ARM: Review - Bronco 1/35 scale YW-701A ACV

Kit Review: Bronco 1/35 scale Kit No. CB35091; YW-701A Armored Command
and Control Vehicle (Gulf War); 602 parts (533 in tan styrene, 45
etched brass, 23 clear styrene, 1 nylon string); retail price US$54.95
Advantages: only kit of this vehicle in this scale in styrene; wealth
of detail provided as well as numerous options for hatches
Disadvantages: no interior, itsy-bitsy parts not going to be
appreciated by all modelers
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all Gulf War (=93Mother of All Battles=94) fans
As the Chinese developed their first generation YW-531 series armored
personnel carriers, the first major variant they created was the
YW-701 armored command and control variant. Essentially based to a
degree on foreign vehicles like the BTR-50PK, M577, and other tracked
vehicles, it had a =93high-top=94 rear hull for use by a commander and
his basic staff. Equipped with HF and VHF radio sets, it provided
basic command and control for battalion level and higher echelons.
The improved YW-701A model was similar to the YW-531C variant in its
running gear and internal components, so it was easy to sell it to
foreign customers in a package deal. The Iraqis purchased a good
number of them and used them under the designation BTR-63-1. While it
was odd to Western observers to see the YW-750 ambulance armed with
the12.7mm Type 54 (Chinese version of the famous Russian =93Dushka=94
machine gun) it made better sense on this variant.
Several were brought back from Iraq in 1991 as =93souvenirs=94. The
203rd MI Battalion has one YW-701A at Aberdeen Proving Ground which
was brought back from Iraq.
As previously noted Bronco decided (wisely) to release all three
variants of the basic export YW-531 vehicle in kits (and later the
Chinese domestic and Vietnamese variants as well). This is the YW-701A
variant, and is nearly identical to the YW-750 kit except for the new
upper hull, radio masts and view port apertures (the viewers are on
the common clear styrene sprue in each kit). As with the other Bronco
Chinese vehicles, it is hard to find and I actually ordered this one
from Hobby Link Japan.
As previously noted all YW-531 variants are relatively small vehicles
(this one is much smaller than the US M577 series vehicles) but the
kits all have a surprisingly large number of parts. Some are
incredibly tiny (e.g. the individual bolts used to attach the spare
track links to the hull) and are going to be very frustrating to deal
with when installing them. But the biggest surprise is that while all
of the hatches are all designed to operate with scale hinges, other
than a single jump seat on the rear hatch there is not one whit of an
interior; too bad here, as it needs some stretchers in that yawning
cavern at the rear!
As noted with the YW-531C, assembly is pretty straightforward and the
directions =96 while point and stick =96 are clearer than some. As with
all armored kits, assembly begins with the suspension and lower hull.
Wheels are two-piece with thick backs to give the right look and all
are designed with styrene keepers to rotate, even though the
directions indicate they are to be cemented in place.
The tracks need a magnifying glass to sort out =96 they are handed left
and right, assembling hinges upward when viewed from the front and
with the bolt heads towards the outside of the vehicle. 96 links are
provided for each side but there is nothing to say how many are needed
per side (from the directions there will be extras). Bronco shows them
as snapping together but I am not sure if the nubs are sufficient to
hold the links together without cement.
The fenders require etched brass brackets to be added to mount the
side skirts. The finished assembly mounts as a single piece in Steps
10 (left) and 11 (right).
Unlike the previous kits this one shows the engine deck (B24) and
engine access hatch (B7) as cemented in place. Ditto the hatches which
are each installed with very petite hinges and are suggested to be
left loose to open to again show empty space.
The Type 54 machine gun consists of 18 parts and is nicely done. But
then Bronco has you attach it to the cupola which has a two-piece
hatch cover; this kit shows it either open or closed, so they appear
to have fixed the directional error from the YW-531C kit.
The rear hatch consists of 13 parts and also permits the jump seat to
move, and may be shown either open or closed. But again, no interior
other than that jump seat.
The last step shows two stretched sprue antennas being added - but
their term for it is =93make the antenna by plastic frame channel with
heat of fire=94.
The only name listed for reference is Phil Greenwood, and as
previously noted he does not have a good command of the history of the
vehicles.
Two finishing options are provided, both for Iraqi vehicles in sand
paint: one is sand with red/blue triangle markings and the other sand
with black/white rectangular markings. The vehicles can be identified,
with the first one being from 37th Armored Brigade, 12th =93Nu=92man=94
Armored Division; the second one cannot but would appear to be from
the 1st Armored Battalion of an armored brigade from its colors.
Overall, this kit =93completes the record=94 of Iraqi Chinese armored
personnel carriers for Desert Storm fans. Hopefully someone will come
out with after-market markings, however.
Cookie Sewell
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AMPSOne
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