In-Box Review
Tamiya Churchill Crocodile

by: Andy Herbert [ HERBERTA ]

I got this kit in a trade a while ago, and I've almost finished building it. I don't believe the kit is in current release, but it's easy to find on Ebay and maybe you can trade some German thingy for it!! I figured I'd share my experience thus far...

The kit includes two figures (not bad for old Tamiya - a tank crewman and tommie), all the parts to build a regular Churchill Mk VII gun tank, and the parts for the Crocodile trailer and flame unit (including a different rear plate piece). The kit has been released in a "new" version, without the Croc parts and trailer, but including some other figures, a farmer's cart and some other accessories. IF you can find the older kit, it's generally cheaper, and gives you more options because you get the Crocodile parts.

First, I really like this kit! The detail is very good, representative of the best older Tamiya kits, with only a few problems. The hatch handles and tie downs are moulded in place, and are solid, which is too bad, but easily remedied if you choose. The one piece tracks are well detailed, and if you assemble a Churchill with fenders, they can easily be glued in place. It would be a big waste of time and money (IMHO) to replace them with indy links. My tracks were too short!! But again, the fenders/mudguards hide the top run completely, so I just superglued the pieces in place, and you can't tell. The detail on the running gear is simplified, and the hatches have little or no detail on the interior. You can pose the hatches open, but of course there is no interior!! Some folks have previously said the kit scales out wrong, but that appears to depend on whether you compare it to the correct Churchill variant! The Mark VII (and VIII) was a redesign, with differently shaped hatches, and some other modifications that affect the dimensions of the vehicle. I have a few Churchill refs, and the kit matches up fairly well with the pictures. At any rate, this thing looks like a heavy infantry tank!!

Good points: Pretty much everything else! The instructions are clear, and I almost followed them this time! The kit fits together beautifully. I'm almost done with assembly, and there was only some filler needed to smooth out seams on the turret! The kit was built for motorization, so the hull top fits onto the rest of the chassis using some vinyl rings and pegs. I didn't bother gluing them together because the fit is so good! I built it up, and then snapped them together. The paint and mud will hold them together! No visible gaps remained after doing this. I have added lots of mud (Celluclay, dirt, water, white glue, acrylic medium, tea leaves, brown paint & static grass) to the running gear, so the missing detail is just underneath that!! The Crocodile trailer is an easy build, and again, required minimal filling. The pioneer tools probably could do with replacement, and certainly the tool clasps are oversize and lack detail. Those with AMS might want some PE to replicate the correct antenna mount, to spruce up the lights, handles etc., but I'm happy to do without all that aggravation!!

I was surprised at how big this vehicle is when finished. It takes up more room than I expected, and looks pretty impressive next to the Sherman and M20 I have for the same diorama (pictures forthcoming when it's finally done!). A few accessories are included, but I'm replacing that with aftermarket and scratchbuilt items. There are tow ropes included, and a few sets of track links to stick on. Churchills in action seem to have been festooned with extra track-links of all kinds (including Pz IV, Panther and/or Tiger links), and the use of cammo nets was common. All of this must be added to the kit, but that's true in all cases. Overall, this is a nice kit, and with a little care it builds into an impressive beast! I only take marks off for some moulded on detail that we'd expect to be separate in a new release.

Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: MM100
  PUBLISHED: Mar 30, 2002
  NATIONALITY: United States

About Andy Herbert (herberta)

Copyright 2021 text by Andy Herbert [ HERBERTA ]. All rights reserved.