Resicast have recently released a useful conversion set for the Tamiya Matilda Tank in the form of a Canal Defence Tank Turret. The CDL was yet another British innovation.
The term Canal Defence Tank is somewhat misleading. Just prior to the start of WW2 the War Office acquired the designs for a tank mounted night fighting searchlight. However the project was so Secret that it was termed Canal Defence Tank to confuse the enemy and very few outside of those units who operated the vehicle knew about its existence.
The initial deployments were made on the Matilda in the desert. Later when 79th Armoured Division was formed it was thought that these vehicles might prove useful in NWE and the Grant was chosen as the carrying vehicle. The Grant had advantages over the Matilda in so much as the 75mm hull gun could be retained and the CDL turret and a MG added easily. A fake barrel was also added to the turret just to confuse the enemy.
The light itself consisted of an arc lamp used in conjunction with reflectors, and could project a beam through a narrow vertical slit in the front of a specially made turret. It incorporated a mechanical shutter device to make the light flicker, the original intention being to dazzle the enemy. As the slit was only 2 inches wide the searchlight was well protected from any small arms fire. The carbon arc lamp only lasted for around 36 minute but could be replaced within a minute by the crew.
The light could be depressed or elevated 10% from the horizontal. At 1000 yards the light illuminated an area 340 yards wide and about 35 yards high. Beyond about 1500 yards and up to about 4000 yards the light only provided a limited amount of illumination more akin to moonlight. The set is designed for use with the Tamiya 1/35 scale Matilda.
The set comes packed in a sturdy cardboard box, with the product and manufacturers details on the front and a colour picture of the built turret for reference. The parts are bubble wrapped and for extra protection and the smaller parts come in a zip plastic bag.
The instructions are contained on a 2 sided A5 sheet with a parts listing and assembly instructions on one sheet and a couple of build pictures on the other. The instructions point out what NOT to build on the Tamiya kit and the picture references for the turret are marked with the parts shown corresponding numbers to those on the pour stubs attached to the parts.
The parts are moulded in a light grey resin and consist of the turret, which is cast as a whole piece, side hatch, vision port, Besa MG, periscope, hatch rest, antenna A and B type handle, lifting brackets and hatch bracket. A small fret of PE is included form the Grant/Lee CDL set not all of which you will need.
The parts are excellently cast with fine sharp detail. The build itself is a very simple one; you will need a sharp razor saw to remove the plug at the bottom of the turret but alter that clean-up will be minimal. Normal precautions apply when working with resin.
This is a nice simple conversion to create a Matilda CDL Tank. The CDL were first deployed in the desert so this set offers a fairly easy conversion and therefore additional build opportunity for this vehicle. As you would expect from Resicast the parts are expertly moulded and have excellent detail.
This is a simple but interesting conversion so build and enjoy. If you’re interested in a Grant or Lee CDL then Resicast also have a conversion set for those too in kit no 35.1102. If you’re interested in a more adventurous build/alternative use for the turret then have a look at kit No 35.1235 Crane for Matilda CDL Units also just recently released.
Highs: Excellent casting and quality, a simple and effective conversion.Lows: None I can think ofVerdict: Highly Recommended
About Alan McNeilly (AlanL) FROM: ENGLAND - EAST ANGLIA, UNITED KINGDOM
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 ...