the QF 2 pounder, or the Mk.1 CS, armed with the 3.7in (94mm) howitzer for the infantry support role. The armour was lighter than on the A10, so though that bit faster but too vulnerable to enemy fire. Just 129 A9's were built and they were used by the BEF in France/Belgium in 1940 and beyond that in North Africa. That brings us to the other good feature of the kit, as it includes the optional styles of dust guards, with both the smaller European pattern and the slightly filler alternatives used in North Africa. It also features a rack on the back for a line of 'flimsies', the early style of British fuel cans which rather lived up to their name, and a lot of precious fuel leaked away into the North African desert but good to see the feature included.
Reflecting the options in the kit there are three options in terms of colours and markings:-
A9 Mk.1 (Arnold) of the 1st Battalion Royal Tank Regiment, 7th Armoured Division at Abbassia in Egypt in May 1940. This option has the sand shields fitted and is an overall Light Stone colour.
A9 Mk.1 PMV572 (Antelope), also from 1st Battalion Royal Tank Regiment, 7th Armoured Division, this time at Derna Pass in Libya in April 1941. Also with the sand shields fitted and in a multi-colour Caunter pattern colour scheme.
A9 CS Mk.1, T7245, from HQ, A Squadron, 3rd Battalion Royal Tank Regiment, 2nd Tank Brigade, 1st Armoured Division at Calais, France in May 1940. This one doesn't have the sand shields and is finished in G3 Khaki Green plus a disruptive pattern of G4 Dark Green as used by the BEF.
This November 2017 release is now in production and on sale.
Thanks to Bronco Models for the news.