Bronco H39

This is the Bronco French H39 kit. Overall, not a bad kit but it gave me some real fits. I got this kit because it had two of the things I prize in armor kits; a full interior and individual length tracks. Both were a major disappointment.
The interior was sparse to say the least. As I examined photographs of surviving H39 interiors it became clear I would have to do some work to set it right. The viewports in the turret were nonexistent on the inside. I fixed those by scraping the locator pins clear and pirating some resin Verlinden viewports from a Stuart kit. The result isn’t 100% accurate but still better than nothing. The bulkhead between the engine compartment and the fighting compartment did not extend all the way to the top of the hull inside. This was fixed with Evergreen stock. The Eduard photo etch set added a lot to the kit. I can't say enough good things about Eduard products. The driver’s seat was pretty poor so I scratch built a seat using wire and Evergreen styrene. The drive shafts on the original H39s I looked at had a large shield going halfway around it. This wasn’t represented in the kit so I build that from Evergreen stock as well. Bronco made no attempt to represent the large hinge mechanism for the drivers lower hatch. I scratch built this using parts from the spares box. The kit comes with a full engine compartment as well. Unfortunately it's completely invisible once the engine deck is in place. I threw those parts in the spares box.
The suspension is actually pretty good as are the tracks. The problem I ran into was that the way the fenders extend from the hull there is not enough clearance for the tracks. This proved to be a major headache and required some finesse to get everything to seat properly. I wasn’t thinking kind thoughts towards the Bronco engineers at this point. I did the vehicle in Israeli colors representing a tank used in their 1948 war for independence. A handful of these obsolete tanks were either captured from Syria or obtained through Eastern Europe from stocks of captured French tanks used by Germany during WW2. Ten of these vehicles were used during the capture of Lod airport in July of 1948.

I mixed a French looking brownish olive drab using Tamiya acrylics. I post shaded with olive drab lightened with Tamiya Desert Yellow and thinned with Tamiya Laquer thinner. I used the kit decals for the turret numbers and masked the 8th Armored Brigade markings. I used a #32 pencil to scuff and chip the hull and turret lightly. The tracks and drive sprocket were highlighted with a silver artist pencil. The final weathering was accomplished with pastels.
Once I was done I wasn’t satisfied that it was readily apparent enough that the tank was Israeli. It just looked too generic. So, I added a tarp roll on the back of the hull and fashioned an Israeli flag from rolled out epoxy putty. Once it was draped over the canvas roll I let it dry. I then masked the star of David and bars using Tamiya masking tape. The whole thing is purely artistic license but accomplishes what I wanted.

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