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In-Box Review
135
Carpet Laying Churchill
Churchill Mk III TLC Laying Device and Carpet Type D
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by: Darren Baker [ CMOT ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

Introduction

Major General Percy Hobart was the mastermind behind the series of vehicles collectively known as Hobartís Funnies. Hobartís Funnies were a series of specialist vehicles, usually based on tanks and operated by the Royal Engineers as part of the 79th Armoured Division. The tank which seems to have attracted the most attention for the modifications was the Churchill in its various versions; however the Sherman and the Valentine also received some attention from Major General Percy Hobart.

You have to give AFV Club credit when it comes to finding a little produced Allied tank when it comes to model form, but that has so many different versions, different versions that I expect like I most thought would only be available in resin. AFV Club has taken the Churchill tank to its heart as it has done with the Centurion. AFV Club has then released a large number of Churchill gun tanks and has now moved on to releasing the ĎFunniesí. The latest versions released are the carpet layer, fascine carrier and Ďsnakeí mine clearing tank versions of the Churchill. This review takes a look at the Churchill Mk III TLC laying device and carpet.

Contents

This model is supplied in the usual large box popular with AFV Club. The box is very full and getting the various parts back into the box after longingly looking at them is harder than it may at first appear. Below is a list of how the contents break down;
14 green sprues
Upper turret
2 lengths of self-adhesive paper
22 suspension springs
1 clear sprue
2 pairs of vinyl rubber spare track links
2 vinyl rubber track runs
A spring
2 photo etched frets
A decal sheet
An instruction booklet
A box top artwork

Review

First Impressions
A look at the parts that make up this model gives me a positive opinion for the most part. The moulded parts appear to be clean and free of moulding faults, except for the top of the turret that does look and feel to have a very light amount of shrinkage that will need attention. The only other issue that could prove to be a problem is that a number of parts have broken free from the sprue carriers, in this sample there is no damage to these parts, but that may not always be the case.

Anyone who has tackled one of AFV Clubís Churchill tank models will be in familiar territory with the hull, wheel and suspension components of this model. The hull is made up of a series of flat detailed parts that attach to the hulls side walls, it is this approach by AFV Club that has made it financially viable to offer so many variants of the Churchill tank, I believe. The suspension is workable on this model, so if you have not tackled one of these before the model can be depicted on an uneven base and be presented in a realistic manner. One of the issues of the running gear that I have been made aware of is the drive wheels, these lack the holes that sit between the cogs and allow muck that gets in through the side holes on the wheels to clear. This issue can be tackled in a couple of ways, you could drill out the detail on kit parts, but if you are concerned about the thickness the other option is provided by Inside the Armour who provided an after-market solution. While on the subject of Inside the Armour, they also offer a full interior for both hull and turret and even an engine and its bay. I will say that seeing this detail is not easy and so really does come down to how much accuracy is enough for you as a modeller. The suspension is a very realistic reproduction of the area of the real model.

The tracks provided with this model are the vinyl rubber type; yes I know why, have that not provided the individual workable tracks? I believe the answer is simple to that question, there is no room in the box for them and they are available separately for about £15. I am informed that the workable track links represent the same tracks as the vinyl rubber tracks depict, just better. As such I am not going to criticise AFV Club for supplying the vinyl tracks as some will prefer them for their ease of use, for everyone else pick up a set of the workable tracks. The spare track links are also vinyl rubber and that is something I am not keen on.

A few features on the hull that I do like are the hatches and the exhaust. Every hatch cover can be displayed open, a nice touch if you are tempted by an interior. The exhausts are very nice having been supplied hollow rather than solid and so needing to be drilled out by the modeller. The covers for the exhausts are also supplied separately, another aspect that I like. This model representing a vehicle that will land off of a boat has wading stacks, these parts have been very nicely reproduced using slide moulding techniques. The bracing for holding the stacks in position are also very nicely done and I donít believe that they will be easily improved upon. The modeller also has the option of showing the wading stacks being removed or off of the tank depending on what you are looking to represent.

The track guards are supplied in a series of parts for each run and due to this approach the modeller has the option of adding all, some or none of them to the model. The detail is good in this area in my opinion.

The main gun of this tank has been replaced with the 290mm Petard spigot mortar, this weapons system was no intended for tank on tank combat, but if you were hiding in a concrete bunker it was a weapons system you would regret seeing. The detail of mortar supplied with the model is excellent in my opinion, detail that even allows you to show it with a round in or out of the weapon and even provides for the barrel to be displayed in a loading position. Included in the kit are two mortar rounds with good detail. The turret itself is fairly simplistic, but that is not to say inaccurate. The general shape and detail present looks to be very good to me. As mentioned previously the hatches can all be shown open or closed and do have detail on both sides of the hatches. The shrink marks I mentioned at the start of the review are minimal and I believe easily fixed; as I have not heard any other complaints about this I can only believe that it is a rare occurrence rather than a regular issue. The sink marks are around the periscope mounts. As I said before I do believe this to be a rare fault with products from AFV Club.

The carpet laying device included with the model does look to be a very good match with pictorial reference, the only area I cannot vouch for is the interior detail of the spool as I could not find reference for this aspect. Perhaps the most surprising part of this device is that AFV Club has you cutting up the box for three parts of the interior and it is these card parts that the supplied mat attaches to. The mat itself is included in the kit, a very good inclusion and approved of step by by me from AFV Club. The mat is made up of two lengths of self-adhesive paper and AFV Club have supplied wooden braces to be trapped in between the paper, my only issue with this is that all the images I have seen of the real vehicle show hollow poles and not wood, even the artwork on the box shows poles rather than wood. I will also add that the poles run the full width of the material in the pictures not stepped on opposite sides as I have seen mentioned. The wood in my case will be replaced with aluminium tubing as while I cannot say the wood is wrong I cannot find evidence of it, I have included an image of the metal tubing I will be using.

Conclusion

Despite the small issues I found with the model I am very impressed with what AFV Club have presented us with here. I already have a small diorama planned for this tank nearly out of the sea and onto the beach, the mat starting to be laid out and perhaps a couple of British or Canadian troops using it for cover, as any self-respecting soldier would. This really is an impressive looking model judging from the parts.
SUMMARY
Highs: An excellent level of detail over the model as a whole along with a nice selection of options when it comes to showing a finished model.
Lows: The minor sink marks in the turret roof are an unexpected task I will need to address.
Verdict: This is a very impressive Churchill variant.
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: AF35274
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Apr 15, 2015
  NATIONALITY: United Kingdom
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 87.16%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 89.65%

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About Darren Baker (CMOT)
FROM: ENGLAND - SOUTH WEST, UNITED KINGDOM

I have been building model kits since the early 70ís starting with Airfix kits of mostly aircraft, then progressing to the point I am at now building predominantly armour kits from all countries and time periods. Living in the middle of Salisbury plain since the 70ís, I have had lots of opportunitie...

Copyright ©2017 text by Darren Baker [ CMOT ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of TankRat's. All rights reserved.


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Comments

When are AFV club doing the MK7 version of this tank? Tamiya's version was the first 1/35 model I did and I would most like reproduce that build in modern standards. I'm going to guess it's because he hasn't yet got the time to fully build the kit and write up about it, only enough to do an in-box instead.
APR 16, 2015 - 01:37 AM
Me likes the AFV Club Churchill kits.
APR 21, 2015 - 10:18 PM
Me too, I really need to order some replacement parts for the Dieppe version who's suspension I ballsed up a couple of months ago.
APR 22, 2015 - 01:07 AM
Me too, I really need to order some replacement parts for the Dieppe version who's suspension I ballsed up a couple of months ago. [/quote] just do it bogged down in the shingle beach with a thrown track?
APR 22, 2015 - 05:31 AM
Hi I read where you were getting round tube to go into the carpet Bob in, anyway I found a reference about the construction of the bobbin in the Churchill in Canadian service by mark w tonner. Anyhow the device was issued to the Calgary tank regt there were two types adapted for the Churchill in 42. The type of cld used at Dieppe carried a 9 foot 11 inch 3 metre wide by 25 to 30 feet(7.1 to 9.1 metres) long mat of chespaling on a single spindle supported by short arms above the front horns of the tank. Chespaling was flexible roll fencing similar to wood slat snow fencing, but made with tough split slats made of chestnut wood. So as not to obstruct the main or secondary armament of the tank once the mat had been laid the cld could be jettisoned from the tank by means of a small explosive charge fired electrically from the turret. For the landing at Dieppe it was planned that the first tank in each tank landing craft was fitted with the cld. Five tanks T31124R(Chief), T68173 (Cougar), T31135R(Burns), T31655 (Buttercup), and T68557R (Bob) were fitted with the cld and issued to the Calgary regt in June 42. All five were lost to enemy action on the beach at Dieppe; only two were able to successfully lay the chespaling. T = Tank, R = Reworked. MK III - buttercup, cougar, Bob, MK I - chief, burns I thought that you could use the info regarding the construction of the carpet. I have other Churchill books but they are packed away right now so I can't say whether I have a pic of one of these or not but the description is absolutely clear and at least here in Canada we are familiar with the comparison to a snow fence. I have several AFC churchills and I guess they will be selling me another god help me should they bring out the bridge layer. Anyways I hope this is helpful for those that wish to model one at Dieppe.
APR 22, 2015 - 11:28 AM
Thank you for the information Al.
APR 22, 2015 - 12:05 PM
Thought you might find it interesting! Since you had tried to find images of the beast!
APR 22, 2015 - 01:00 PM
Hi Darren, Are you going to do a build blog on this carpet layer. Cheers, Ralph
APR 25, 2015 - 11:49 PM
I will be once I get some free time.
APR 26, 2015 - 03:10 AM
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