by: Russ Amott [ ]
Originally published on:
The BC-1306 radio (SCR 694) was a lightweight portable radio designed initially for airborne and mountain troops, but given widespread use in the US and Allied militaries in WWII. It was a high frequency two way radio reciever/transmitter and radio telegraph unit, operating between 3,800 and 6,400 Mhz. It had a range of 15 miles for voice communication and 30 miles on morse code between moving vehicles, and reportedly further if in a fixed ground position with longer antenna. When teamed with the BC-611 (SCR536) radio handset, with a range of two miles, it could serve as a communication center for patrols or scouts. Power was supplied by either a hand crank generator or PE-237 vibrator power supply.
The radio was primarily installed in 1/4 ton 4x4 trucks, but was also carried in the 3/4 ton WC series, in half-tracks, and any other vehicle that would hold it. For infantry use, it could be easily carried (unless you talk to the guy who had to carry it around) in a simple canvas pack, with the hand crank generator carried separately. The radio saw widespread use until it was replaced by the GRC-9 radio (similar in appearance and compatible with BC-1306 equipment).
Legend Productions now offers a nice resin kit representing the BC-1306 radio set.
This set comes in a small, end opening box with a photo of the completed kit on the box top. This also comprises the paint guide. Inside the box are resin and brass parts to assemble two complete radios and a small fold out paper, color printed on both sides, showing the assembled set with some parts labelled, as well as how to install the kit on a Jeep.
The resin parts consist of a radio and power unit on one block (two each), three headphone earpieces (two each), handheld radio and two part antenna base (two each) and two sets of bolt heads on a single mold. The etch fret has two mounting bases for the radio, two headset pieces and protective grillwork for the radio faces for each radio, plus a spare in the event you lose or destroy one during assembly. Two different gauges of brass wire, one strand of fine copper wire and one insulated copper wire are provided for the power cord, connection cords and headset wire.
All the moldings are of excellent quality with clear and crisp detail on all sides. My sample had one small broken part-the power supply plug base on the radio face-which can easily be repaired with CA glue.
The instructions are very basic. The paint guide is visual only, with no color reference.
Fortunately for modelers, anything US army related is going to be some shade of olive drab. Photos of the BC-1306 abound online so visual reference for painting the dials and data plates should be easily accessible. I drilled out the ports where all wires would plug in (I forgot the antenna connection in the upper right corner) and then used Tamiya olive drab, sprayed from an airbrush and brushed flat black to get the dials and plates. Highlights were done with a silver pencil. The etch frames are a little tricky to get into place properly and I had problems with the plug base on the radio face bumping against the frame. No measurement is given for the length of wire used to hand the earphones on, so it was an issue of trial and error. Once I had a length I liked, I glued that in place.
The earphones have good exterior detail but the ear cup will be flat once cut from the plug, so I carefully carved this out. The etch head clip has thin ends that apparently need to be folded in half, though this is not clearly indicated on the instruction sheet. Once the earphones were assembled I glued them in place on the hood, and then coiled the fine copper wire around a pin, carefully stretched it and put it in place.
As I don't have a completed vehicle on which to install the radio, I held off on the antenna assembly. The upper of the antenna base is well formed and includes the clamps that held the ground wire in place on the side. Again, not clearly shown in the instructions is the featureless cylinder piece on the pour plug which serves as the lower half of the antenna, mounting on the underside of the mounting bracket. This part isn't detailed at all. The antenna would have a wire running from the radio to this unit.
The handheld radio unit has all details molded in place, with no information on mounting an antenna here. The detail is very good, though at the connecting point some minor re-sculpt will need to be carefully done to preserve the strap.
Youtube has the original Signal Corps training film on the use of the BC-1306 shown below
This is a very nice radio set which will make an excellent addition to a static model or a diorama. Based on the lack of detail in the instructions, it would appear Legend Productions intended this set for experienced modelers who are used to working around such issues, though it wouldn't really take much more effort to provide a bit more information on assembly, or a clearer photo of the completed, painted set. That issue aside, all parts are extremely well molded and it will build into an attractive set. Retail price is suggested at $16.95 US but it can be had for less, including free shipping, so shop around carefully.