|BRONCO - Chinese PLA ZTZ-99A1 MBT|
Roy Charnock takes a close look at a major release from Bronco
Chinese PLA ZTZ-99A1 MBT
Manufacturer: Bronco Models
Material: Styrene & Photo-etch
Serial Number: CB-35040
The ZTZ99 manufactured in china by Northern Industries Group Corporation is the most advanced battle field tank fielded by the Chinese army. first entering service late 2001 and provides a great improvement in mobility , fire power and protection compared to older Chinese built tanks .as a high end MBT, the type 99 was only built in small numbers (200) due to the high unit price of $1.9 million in 1999. These tanks are currently deployed in 2 elite armor regiments in
The 99A1 is the latest version in service with the PLA, due to be superseded by the more advanced 99A2 which is currently undergoing trials. While the earlier type 99 that entered service several years ago had additional armor upgrade packages added to the type 98 turret and chasses , the 99A1 has its turret top reshaped ,having the hump on the turret top removed by thickening it. This may be the reason for changing the turret height itself to improve the armor protection or to make more space for the commander and gunner.
Other distinct details are the up armor packages on the front and sides, the ERA panels have been extended. The 99A1 is also thought to have received upgraded targeting computers
The main gun is a dual axis fully stabilized 125mm/50 cal ZPT98 Smoothbore gun with a carousel 22 round auto loader, a thermal sleeve and fume extractor there are also a further 41 rounds mounted on the inside of the turret and vehicle hull. The gun can fire 1-2 rounds per minuet fired and loaded manually, up to 8 rounds fired electronically and using the auto loader. Ammunition consists of armor piercing fin stabilized discarding sabot (APFSDS), high explosive antitank (HEAT) and high explosive fragmentation (HE-FRAG) projectiles.
The type 99 will also fire the Russian antitank guided missile 9M119 Refleks.
There is a 12.7mm anti aircraft machine gun mounted on the commander’s cupola. A coaxial 7.62 mm machine gun mounted on the right of the main gun. The tank is also fitted with 2x 5 barrel smoke grenade launchers and can lay a smoke screen by injecting diesel fuel into the exhaust manifolds.
The hull and turret are all welded armor construction .as well as the ballistic protection the tank is equipped with Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA) mounted on the front of the hull and on the turret. For self defense the tank is fitted with a countermeasures system mounted on the turret roof, with laser warning receiver and a laser self defense weapon.
The tank is powered by a 1,500hp turbo charged diesel engine based on German technology. Weighing in at 57 tons fully loaded, with a top speed of 80kmh on the road and 60kmh off road, with a range of 400 km and 600 km with external fuel tanks.
Length: 11.00m; Height: 2.20m; Width: 3.40m. The type 99 carries a crew of 3.
The contents of the box consist of 6 large sprues of tan colored styrene, 2 small sprues, 7 large sprues for the track parts, a separate turret top and chassis. There is also 1 small sprue containing the clear plastic parts, 2 small photo etch frets ,2 small decal sheets a length of rope and a 16 page A4 sized instruction booklet containing a 2 page full color sheet with a 2 option painting/decal scheme
Looking at all the parts they are molded to a very high standard are free of flash and don’t seem to have any miss alignment issues there are however a couple of small sink lines in the bottom hull sides under the turret but nothing major as these are not visible when the side skirts are fitted. Other than that all the parts a very finely detailed and all the panel/engraved lines are very fine.
There has been a rumor on various websites that the Bronco kit has been boxed incorrectly in that it has the wrong turret for the 99A1 model. I have checked it with available photos of A1 and G models and found that this kit the A1 has as far as I can tell the correct modified turret in the box as depicted on the artwork both on the box and on the instructions.
The earlier type 99 had a round hump in the center of the turret roof but the 99A1 has had its turret top reshaped ,having the hump on the turret top removed by thickening it giving the turret roof a smoother appearance.
There is also a difference in the layout of the ERA panels fitted to the front of the turret, in that the A1 has 2 large panels on both sides of the gun running inline with the turret sides and the gun barrel. Whereas the G has 4 blocks of ERA on either side of the gun barrel running out at an angle from the gun barrel (See last two pictures below).
Section 1,2,3; starts with the lower hull and suspension , this is a fully and sprung and working suspension using the plastic torsion bars supplied in the kit, these are glued to the suspension arms then the complete assembly is inserted through the holes in the hull sides and then glued in place inside the hull using the keepers provided.
Section 4, 5, 6, 7; fitting of the engine deck, glacis plate, engine deck etch grills, covers/hatches and front lights.
Section 8, 9, 10; Assembly of the auxiliary fuel drums and mountings, these are really well designed with a pair of etch brass straps holding them on to the support brackets fitted to the rear engine plate, instead of the usual strap molded onto the fuel barrel.
Section 11, 12; These steps cover the assembly of the mudguards, the fuel stowage and crew stowage bins, an easy step as the mudguards and fuel tanks consist of one piece moldings.
Section 13, 14; These steps cover the assembly of road wheels which are aided with a pair of locating pins cast inside to aid the orientation of the inner wheel to the outer wheel. This is followed with the fitting of all road wheels, drive sprockets and idler wheels. The mudguards can now be fitted to the main hull.
Section 15; The assembly of the tracks. This is were it gets fiddly the track links build up into a pair of fully working track lengths , there are 4 parts per track link and 82 links per track length. So use the glue very sparingly, these are then fitted to the running gear and the side plates are then fitted to the mudguards.
Section 16, 17; these two steps cover the assembly of the turret top section then the fitting of the bottom section.
I think here I would deviate from the instructions and fit the top section to the bottom before I fit all the rest of the small parts, but please be aware that you will need to make a choice of which position you want to display the gun at as there are 2 mantels to chose from one for level and 1 for elevated and this will need to be sandwiched between the two turret halves before gluing.
Section 18; The assembly and fitting of the main gun barrel ,this is joined across the top and bottom ,the top having a lip all along it where the thermal sleeve fits together thus no unsightly joints in the gun barrel . This is followed by the assembly of the roof mounted AA machine gun; this is really nicely made and has plenty of fine detail on it.
Section 19; this is the final assembly section showing the build up of the turret baskets, fitting the side plates carrying ERA. To the turret baskets.
There are 2 versions on the painting guide;
Opt 1 - A 3 color hard edge camo scheme for Counter Terrorism Military Exercise; Peace Mission 2009.
Opt 2 - A 4 color digital camo scheme for 60th Anniversary of the China National Day Parade.
The paints are listed in the instructions with reference numbers for the following paint manufacturers Gunze Sangyo, Hobby Color, Humbrol and Tamiya
The two sheets of decals are nice and sharp with little or no carrier film visible.
The decal sheets consist of one sheet containing of a pair of flags, a pair of green panels and a pair of unit markings. The second sheet contains 4 Chinese insignia and 6 sets of white numbers 0-9
Overall a really nice turned out kit with no visible major faults. The instruction booklet is clear and easy to understand. All parts have locating pins/slots so they are easily positioned on the model. The track links look a little messy/laborious to build up and I think that the turret baskets would be nicer if they had been etch brass. The gun mantlet would be better if it was articulated rather than having 2 separate mantlets that are only poseable in an up elevation or level
I will be looking forward to building and bogging this kit in the near future, I'm especially looking forward to attempting the digital camo scheme!
My thanks to Bronco for the review sample!