by: Rodger Cole [ ]
This is a in box review, and it's my first.
This kit dates from 1997, according to the markings on the sprues, and appears to be a newly released model, as opposed to the 1996 re-issue of the Churchill. The model can be made as either the Centaur or the Cromwell, the principle difference being the engine and track tension system. I must admit total ignorance, and confusion, of British naming practices. This tank is referred to variously as an A27, Cromwell, various marks from I to VII, and hull types from A to F. The box even calls it a Cromwell Mk IV, British Cruiser Mk VIII, A27M. Regardless of what it is called the AFV was one of the principle fighting vehicles of the British army.
Included in the box are five sprues of dark green plastic, with A sprue being duplicated containing the road wheels, a clear sprue, rubber band tracks, poly caps, a piece of mesh for the engine grill, string for the tow cables, 11 pages of instructions, and decals. The tracks are the newer type that can be glued using plastic cement, as opposed to needing to be melted to hold them together. The clear sprue is from the re-release of the Churchill and includes one headlight lens, 6 bottles of various sizes, a lantern, and 6 sets of goggles, even though this kit has only one crew member.
Since this is a in the box review I canít comment on how well the kit goes together but I have every expectation that it will fit as well as every new Tamiya kit Iíve made. The detail seems to be quite good, with good surface detail of the cast areas of the armor, and good looking tracks. Besides being able to make either the Cromwell or the Centaur the kit also allows you the choice of adding a Normandy Cowl and a hedge cutter. Decals are for five different vehicles, four in the British army and one Polish armored unit. Iíve read that Tamiya decals tend to be fairly heavy but since Iíve never used anything else I canít comment on this. Instructions are typical Tamiya quality, including a short history of the vehicle, and an OOB of the famous 7th Armored Division.
I have also picked up an Accurate Armor PE set, EB05, to dress up this kit. This will be my first attempt at PE so I am even more ignorant as to what is included in most sets than I am on British naming. The kit includes four mesh grills, one to replace the wire grill in the Tamiya kit. These go on the tank in such a way, i.e. they are covered by other pieces, that Iím not sure they are going to be seen all that much. Also included are padlocks for the storage bins, clips for the tow cable, two rear view mirrors, and two types of sight for the tank commanders hatch. Overall I feel this is a nice kit to have for Allied vehicle fans. It looks to me that it will build up into an acceptable representation of this important British tank. My only small quibble might be its value. At $37.00 US it is the same price as a Sherman Front Line Breakthrough, and a $1 more than a Churchill Mk VII. Granted both of these kits are basically re-releases of older kits but they both come with more figures and accessories, even a small farmers cart in the case of the Churchill. Still this is certainly good value compared to a resin kit costing twice as much.
Copyright ©2021 text by Rodger Cole [ ]. All rights reserved.