This is a build review to follow up on the in-box review
I did of the Bronco GPW 1/4 ton truck, mod. 1942.
The instructions are in booklet form, printed with line drawings of the assembly instructions. There is text in English and Chinese. Translation into English is sometimes difficult to understand but the line drawings are well done and generally clear.
is assembly of the engine. This is done in three separate sub steps. The main engine block halves line up well and have good detail. The water pump/alternator assembly does not have any specific fitting point to it. There is a flat portion that must fit squarely against the lip on the oil pan. Mine was in place but I failed to notice that I moved it while finishing the rest of the assembly and as a result the engine sat crooked. Likewise, assembly of the gearbox is more of a general placement than specific locator pins, and the alignment may be a little tricky later on.
places the engine onto the frame. Cross-member part A11 must be placed with the locator hole to the driver’s side as the part is asymmetrical. I thought I had it right by my dyslexia got me again. The gear box won't fit well if this part is not placed right, and even when placed right there still may be a fit issue. When I do this kit again (they are, after all, coming out with more variants of this vehicle) I will build the engine onto the frame to make sure everything fits right, and test fit with the body to make sure there will be no future issues.
There are etched brackets that go on the frame. Each is made of five parts, although this could have been simplified. Rather than assemble the part and try to place it, I placed the base, part P2, and then added the sides and small bolt heads.
is placement of the drive shafts, axles and leaf springs. Detail was very good here and I thought this was well laid out. The only thing to watch is that the springs are lined up as fit on mine was a touch wobbly. I liked the separate attachment plates for the U bolts holding the leaf springs to the axles. If you want the extra detail, it appears the Minor workable leaf spring set for the Tamiya Jeep kit would work here quite well.
adds the shock absorbers and muffler. Alignment of the exhaust pipe to the section from the engine was not great. As noted in the review, if you want to represent an early production GPW you will need to find or make a round muffler.
adds the wheels, steering rod, and, in conjunction with steps 6 and 7
, poseable wheels, turned either left or right. The first problem I encountered in this step was understanding which parts were not to be cemented and how this was to be accomplished, so that the wheels could turn. In the end, I decided not to mess with turning wheels and cemented everything in place. Fit of the wheels to the axles was not great and as such I had to rig a temporary jig to keep them straight. I went with the option of wheels turned left to give the model some life. I thought the inclusion of these parts was a very nice touch by Bronco. I assume you could use the left over pieces to modify any other manufacturer’s kit to some degree, if you wanted.
adds the vented side panel on the engine compartment, and reinforcing plates on the vehicle bottom. Clear lenses for the reflectors are added on the sides, but I left these off, to be added after painting.
is assembly of the firewall, radiator, gear levers, tool boxes and rear panel. Aside from putting the radiator, B29, on upside down I had no major issues here. The rear panel needs to be carefully trimmed after dry fitting to make sure it goes in well. For the tool boxes, I opted to place parts A12 and A13 after cutting out the sprue sections, and then finish cleaning up the attachment points with it secured in place as the part is quite fragile and easily broken. The lids for the tool boxes needed careful trimming to fit securely. The fire extinguisher was not installed until later so I could be sure of fit. I had to place the brake pedal carefully to show it raised from the vehicle floor.
adds more detail to the body. There are etched parts for the reinforcing panels on the inner body that must be added before the fire extinguisher in step 9. Headlight brackets, also etch, are added as well. There is no indication as to where to bend, or how to bend. Photos show what appears to be a simple 90 degree bend. Where the bracket attaches to the grille is another issue. I have seen photos showing the hinged section flat against the top of the grille and others that appear to attach just behind. I opted to bend the small hinge part and place it against the rear of the grille facing up. Gas and clutch pedals should be placed with the curved side pointing out, although the army maintenance manual did show these reversed once.
is assembly of the seats. Detail is excellent, with the screw heads that attach the seat covers to the frame represented. Sprue attachment points are between these, so careful cleanup is again required. The plastic is very delicate and can be easily broken. The seat cushion on the driver's side did not want to fit very well. The texturing on the seats themselves doesn't look convincing, in my opinion, and should best be covered by the provided figures. The rear seat is a very delicate assembly, with much minimized contact points. Unfortunately, no provision is supplied for showing it folded up, nor is there a tire pump.
places the seats in the vehicle, along with the gas tank and dashboard. I waited until this step to add the steering column. Decals are provided for the instruments. Small (tiny) "O" bolts are provided on the dashboard for the security strap. You can also add a dash mount for the .30 cal MG. I consider it best not to add it until the kit is complete as decals for the placquards over the glove box need to be placed first. For all the fiddly parts, I was surprised to see the windscreen latch on the dashboard was just represented by a lump and not a separate part.
adds the underside connections for the gas and clutch pedals. Then the frame and body are joined. If your test fit with the engine showed no issues, there should be no problems here.
adds the top of the radiator with oil filter and air cleaner. This is another delicate part and may come apart on its own. The frame for the foul weather hood is also added here. You can add the steering wheel, but I opted to leave it until after the driver is completed. For the early GPW, part B65 is correct.
places the tow hook and rear grab handles. You can add the spare tire now, and also the gas can. The gas can was not a feature of the initial GPW and is optional.
gives you three options for the windscreen. They are with the window folded in, window folded out and with a canvas cover installed. Wing nuts are included for the attachment of the windscreen to the vehicle. Option four would be to not install the windscreen at all, depending on your references or preferences. I went with canvas cover based on Ernie Pyle's observation that most every vehicle he saw had it in place. If you go with the glass, there are etched brackets for the windscreen and separate brackets to install an optional rifle rack.
adds brackets for the t-handles for the hood and windscreen. You will need to measure on your own to get proper placement as there is no guide or provided mark. Optional t-handles are provided depending on the position of your windscreen. The shovel and axe are installed, along with etch brackets. Bronco copied Tamiya here in offering a poor axe head and half bracket molded in place. The hood and windscreen are placed, and an optional blackout light, with brush guard, which should be more of a tombstone shape, can also be installed. The rear view mirror is added.
shows you options of raised or lowered hood, and the installed windscreen options.
adds the front bumper. For an early GPW, two small holes must be drilled out as indicated. You can also add the optional tow bumper or add a wire cutter to the standard bumper, complete with etch support brace.
Steps 20 and 21
cover assembly of the kit provided machine guns and mounting brackets. For the M2 .50 cal you get an etched mounting bracket for the ammo box and an etch handle for the barrel. The instructions show either the .50 or .30 cal MG mounted to the pedestal in the center rear floor. The scabbard mount for the Thompson SMG has separate upper sides so you have some depth for added detail.
shows final installation of the various MG mounts and assembly of the vehicle is complete.
is assembly of the trailer, starting with the lower frame. The front of my trailer frame was warped and as a result there were some fit issues. You can show the trailer in towed mode or with the front leg folded down, trailer standing on its own (an exciting diorama option). Tow chains are included but will have to be bent to shape if the trailer is actually being towed. The instructions state to use stretched sprue for the wires to the tail light brackets, which I did. It worked out ok and was fairly easy, but was less flexible than wire. There is no plug to attach to the tow vehicle, but since there is no socket on the rear of the GPW this may not matter. A manual brake handle is also included.
adds etch brackets to the lower frame of the trailer, as well as the brake line latch. The tail lights are also installed but mine needed some trimming to fit.
adds the trailer sides. If you want to add the etch tie down hooks, remove the plastic bumps before assembly to make things easier. There is a connecting line from the parking brake handle to the brake linkage. Fit of the sides was fairly good, but not perfect, so again, dry fitting is a must.
is assembly of the trailer wheels, axle and leaf springs. The optional working wheel instructions are not included here.
places this assembly on the trailer body, adds shock absorbers and brake line and the trailer is complete. There are no clear lenses for the reflectors.
adds an optional cover to the trailer. Grommets are indicated by indents on the edges so it would be easy to drill them out, then run string through and around the tie downs to get a secure load.
attaches the trailer to the tow hitch, a very tricky operation as the delicate parts may break before you can get them placed.
adds string to the front bumper as a tow rope, and an optional etch disc for data. With this the vehicle is complete.
shows assembly and painting of the included accessories, including the M1 carbines, tarps, kit bags, ammo cans (with decals for stenciled data) and jerry cans.
There is no specific step for assembling the figures. Completed figures are shown in the painting guide. I assembled the driver and front seat passenger, minus arms, to check for fit of the major body sections. Fit and detail were quite good overall. When I placed the driver in his seat, I found he did not fit securely, either floating over the seat, or with his feet floating over the floor away from the pedals. The front seat passenger sat much better. To check for multi-kit versatility, I also placed the driver in the seat on an AFV Club WC51 I have. He would not it there at all. Fit in the Tamiya jeep was ok.
As the instructions state, care is needed when assembling this kit. With patience, and dry fitting, it will turn out to be an impressive kit. The details and the included extras are very nice. There are a lot of photo references online, and these vehicles served throughout the war on every front, in every place. Any frustration I felt with my assembly was largely of my own doing. Tips for any aftermarket manufacturer would be the round muffler, brackets for the reinforcing plates added to the inside rear panel to support the extra weight of the jerry can, replacement seat cushions, a tire pump, a better axe/mounting bracket and one piece etch parts to replace the multi part brackets that could be replicated by folding, which is mainly just nitpicking.
In conclusion, if you are looking for a 1/4 ton truck build from WWII, I consider this the best general option available, with lots detail, extras included and another variant already on store shelves.