In-Box Review
Resicast AVRE Mk IV Turret
Resicast Churchill Mk IV AVRE Turret and Parts – Conversion for AFV Club Churchill
  • P22100132

by: Alan McNeilly [ ALANL ]

Like me many were delighted with the announcement from AFV Club of their Churchill AVRE Mk III. This first 1/35 scale AVRE in plastic, just like the new Mk III Gun Tank is a very welcome addition indeed.

In preparation for the invasion of Europe and as a result of the experience learned in the failed Dieppe raid, the British realized that in order to facilitate a successful landing on the coast of North Wes Europe they would need specialized armour support to help overcome the beach obstacles and defenses. 79th Armoured Division was tasked with this responsibility and under command of Major General Percy Hobart developed a range of specialized armoured engineering vehicles to help accomplish this. "Hobart’s Funnies" had been born and these vehicles went on to play a key part in both the successful landings and final defeat of Nazi Germany.

By 6th of June sufficient numbers of these "Funnies" were deployed and ready to assist the landings. The "Funnies" were based on the converted Mk III and Mk IV Churchill Gun Tanks. The Churchill AVRE (Armoured Vehicle Royal Engineers) was a key vehicle within the wide variety of "Funnies." It was armed with a Petard Spigot Mortar, designed to destroy bunkers and blow holes in the sea wall defenses.

AFV Club has brought us the Churchill MK III Gun Tank and soon we hope the Churchill AVRE Mk III. The new Resicast conversion set will give you the opportunity to convert these vehicles into the more common Churchill AVRE Mk IV.
The kit
Contained in a sturdy cardboard box and wrapped in protective layers of bubble wrap, the set contains a 12 page instruction booklet, 3 zip bags of conversion parts, the cast AVRE Mk IV turret and later style blanket box. I have always been impressed with the packaging of the Resicast items and this is no different to other sets I have received. It is an indication of the quality of the items contained within. On the front of the box are the manufacturer's detail with a good colour picture of the built turret and some smaller pictures of the additional conversion parts, a painted AVRE and an alternative picture of the rear LSH of the turret.

The kit is cast in a light gray resin. I could seen no air bubbles or cause for concern, the parts being highly detailed and extremely well cast.
The 12 page instruction booklet is in the new style. Page 1 contains a picture of the Mk IV turret and underneath a listing of the resin parts. Page 2 shows all the main parts identified by picture and part number, whilst page 3 shows a list of the etched parts and details on the No 19 Radio Set. Page 4 and 5 cover the internal fittings in the turret, and page 6, covers the fitting of the loaders hatch and pages 6 lower half, 7, 8 and 9 the building of the external Spigot mortar barrel, with page 9 showing some close ups of the actual kit. Page 10 is deals with with the external turret fittings whilst page 11 shows the position of the external additional brackets for the hull armour sides. The final page, page 12 contains the contact details of the company and reference form if you have any problems with damaged or missing parts.
the turret
The Mk IV Turret
The main difference between the Mk III and Mk IV was the turret. The Mk III AVRE had the welded turret whilst the more common Mk IV had the cast version. A number of attempts had been made by resin manufacturers to replicate this turret. I built the older Resicast set and it was by far the closest to the real thing and had the added advantage of being hollow. The New Resicast MK IV turret for the AFV Club Churchill Mk III kit follows on in that excellent style. Cast in a light gray resin the turret features excellent exterior detail and some cast internal detail also. The finish gives an excellent reproduction of the real thing with nice sharp detail, cast numbers and compared against the information I have a good representation of shape and size if the real item.

Terry Ashley did a comparison of the sets available over on PMMS sometime back and you may wish to take a look at that.

PMMS Comparison

As far as I can tell the new turret retains the dimensional properties of the older set so is a very good match.
The added bonus of this set is that you get a basic interior to add, plus the base of the Spigot mortar, so with the additional of a little plumbing you will have a nice busy interior if you want to display the model with the hatches open. The turret will require a little clean up to remove 3 pour stubs from the rear and the film in the hatch openings.
As well as some internal molded fittings you get a very neat No 19 radio set, barrel rear section, 2 x satchels, 1 x binocular case, gun barrel and mount, handle, elevating arm, gun trunnion, flare box, Bessa box, grenade box, seat, Variometer, Hellesen lamp and flare gun holster, so plenty to fill up and detail that large space.
exterior fittings
Externally the turret comes with all the necessary fittings including fire extinguishers, a choice of rear blanket boxes, with the older square style or the later sloped box for D Day and beyond.. 2 replacement hatches are provided for the RHS turret hatch with the kit hatch being used for the commanders’ cupola. The necessary antenna bases and PE tie downs, gun sight, flag satchel, periscope and pistol port covers are provided as necessary. The external 290mm Petard Spigot Mortar barrel is hollow showing the barrel supports for the mortar bomb. You get two mortar bombs to go with the kit, these were know as flying dustbins and weighed 40lb containing a 26lb demolition charge.

All in all a very busy turret adding lots of additional detail to the build. "Armour in Focus" has good examples of both the Mk III and Mk IV turrets and also links to external and internal pictures that are an excellent reference:
Armor in Focus

Loader's Hatch Brackets & Suspension Units
The kit comes with either open or closed loaders hatch, which is a thoughtful detail and the centre brackets and front brackets often seen on the AVREs. In addition you get 2 detailed suspension units should you wish to mount these on the rear fenders of the tank, a feature seen on some AVREs during the initial landings on D Day and for a few days after.
A small fret of PE is included and contains handles for the No 19 radio, antenna guards for same (optional), compass support bracket, tie downs, Petard guard, gun sight and brackets to complete the set.
This set replaces and builds on the older conversion set that was designed for the Tamiya Churchill Gun Tank. It provides a detailed conversion for the AFV Club Mk III Gun Tank to a Mk IV AVRE. It should also provide a suitable conversion of the expected Churchill AVRE Mk III to turn it into a Mk IV AVRE.

The addition of the internal turret detail, No 19 Radio, full Petard barrel and the many satchels, and boxes plus the quality casting of the AVRE turret and the inclusion of the suspension units all add to the overall quality of the set.

Opening a Resicast conversion just speaks quality and this set is no different, highly detailed, well thought out and engineered it will provide modellers with an excellent representation of the Mk IV AVRE.

It also adds something else and that is the commitment of this company to give quality products and value for money AM products to modellers, allowing them to build a range of vehicles that currently don’t exist in 1/35 plastic. If you build 1/35 British/Commonwealth kits then probably sooner or later you will get around to visiting Resicast. You shouldn’t be disappointed.
Highs: A highly detailed and quality conversion for the new Churchill Mk III Gun Tank and Mk III AVRE offering modellers choice in what they build. Superbly casted hollow Mk IV turret with great internal and external detail.
Lows: None that I could think of.
Verdict: Highly Recommended
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 35.1202
  Suggested Retail: 29.50 euro
  PUBLISHED: Mar 06, 2009
  NATIONALITY: United Kingdom

Our Thanks to Resicast!
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About Alan McNeilly (AlanL)

Greying slightly, but young at heart. I've been teaching adults off and on for most of my life. Left the services in 85 and first started modelling in about 87 for a few years. Then I had a long spell when I didn't build anything (too busy) and really just got started again during the summer of ...

Copyright ©2021 text by Alan McNeilly [ ALANL ]. All rights reserved.


Alan-- great workmanship on the AVRE. I note that on the majority of Churchill photos and models I viewed, the forward section of the fenders are gone.. Is this due to loss during movement or did they purposely leave them off the vehicle? thanks DJ
MAR 10, 2009 - 12:04 PM
Hi DJ, I've seen both. My understading is that they often took them off because rocks and the like would get caught, jammed underneath, I can imagine the noise as stone after stone scraped down the inside top of the fender. The new AFV kit fender comes in sections so there will be no problem leaving off parts or all of the fender if you choose which offers modellers a lot more choice. From what I've read the sections are corrrectly made so should be no problem there. A quick check through you reference pics should give a variety of examples. Thanks for the comments, enjoy the build. Al
MAR 10, 2009 - 05:38 PM
Al thanks for the response. DJ
MAR 11, 2009 - 11:21 PM
Hi Guys, About 400 plus folks have looked at this one so far. Of those 2 people ticked the thicky box. showing 1 of 2 people found this helpful. I always wonder what the person who didn't find it helpful, actually didn't find helpful, if you know what I mean? At least if they said one might have an idea if the style or content need to be changed in some way. Al
MAR 12, 2009 - 06:41 PM
Hey Al, Nice review, I must have missed this one the first time around. This will make a nice companion piece with AFV Clubs Mk. III AVRE. I wonder if AFV Club will eventually get around to doing a Mk. IV gun tank in plastic Cheers jjumbo
APR 18, 2009 - 06:19 PM
Hi John, Thanks, on AFV well anything is possible, if they develop the kit in the way they did the Centurion then a Mk IV would make sense. Now they have the basic body, I would expect them to utalise it to the full. Time will tell. Replicating the Mk IV turret is not an easy job, several other AM manufacturers have tried with varying degrees of success/failure. So far the Resicast Turret is the best example I've seen and the added interior is a plus too. I'm looking forward to the arrival of the Mk III AVRE and as you say they will compliment each other well. Just a pity more pictures of the Mk III are so had to find. Cheers Al
APR 18, 2009 - 11:36 PM
Hey Al, I'm really looking forward to AFV Club or someone either doing a conversion of the Chuchill NA75. While most versions of the Churchill look interesting, the NA75 just has that different appeal for me. It's definitely going to be a grand year for the Allied vehicle modeller. Cheers jjumbo
APR 19, 2009 - 12:52 PM
Hi John, If you haven't already come across this have a read on: really interesting story on the development of the NA 75mm Al
APR 19, 2009 - 03:07 PM
Hey Al, Yeah, I had already spotted and bookmarked that article but I had read somwhere else about how the powers that be warned Morrell that if he "F***ed up" a perfectly good Churchill with his experiment, any advancement ot his military career was at an end. Like many from WWII, it's an interesting story of a need being the mother of invention. What's truly amazing is that many of these tanks were still around and mustered out after the war ended. It may have been antiquated and almost obsolete when first built but the Churchill proved it's worth !!! Cheers jjumbo
APR 19, 2009 - 03:18 PM

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