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Found 2 results

  1. Cromwell Mk.IV Upgrade Set (36466 for Airfix) 1:35 Eduard Airfix’s new kit is a nice one as long as the wrong number of bolts on the road wheels doesn’t bother you too much, so Eduard have created a new detail set that while it doesn’t include replacement bolts, helps to add more detail to other parts of the kit that would benefit from their attention. As usual with Eduard's Photo-Etch (PE) and Mask sets, they arrive in a flat resealable package, with a white backing card protecting the contents and the instructions that are sandwiched between. Inside is a fret of brass that contains lots of parts to add to your model. There are mesh inserts that fit in the sides of the lower hull; two bullet-splash guards on the glacis; a pair of highly detailed replacement smoke generator boxes that are slung under the rear of the tank; lots of new and replacement grab-handles on the engine deck and elsewhere; a complete replacement pair of curved cooling guides at the rear of the engine deck that will require a little rolling to shape; tie-downs and shackles for the various pioneer tools and fire extinguisher; new bracket and handle for the searchlight on the turret; lots of new tie-down “handles” for the turret rear and a new backup gunsight for in front of the commander’s cupola. Conclusion You’ve probably got those wheels squared away by now if it bothers you, and this detail set will help with everything else. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  2. Cromwell Mk.IV & Mk.VI (A1373 & A1374) 1:35 Airfix The Cromwell was a cruiser tank that was subject to a troubled and mildly confusing gestation that began in 1940 with three designs that bore a familial resemblance to each other, although they were being developed by different manufacturers for different purposes at the time. As usual there were problems, and different parties pulling in different directions led to consternation and some in-fighting that weirdly involved the first British jet engine! Rolls Royce had been developing a ground-based variant of the Merlin engine minus super-charger that could power AFVs, which was to be called the Meteor, and some bright spark at Rolls Royce mediated swapping the ongoing development of the Meteor for that of the ground-breaking Power Jets engine, freeing Rover to bring the Meteor project to fruition, albeit a little late. Of the prototypes, the A27M was given the name Cromwell, and development began on bringing that basic design to fruition, which finally began in 1943 when enough Meteor engines were available. As always seems to be the case, the final design was found wanting, and the technology race also required improvements until the final initial production specification was settled upon, referred to as the “Battle Cromwell”. Initially armed with a 57mm gun, by the time the Mk.IV was considered, the designers fitted a 75 mm ROQF Mk V main gun, and over 3,000 of those that version were made. They saw service in Normandy and were generally considered to be an even match for German armour up to and including the Panzer IV, but struggled against the Tigers for much the same reason that the more ubiquitous Shermans did. The Mk.VI was fitted with a 95 mm howitzer and was intended as a close support tank, firing High Explosive (HE) and smoke rounds on D-Day and beyond. Toward the end of the war, some Cromwells were being replaced by a development of the Cromwell by the name of Comet, with a 77mm high velocity gun that was based on the 17 pounder used in the Sherman Firefly, but not enough were available in time to assist greatly in speeding the German capitulation. After the war the Cromwell remained in service with the British Army, with some redundant examples finding their way into foreign service, and the Charioteer became the last derivative, fitted with a larger turret and an Ordnance QF 20 pounder gun, to be used as an anti-tank asset. They were re-engineered from Cromwell VIIs in my home county of Cheshire. The Kit This is a new tool from Airfix, the first of the armour line that is from their own CAD files, which we understand were moulded for them by Academy, their long-term partners in the new Airfix 1:35 armour line. There has already been quite a lot of chatter online regarding the kit, with some folks focusing on the two missing bolts on the road wheels – there should be eight, but there are six. It’s one of those things that either blows your mind, or gets you thinking about how to fix it. Personally, I’ll be pragmatically using either some replacement PE or resin bolts, or waiting for a set of new wheels from an aftermarket company. There are initially two boxings, of the Mk.IV and the howitzer equipped Mk.VI, with identical plastic in each box but different decals and instructions in each one and a different painting on the lid of course. The differences between the two kits are fairly minimal, so we’ll review them together, noting the differences between them as we go along. In short, it’s the guns, plough, stowage and a few small parts that differentiate them. Each kit arrives in the now traditional red themed box with attention-grabbing dramatic CGI artwork appropriate to the mark that should really help impulse sales. Inside are seven sprues in sand-coloured styrene, two more in black that containing link and length tracks, a sprue of poly-caps, two lengths of rubberband-style tracks, a small Photo-Etch (PE) fret, a sheet of decals, and finally the instruction booklet with colour profiles in the rear. Detail is good throughout, with the exception of the wheel bolts that are missing, and there is no casting or rolling texture on any of the armoured surfaces such as the mantlet, which has quite a notable texture on the real thing. That can easily be added with a stippled coat of Mr Surfacer and some light Dremel activity, but it’s worth mentioning. The lower hulls are identical between both boxings, so let’s crack on. Construction begins with the lower hull, which is made up from a floor, sides and rear bulkhead that are held together by tabs on the floor and two small cross-members within that are purely constructional. The lower glacis and top section of the rear bulkhead are next, then the suspension swing-arms are glued into the hull sides and covered over with armoured plates that have slots to accommodate the axles, and a nicely engraved set of recessed bolts in the surface. Another pair of inserts are attached to the upstands on the sides, and the rear bulkhead is detailed with towing eyes and other equipment. It’s already time to make up those wheels, which is a good time to fix the bolt issue if you feel the need. The road wheels and idler wheels are made up in pairs, with 10 of the former, and two of the latter, plus a couple of four-part drive sprockets, the inner rings of which have protective sprues across the middle that are removed before gluing. They’re all fixed in place on the axles, then you need to make a choice about which style tracks you intend to use. Two styles of track are included in the box, one using link-and-length parts to complete the run using single runs for the long straight(ish) lengths, coupled with individual links to handle the curves. The other tracks are old-skool rubberband style, and the ends are intertwined then joined with super glue, to be wrapped around the road wheels when dry. The styrene tracks offer more detail and the correct faceted finish, as well as being easier to paint, while the flexible tracks are simple but harder to paint realistically, so make your choice. The lower part of the upper hull is a large single part with holes for the engine deck and upper glacis plate moulded-in for flexibility of variants, which is prepared by drilling out a couple of flashed-over holes in the fenders and adding a pair of two-part PE stiffening ribs across the glacis. Two styrene ribs are then installed lengthways under the fenders, and the hull halves can be joined together to be joined at the rear by the full-width exhaust trunk. The raised upper sections are completed by adding the sidewalls, with a couple of large pry-bars glued to the side-louvers in the engine deck. The completed assembly is overlaid on the lower to cover the majority of spaces left in the upper hull. A frame is laid over the exhaust trunk with optional PE grille, then mudguards are installed front and rear, with small triangular side-skirts joining them under the fenders. At the front the vertical armoured glacis plate closes up the hull, and a hatch on the left side of the front can be attached open or closed, but you’ll need a figure to obscure the view into the empty interior. The front is decorated with driver’s hatch; lights and their guards; towing eyes; vision ports for the driver and gunner; front hatch for the driver, and the bow-mounted Besa machine gun with a bolt studded ring to secure it to the glacis. The rear parts of the fenders are covered in pioneer tools and fire extinguishers, and three single-part stowage boxes are fixed to the fenders around the sides of the turrets, with a wide armoured vent at the front of the engine deck. It’s time for the turret, which is where the differences start. The Mk.IV has a longer 75mm barrel that has a separate muzzle installed in the mantlet, while the Mk.VI has the shorter 95mm howitzer barrel with a not-quite cylindrical muzzle keyed into the end. Each gun has a different inner mantlet and pivot with the same coax machine gun and the common bearings have a poly-cap glued into place to allow the gun to elevate without dropping back. The armoured outer mantlet is different between the two guns too, as is the pattern of holes drilled into the faceted turret and its roof. The same pistol port, shell ejection port and lifting eyes fit on the sides of the turret, with a simple cupola on top for the commander on the Mk.IV, and an optional more complex assembly that is surrounded by vision blocks for the Mk.VI with an armoured cover over the top, and different clamshell hatches. At this stage the Mk.IV also has two large stowage boxes affixed to brackets on the turret cheeks, with a common mushroom vent and vision slots on both roofs. The gunner has a simple two-part hatch, then a searchlight and antenna base are fixed to the turret, completing it for both marks. The Mk.IV has a spiked bocage-busting dozer installed on the lower glacis plate at the same time the turret is put in place, while the blade stays on the sprues for the Mk.VI. There’s no bayonet lug on this kit, so take cer when handling the completed model Markings Each boxing has two decal options that are shown in full colour at the rear of the booklet with five-view profiles giving you a full view of any camouflage applied. From the box you can build one of the following: Cromwell Mk.IV (A1373) 1st Royal Tank Regiment, 7th Armour Division, British Army, Europe, 1944/5 Northamptonshire Yeomanry, 11th Armoured Division, British Army, Europe, 1944/5 Cromwell Mk.VI (A1374) 2nd Tank Battalion, 1st Czechoslovak Independent Brigade Group, British Army, Europe, 1944/5 2nd Squadron, 10th Mounted Rifle Regiment, 1st Polish Armoured Division, British Army, Europe, 1944/5 The decals are in good register and sharpness, and aren’t printed by Airfix’s usual partners Cartograf, but more likely Academy’s partner, as there’s no logo on the sheet or the box. That’s not an issue though, as they’ll do the job just fine. Conclusion Yes, there’s an issue with the wheel bolts, but what kit is 100% accurate? Make of that what you will, but this is a decent kit that will appeal to a wide audience, most of whom won’t mind the two missing bolts. There are some good external details plus some PE for the grilles and stiffeners as well, and a choice of two styles of tracks that will please more people by definition. It’s a modern tooling of a fairly major British tank, although there were more Shermans in the arsenal thanks to lend-lease. Highly recommended. Cromwell Mk.IV (A1373) Cromwell Mk.VI (A1374) Review sample courtesy of
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