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Kit # 35221 1/35 British Cromwell Tank Mk.IV
#35222 Cromwell Photo Etched Grille Set

Review by Terry Ashley

The kit:
The kit consists of 185 parts in dark green plastic, a clear sprue with searchlight lens and 6 bottles and goggles, plus two lengths of track and 2 pieces of string for the tow ropes.
The model represents the type "C" hull and has all hull and turret hatches as seperate pieces. Also the center engine compartment hatches are also seperate. The screen for the engine exhaust is the standard Tamiya mesh, the extra Etched Grille Set (#35222) really adds to the kit. Also optional parts are supplied for the Normandy cowl and 'Cromwell Prong' Cullen Hedgerow cutting device.
The quality of these parts is all we have come to expect from Tamiya with superb texturing of the armour surface and delicate weld seams and finesse of the smaller parts.
The instruction sheet has a full two pages of text outlining the complex development of the Cromwell including the Order of Battle for the 7th Armoured Division in 1944.
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Step 1 is the rear hull plate which fits together without problem to form the rear exhaust overhang. The design of this section allows good bolt head detail to be on all inner and outer panels.

Step 2 is the wheels and drive sprockets which trap a poly cap between the inner and outer halves. Just a word on the road wheels. The detail on these is brilliant, with a fine weld seam between the wheel disk and outer rim, there is even the three lubricant holes with raised lip around the center. The end cap is a separate piece to give good definition. The inside wheels also have this brilliant bolt and weld seam detail even though it can’t be seen when the wheels are on the model. The lightening holes on the drive sprockets are also there and very well done.

Step 3 is attaching the front and rear hull plates and the suspension arms. These arms have a locating hole and small pin to make for precise fitting at the right height and angle. If you wished to model the tank going over rough ground it’s a simple matter of cutting off the pin and positioning the arm at what ever angle you wish.

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Step 4 attaches the outer hull panels which again have very good detail, no problems were encountered. You must make a choice here if you wish to add the external track tension system (for a Cromwell) or internal track tensioning (for a Centaur). If you choose to build a Cromwell add parts C26,27 at this stage and leave off parts A16. If you choose a Centaur add parts A16 in Step 6 and leave off parts C26,27 here.

I left off the road wheels in Step 5 to allow better access to the wheels and hull during painting was weathering. Obviously this means leaving the track till last as well. The track is single length in the new style by Tamiya. They have excellent detail and can be glued using normal plastic cement.

Attach the top and bottom hull sections together in Step 6 after opening up the holes for parts A16 if you’re building a Centaur as mentioned in Step 4 above.

Step 7 is the front hull plate, which again has excellent surface detail. The besa machine gun includes the inner breech section and fits into the front plate with a ball mount allowing full movement. The driver's front hatch is in two pieces, the main round door which can be shown open or closed and also the center wicket door which again can be open or closed. A very nice touch.

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Step 8 is the storage boxes, being separate means you can have any configuration you wish on the model.

Steps 9-11 is attaching all the small fittings to the hull top. It is here I used the extra set of etched metal screens (Kit No. 35222) they are in stainless steel and have good detail. Attach these to the side engine intakes (along the side of the hull) and to the rear exhaust outlet. All other fittings are straight forward, although I did leave off the front and side fenders as many Cromwells had these missing. I also left off the tools until after painting was finished (remember to attach these before weathering). Also note the you only use part D17 if building a Cromwell, this is the external track tensioning tool and was not carried on Centaurs with internal tensioning.

Steps 12-17 is the turret construction. You get a full breech for the 75mm gun which is trapped inside the front plate to allow movement. The rest of the turret assembly is very straight forward with no fit problems at all. In fact the only filler I used on the whole kit was a very small amount on the gun barrel seam. The turret sides are separate pieces attached to the inner turret. This allows for excellent definition of the large bolt heads and pistol ports. All hatches are separate pieces with separate padding on the insides. Another nice touch is separate covers for the commander’s periscopes, so you may have them opened or closed. I added wiring to the side search light and some small bolt heads to the hatch hinges. ( I may have overdone the use of the word ‘separate’, but this is an indication of the detail which is everywhere).

Finally in Step 18 is the fitting of the separate driver’s top hatches again with internal padding and the towing cables.

The two big options in the kit are shown in Step 19, these being the Hedgerow cutting device and the Normandy cowl. If you choose to fit these remember to do so in Steps 3 and 9, you are reminded of this in the instructions. I left both these options off on this model to show the etched screen on the rear, but rest assured I will be building more Cromwells / Centaurs making full use of these options.

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The cam netting is from Verlinden netting with strips of silk attached and applied using white glue.
The finished model was airbrushed using Xtracolor X1 RAF dark green. This is a very close match for the army dark green when the final coat of matt is applied. It could possibly use a bit of lightening, but after final weathering it gives a fairly good match and has the advantage of being gloss for adding the decals. It should be noted that a number of vehicles were also painted in a dark earth colour and also had a white wash added in snowy conditions.
Speaking of decals you get markings for 5 different vehicles, two from the 7th Armoured Division, the 1st Polish Armoured Division, 11th Armoured Division and from the Welsh Guards. The decals are a little on the thick side (as is Tamiya’s want) but have good register and adhere well, especially with the use a of a decal setting solution (I use Micro Set/Sol). The star on the turret roof is a good example of this. It must be applied over the top of the turret ventilator. Tamiya have noted this and given you the decal in two pieces, the outer circle and the inner star. A great idea as the outer circle just misses the ventilator so you only have to worry about the star. I applied the star over the ventilator and literally drowned it in Micro Sol. It conformed around the ventilator brilliantly. After partly drying I cut around the gap between the inner and outer sections of the ventilator, applied more Sol and left it to dry. The result certainly surprised me, I was sure this would be a painting job. After the decals had dried, I airbrushed a final coat of matt varnish and after 48 hours applied a wash of thinned black oil paint to bring out detail. After another 24 hours the weathering was applied. I drybrushed various shades of earth colours to give the accumulated dust effect and general highlighting of the details.

Figures and Base:
The crew figures are from all over the place, two are from Tamiya, the Commander and the guy sitting in the side opening hatch who is much modified to fit. The driver is half of Ultracast's Commonwealth Tanker (#35011) and the second turret figure is part Verlinden and Cromwell figures. All were painted with oils for the flesh tones and Humbrol enamels for the uniforms.
The base is a vacuform street section from Polish company T.M.Productions. It is very simple and quick to just add some paint , a bit of rubble and any other objects for a simple presentation base.

This latest release from Tamiya of the Cromwell is not only a very welcome release but also lifts the state of the art of kit production to new levels. Not only for the quality of the mouldings, the level of detail, the ease of construction, but also the obvious degree of research that has gone into producing a top shelf model of a very complex subject. I would recommend this kit to anyone, it is very simple to build and you can leave the filler tube well alone, the fit of parts is brilliant. From the alternate parts (track tensioning etc) and the layout of parts on the sprues ( the gun is separate) it is a sure bet that Tamiya will release a 95mm Centaur in the future, with possible other versions.

Also check out the:
Royal Marines Centaur 95mm conversions using Accurate Armour's update sets.


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