Bronco Models
French H39 Hotchkiss
Bronco Models Kit No. 35001
Construction Review by Terry Ashley

Part 1: Running Gear

This section deals with the running gear with the final drives, drive sprockets, idler wheels and mounts plus the return rollers and suspension bogies.

Bogie Units:
There are a couple of issues to watch out for when assembling the bogies with firstly the road wheels having a mould miss-alignment resulting in quite a step on the wheel face. There are a couple of ways of tacking this, filling and sanding the wheel to maintain the wheel depth or using an X-Acto #11 blade to shave the wheel face until it is even. This will result in the wheel rim being fractionally narrower than the original wheel as the mould miss-alignment means there is a bit of angle on the wheel crossways needing correction. The image below shows the mould miss-alignment and the “shaved” wheel. The marginal reduction in diameter is hardly noticeable against the original wheel and considering each wheel will require this cleanup they all will be the same size in the end.

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The top spring assembly looks excellent with the larger gauge spring and this fits into the top of the rear bogie plate (part A23) with the instructions showing not to glue this in place so it will move slightly after assembly. If you prefer to glue firmly in place there are no actual locating pins so just rest this against the ribs on part A23 and apply a bit of glue.

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Fitting the road wheels to the axles saw a very tight fit and you may want to open up the wheel axle holes if you want these to rotate with the final assembly.

After fitting the wheels and then the front bogie plate (parts A24/A25) there was a gap at the top as the top ribs on part A23 which appear to be a result of air bubbles in the moulds and they did not extend far enough to meet the front bogie plate. This was the same on all six plates but was okay on the test shot I reviewed some time back and you may want to replace the rib with a small section of plastic strip to join up properly.

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Fitting the bogie mounting bracket (part A1) is best left till the other bogie parts have dried as this makes it easier if you don’t have to worry about the other parts moving about.

There was also a mould seam to be removed from the mounting bracket with the fit to the bogie unit being very snug on the bogie I assembled and the fit of the bogie to the hull was also okay but it can move about in its locating lug so make sure the bogie lined up correctly before the glue dries.

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There is a bit of work needed on the bogies but the end results looks very good, especially the top springs.

Drive Sprockets/Final Drives:
The final drives are in two parts and after removing two small raised ejector pins on the inside of parts A26, A27 the fit was excellent. Attaching the final drives to the hull after gluing the front hull section (part C11) in place (after adding the interior) and smoothing the small join hull side join line was also very easy.

The fit was very good and I used Tenax-7R to fill the small hull/final drive gap and then squeeze them together smoothing the join with a small glue moistened brush to completely eliminate the join without the need for further filler.

The drive sprocket centre hub bolt detail is nicely defined with the recessed bolts well represented and also nice flange detail around the outer rim but the sprocket has 24 drive teeth and there should actually only be 22. This may be something you may have to live with and will not be all that noticeable once the track is fitted hiding half the teeth.

Good fit of final drives to the hull
also note the hull side weld seams

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Idler Wheels:
The small idler mounting plates (parts A37,A38) have a couple of very small raised ejector pins on the inside to remove and this then glues in place on the hull without problems.

The idler axle mount again has a small raised ejector pin on the inside to remove and you should also thin the end bolt bracket so it will clear the edge of the mounting plate and this again fits in place easily and can be positioned to adjust the track tension. The neutral position has the axle mounted centrally to the mounting plate and you may want to leave this unglued until fitting the track to ensure an even fit of the individual track links.

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A small note on the idler wheel which has the centre hub with eight retaining bolts where the actual wheel only has six bolts, but Bronco have advised this and the drive sprocket teeth issue will be addressed in the furture H39 series releases.

Hull with drive sprocket, middle bogie, return roller and idler fitted
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Return to original H39 comparison review.

The Sprues:

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Thanks to Bronco Models for the review kit.

Page Created February 17, 2006

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