Hungarian 75mm Assault Gun 44.M ‘Zrinyi’ I

Published: February 6th, 2014     
BOX COVER
BOX COVER
Reviewed by: 
Jeff Leiby, IPMS# 30249
Scale: 1/35
Company: Bronco Models
Price: $59.95
Product / Stock #: CB-35121

The Kit

The Zrinyi I was an attempt to convert the successful Zrinyi II, 105mm howitzer-equipped assault gun into an anti-tank weapon. The Hungarians replaced the howitzer with the German made Pak 40, 75mm anti-tank gun. Since the Germans were willing to provide STU-III/IV SP anti-tank guns it was decided not to go beyond the single prototype.

You will find the following inside the box:

  • 14 tan sprues, including separate upper and lower hull parts
  • 18 brown sprues with separate track links
  • 1 sprue with clear parts.
  • 3 P/E frets. One for kit parts and two with parts for German fuel cans
  • 1 small decal sheet.
  • 1 length of string.
  • 16 page instruction manual with warning page, color table, parts map, and twenty-six construction steps with several exploded views. The cover has a short history in three languages and a color painting of the vehicle in a tactical environment.
  • 8" x11.5" color print as depicted on the box cover.

Bottom Line Up Front: This is my third kit from Bronco and as I stated in my two earlier reviews, the kit is, in my opinion, over-engineered. That being said, the engineering is simpler than the previous builds.  This is not a reason to avoid this excellent kit, it is a case of being prepared for many tiny parts and some complicated construction steps.

The detail of the parts is exceptional with very little flash and no exposed ejection marks. Clear lenses are available for all of the headlights and for the numerous periscopes. Included among the sprues and PE frets are parts for eight German fuel cans and an MG 42 machinegun with ammo belt.  Including all plastic sprues, the PE and the string, the kit contains 770 parts!  I had 60 parts left when I finished, including parts for the Zrinyi II, the hatch interiors which I posed in the closed position, and the parts for the fuel cans and the machinegun.

The Build

General

I generally followed the instructions; I did delayed parts of some building steps to make painting easier.  I prefer to paint vehicles before mounting pioneer tools, spare track, etc.

Interior

Bronco provides a beautiful full Pak 40 anti-tank gun with mount.  Also included is a detailed driver's station.  That is the extent of the interior, which is a shame as there are three large crew hatches on the casemate.  If you plan to close all the hatches I would recommend installing just the gun tube in the mantlet and save the remainder of the interior parts for the spares box.

Hull and Suspension

The hull bottom is molded in a single piece with lower front and rear plates, detailed mounting points for the suspension and fully detail on hull bottom. If you plan to open the hatches you may need to fill the holes where the suspension after installation. The parts for the suspension are exceptionally molded but tedious in construction.  This is more a result of a complicated suspension, although, I believe there were 16 small parts that could have been molded with other parts.  With careful gluing the suspension can retain movement for display if to be mounted on rough ground.  If you plan to display on a flat surface I recommend you glue every component or some wheels may not touch the surface.

Tracks

I wish that Bronco would use "link and length" track on their kits.  The Zrinyi comes with 216 track blocks of medium size.   About 104 are required per side. The links are designed to snap together, being held in place by friction only.  For about 98 links per side this worked well allowing the tracks to be curved around the sprockets without glue.  But the remainder required glue to hold the joints.  I didn't discover the problems until I started to drape the tracks over the suspension. 

Upper Hull

The main armor plates for the upper hull are one piece with the exception of the front plate. You have to follow the instructions closely as the kit includes three front plates and three different gun mantlets.  The extra parts belong to the Zrinyi II which mounts a 105mm howitzer. The upper hull has the second highest parts count after the suspension. All the hatch hinges come as two separate parts, which allows all the hatches, both crew compartment and engine compartment to be easily posed in open position. The engine compartment is completely empty and there is no firewall separating it from the crew compartment.  I added a blanking plate to prevent the air intake from being see-through.  Parts are provided to fully detail the crew hatches if you want them open

Photo-etch

Bronco continues, with this kit, to make good use of PE.  The only parts that replace plastic are the upright portion of the fenders. I added the PE parts for the fenders for this review, but the plastic parts would be easiest to mount. The parts that require folding have folding lines etched and bend easily.  The metal is thick enough to allow two folds without breaking.

Painting

I painted the vehicle medium green as I built. Suspension parts were painted while still on the sprue, along with the pioneer tools.  The jacks were built first then painted.  This is an easy vehicle to paint.  The track was assembled first then painted.  The fit of the links is so tight that any paint on the ends of the lengths will prevent fitting together.

Decals

There are only two decals for the Hungarian cross, one for each side of the casemate. They are difficult to get off of the backing, but are strong enough to tolerate movement once on the kit.  They are opaque and adhere well once dry.

Conclusion

The detail on the parts of this kit is outstanding.  I found the choice of which parts to make in PE better than in Bronco's earlier efforts.  As stated above, duplication of plastic and PE parts was limited.  The brass used for the PE is slightly thicker than I found in my earlier Bronco builds which results in stronger folds.  Bronco Models covered both sides of the PE sheets with plastic sheet.  I removed the sheet from one side and left the other side to hold the parts as I cut.  It greatly reduced small parts from flying around the room.  Overall, although frustrating at times, I like the results.  I highly recommend this kit for builders with a few kits under their belt and with plentiful patience.

I would like to thank Dragon Models, USA for this review kit.

  • Gun mount
    Gun mount
  • Gun
    Gun
  • Completed model
    Completed model
  • Completed front
    Completed front
  • Completed model
    Completed model

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