Bronco Models
A13 Mk.II Cruiser Tank Mk.IV
Bronco Models Kit No. CB-35027
1:35 Scale
Review by Terry Ashley

Bronco Models

(Thanks to Peter Brown for his assistance with the historical info)
Most British Cruiser tanks from WW2 used the suspension system designed by J Walter Christie with its large road wheels without return rollers as were a number of Russian tank designs the most famous being the BT and T-34 series.

The designations of the early cruiser tanks was rather confusing and changed a number of times within a short period of time.

On the A13 series, there were three types -
A13 Mk I later Cruiser Mk III with the original straight-sided turret and co-axial Vickers machine gun.
A13 Mk II later Cruiser Mk IV with extra armour on the hull front, additional turret armour and co-axial Vickers machine gun, later vehicles had the box over the gun mounting.
A13 Mk IIA later Cruiser Mk IVA had additional hull and turret armour but mounted a co-axial Besa machine gun.

They can be found with two types of gun mounting, the "open" style seen on early Crusaders and Covenanters and the less-common "rectangular" one similar to that on early Daimler armoured cars and Tetrarch light tanks (though it was not the same mounting)

There was a tank confusingly named "A13 Mk III" which was later Cruiser V aka Covenanter but it was a totally different design intended to replace the A13 series alongside the A15 Cruiser VI Crusader.

The Kit:

Bronco Models have followed the release of their A13 Mk I Cruiser Tank Mk III (kit #CB-35025) with this kit of the subsequent version, the A13 Mk II Cruiser Mk IV and as this is basically the MK.III with the additional turret armour the kit also shares many of the parts from the Mk.III kit as you would expect.

Since reviewing the first A13 kit I have acquired additional references which allows for a more informed look at this kit with some of the comments also applying retrospectively to the first kit.

The kit consists of 218 parts in olive drab plastic, 18 small wing nuts in light grey plastic, 6 parts in clear plastic, 85 etched parts, a set of new individual link plastic tracks plus the decal and instruction sheets.

Quality of the plastic moulding is excellent overall with clean crisp details and a minimum of pin marks or flash and any that are present easy to remove or in the case of pin marks mostly hidden after assembly.

Many of the sprue attachments overlap the parts which make them easier to remove and many of the separate hull and turret panels have quite large locating notches and corresponding recesses instead of the conventional locating pins. These result in precise location of the parts but occasionally these notches get in the way and its better to cut them off but in the main they work well.

You should also note the plastic used is quite soft and while still allowing good detail definition it is easy to remove too much material during cleanup so take care while trimming the sprue attachment burs.

Etched parts
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Plastic wing nuts
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Clear parts
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Etched parts:

The etched frets have fine protective film on both sides which has to be peeled off before use. The etched parts still have the conventional attachment points to the fret frames and so I am not sure what the film is actually for other than to make damaging the parts during removal of the film very easy.

Many of the etched parts are very fine and some quite thin and extreme care is needed while removing the film to avoid damage. Removing the first or “top” film is easy enough as the other film holds the parts in place and I found it best to slowly peel the second film away from all four directions converging in the middle but you will still have to hold down the smaller parts with the tip of a #11 blade otherwise they will pull against the attachment fret and be damaged.

Lower Hull:

This is a conventional tub with separate side suspension components and a separate outer hull panel that sandwiches the suspension parts between the two; you get the full spring/shock absorbers even though you only see the axles after assembly.

The rear idler and fourth road wheel station axle are attached to the outer hull panel and not the main hull with the alignment not being as precise as the hull mounted axles so ensure the fourth road wheel station axle aligns level with the first three axles.

At the back are separate final drive hull covers and separate final drive housings with additional etched strips that fit over the cover and the rear section of the hull to add additional surface details than included on the plastic parts. Note these etched strips are very thin and care is needed while removing from the frets and in fitting to not damage these.

The lower rear hull panels are a good fit with the upper plate (part D13) having notches at the side that fit into corresponding notches in the final drive covers to ensure precise location. Added to these panels are fittings to the final drive covers and tow shackles and as mentioned you should watch the instruction assembly sequences as the hull assembly is on page 1 while the lower rear hull plates not until page 6.

Moving to the road wheels these are moulded as one piece each with a separate hub cap and have nice perforated rubber and centre hub plate details, the insides are hollow but this is completely hidden after assembly and of no consequence.

The idlers also have separate inner and outer wheel with nice rim detail and these trap a small plastic cap between them for attaching the separate hull idler mounting presumably to allow the idler to rotate but you would have to extremely careful with the glue and it is easier to just glue the idler to the axle.

There are two sets of drive sprockets included in the kit, the original set from the previous kit and a new set with larger lightening holes in the sprocket discs. Photos of A13s show both style of drive sprockets were used but those with the larger holes seem to be more prevalent on the Mk.IV than on the Mk.III?

Each sprocket is made up of 5 parts each with the inner and outer toothed sprocket discs, inner retaining cap like the idlers and two etched inner sprocket discs that fit over the insides of each sprocket wheel. These etched discs are supplied flat on the fret and you have to bend to a shallow cone shape and join to two ends together, best done by soldering for greater strength (before fitting the sprockets obviously) once the cone shape is formed. I did this by basically kneading the parts with the fingers to get the cone shape.

When fitting the etched discs to the back of the sprockets you have to ensure they are level with the inner face of the sprocket to allow them to fit together and some light filing may be needed for this but it is only minor if needed.


The tracks in this kit are new individual link in black plastic which has also been released as a separate set #AB3516 which would allow you to update any earlier A13 kit your may have in the stash due to the track kit issue with that kit.

Detail on the links is nicely done with very small casting numbers on the track shoe link, while the smaller connecting link has the guide tooth and these are designed to fit together alternatively to form the track runs.

Cleanup of the links is just the two small sprue attachment burs on each link but care is needed as these are quite small and need careful handling. This also applied when gluing the links together as they don’t hold together and you have to glue each one individually which is a little tedious. Another small thing to watch out for is the casting numbers have to be aligned the same way around on each link as these were fitted in an orderly fashion and not mixed any way they came. As the numbers are very small you need to ensure you align these correctly before gluing although you’d have to look closely to see the miss-aligned numbers on the assembled track run. More a case of you know it’s there like many things in modelling.

The assembled track runs fit well around the sprockets and the track length issue from the first kit won’t be a problem here as you just use as many links as required to form the track runs.

Upper Hull:

This is a large single piece with numerous cut-outs for the engine bay doors, turret ring and the front driver’s compartment sub-assembly; it also includes the full side fenders that have the correct kink at the hull midsection as it should as well as the indented strengthening ridges lengthwise on the upper surface only.

The instructions show to fit the upper and lower hulls together before proceeding and this is the best option to as there is no other interior and to allow the upper rear hull plates to be fitted.

Due to the large cut-outs at the front for the driver’s compartment assembly there is some warping of the hull front section that looks quite dramatic when dry fitting the hull. But you should firstly securely glue the rear hull section together ensuring the upper hull sits as far back as the lower hull side contours will allow and then glue the front sections together and the warped upper hull pulls down snugly against the lower hull with just some very minor trimming needed along the upper nose join (see images).

There are a number of issues with the engine deck layout, the most obvious being the location of the hinges on the rear most engine access hatch. The kit has them attached to the top rear hull plate but in fact there should be a thin metal strip between the engine hatch and rear plate on which the hinges are located. This allows the rear plate to be removed which couldn’t happen with the hatch hinges in the position they are on the kit.

The shape and location of the side air vents are also not quite correctly placed and the vent louvers themselves face the wrong direction. There are also small size and shape issues with the engine hatch latches and the rear battery access plates as well as some minor issues with the bolt head locations.

The overall outer dimensions of the deck appear to be correct but the position of many of the details needed attention with some like the vents and engine hatch hinges needing quite a bit of effort to remedy. Also once the intake vents have been addressed the kit supplied etched covers will no longer fit which adds another issue to overcome.

Tiger Model Designs are about to release a resin replacement engine deck (set #46301) that addresses most of the issues such as the hatch hinges, intake vents, shape and location, the hatch latches and battery access plate sizes. A review of this deck will be posted as soon as the set arrives as this should take a lot of the hard work out of the corrections required.

All the additional hull plates have bevelled edges that make for very clean joins without the need for any filler or trimming in the most part due to the excellent overall fit of the panels.

The upper rear hull panels can now be fitted and these also have locating notches along the edges to ensued precise location and these work well with the fit of the panels to the hull being very good, just watch the position of the rear plate (part D12) as this overlaps the lower plate added earlier but the instructions are not that clear on this.

Added to the rear panels are the rear exhaust muffler made up of 17 plastic and etched parts including the fishtail exhaust outlets and build into a very nice sub-assembly especially with the etched parts adding excellent definition. The muffler assembly is trapped between the upper rear hull panels which see the top cover panel having the six ventilation louvers fully opened out for an excellent appearance. This exhaust sub-assembly is also a very good fit to the main hull without any trimming or filling needed.

Moving to the fenders there is the two air filters fitted on both sides and again these are made up of 6 plastic and 1 etched parts for good definition with the filters housed inside the fender mounting box with separate open ends that allow the air filters to be seen after assembly. You should note when painting that these air filters do not rust as does the exhaust muffler and this is a common mistake made when painting models with both air filters and exhaust mufflers.

The fender storage boxes also have additional etched parts that include the box faces, securing brackets and lid securing latches for more good detail definition and the boxes fit easily to the fenders, you should also note there are no pioneer tools provided as these are carried inside the fender boxes and not attached to the hull as with many other AFV’s.

Driver’s compartment:

This is a major sub-assembly made up of 5 main parts that you should fit together and let the glue dry completely before attempting to fit to the main hull and you should also ensure the 5 separate plates are set perfectly at right angles to each other while the glues dries, there are two visor parts also added to the front of the assembly.

Fitting the assembled driver’s compartment to the hull was a little tricky due the angles and shape of the hull cut-outs but after opening out the hull locating notches and some very minor trimming at the front of the compartment (see images) the assembly fitted well to the hull without the need for any filler. But you will have take care here and test fit often to manoeuvre the parts about a bit to get them in position before gluing and this area does have to potential for problems if not careful with the initial compartment assembly and during fitting. But as the assembly images show the whole assembly goes together well if this care is taken.

There are four separate hull inspection hatches with separate small grab handles and these fit very well to the hull openings as does the separate front section of the driver’s hatch. The rear section of the hatch is moulded with the main compartment and can’t really be shown open but there is nothing inside to see anyway.

Also added to the hull front is the large head light box which has the box itself with separate headlight inside with a clear plastic lens and also the front of the box is in clear plastic to allow the central round section to remain clear after painting, some careful masking will be in order here.

Finally at the front there are the tow shackles and small lights on the fenders as well as two rather basic fire extinguishers added to the hull as well as some additional etched parts for the fenders and hull sides but as mentioned the assembly sequences are all over the place as you have to be careful to add all these smaller parts.

There are separate covers for the rear most suspension springs and additional small etched and plastic parts for around the hull including some small bolt heads found on the sprue B runners but are not numbered and just appear in the hull illustration on page 8 of the instructions.

The side fenders have the front and rear sections that fit neatly to the upper fenders as well as separate rounded fender sections front and back if you attach the side fenders as some photos show these side fenders not fitted but all decal illustrations show them in place.


The main turret is made up of 6 main parts, the upper shell, lower plate with turret ring, front plate with gun mounting and three for the rear turret bustle, all these panels again have the 3 locating notches with corresponding recesses for precise location and these worked well with most of the assembly except for the underside join of parts H9/H12 and I cut away the notches completely from part H9 to allow these to fit properly.

All the turret panels again have bevelled edges that make for an excellent appearance after assembly with no join seams or trimming needed and where possible I always glue these joins from the inside using liquid cement to keep the outside join as clean as possible.

The main turret shell, rear plate and front plate are revised for this kit to include the location points for the additional spaced armour provided but there unfortunately an issue with the spaced armour provided for the turret front plate. This in fact wasn’t spaced on the front plate just a thicker plate added flush onto the original plate with cut-outs for the left vision port and lower bolted brackets either side of the mantlet.

There is quite a bit of confusion regarding this and to confuse matters further there is a unusual museum example at The Tank Museum that does have spaced front armour on the turret. But there are a number of differences between the layout on this vehicle and the actual Mk.IV turret layout. Firstly the lower corners of the front plate are angled and not square as on this kit and the production Mk.IV. Secondly there is just a cut-out in the spaced armour for the left front plate vision port while the kit has the entire vision port on the spaced armour provided.

The reason the vision port can be seen on the actual Mk.IV is the additional armour is added around the vision port and not spaced out. The kit incorrectly has the vision port transposed to the added armour itself but this would also need the inner visor detail just behind the added armour which is clearly not the case.

Also when looking at photos of the actual turret the co-axial MG and 2pdr gun tube protrude further out from the armoured mantlet “box” than they do on the kit, again due to the fact the added front armour was not spaced on the actual vehicle (see images).

Correcting the position of the front armour will require considerable work including shortening the side armour plates and is not for the feint hearted unfortunately.

The remaining side and rear plates are spaced correctly with mounting brackets added to the original turret sides and rear wall with all these fitting precisely to reduce any fit problems. The corner joins of the spaced armour plates is bevelled making for a very goof fit not requiring any filling, but you need to take care and align these correctly while gluing to make allowances for any minor adjustments along the way.

Assembling the main turret shell was trouble free apart from the minor alteration mentioned above and the fitting of the gun mantlet needs a little care if you want it to elevate after assembly.

The mantlet has the outer gun mounting and co-axial Vickers MG included with very small attachment brackets on the inside to hold the mounting in place and I found it easier to firstly glue the right mounting (part H34) in place and let the glue dry completely so you don’t have to worry about this side moving about as you attach the other mounting bracket.

You then slip the mounting pin into part H34 and carefully attach the left bracket (part H33) ensuring you don’t get any glue onto the mounting pin if you want the gun to elevate later, if you do get glue on the pin just move the gun mounting up and down until the glue has lost it “bite” and it will be fine.

The fit of the added front mantlet armour “box” is also very good but will need some alterations when addressing the front armour issue as per above.

The 2pdr gun barrel is moulded in one piece with slightly hollowed out muzzle although you may want to drill this out a little further for a better appearance and the gun itself is the flared 2pdr Mk.IX gun from the initial A13 Mk.III which can be seen on some Mk.IV as well as the Mk.X barrel with the lip around the muzzle. There is a small mould seam to be removed from the barrel tube and I have replaced the kit barrel with the a metal barrel the Lionmarc/Passion models 2pdr Mk.IX barrel (Set #LM50020) which only needs minor modifications to fit.

The muzzle cap for the co-axial Vickers is a small separate part that required the locating hole be drilled out to fit but is no big deal.

Two Commander’s cupolas are included, the original 7 sided bolted cupola and a new round welded cupola but only the round cupola is applicable to the Mk.IV

The round cupola has four parts that fit together very well with small pins to locate the parts precisely with additional small detail items for the hatch mounts and front visor cover with the assembly of this cupola being far easier than the bolted cupola due to the fewer parts.

The Loader’s hatches are in four parts with additional etched detail and have excellent detail definition and can also be fitted opened or closed as you wish with other detail including the forward vane sight in fine etched parts, fine plastic lifting hooks at the four corners and the smoke grenade launchers on the right turret wall are made up of 6 parts with the tubes nicely hollowed out and excellent detail on the “gun” and you really only need add the wiring to finish off nicely.

Also new for this kit are the two smoke grenade included in the kit with separate mounting plates, stock and tubes that are the correct size with just the wiring to be added to finish off.

The rear mounted aerial mounting is also in multiple etched and fine plastic parts and builds into a very delicate but finely detailed mounting with the aerial wire made from stretched sprue or similar.

Fitting the turret to the hull turret ring is quite precise with four small notches on the bottom of the turret that clip over the hull turret ring as this doesn’t have the usual cut-outs in the hull turret ring as do many kits and once clipped into place the turret rotates freely without any excess movement. Once you have fitted the turret it can be taken off again but this requires a little effort due to the clips and it would be advisable not to fit the turret to the hull until late in the assembly and probably after painting.


The instructions are the usual exploded view type and thankfully have been modified from the initial kit. The steps are now in a far more logical sequence and much easier to follow but as usual you should carefully study the steps before any gluing or cutting to avoid unnecessary problems.

Two options are included on the sheet.
  • Option 1:British 10th Hussars, 2nd Armoured Brigade, 1st Armoured Division, France, 1940
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  • Option 2:British 7th Infantry Brigade (Royal Sussex Regt), Cyprus 1942
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While the kit is well done production wise with clean crisp details, good fit of the parts and engineering such as the bevelled panel joins there are some detail issues mostly with the engine deck and turret front armour that will require quite a bit of work to remedy.

The breakdown of some assemblies could lead to problems for less experienced modellers or if not careful in aligning the parts before gluing but as the assembly image show the overall fit is excellent if due care is taken.

The many etched parts provided add considerable detail definition to the kit and it will build into a very attractive model from the box is accuracy is of no concern.

But for those who value accuracy the issues outlined detract from the final appeal unless you are prepared for some work to get a satisfactory result.


The Sprues:

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Detail Images
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Thanks to Bronco Models for the review kit.

Page created September 3, 2009