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Charioteer FV4101 Medium Gun Tank


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Whilst my prototype Centurion build is going through the painting stages I thought I would make a start on my next project which is Accurate Armour's Charioteer, a conversion kit for the Tamiya Cromwell. 

Actually this will be three builds in one as I shall simultaneously build the Airfix Cromwell making use of the left over Tamiya turret and the Tamiya Centaur. The main focus here will be on the Charioteer though as John @Bullbasket is making an excellent job of the Airfix Cromwell in his WIP HERE and the Centaur has probably been covered enough on this forum and elsewhere. 

 

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A brief history of the Charioteer

As WW2 ended and the Cold war began it soon became apparent that a more powerful gun would be needed to counter the threat of the heavier Soviet tanks such as the T-44 and so the Ordinance QF 20pdr gun was introduced in 1948. It had been developed for use in the Centurion Mk.3 however Centurion production was slow and there was a surplus of the 20pdr's. Cromwell tanks had been retained in service but it's 75mm armament lacked the punch to deal with the newer Soviet tanks so as an interim measure it was decided to up-gun the Cromwell. To do this a new two man turret was developed to accommodate the gun. The resulting vehicle was originally named  FV4101 Cromwell Heavy AT Gun but renamed 'Charioteer' before entering service. 

There was an expected production run of 630 vehicles but this was soon cut to around 440 and only a small number entered service with the Royal Armoured Corps units of the British Territorial Army the surplus being sold to Austria, Finland, Jordan and Lebanon. 

 

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The Accurate Armour conversion kit is designed for the Tamiya Cromwell but the Airfix kit could probably be used as well. It includes resin parts for a new turret, gun, tracks and drive wheels. There are also a replacement engine deck, rear hull plate, drivers hatch and front plate to convert the hull from the Tamiya 'C' to an 'F'  along with a few other smaller items and some photo etched parts. I also added an AFV Club barrel as I'm not sure about resin ones. 

 

 zxjRWCph.jpg?1

 

I have made a start so I should be able to post some progress soon.

 

Wayne

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On 17/01/2022 at 14:37, PlaStix said:

Hi Wayne. :popcorn:

Kind regards,

Stix

 

On 15/01/2022 at 20:24, Hamden said:

 

If there's room I'd like to follow along as well.

 

  Stay safe    Roger

 

On 15/01/2022 at 12:35, viper-30 said:

Watching 

 

On 15/01/2022 at 11:59, edjbartos said:

Looks interesting Wayne, I have never tried resin, so will look with interest to see how you get on with this one...

 

Ed

 

On 15/01/2022 at 11:02, Bullbasket said:

I shall watch with great interest Wayne, as this might kick start my 1/48th scale version.

 

John.

 

Thanks for the interest in this thread guys and welcome along.

 I'm hoping this will be a relatively quick build.

 

Apart from the turret the main part of this conversion is to alter the hull, turning it into an F type hull rather than the Tamiya C . For this Accurate Armour have provided a new engine deck and the swing out style drivers hatch as well as a new front plate.

Unfortunately the engine deck AA has provided wasn't great and the panel line for the access door is in the wrong pace anyway so I decided to stick with the Tamiya one and alter that as John has done here on his Cromwell build HERE .

Below are the engine decks from Accurate Armour, Tamiya and then Airfix on the right.

 

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The drivers hatch replacement requires a little surgery but it's a fairly straight forward job of cutting along the panel lines where the existing drivers roof is. A bit of filing on the edges and the new roof can be glued in with some super glue.

Unfortunately the actual door is missing from my kit, it could probably be scratch built quite easily but I emailed AA and he has promised to send me one ASAP.

 

 LEEQnrR.jpg

 

There is a new front plate to replace the Tamiya one and this dropped in with a little fettling. The splash rails on the glacis plate need to be altered slightly by cutting away the central section and cutting the ends back by a few millimetres. The top and bottom row of rivets also need to be removed as these plates are now welded. I shall add the weld beads latter.

 

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Under all of the debris you can see the cut back splash rails and weld beads on this sadly decaying tank.

 

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There is a track guard support on the left hand side that needed removing, the grooves in the track guard then had to be extended where the support had been which wasn't the easiest job.

 

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On the Charioteer the exhausts exit through the rear hull plate and end in a fishtail so there is a replacement rear hull plate to be added.

On all of the images I have seen of Charioteers the tow bar is of the sprung type, however AA don't provide one. After a little head scratching I remembered I have a Bronco Comet in the display cupboard which does have the tow bar that I needed so I borrowed the Comet one and used it as a master to cast a new one in resin. It's not perfect but good enough.

 

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The rear hull plate is bowing in slightly so I will need to add a support behind it.

I still need to replace all of the handles, add some welds and all of the little photo etch details but the hull isn't far off.

 

YwIsKVJ.jpg

 

Hopefully I will have another update soon.

 

Wayne 

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3 hours ago, diablo rsv said:

 

On all of the images I have seen of Charioteers the tow bar is of the sprung type, however AA don't provide one. 

 

 

I lost many of my Charioteer ref pics after my scratch conversion about twenty years ago but what little I have left shows at least three different vehicles with non-sprung tow bars! 

 

I recall at the time that my main source of reference was an extensive collection of pics of Finish vehicles in a 'scrap yard'. There were significant hull differences across the vehicles which suggested to me that the Charioteer spec was a bit variable depending on what donor hull was available. The pics were on the Finish IPMS site but they vanished many years ago!

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Great start Wayne at this rate it will be finished by Friday! [NOT saying which Friday though!!]

 

  Stay safe               Roger

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No holding you back!

You're making this look far too easy, which is great but it gives modelling doofuses like me really bad ideas....:hmmm:

Accurate Armour does lots of kits and conversions like this don't they.....:wall:

 

Great work Wayne 

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On 19/01/2022 at 19:16, Jasper dog said:

No holding you back!

You're making this look far too easy, which is great but it gives modelling doofuses like me really bad ideas....:hmmm:

Accurate Armour does lots of kits and conversions like this don't they.....:wall:

 

Great work Wayne 

 

Thanks Darryl

They do do some interesting stuff but from what I can gather the quality can vary. My only experiences are the Matilda Mk.1 and this conversion plus a few bits and bobs.

 

 

On 19/01/2022 at 09:13, Bullbasket said:

Wow, that's rapid progress Wayne. Looking really good so far. I don't know how much use this will be to you, as I don't know to what extent the Israelis altered them.

 http://svsm.org/gallery/charioteer

 

John.

 

Thanks John,

I've started on the easy stuff really, the pace will soon slow down. Thanks for the link, I have been using some images of that tank but it's handy having them all in one place.

 

 

On 19/01/2022 at 07:13, Hamden said:

 

Great start Wayne at this rate it will be finished by Friday! [NOT saying which Friday though!!]

 

  Stay safe               Roger

 

Probably this time next year knowing me, I'm trying to not get tempted away by other projects.

 

 

 

On 19/01/2022 at 04:17, Kiwidave4 said:

 

I lost many of my Charioteer ref pics after my scratch conversion about twenty years ago but what little I have left shows at least three different vehicles with non-sprung tow bars! 

 

I recall at the time that my main source of reference was an extensive collection of pics of Finish vehicles in a 'scrap yard'. There were significant hull differences across the vehicles which suggested to me that the Charioteer spec was a bit variable depending on what donor hull was available. The pics were on the Finish IPMS site but they vanished many years ago!

 

Thanks Dave. 

I did find some of those scrap yard photos, mostly they focus on one tank though. I did read somewhere that they used whatever hulls were available but most of what I've seen appear to be F hulls. I wonder if they upgraded the hulls during the conversion work.

 

Wayne

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I've managed to find the time to tackle the tracks and I thought it would be easier to fit them before joining the upper and lower hull together.

 The Charioteer ran on a wider 15.5” track and Accurate Armour provides these as resin sections. I've used resin tracks a couple of times now and I actually quite like them. They need a bit of care removing them from the casting block as they are quite delicate and I found with these ones a couple of passes with a knife blade did the trick. Once removed there is a bit of cleaning up to do but it is mostly flash and doesn't take too long.

 

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The sections are then superglued together to make up one complete run. There was quite a curve in the run but I would rather have a tight join between the sections as they can be straightened out afterwards by applying heat from a hairdryer and pushing them, up against a straight edge.

 

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I then heated up the rear section of track and placed the track over the wheels. Whilst still soft the rear section can be formed around the drive sprocket and allowed to cool. The front section was then heated and formed around the idler wheel. The join was made at the bottom of the track and once dry more heat can be applied where needed and the track moulded to the required shape. It's actually easier to do than it is for me to explain.

 

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They still need a little tweaking but that's easy enough to do by re-heating as necessary.

The new turret ring was also a little warped in my kit but using the same heating process as the tracks it was soon sorted it out.

 

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Once I was happy enough with the tracks I could join the hull together and now I carry on with detail parts.

Fair play to Derek at Accurate Armour as well, a couple of days after emailing him regarding my missing drivers door and other parts they arrived in the post.

 

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That's it for now. I really should get back to the Centurion.

 

Wayne

 

 

 

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