The Staghound was a heavy 4x4 armoured car of US design for the British Army, coming into service during 1943 and while given the US designation M6 was not used by US forces during WWII. It also served with a number of Allied forces during WWII such as Australia, Canada, India and New Zealand and a well as seeing extensive post war service with Australia, Canada, Belgium, Denmark, India, Israel, Lebanon, Netherlands, Rhodesia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa Sudan and several Latin American countries such as Cuba, Honduras, Nicaragua remaining in service well into the 80’s in some cases.
Other versions were built including an AA version and fitted with the Crusader turret (Mk.III) as well as the basis for other experimental types.
It was powered by two Chevrolet 270 CID engines mounted side by side in the rear of the vehicle with the gearboxes driving through reduction gears to a central transfer box and was armed with the 37mm M6 main gun and three .30cal machine guns, one on the front hull, the co-axial turret gun and top mounted for AA use as well being fitted with the standard British No.19 radio set in the turret bustle.
The kit represents the late production type with the most noticeable difference from the earlier types being the deletion of the turret side vision ports plus other small differences. It should also be noted there are a number of minor detail differences between late production turrets and the kit turret represents one of the versions as well as minor hull differences also noted during research and it’s best to refer to references for the particular vehicle being modelled, I will make comment on some of these minor variations during the review to hopefully help out?
Dimensionally the kit matches well to the 1:48 plans in the Hunnicut Armored Car book blown up to 1:35 scale with the only real discrepancy being the rear turret angle which we will get to below with all other dimensions being within acceptable tolerances given the thicker lines on the plans when enlarged.
This consists of 295 parts in olive drab plastic, 17 in clear plastic plus two etched frets and a metal 37mm barrel and of course the decal and instruction sheets.
Standard of moulding is very good over all with very few pin marks and virtually no flash with just the normal moulding seams to be removed. Many of the parts have the sprue attachment points that overlap the part instead of butt joining like many kits and this makes it easy to remove the sprue spur leaving the detail intact, this is especially helpful with many of the smaller parts.
The surface details are very well done with nice weld seams and other detail as well as many very finely moulded parts that will need care during cleanup and assembly with the etched parts are also cleanly etched with the usual bending lines where required.
Metal 37mm barrel
This is made up of the lower floor pan, the two side panels with the lower front and rear panels and added to this is the upper rear plate, glacis plate with separate panels for the front and top driver’s compartment and finally the hull top for a total of 8 parts to the main hull.
The side panels have separate entry hatches and the engine deck access doors are also separate parts in case an engine comes along later and the Driver’s visors are also separate allow them to be shown open or closed.
All other details are separate parts allowing for excellent detail definition as is the lower suspension and obviously the fit of the main hull parts is all important and these went together quickly and easily without any trimming or filler needed.
The only thing to watch is the location of the lower rear plate (part C9) as there are no locating pins and the angle is not clear with the instructions showing to fit this to the lower hull pan first off but I found it easier to glue the two side panels in place and then fit the rear plate between them.
Just a quick note on the construction sequences shown in the instructions as these show to add all the finer detail parts to the hull panels “before” gluing them together which is something most would not do as the detail parts will get in the way while positioning the panels.
By following the more conventional assembly of fitting the hull panels together and then adding the smaller detail parts will make life a lot easier.
The suspension is fairly simple and has the large axles/differentials in two halves with just a small join seam to content with and separate diff housings and on the front axle the two wheel hubs with steering linkage. This is not designed to be steerable but it wouldn’t take too much work to reposition the hubs or even make them steerable for those wanting to go this far.
The four leaf springs are in two halves each and you should ensure the mating surfaces are smooth before fitting these together as there were a couple of raised pin marks on each that will stop them fitting together evenly if not removed. After joining the springs together there is a sizable join seam down the middle but this will be mostly hidden by the wheels after assembly if you didn’t want to fill these.
Once the axles and leaf springs are added to the lower hull along with the 2 drive shafts and numerous smaller suspension mounting parts added to the hull sides there are a number of additional suspension linkages to add between the axles and the hull sides. All these fitted without any problems if a little tedious but the detail definition once assembled is excellent.
The large wheels are moulded in two plastic halves in the conventional manner and have the correct hub detail for the front and rear wheels and also have 3 inner locating pins that ensure the tread pattern on the tyres lines up correctly which is a nice touch. The actual tread pattern is fairly simple on these military tyres and is nicely rendered along with the sidewall embossing and just adding the tyre valve would finish off the wheels nicely. Just watch as the hub detail is different front and back so make sure you fit them correctly which the instructions show.
The two side entry hatches have detail on the insides as well as a small pin mark to fill but as there is no interior included in the kit it would be best to glue these closed at this point.
Added to the hull sides are the large storage boxes/fuel tank supports with the fuel tanks made up of four parts with just a small join seam to remove and the tank attachments and linkages are very nicely detailed. The two fuel tank straps are provided as etched parts with fine plastic linkages either end and these will need care to assembly but the finished item matches the real straps very well. Also included are the fuel line linkages at the back of the fuel drums as well as those at the top behind the tanks for excellent attention to detail resulting in very detailed tank assemblies.
There are numerous other smaller fittings in the hull sides such as the tail lights and guards and all the tools which have fine etched securing straps provided for more nice detail definition as well as the 4 large fenders with very fine rear view mirror stalks on the front that will need extreme care removing from the sprues.
On the rear lower plate are the tow shackles and also two long brackets in etched metal but these are not identified in the instructions but are etched parts 21 and these are not present on all Staghounds so checking reference pictures would be the best to determine if needed?
Actually parts 21 are identified in a later assembly drawing but not when showing them being fitted which is a little strange?
On the upper rear plate are the large offset exhaust mufflers with separate armoured outlets with the mufflers made up of 7 parts each with alternate end caps with again just fine join seams on the mufflers to remove before fitting along with the large storage box between the mufflers. The fit of the rear hull plate to the main hull was again very good with no need for trimming or filler.
Moving to the front we have the glacis which has the separate machine gun coaming and full .30cal MG held on place by two swivel mounts and the outer mounting cap. The fitting of the two swivel mounts around the MG ball included on the barrel will be quite tricky if you want the MG to move after assembly as the parts are quite small and slippery with not much room for error while gluing.
The .30cal machine guns included in the kit are quite nice for plastic guns but care is needed removing the moulding seam from the cooling jacket to not damage the detail and each has the barrel muzzle cap as a very small separate part with the muzzle slightly hollowed out. These will need extreme care removing from the sprue and cleaning the sprue bur as there is not a lot to hold onto and once fitted in place we see the barrels are about 1mm too short going by the actual data on the guns.
This may not be that noticeable on the hull and co-axial MGs as you only see the barrels so the overall length is hidden and again on the AA gun it may not be that noticeable but as there are more aftermarket .30cal barrels available than you can poke a stick at and I replaced the kit barrels with those from Adlers Nest (because I have a pile of them) and this improves the look of the .30cals but this is up to the individual as the kit guns are quite acceptable as plastic .30cals go.
The fit of the MG coaming to the glacis is perfect with nice weld seam detail around the edges of the coaming and also added to the glacis are the two head lights that come with etched bush guards. Included on sprue D is a small jig for bending the etched guards to the right shape which is very handy as getting the correct bend otherwise would have been an adventure for sure. This jig is shown in the instructions but not numbered and is actually part Da (not an actual number just the letter “a” on the sprue runner, so watch this).
Again the fit of the glacis to the main hull is excellent and fitted above this is the front and top Driver’s plate with separate front visors and also additional separate vision port covers which can be shown open if you wish. There are also inner clear parts for the windshields if showing the visors open.
The top driver’s compartment panel has excellent contours and weld seams around the three periscopes that are provided as clear parts with separate mountings and top covers allowing you to position the periscope at any angle or even leave them out if you wish.
Finally there is the hull top plate and the surface detail on this is excellent with superb detail around the turret ring that includes the traverse teeth and the fine intake grills at the back with the engine access hatches as separate parts but again as there is nothing inside so these are best glued in place. The hatch hinges are all small separate parts as are the other fittings on the doors that again will need care removing from the sprues and during assembly with other items such as the two part fire extinguisher handle and front siren plus the cover over the intake grills added to the hull top.
As with the other parts the fit of the roof panel to the main hull was excellent again not requiring any trimming or filler making the overall fit of the hull parts as good as you will find on any kit.
The main turret has the upper shell with separate bustle underside and lower turret ring with the turret contours matching well to the plans and photos except for the rear turret wall which appears to be at too much of an angle with the actual wall being more vertical. But this is not a lot and could easily be remedied with some vigorous sanding.
As mentioned above there are a number of turret variations with side contours around the Commander’s hatch being angled as with the kit or vertical on others as well as round mounting plate in the centre of the turret roof above the gun mounting on some turrets? The aerial mounting (parts E5, E44) are also located further out towards the edge of the turret than shown in the kit turret with the instructions offering the choice of location for this mounting. I mention these differences not because they need altering but to advise that if you are looking at pictures of a Staghound turret which is different to the kit turret it’s not because the kit is wrong but that there are variations in the actual turret details.
Other details to note on the turret is the small bulge included on the left cheek as it should be and there are what appear to be sprue gate lines under the left and right lifting eyes but these lines are actually on the real turret and you should not remove these as would be the first reaction. Also the join line between the lower bustle and the main turret should also be left as there is again a weld seam on the real turret corresponding to the part join.
The separate crew hatches have separate hinge detail and excellent detail on both sides of the hatches with just one small pin mark on the large hatch to contend with. Other details added to the turret roof are the separate clear periscopes with separate mounting again allowing this to be positioned at any angle as well as the separate mortar smoke bomb thrower on the right side. There is the searchlight with separate mounting post and the aerial mountings and AA.30cal mounting post on the rear.
On the inside is the same No.19 radio set as included in the Humber SC kit with the etched guards that fits inside the turret bustle if you want to leave the top hatches open?
image of Humber SC radio
The M6 37mm main gun is complete with 7 part breech and gun guards for inside the turret as well as the barrel with a one piece plastic rear section of the barrel and the turned aluminium outer barrel section, there is also a plastic barrel with separate muzzle cap supplied and strangely the metal barrel is not mentioned in the instructions but most will opt to use this over the plastic barrel.
The main gun mounting plate have very well defined screw detail with the inner gun and sight mountings that are held in place to the back of the gun mounting plate by small brackets allowing the gun and sight to elevate. But the gun mountings are quite loose and the gun will not sit at the correct angle easily and you will most likely have to glue this in place at your desired elevation. The location of the co-axial .30cal MG is also not that positive and care will be needed to line this up correctly with the 37mm barrel, I again choose to replace the .30cal barrel with the metal Adlers Nest barrel for better definition but this is up to the individual.
Inside the main sight are three clear parts but after fitting the main clear sight (part F5) I could not get the upper part F8 to fit, but leaving this off won’t be an issue as you can’t see it after assembly in any case.
The instructions show to join the 37mm barrel to the main gun from either side of the gun mounting but this makes things a little difficult and you can assemble the gun and barrel completely and then fit this through the gun mounting from inside which makes assembly a lot easier. There is a small fillet added below the gun (part E11) and you have to open up two locating holes to fit this and fitting the outer gun shield (part E29) was a bit of a challenge as there is no actual locating point on the barrel and after fitting the gun to the mounting and adding the lower fillet you should position the shield and glue to the barrel but the fit of the shield to the barrel is not that snug and care will be needed here.
Added to the outside of the sight aperture is a fixed fillet (part E47) and you again have to open up two locating holes for this but the instructions don’t tell you this, although it’s fairly obvious as well as the sight guard that glues to the movable inner sight mounting.
Once the gun mounting is complete you can glue this to the front of the turret and the fit is again very good not leaving any gaps around the mounting with just the lower turret ring to add.
Fitting the lower turret ring is quite tricky as there are three small notches just inside the lower turret wall which correspond to three small recesses in the turret ring and you have to line these up for a good fit but the instructions are not that clear on this so take care.
There are small clips on the underside of the lower turret ring that just “clip” over the traverse teeth in the hull top turret ring holding the turret in place even though there are no notches in the teeth ring it still fits easily.
Included with the kit is a small etched fret with a selection of numbers and letters that you can use to add casting numbers as you wish but there are no clues given in the instructions.
These are a bit of a challenge as there are no actual defined steps, just a collection of exploded view drawings showing the various assembly sequences and there is some duplication as well the assembly doesn’t follow a logical sequence. As mentioned above they indicate to add all the smaller detail parts to the main hull parts before final assembly which most will ignore and assembly main hull first and I found some of the sequences a little confusing.
But with care and plenty of forethought and study of the instructions before gluing plus the usual test fitting should eliminate any major disasters and at the end of the day you can work out what goes where.
You get quite a large decal sheet with colourful markings for 7 Staghounds but the marking information in the instructions is quite small and not easy to read the decal locations and care will be needed along and a magnifying glass would be helpful.
Also included is a colour chart with the paint numbers required given for Gunze Sangyo, Hobby Color, Humbrol and Tamiya paints which help in selecting the right colours.
The markings provided are:
Overall this is an excellent kit of the big Staghound AC with excellent surface details and some very fine detail parts included as well as the additional etched parts to add to this.
The fit of the parts is also very good making for easy assembly as there was virtually no trimming or filling required on the parts assembled during the review adding to the appeal of the kit although the instructions may be a little confusing.
There are some areas requiring care during assembly such as the gun mounting but these shouldn’t cause any real problems and while there is no interior other than the 37mm gun and No.19 radio in the turret this kit should please most Allied modellers.
Highly recommended 8/10
Model Detail Photo Monograph No.29
Published by Rossagraph
A History of American
Wheeled Combat Vehicles
Thanks to Bronco Models for the review kit.