As part of the on going operation Sand Dune project with Carl Titterington, Sam Phillips and myself, and with my DAK army nearly done now, I've decided to start branching out into the British forces. Warlord Games were kind enough to supply me with some of their new plastic Churchill tanks to form the core of my Tunisian forces. Today I shall be reviewing the kit and describing the options included.
Warlords Churchill is another collaboration with Italian model kit manufacturer Italeri, and looking at the parts break down I suspect it's lineage goes back to the Dragon 1/72 scale kits of this impressive tank.
The kit is supplied in dark grey plastic with each frame packaged in it's own bag, and a decal sheet is included (And which I forgot to photograph). Also included is an instruction sheet, and I recommend going through this first and marking all the parts you want to use for the version you are building, so as to avoid any confusion later. The instructions I felt are pretty clear, though care should be taken when following them. I didn't pay too much attention to them and managed to somehow assemble the tracks wrongly.
The decal sheet is nicely done, with a good selection of regimental markings and flashes, and also includes a Soviet guards badge for making a lend lease vehicle. Only three things jump out at me from the sheet, it includes a number jumble for making the vehicles registration code, but doesn't come with the 'T' prefix, the squadron flashes have a black filler inside of the geometric shape, I'd have much preferred this to be open so that it can be blackened later if desired. Finally, some names would have been welcome, though that may be pushing the limits of what is possible with a small sheet.
Assembly is actually very straight forwards (When you bother to read the instructions...), I glued some pennies into mine to give it a little more weight and heft, and also replaced the antennae with fuse wire but that was it. Building mine as the MKIII the use of slide moulding was evident, as the gun (as will all of them), is pre drilled and in scale. The only small, fiddly parts are the head lights at the front of the vehicle, the rest is made up of large panels that fit nicely. I do really recommend using a proper plastic glue or solvent, and dry fitting though as going straight in with super glue will make for a bad day.
Warlords Churchill allows you to build one of the following versions, MKIII, with welded turret and 6 pounder gun. The MKIV with a welded turret and 6 pdr. MKV with 95mm howitzer, Mk VI with 75mm gun, this has a particularly nice muzzle brake too. There is also an option to build the NA75mm version. Eavh of these looks good and is pretty accurate. If you are someone who likes swapping variants this could be a problem, however if you made judicious use of magnets it may be possible.
Also possible in this kit is the option to build the AVRE, the Petard mortar is well done, however quite a few of the hull fittings are missing so it's hard to build an accurate model of the vehicle straight from the box if that is what you require.
Luckily S&S models are coming to the rescue, and will be bringing out a series of update and conversion kits for the AVRE, that will also allow you to build a few of the different options. I'll be getting myself one of the bridge layers when it comes out.
To paint my Churchill I primed black, and then airbrushed Vallejo USA Olive Drab. I then mixed some Vallejo Pale sand in, applied the transfers, then let the paint dry for 3-4 days. I then came back to the tank, painting AK4062 Light Dust Deposit over the entire vehicle, before using a broad brush lightly dipped in white spirit to work most of the Light dust off the model. I then repeated this process a few times until the dust had built up to a level I was happy with.
After placing the Churchill to one side to dry for another day, I came back to it and did the same thing using AK4063 Brown Earth Deposit, concentrating this onto the tracks and working parts, as well as the lower hull and anywhere dirt may accumulate in thicker quantities.
Again, the tank was left for a few days to dry, before I painted MIG 1000 wash for Dark Yellow into the darkest recesses and deepest panels.
Finally, I used a selection of artists oils to add some streaking to the sides, and some MIG Oil and Grease to some of the drive wheels and engine deck. A quick drybrush of the tracks with a dark steel colour I mixed up and the Churchill was complete.
The crewman is the one included with the kit, and very nice he is too.
I'd sum this kit up by saying it was an excellent build, but one must exercise some caution to ensure you are building the correct version you want, and also to get the tracks together correctly. at £20 the kit is good value, and is quite sizeable too. Warlord also sell the Churchill in a platoon set, with 3 vehicles for £50. My thanks to Warlord Games for providing the kit, and you can see more of my work or contact me regarding commissions at Volley Fire Painting Service.