Ref : Bronco #CB35088 WZ-701 Armoured Command and Control Vehicle
Even if Bronco has named its model WZ701, its manufacturer denomination is YW701. Within the Chinese People Liberation Army, its denomination is Type 81. Command version of the Type 63A or A-531 armored personnel carrier, this vehicle in its whole is of a Chinese design. It entered service in 1968 and is used at regimental and divisional levels. Sharing the chassis with the APC, it is fitted with a large casemate at the back in which are installed 5 radios (Type 889, Type 892, Type 70-2B) and one generator.
Its Chinese engine allows it to drive up to 60km/h.
Being amphibious, it can move in water thanks its tracks up to 6 km/h. It
also has a trim vane at the front.
Its welded steel hull is lightly armored and can sustain up to 7.62mm caliber rounds.
Its self defense armament is a 7.62mm Type 56-1 MG mounted on a pedestal in front of the engine compartment.
The crew is of three and five passengers can work in the rear compartment.
Following the export versions, Bronco depicts here a version in service only with the Chinese people army. Unlike the export versions seen in Iraq, it does not have the casemate with the 12.7mm HMG.
The kit comprises 299 parts (plus 192 track links) dispatched in 9 sand plastic sprues, 2 clear plastic sprues, 2 hull halves and a photoetched parts sheet. 96 sand or clear plastic parts belonging to other versions of the Type 63 are not used. A bit of braided thread and a sheet of generic decals are also provided.
The 12-page instructions booklet is clear. It divides into 18 steps but gives no decoration scheme. For this one, we should refer to the illustrations on the box.
The level of detail and the carving are very good to excellent. The overall fit is correct but some parts need a little attention. The molding lines are thin and the link to the sprues usually are well located which facilitates the cleaning of the parts.
The lower hull
The running gear does not need any comment. It is possible to have the road wheels, the sprockets and the idlers mobile. The tracks are the separate links type. They are clickable and theoretically remain mobile. The left and right tracks links are different and come in different bags. Bronco does not give the number of links for one track. As for me, I used 85 links for the left track and 84 for the right one. The assembly was not an issue even if some pins broke. The track remains mobile as long as no traction is exerted. On the contrary, during the fit on the running gear, it broke in several points which obliged me to glue all the links.
If you intend to put the towing cables in place, you need first to insert the ends in the hooks because the lock and the hook are molded solid. You also must not put the last fastener A57 on the upper hull. The threas provided by Bronco is not realistic at all. I replaced it by twisted electrical wire.
The rear panel
It includes the large door with a detailed inner face.
The jerrycans holders are a bit thick and must be thinned. The telescopic mast
is not attached to prevent any breakage during further handling.
The vision blocks have their inner faces painted before being glued with white glue.
The upper hull
The fit over the lower hull is perfect. The side skirts
are complex because of the number of parts to be assembled. It is advised to
paint the running gear before putting them in place.
The whole hatches can be mobile but because Bronco does not give any interior they can be glued without attaching the details on their inner faces.
Bronco also provides numerous microscopic photoetched parts. Around the engine grilles, we must glue ten hooks or so several of which have been swallowed by the carpet monster!
Another difficulty comes with the assembly of the 7 parts for each headlight protection. The assembly remains fragile as like in reality the headlights are attached to the protection and not straight to the hull. The same problem comes with the IR light.
The latest details to be are the aerials and possibly the self-defense MG.
Bronco does not give any painting scheme but gives paint
references in 4 ranges of acrylic and enamel paint brands. Concerning the
camouflage scheme, you might refer to the illustrations on the box or get
inspiration from pictures on the internet. This was my choice. Looking at
numerous pictures, I realized that there was no standard scheme which allows to
use one's imagination without being fully wrong.
The references I used were XF59 Desert Yellow, XF61 Dark Green and XF62 Olive Drab lightened with some X28 Park Green. A dark wash was applied to accentuate the recesses. A Raw Umber filter was heavily applied before the dust effect was done with some very diluted XF52 Flat Earth and XF57 Buff.