Tamiya British Tank Churchill Mk.VII - Crocodile
Conceived and initially developed on the eve of World War II, the Churchill infantry tank was designed to provide infantry support in European conflicts, including trench warfare as seen in World War I. Although rushed into production early in the war to counter an anticipated German invasion of Britain, the Churchill matured through a number of marks to become a versatile and effective element of Allied armored forces.
Of the many Churchill marks developed throughout the war, perhaps the most fearsome was the Mk. VII Crocodile. Modified to carry an integral flamethrower, the Croc could readily incinerate heavy foliage and bunker-encased enemy positions. Fielded in 1944 and seeing action predominantly in Northwestern Europe, the Crocodile proved an effective tool in the Allies' liberation of Europe.
A hefty box for a 1/48 WW II armor kit, Tamiya's box is packed with all makings for an excellent rendition of this subject. Six olive drab sprue trees contain finely detailed, precision-engineered parts for the tank and for its jellied petrol-toting trailer. As expected from Tamiya, the detail is extensive and beautifully executed, and the part count is kept modest -- providing ample building pleasure without the tedium of assembling dozens or hundreds of little bits which could just as well be molded into the kit. Link and length tracks, as typical for Tamiya 1/48 kits, are featured. Polycaps are included for the drive sprockets and the main gun pinion, and a small set of decals with markings for two vehicles are included. Instructions are true to expectation, breaking down each assembly into bite-sized steps in a clear and logical sequence.
Upper Hull Deck, Side Armor, and Turret Pieces
Flamethrower Fuel Trailer Body and Hitch Pieces
Tank and Trailer Running Gear Parts and Polycaps
Lower Hull Pieces
Instructions and Decals
Straightforward and fun -- that pretty much sums up the build. Everything fit perfectly...well...almost. A couple little dabs of Tamiya Putty helped fill very fine seams between the turret wall pieces. Other than that, super-clean and easy assembly.
Step 1 - Basic Hull Structure and Weights
Lower hull assembly gets the build rolling with a multipiece lower hull and a couple of metal weights to add some heft.
Step 2 - Adding Glacis Plate and Deck Detail
Step 3 - One of my favorite parts - No Road Wheels to Sand or Paint
Step 4 - Drive Sprocket Assembly
Step 5 - Tacking in the Under-Fender Tracks
I opted to not cement them at this time, but rather paint the tracks and lower hull separately
Step 6 - Add Remaining Tracks
Here's a look at the the application of the link-and-length tracks after the lower hull and tracks were painted separately.
Steps 7 and 8 - Shaping Up the Upper Hull with Side Armor and Detail Parts
Deviating from the instructions a little further, I chose to assemble the upper hull and side armor as a sub assembly to be finagled over the lower hull and tracks following painting. This proved to be a good call, with no observable seams to fill following final assembly.
Steps 9 and 10 - Adding Detail to the Rear Deck and Bulkhead
I chose to dry-fit the exhaust manifolds so I could remove them after painting the upper hull, so that I could easily apply rust effects to them.
Steps 13 and 14 - Turret Assembly
Only a couple dabs of putty were needed along the ultra-fine seams between turret wall sections.
Skipping to Steps 18-20 - Trailer Assembly
Very innovative and robust hitch assembly allows the trailer to be easily detached from the tank.
With subassemblies complete, it was time for paint. Although a huge fan of Tamiya paints, I was compelled to try Vallejo's color modulation set for British green armor, which I picked up at the AMPS 2018 International Convention from one of our sponsoring vendors. Vallejo Metal Color Steel approximated the Tamiya color called out in the instructions and was used out of sheer convenience. The Vallejo system worked as advertised with great results using a gravity feed Iwata Neo airbrush.
Subassemblies Painted and Ready for Final Assembly
With subassemblies painted, final assembly was a breeze, leaving now seams requiring putty and touch-up. Another fabulous technical feat by Tamiya's engineering team.
The Churchill Mk. VII
Turret and Commander Figure Detail
Aftermarket stowage will be added and some advanced weathering techniques will be applied, but for the sake of reviewing the base kit, it's time to declare victory.
This kit was such a fun and uncomplicated build, I Highly Recommended for Beginner to Advanced builders.
Thanks goes out to Tamiya USA for this review kit.
Reviewed by Dave Koukol
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