Italeri- Crusader Mk. II with 8th Army Infantry
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I have to say this is my quickest turnaround from a First Look to a Full Build...but I was working on this one in between sessions with the Takom Merkava that I am being very careful with. Having February break hasn't hurt either with plenty of time at the bench this week! This is as mentioned a rebox of the original kit with some added sand skirts and the excellent Master Box figure set. There are only 11 steps in the build all told- and this has been the best fitting Italeri kit I have built to date.
Step 1 involves the assembly of the suspension arms and lower hull. Everything is keyed to fit in place exactly so no issues at all here. The top deck is then added to this assembly and then step 3 involves all of the road wheels and front (?) idler. There are little plastic O rings that fit in place between the pairs of road wheels in each side's set of 5. The fit of the wheels on the axles is loose which makes aligning them very tricky. I ended up gluing the inner wheels in place to aid in this. More O rings hold the idler in place and the directions would have you hold a heated screwdriver to the end to hold it in place, but some Tamiya extra thin did the trick and allows for some movement. Step 4 had more of the same with the rear sprocket. The front and rear hull plates were also added, as well as the front mud guards.
I did it again...this is my only in-progress photo as everything went so smoothly and I forgot to stop
Step 5 added all of the stowage and tool boxes to the top deck. There are no true attachment points for the fender boxes on each side, so some guesswork entails. Step 6 involves the assembly of the seven piece driver's vision port and it's addition to the hull, along with the spare tracks, headlights and guards, and tow shackles. We move on to the exhaust assemblies, rear fuel tank assembly, and rear shackles and hitch in step 7.
Step 8 starts the assembly of the turret, rear turret stowage bin, spotlight, and an option for an open or closed hatch. Step 9 involves the gun assembly to the mantle. The main gun barrel is one piece except for the tip which is open and attached to the rest. The Besa machine gun is not open and needed some pin vise work. Step 10 adds the mantlet to the rest of the turret, as well as the antennae, grab handles, and hooks for the tow cable. The final step has you glue the vinyl tracks together with CA glue and then add them around the road wheels. I wasn't crazy about this idea- so I threaded them through the idler and sprocket and glued them down at the top, which would be hidden by the sand skirts added in the same step. Lastly the tow cables were added-- there is no real great idea of how they are attached in the instructions so I sort of winged it.
Painting and Weathering
I went with Version B as I love the red and white theater markings on the sand skirts for just a little bit of color.
I used Vallejo Sand Yellow for the main scheme over a black primer coat...then went crazy with some AMMO washes and IDF pigments after a coat of Testors Dullcote.
The Master Box figures are meant to be posed on the attack alongside the Crusader tank, but I have not decided how I want to approach that scene quite yet- so I went ahead and did my best painting up the figures. It would have been great to have some figures on or in the tank, but none were provided...these are great figures though so no complaints from me.
This truly was a quick and easy build with no real issues, other than some guesswork on some attachment points, but this doesn't detract from the fun to be had. I have the Border Model Crusader Mk. III on the way soon and look forward to putting these two side by side. The addition of the Master Box figures makes this a home run. There was no real flash to be dealt with and just an occasional sink mark here and there- but nothing one can't handle. A great addition to your North Africa builds.
Highly Recommended for Beginner to Advanced builders.
Thanks goes out to Model Rectifier Corporation for this review kit.
Reviewed by Michael Reeves, AMPS Albany
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