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Bronco 1/35 scale Buffalo MPCV

Kit:35100 // Scale:1/35 // Price:$82.95
Bronco Models, from Dragon Models USA, 626-968-0322
Crisply molded; outstanding detail; just the right amount of photoetched metal
Some parts extremely small, could as easily have been molded in; no figures
Injection-molded, 758 parts (90 photoetched metal, 5 vinyl), decals
With the increasing demand for modern armor models, Bronco follows up its series of M1114 vehicles with the Buffalo 6 x 6 Mine Protected Clearance Vehicle (MPCV). A styrene Buffalo has been long awaited by modern armor builders — and Bronco does not disappoint!

In the large box are 15 sprues holding 663 flash-free injection-molded parts. An extensive photoetched-metal fret also is included and adds a lot of detail to the build. Another fret provides a dozen water bottles, and, for even more detail, there are a couple of M4 carbines and a detailed SINCGARS radio (same fret as in the M1114 kit). A Rhino IED countermeasure and Duke antenna are included as options.

The 35-page magazine-style instructions include 51 assembly steps, a sprue map, and a colored decal placement and paint guide. My kit also contained a correction sheet for Step 12. The instructions are clear, but the sheer number of parts can be overwhelming. 

You have your choice of three different Buffaloes to build: U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps Buffalo, or a French army vehicle. (I chose the U.S. Army.) Each variant has its own configuration, so pay close attention to the instructions. I found that Step 13 should be skipped if you are building one of the U.S. versions, even though this is not mentioned in the instructions.

The first 12 steps are dedicated to the chassis and suspension. Detail here is superb and really pops out on the completed model. 

The wheels are a three-piece styrene assembly (treads and two sidewalls). The tread detail looks like the reference photos I have seen. Fit of the sidewalls to the tread is superb, and the detail there appears accurate as well.

The interior is fantastic. All six seats have molded-in harnesses, and the instrument panel and steering wheel are fine moldings. Individual decals are provided for each gauge. An air-conditioning unit and radio equipment help make the interior look busy. Sadly, most of this great detail will be hidden once the roof is on.

I ran into a minor fit issue installing the roof; it was extremely tight, yet I found a slight gap that needed filling. All the antennas you need are included, but mind which Buffalo you are building — the layout is different on each one. The photoetched-metal parts really stand out on the exterior, especially the top grille on the hood. 

The robotic arm is a kit of its own, and it looks like the real thing. Close attention to the instructions is needed here: Many of the parts are not to be glued, which gives the arm full articulation (a nice touch). However, much of the linkage is absent; I decided how I wanted to mount the arm, then glued the pieces together.

I painted with Testors Model Master U.S. Army/Marines sand; the tires are Floquil grimy black. I used a mix of pastels for weathering, but went easy because these vehicles are still new.

The few decals included were no problem. I tinted the windows with a mix of Tamiya clear green and clear blue to depict the vehicle’s ballistic glass. I kept these pieces for the very end, making painting much easier.

My Buffalo took 48 hours, about what I expected when I opened the box. What I didn’t expect was how much fun I would have. With the high parts count, I wouldn’t recommend this model to a beginner. But a modern armor fan who has built a few kits and worked with photoetched metal should have very little problem making a realistic Buffalo.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the September 2012 FinceScale Modeler.
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