Hungarian 40/43M 105mm Assault Gun Zrinyi II

Published: December 6th, 2012     
Box Art
Box Art
Reviewed by: 
Franklyn Cook, IPMS# 46413
Scale: 1/35
Company: Bronco Models
Company: Bronco Models
Price: $77.00
Product / Stock #: CB35036

From award-winning Bronco Models of Ningbo, China, comes a very interesting subject and an enjoyable build, the Hungarian 40/43M Zrinyi II assault gun. Armed with a 105mm gun, this AFV had limited production (between 44 and 66 vehicles) and served on the eastern front in a similar capacity as that of the well-known German StuG III assault gun. Only one intact Zrinyi II is known to exist today, and it is kept at the Kubinka Tank Museum just outside of Moscow, Russia.

The kit features good fit and ingenious engineering. It doesn't include any figures. This kit is not suitable for beginners, who will be frustrated by the enigmatic assembly instructions and overwhelming number of parts, especially the tiny pieces and photo etch.

When looking at my photos, please understand the gaps between parts are due to my shortcomings as a kit assembler rather than any fault of the kit, or the fact a gap is supposed to exist (where applicable). Test fitting demonstrated to me that there are no gaps or poorly fitting pieces. I often felt it would be helpful to have another set of hands or a set of jigs to aid assembly.

Kit Contents

  • 641 styrene parts, including clear parts (headlights, periscopes).
  • Five PE frets, wrapped with protective plastic on both sides. Fret Pb is a spray template for one of the marking options. Two frets (denoted as 'Pc') are part of the accessory set noted below (AB3557).
  • Decal sheet containing markings for three vehicles.
  • String for tow cable.
  • Box art insert (box cover minus the words and branding).
  • Assembly and painting instruction booklet.
  • MG34 German machine gun on a single light gray sprue.
  • Bronco WWII Hungarian 20L Jerry Can & 200L Fuel Drum Set (AB3557).

Assembly Instructions

The assembly instructions are laid out in a full-color booklet. Languages throughout are Chinese and English, with a German introduction on the first page. While the line work was sharply printed, I found it necessary to reason out what the true sequence of assembly should be. Bronco's instructions are not as clear and easy to follow as they could be. At several points during assembly, I wished they would have shown detail views, alternate views (from other angles), and enlargements so I could get a better understanding of how parts mate. Instead, I resorted to flipping back and forth in the booklet to find an example illustration. I also had to check the Bronco test shots available on the Internet. This lack of understandability in their assembly instructions is a common complaint regarding Bronco kits.

Bottom Hull Tub

The hull has nice rivet and panel detail. It's clear where you're to attach the running gear and armored skirt mounts. You will only need some basic cleaning with fine sandpaper to remove minute flash that might impede flush mating of parts. Test fit first to determine if you'll need to sand the mating surfaces lightly. I jumped ahead and began test fitting and planning later mating of the fenders and superstructure/casemate. It helps to understand such things ahead of time so you're not surprised when assembly doesn't go right later in the build.

The fenders are styrene and have locating tabs to help you position them properly on top of the sides of the hull tub. I found it helpful to place the front and rear flaps on the fenders first, and then assemble the fenders onto the hull while they were still setting up. This helps position the front and rear flaps correctly. Particularly bewildering is the choice to fill the wedge-shaped gaps on the insides of the fear fender using wedge-shaped PE parts. I see this as a head-scratcher as styrene would have done a better job.

Vehicle Interior

The interior is not as complete as other Bronco kits; there's no engine and transmission, but you get a driver's seat, control levers, pedals, a radio set (added once the fenders are placed), and the back end of the 105mm gun. There's no storage for the 105mm rounds, or detail on the floor and walls. However, the crew hatches feature nice details such as grab handles, locking mechanisms, and periscopes, so they may be posed open if you wish. There aren't any ejector pin marks to fill/sand. Refer to your references for the proper orientation of open hatches. Other hatches such as those providing access to the engine and transmission can also be positioned open.

Suspension: Rolling Gear and Track Assemblies

This is the most labor-intensive part of the build. The Vickers-style bogies require more than 40 pieces to assemble each. There are prominent seams to be filled once completed. When completed, they are fully articulated unless you choose to glue them in place. Do this only after you've completed the track assemblies and attached all suspension parts to the hull. You might end up with the dreaded floating roadwheels when your completed model is set on a flat surface. I found the full articulation to be marvelous but also troublesome. The bogies are loose, not holding their position without careful coaxing and a little Tamiya Extra Thin Cement. However, when combined with the kit's tracks, you will be able to position the Zrinyi II on broken ground as seen on the eastern front, perfect for diorama builders.

Tracks are assembled using individual track blocks clipped from 18 sprue runs of 12 blocks each. This is a show-stopper for some AFV modelers who prefer easier track assemblies such as link-and-length, flexible continuous runs, or even aftermarket sets. You will need 101 per side, according to the assembly instructions, but I had to add a couple in order to close the gaps. I had 14 blocks left over, suitable as spare track blocks to be mounted on the glacis and front of the casemate. There are no ejector pin marks, and you can see some finely cast numbers on each block. Nice! For the spare track blocks, make sure you remove the attachment nubs and drill through the blocks where a track pin would normally be inserted.

Each block has three sprue gate attachment points to clean. Once cleaned, counted and sorted, I assembled the runs in small groups of 10-15 blocks, then assembled those into complete runs. When attaching a block to the run, insert one side first, then the other. You will hear audible clicks as they snap into place. I didn't encounter any warping as the runs progressed. I don't advise moving them too much afterwards, as they're not fully articulated like Modelkasten or Friulmodel tracks. The nubs weaken easily and may wear away with excessive handling. I recommend careful use of Tamiya Extra Thin Cement.

Casemate/Superstructure

The assembly instructions would have you place all delicate parts on the superstructure/casemate prior to mating it with the fenders and hull. This in not wise since those parts will become damaged or knocked off. Prior to mating it to the bottom, only attach the intake louvers (parts B26 and B27), intake grilles (parts B33 and B34), and the rear panels and grilles (parts A10, A11, A34, and A35, B33 and B34). Everything else will be easily attached once the superstructure/casemate is mated to the bottom hull, especially delicate PE parts. Of note is part D16, a drain hose, which will be positioned correctly after the top and bottom are mated.

The gun cradle, part G14, had sink marks on either side. Some putty and sanding made short work of them, though. Before attaching piece G17, first insert the assembly through the mantlet, part B24. If you fail to do this, you will have to force the gun assembly through the mantlet, risking damage to the rivet detail on G14! The gun itself is a single piece, molded hollow tube. Very nice! You only have to attach the ring on the muzzle, part G26.

Skip ahead to step 24 and study the easy-to-miss driver's visor subassembly in the top left corner of step 24. This needs to be done long before step 24, perhaps at the same time you're completing the subassembly of the gun and front armor plates (B23 or D6, your choice) of the casemate in step 6. I didn't discover this until it was too late and stressed myself out trying to position the visor properly in an opened position. I could have skipped all of that by simply attaching it in a closed position like the hatches and louvers.

Added Rivet and Bolt Head Details

On sprues A and B you'll find rivet and bolt head details that must be carefully removed and attached to parts of the casemate/superstructure. While I understand why it was done this way, I feel this could have been accomplished by some means other than this.

OVM and Other Equipment

If the two vehicle jacks look off, it's because of my failure to interpret and test fit correctly. Other modelers on the Internet didn't seem to have problems with the jacks, so the fault is entirely my own. Where I encountered trouble was the PE covers at the top of the jacks. The ends didn't fit under the covers so I removed them. Then, I didn't test fit to ensure the jacks aligned properly in their cradles at the other end. This was one of those cases where what you did wrong becomes obvious after the fact.

There OVM equipment/attachments include mattock, pry bar, shovel, fire extinguisher, track blocks, horn, headlights, jacks, smoke candles, accessory (or tool) box, a German-style distance-keeping lamp, rear marker light, spare track block holders and hooks, tow cable holders, axe, wire cutters, spare roadwheels, sledge hammer, antenna base, and periscopes.

The tow cable is a piece of string that frays easily, and it didn't take kindly to being forced through openings smaller than it. I chose instead to use string from a wooden boat kit, if only to show where the vehicle's tow cable goes. I fear this was a bad choice as it now looks like the crew put up a clothesline! You'd be better served using picture hanging wire or one of the aftermarket choices.

Accessories

Extras include a German MG34 machine gun with a bipod, a Gurttrommel ammunition drum, loose belt of ammo, and spare drums in a two drum holder Gurttrommeltrager; and the separately available WWII Hungarian 20L Jerry Can & 200L Fuel Drum Set (AB3557), reviewed here at IPMS.

Markings

  • 1st Battery, 1. Assault Gun Battalion
  • 3rd Battery, 1. Assault Gun Battalion
  • 3rd Battery, 1. Assault Gun Battalion

In order to show off the kit's suspension in the photos, I didn't use the perforated armored skirts. Those are single-piece PE and require good CA or soldering to attach their mounts, of which there are several per skirt. I recommend you use solder, as CA would no doubt weaken over time. If you want to show some panels missing, you'll have to score and bend to separate the panels.

Despite its few shortcomings, I think this is a good kit. Plan your build in subassemblies and stages. Test fit everything before applying cement, and consult with your fellow modelers and references if you're stumped. This kit will reward the modeler looking for a detailed build of one of WWII's lesser known AFV subjects, full of smart engineering. I am not discouraged from building this or any other Bronco kit.

Thank you to Bronco Models for another ingenious kit and to Dragon Models USA for the review sample and to IPMS-USA for the review opportunity.

  • Driver's seat
    Driver's seat
  • Left side
    Left side
  • Right side
    Right side
  • Left rear
    Left rear
  • Left front
    Left front
  • Right front
    Right front
  • Right rear
    Right rear
  • Front
    Front
  • Rear
    Rear

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <blockquote> <br> <cite> <code> <dd> <div> <dl> <dt> <em> <li> <ol> <p> <span> <strong> <ul>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Non-latin text (e.g., å, ö, 漢) will be converted to US-ASCII equivalents (a, o, ?).

More information about formatting options

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
homepagelink