by: Darren Baker [ ]
The M22 Locust is an American designed airborne tank that (excuse the pun) never really took off. It was a light weight tank designed by Marmon Herrington and was designed to be air-portable by the C54 Skymaster aircraft. The idea was to remove the turret and place it in the aircraft and carry the hull under the aircraft secured by the clevises on each side. The tank never saw active service with US forces but a limited number saw service with the British Parachute Regiment in the form of the 6th Airborne Reconnaissance Regiment during Operation Plunder, on that occasion they were transported in Hamilcar gliders and so there was no need to remove the turret. This diminutive little tank is not much larger than a Bren gun carrier and it is one of those armoured fighting vehicles I never expected to see from an injection moulded plastic manufacturer.
Inside one of Bronco Models typical boxes you will find;
• 5 green sprues
• An upper and lower hull
• 2 slide moulded idler wheels
• A clear sprue
• A photo etched fret
• A decal sheet
• A glossy print of the box art
• An A4 glossy instruction booklet
Starting this review with the instruction booklet seems a good place to begin; the high quality glossy instruction booklet consists of 16 pages with the front having an image of the box art and a short introduction in English, German, and Chinese. On the next page you will find a guide to applying the included decals, then a breakdown of the construction symbols used, finally there is a paint guide with four manufacturers paint listed which are;
1. Mr Hobby
2. Hobby Color
Before you finally get to the construction stages there is a parts list in order that you can check all of the needed parts are in the box. You now get to the construction stages in the booklet which uses the line drawing method to show the way. Construction is complete in 23 stages which are very clear and not overly busy. The instruction booklet finishes with three finishing options for your M22 Locust which are all vehicle of the 6th Airborne armoured Reconnaissance Regiment and all dated Oct 1944;
You begin this model by adding a partial interior which, while I cannot guarantee the accuracy, is a nice touch in such a small model and something that Bronco Models has been doing a lot more often of late. It should be mentioned that the sample I am looking at to write this review is one of the first produced and did not include details of a construction correction in stage one, Bronco Models E-mailed me the correction and I have included it in this review on the very rare chance that you are missing this correction when you purchase this kit.
These six stages cover the running gear and tracks of the M22 Locust. The idler wheels on this model are a fantastic example of just what it is possible to do with injection moulded plastic currently as they are little gems. The main bogie assembly of which there are four is going to take some time to complete as while it is fairly straight forward there are some very small parts. On stage 7 there is the second and final part correction which I have again included pictures of in this review. The tracks for this model are, surprisingly, link and length which I was not expecting, however thought has gone into this and they are shaped where needed similar to how Trumpeters KV tank tracks are supplied. It should be said however that the tracks supplied with this model are very fine and a reasonable step to take.
Covers the addition of the fenders on the M22 Locust and any relevant details, this step is split into two sub sections and should not present any issues.
Covers finishing the upper hull both inside and out and there is not that much on the upper hull to worry about. It is worth mentioning that photo etched brush guards are supplied for the lights as seen fitted to the M22 Locust at Bovington but period photos of the M22 do not seem to support this addition to the vehicle.
Stage 17- 23:
Covers construction of the turret and unlike the upper hull there is a fair number of parts to be added including quite a lot of interior detail which does mark this kit as a fantastic offering for those who like to super detail their models or show them in the less than normal situation such as having its turret removed. Bronco Model has provided two main barrels to give you the option of two very different looking finished models.
The Parts in General:
As is expected of Bronco Models the moulding quality is of a very high standard with no obvious issues that I detected. The sprues are packed in their own polythene bags with the exception of the one duplicated sprue. The upper and lower hull are packaged in a bag together in the correct orientation and the two idler wheels are packaged in their own bag inside the hull. Photo etched parts have been kept to a minimum but not at the expense of detail as there are some very fine photo etched parts such as the grills.
This is, I believe, an excellent model of a very small tank that will, I am sure, start showing up in dioramas with some Para’s in attendance. The small size of the finished model should not detract from what is a very detailed kit, and with it including an interior should make for a little stunner when complete and leaves the way open for the after-market manufacturers’ to supply an engine for the model. As usual Bronco Model has gone a very long way to provide a model of a vehicle I never expected to see in plastic.