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Tamiya Cromwell Mk.IV
British cruiser tank Mk.VIII, A27M

 

By Juho Ala-Jaaski

 

 

Price: $37.00
Media: Olive colored plastic, clear sprue, string.
Catalog#: 35221
Availability: Any hobby shop who stocks Tamiya kits.
Goodpoints: Great detail, no flash, good fit, no bad points in the kit.
Badpoints: Unclear instructions when it comes to track tensioning system options.
Recommended: To anyone into WW2 British armor or armor in general. Good for beginners.

HISTORY

Developed as a successor for the aging Crusader and Matilda tanks. Production started in 1942 with the Centaur Mk.I, with the succeeding developments such as the Cromwell differing considerably. The first variants had internal track-tensioning system and also a hatch on top of the hull for the Radio operator/MG gunner. The earlier models had the 6.pdr. gun or the 95mm howitzer. Most Centaurs were later re-engined. The designation was changed to the Cromwell, thus resulting in Cromwells with both, internal(ex-Centaurs), and external(Cromwell) track-tensioning systems.

The later models had a side swiveling hatch for the driver. This replaced the one on the hull top, which proved to make the escape of the driver impossible in an emergency if the turret was traversed in either direction.

The Cromwell proved to be popular with crews and was to serve from Normandy onward in Europe and even after the war with some countries. It also lead to the development of the first British MBT, the Comet.

REVIEW

Construction starts with the suspension and lower hull.

The suspension arms are separate and fit without any problems, and can easily be positioned evenly as Tamiya provides small guidepins to make sure everything touches the ground.

I painted the hull sides with the suspension components attached, but without the double armor plates in place. Next was the rear plate, which fits together well. I had to remove two small ejector pin marks from the separate gear box extension plate parts (C22, C23). I also painted the inside of the engine intake extension green before attaching the upper hull.

The tow hooks, and the two boxes on the rear plate are also separate along with the front lower armor plate.

If you're building one of the Cromwells with serials starting with the numbers 187, don't attach the parts needed for the external track-tensioning systems. These were re-engined Centaurs and had internal track-tensioning system.

I painted the lower hull green. The wheels were painted green with black rubber trim while still on the sprue.

The roadwheels are incredibly detailed with details like the three holes and the weld seam between the rim and the center!

Don't forget to attach the rubber caps inside the wheels as if they're not there the wheels will fit very loosely.

The tracks are of the new type that can be attached with regular plastic cement and the joints will hold! I have heard of this kind of joints coming loose or broken, but I have never had this happen, so I don't know if it's true. More on painting the tracks later.

The upper hull is molded in one piece, with REALLY nice rolled armor plate texture and a separate front plate with the drivers visor. The visor can be positioned fully open, partly open or closed. The front also features a BESA MG ball mount. My BESA machine gun had broken during shipping so I glued it back together with a drop of super glue.

Tamiya provides mesh for the engine intake on the engine deck, but doesn't mention that some should also be added to the side intakes. I added the grilles for these from some spare vinyl mesh I had leftover from a DML Panzer IV Ausf. J kit. I also replaced the handles on the protruding engine hatch, behind the turret, with some fine wire.

The driver's hatch comes in two pieces, with separate padding to go on the inside, but no handles. I don't know if this is correct, but it sure looks kind of odd. Same goes for the radio operator's side hatch. All the tow hooks are separate along with the fender toolboxes, and the side fenders. The only fit problem I discovered with this kit were the sides and fronts of the fenders. I had to trim the rear ones to make them fit properly.

All the tools were painted and put on after the hull had been painted.

The turret is VERY nice, with separate "armor" plates to allow for the correct armor thickness. The turret lifting hooks are also separate. The searchlight has a clear piece for the lens, and looks good. Don't forget to open the holes for it and the two triangles on the turret top though. The sides also have nice rolled armor plate texture.

Turret seats and a gun breech are provided, but nothing fancy here. I painted the interior of the turret white, as I was adding the commander figure to my model.

The gun barrel is two pieces which REALLY bugs me! I wish the manufacturers would realize this too. Luckily, the halves fit well with no filler and minimal sanding was needed. All the turret hatches are separate too, with separate internal padding.

I left the commander's hatch open to allow for the positioning of the great figure that comes with the kit.

I painted my model dark green, with brown for the hatch padding. The decals were applied according to instructions.

I had to make small cuts on the turret top star to make it fit over the armored ventilator cover. It conformed surprisingly well.

I chose to model the tank with the serial number 187796, with the red and blue RD texts and the Jeribo desert rat insignia. This tank had the internal track-tensioning system as I learned the hard way after I had already installed the external set! I was able to correct it though, so eventually I got it right.

The model was weathered by dabbing mud colored paint to the lower hull and suspension and the hull sides. It was given a wash around the detail, and I drybrushed it with some flat dark silver (slightly) and dusted it with pastel chalks.

The figure was painted and assembled according to instructions, and given a wash and some drybrushing. I added a strap for his clear goggles that were provided.

I also hung the oil-lamp provided on one of the turret lifting hooks for good measure. This had the bottom drilled out and the hole painted yellow to simulate a fire inside. The hollow was then filled with plastic cement.

The Cromwell was a pleasure to build and one of the best armor kits I have ever built. I highly recommend it.

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Air Intelligence
1999 Modelers'
Reference Guides

1/32 Scale Guide $18.00
1/48 Scale Guide $25.00
1/72 Scale Guide $25.00
HH-43 Huskie Color
Reference Guide $15.00

Please add $3.20 Postage in the US.

TacAir Publications

PO Box 90933
Albuquerque NM
87199-0933
USA
(505) 881-9621

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