A (very) few years ago, I was part of the nay-sayers, who frankly didn't believe that Allied armor was a financially viable area for the principal manufacturers. Beyond the M4 Sherman, it didn't honestly seem as if the many other subjects would ever get considered. It's nice (sometimes) to get proven wrong. Allied Armor is undergoing a total renaissance at the moment with some previously unimagined subjects getting a modern treatment. Personally speaking, one vehicle in particular has always captured my attention - the Churchill.
This vehicle served in virtually every front during WWII - the Western Desert, Italy, Russia, NW Europe and finished its front-line career in Korea in the 1950s. Only really superceded by the M4 & the T34 in longevity, the Churchill is certainly worthy as a modeling subject. Well, you'd think so. Unfortunately, the Churchill has been roundly ignored by the 1/35th manufacturers as not being a sufficiently 'flexible' subject to gather much attention beyond Tamiya's Mk.VII in the 1970s. That is, until AFV Club
surprised everyone by their announcement that they'd be releasing a completely new model and, if early indications are correct, producing a number of different variants along the way. The patience of many has been roundly vindicated!
in the box
The subject of AF35153 represents two different variants of the Mark III. These two variants are the EARLY (reworked) Mk.III or the Mid Period/Late Mk.III. This is due to the kit including the front and side bolt-on appliqué armor. The model comes on a total of 14 plastic sprues (one clear plastic for periscopes etc.) also included is a sheet of photo-etched brass, a turned-aluminium barrel, 22 metal springs and a pair of vinyl tracks.
A very nicely-produced decal sheet includes four subjects:
1) British Army: 'Kingforce' El Alamein 1942
2) Soviet Army: Winter 1942-43
3) 14th Canadian Army Tank Regiment (Calgary Regiment), Britain 1942
4) 51st RTR, Tunisia 1943
Some General comments
As this model will be the subject of a FULL build in the Forums, I prefer to keep the comments about accuracy etc. to the Blog. In the meantime, I'll keep to general observations about the model in its 'raw' state.
provides a well-produced 20-page instruction booklet which does illustrate how complex the model is. The instructions are some of the clearest I can remember seeing in a modern kit - kudos to the manufacturer!
Anyone who has built Tamiya's Mk.VII will immediately realize the difference in sophistication between the two models. The suspension on this model is pretty close to the construction of the original and, with the addition of the steel springs, a (more than) serious attempt has been made to articulate the suspension. Mould quality is everything we have come to expect from this manufacturer also - looking closely at the sprues, they have come cleanly out of the mould with little work to be done in cleaning up mould-lines etc.
The initial (and minimal) work I've done with plans has shown that dimensionally it's excellent and the turret, in particular, scales out virtually perfectly with details also being correct. I won't be using the kit tracks (having an aversion to vinyl tracks) although they are VERY nicely-done but for tracks of this type, single-link are preferable. AFV Club
released a set of workable Track Links (T-144 double pin latter-pattern type) and I'll be using these on the build.
Ted Hayward is working his way through a series of Reviews of AFV Club's
update sets for the Churchill III. Here are the first:
Replacement Individual Track Links (LINK)
The second, includes an item that was used on SOME of the King Force Churchills at El Alamein - the front-mounted Dust Screen:
Finally, for loading-out your Churchill:
Six-Pounder Ammunition Set (LINK)
It's a VERY complete model of this fascinating subject, however, it has to be said that it is NOT for the absolute novice. Due to the company's determination to reproduce as closely as possible areas such as the complex suspension of the original, this is a complicated model and one which will require careful planning during the construction phase - partly due to the options which are present in the model. The clarity of the instructions will go a considerable way in easing the process, however, it's advised that they are followed and studied carefully!
Definitely, this comes into the category of well-worth waiting for and, perhaps it was better to wait until the recent advances in technology caught up with the Churchill - it's something that, IMO, was better to have been done properly than half-heartedly. I'm (almost) dreading the suspension, but, as the Churchill has always been a favorite subject of mine, and as the designers have made it as straightforward as possible, it'll be worth the effort!
VERY Highly Recommended