ARM: Review - Bronco 1/35 scale YW-750 Armored Ambulance

Kit Review: Bronco 1/35 scale Kit No. CB35083; YW-750 Armored
Ambulance; 609 parts (533 in tan styrene, 52 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
When the Chinese began to develop their first generation YW-531
series armored personnel carriers, they took a look at other nations
(mostly the US and USSR) and also created a =93high-top=94 variant. This
was developed along two different lines, either as a command post
vehicle (YW-701 series) with view ports in the casemate section, or an
armored ambulance (YW-750) without them. Other than the viewers, the
two vehicles are nearly identical and appear the same at battlefield
ranges. The ambulance is therefore expected to be marked with medical
insignia, either the more common Red Cross or the Red Crescent.
What is NOT expected is that one of the options for this vehicle is
a heavy antiaircraft machine gun mounting on the top of the casemate.
Ambulances are generally considered to be off the target list by most
nations but as there are those who ignore that nicety the Chinese
cover all bases. As a result it mounts the rotating cupola for a
12.7mm Type 54 (Chinese version of the famous Russian =93Dushka=94 machine
gun) this time at the commander=92s station.
This vehicle was sold to several foreign customers that had purchased
the YW-531, most specifically the Iraqis who made large purchases of
the YW-531C model. They dubbed the YW-531C as the BTR-63, but both
the later command vehicles (YW-701) and ambulances (YW-750) were
designated the BTR-63-1 vehicles in their service.
The 203rd MI Battalion has one YW-750 at Aberdeen Proving Ground
which was brought back from Iraq.
Bronco decided (wisely) to release all three variants of the basic
YW-531 vehicle in kits; this is the YW-750 variant, and is very
similar to the YW-531C kit other than the new upper hull, rear plate
and some minor parts. As with the other Bronco Chinese vehicles, it is
hard to find and I actually ordered this one from a hobby shop in
Tianjin, China!
Considering all YW-531 variants are relatively small vehicles (this
one is much smaller than the US M577 series vehicles) it has 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
11 (left) and 12 (right).
The directions note many parts are not supposed to be cemented in
place, such as the engine deck (B24) and engine access hatch (B7), but
as noted all they do is permit you to lift off the hatches to show the
lovely empty hull! 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 a stretched sprue antenna being added - but their
term for it is =93make the antenna by plastic frame channel with heat of
fire=94. Close enough, I suppose...
The only name listed for reference is Phil Greenwood, but he doesn=92t
seem to have a very good idea about the actual history of the vehicle
and its problems. Most of the tiny blurb here is for the YW-701.
Two finishing options are provided, both for Iraqi vehicles: one is
sand with Red Crescent markings and one is green and sand with Red
Crescent markings. No unit markings are provided. This is a shame, as
they were very common vehicles and used by nearly all of the armored
formations.
Overall, as with the YW-531C, this is a really nice kit and perfect
for Desert Storm fans. Hopefully someone will come out with after-
market markings, however.
=0CCookie Sewell
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AMPSOne
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