Crusader Mk.II
1/35 Kit No. 6385
By David Murnain


The Kit:
This kit was done straight out of the box. The other one of these that I have is planned to get some modifications to backdate it to an earlier example. Strictly speaking, despite the kit being labelled as a Crusader II (and the instructions having an each-way bet saying that it is a Crusader I/II), the kit is really more Crusader I than Crusader II. The presence or not of the machine-gun sub-turret is not a reliable indicator as both Mk I and Mk II Crusaders could have them. The principle difference between the two versions was thicker armour on the Mk II, and the only reliable visual difference, according to David Fletcher anyway, was that on the Mk II the gunners sighting slit was virtually flush with the front plate rather than standing proud of the surface, and that the turret front plate had it's lower corners bevelled to clear the drivers compartment after the extra 10mm of armour had been added. The turret on this kit displays the characteristics of a Crusader I, not a Crusader II, but given that these differences are so small, and one of them at least can be added with a file in about 3 seconds, the kit can be completed to represent either a Mk I or Mk II by all but the most exacting of modellers.

It would appear that the kit is a modification of the old Crusader III sprues. The hull still sports the area to take the later type of tow hitch for a Mk III and has the raised sections in the front mudguards that were only a feature on later Mk III's. The turret is all new and looks quite good when built up. It was suggested that I might need to replace the 2-pdr barrel with a turned aluminium one, but comparing the kit item to an Elephant brand 2-pdr barrel there was no discernable difference, to my eye anyway. One small complaint about the new turret is that you can see straight through the openings in the mantlet into the empty interior. If an aftermarket interior set for the turret becomes available it would be a nice enhancement as the turret 'sunshine roof' placed in the open position would give a good view of any interior detail. The BESA gun in the sub-turret can be inserted from the inside after completion of the model which is a small bonus when painting.

The kit goes together very well and the fit of parts is generally good. There is a slight gap at the rear of the drivers compartment, but this is not easily seen once the turret is in place. The storage box on the rear of the turret doesn't go together neatly. I found the easiest way to get a clean join was to sand off all protrusions on the two parts and after filling and sanding, replace them with some plastic strip. I left off the auxiliary fuel tank, mainly as I already have two Crusader III's with them fitted and I wanted a bit of variety. I also left off the tow cable as it simply didn't look very convincing. The step in the front mudguards was cut off and a small piece of plastic card inserted to give a straight, flat line to the front guards. The kit supplies only small sand-skirts. Looking at various photos, there was quite a bit of variety in configurations of sand-skirts, headlights, auxiliary fuel tanks and general stowage, so there is a lot of scope to 'personalise' your model.

Crusader IICrusader IICrusader II
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The decals supplied with the kit are for a Mk II, "The Saint" from 10th Royal Hussars. This vehicle is the subject of one of the artworks in the Osprey book, shown with full-length sand-skirts. However, the decals give the "A" squadron triangle marking in red indicating the senior regiment of the brigade, but both the Osprey title and the George Bradford book indicate the it should have been in blue (the junior regiment of the brigade.) The tank is light stone overall. It was painted using Gunze paints, starting with a dark grey pre-shade (and the tyres were left dark grey), an overall coat of sand, and after decaling, a wash with burnt umber oil paint and a light dry brush of a mix of sand enamel paint and white oil pant and finally dusted with a few very thin coats of lightened sand to tone things down.

Basically a pleasant, easy kit to make, with plenty of scope for extra detailing if that's you want.


Model Copyright © 2004 David Murnain & PMMS
Page Created 22 March 2002

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