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Built Review
172
Churchill Mk.III
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by: Peter Ganchev [ PGP000 ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

Introduction

The Mk. III Infantry Tank, better known as the Churchill, was a heavy tank used by the British during World War and the war in Korea. Despite many outdated ideas incorporated in its design the tank proved a successful interim solution.

About 6 months ago I reviewed the Mk.IV variant, kitted by Dragon. Later on DML also released the Mk.III, which is essentially the same design, armor and armament, but equipped with a welded turret instead of a cast one. Reviews of the Mk.IV can be found at these links:

Churchill Mk.IV in-box

Churchill Mk.IV built

Contents

As is usual with the Dragon releases each of the 5 sprues is packed in a separate bag. The total part count is 73 – 71 styrene pieces and 2 DS track runs. The decal sheet from Cartograf presents 3 options:

• a tiger-striped machine from 145th Regiment, Royal Armoured Corps, 21st Tank Brigade, Tunis 1943
• a Canadian Army machine nicknamed “Bill” from Operation “Jubilee”, Dieppe, France 1942
• a second Dieppe raider - “Betty”.

The instruction is rather simple and easy to follow with just 5 construction steps, presented in line diagrams.

Review

No surprises here, as most of the kit is the same as the Mk. IV – sprues A, B, X, Y and Z being identical.

Sprue A – drivers, idlers, air intakes, hull details, machine guns and turret hatches.

Sprue B – sponsons, suspension and roadwheels, gun barrel, towing equipment.

Sprues X and Y are the top and bottom hull, respectively. Sprue Z holds the DS track, and while detail is on the same level as in the Mk. IV release the sprue gates in my example are seriously oversized and extend well over the respective track ridges. They broke off very easily, but will also break parts of the tracks themselves, which is NOT good for the end result. Of course you can install the tracks in such a way that the broken ridges face inside, but this shouldn’t really be up to the modeller.

Sprue D has the new details – the welded cupola with a new luggage bin, an updated motor deck with an extra pair of fire extinguishers, as well as the new extra fuel tank and a fuel line to the hull.

Strangely, the muzzle of the “bomb thrower” (two inch mortar) is missing from the turret roof in this release, whereas it was present in the Mk. IV kit.

Now, as you have noticed there are two tanks that participated in the Jubilee landings. The Churchills involved had certain modifications made to them – e.g. deep wading trunks, or at the very least extended exhaust. These parts are not included in the kit, so adding them is up to the modeller if he chose to build the particular machines.

Build Observations

The turret can be assembled in a few minutes, and this is exactly what I did. The only part that required extra attention was the bin – I blanked off the opening and filled the molding recesses next to the fire extinguisher locating pins.

Just as in the Mk. IV kit in step 2 the instructions here will have you glue the wrong parts together for the drive sprockets and the idler wheels. You need parts 24 and 27 for each of the idlers and 25 and 28 for the drivers.

Again, I had to cut off the sponson wall next to the driving wheels, because it interfered with the fit.
No changes in the front hull plate either – I had to thin the upper edge for the upper hull to fit.

I painted the base color on the assembled (but not glued) hull halves and the turret. I then masked the pattern I wanted as well as the roadwheels with Tamiya tape. A sandy mix was sprayed over the sides and the top of both hull and turret. The tracks were painted separately. The DS runs are long enough to go around the sponsons. As a lot of each would be hidden I cut off a few links on each side to hang as spares to the front and the sides. After the paint on hull was dry I superglued them in place, and assembled the hull again using Humbrol Liquid Poly (very sparingly, as the fit is very good).

I’ve added the radio antennae from stretched sprue. One of them is bent back as per the custom of 145th Regiment before commitment in Africa. The second is straight, without the antenna base (part A9) as per wartime pictures. I used the insulation of a thin copper wire to add the thicker segment at the bottom.

Conclusions

With the build experience of the previous version, DML’s Churchill Mk. III really offers no surprises in terms of fit and parts – it is a very quick build with no filler needed at all. Regrettably the missing parts for the Jubilee Churchills leave the modeller to only build a single machine.

Related Reviews

Churchill IV Build review Live links

Churchill NA 75 Live links

Churchill IV Live links
SUMMARY
Highs: Simple parts breakdown, easy construction, excellent fit.
Lows: Missing details, faulty track runs.
Verdict: Enjoyable build, but limited options. Recommended.
Percentage Rating
75%
  Scale: 1:72
  Mfg. ID: 7396
  Suggested Retail: $11.99 US
  Related Link: Dragon USA item page
  PUBLISHED: Jun 29, 2012
  NATIONALITY: United Kingdom
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 84.77%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 86.19%

Our Thanks to Dragon USA!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Peter Ganchev (pgp000)
FROM: GRAD SOFIYA, BULGARIA

I bought and built my first kit in 1989. Since then it's been on and off until about 4 years ago, when modelling became the main stress-relief technique. Starting with 1/72 aviation I've diversified into armor, trucks, artillery and figures, as well as a number of other scales.

Copyright ©2017 text by Peter Ganchev [ PGP000 ]. 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.


Reader Reviews
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Comments

James, I wouldn't expect everyone to know everything about churchills. A lot of my list was small items; but some of it wasn't and is obvious to anyone that looks at one picture from Dieppe; ie the track type and track guards I personally think reviews should be a bit more thorough When I read reviews I look for that sort of thoroughness so I can decide for myself whether a kit is worth buying; what I can live with and what I can't ESPECIALLY when its a subject I don't know too well. I rely on the reviewer to help me out on that Undoubtedly some readers won't care about as many faults as you like. Some will care about all of them and some will be in between. When a review doesn't give an accurate picture of the scale of the faults; then surely only those that don't care about faults at all are served by the review? Also, I reread the review twice looking for Peter's caveat that its not supposed to be an accurate kit; and its not there. Even if it was; who DML are aiming at is not the point; the point is what different types of modellers can get from the kit. After all; is the review an extension of marketing policy for DML, following their line on what they think modellers want, or is it an objective appraisal of whats in the box from the point of view of modellers (of all kinds)?
JUL 31, 2012 - 10:25 PM
I agree with you Chris that a review should have an accuracy area, at least a few key points on what is there and what is not, at least what can be seen in the box. Something that possibly we will have to work on. Its a fine line though, serving ALL the modelers. Since I haven't had a truly perfect kit yet, and if I based the whole review on the bad points, there may be many that would miss out on a kit that really isn't that awful. My point of view of this specific review is that being someone not well versed in the Churchill the review gave me enough information to think twice about this kit unless I really just had to have a tiny Mk III, and if I did know something about it the images should show that there is something drastically incorrect about it (lets say the tracks and track guards). Anyway, as I said earlier, the discussion feature is an extension of the review and you provided a thorough punch list of corrections for which I thank you for. Exactly what the "modeling community" is all about.
JUL 31, 2012 - 11:17 PM
With respect James, its not a matter of saying if a kit is perfect or not. In fact; NO kit is perfect (or at least no kit Ive ever seen) they all have something about that that could be improved; be it fit, accuracy, engineering or a multitude of other things. Realistically very few people even expect a kit to be perfect. By the same token; very few kits could be called 'bad' or 'trash' and a few errors does not make a kit worthless. I don't think this is kit is worthless by any means BUT; Its up to the reader to decide whether a kit is 'good', 'bad' or OK (ie not great but can be worked on) and they can only do that if the review arms them with the facts. I would argue that you can't have too many facts to make that decision, but you can have too few.... Whilst you cannot please all readers with the level of detail in a review, I think more information could be provided. This would help those who care about accuracy and suitability of kits and those that don't have that kind of an interest in accuracy; the 'quacks and walks' guys who aren't bothered whether its an early or late X so long as its an X can just skim those bits of the review In fact; its a radical suggestion I know, but I'd rather see better researched more in depth reviews without a 'score' at the end. People can decide for themselves after reading if its an 80%, 90%, recommended, highly recommended, kit, but only if they are armed with all the facts
AUG 01, 2012 - 04:26 AM
This thread has raised some very interesting points and as James has pointed out, is exactly why there is the "Discuss This Review" button on all reviews. The reader of a review also has the option of submitting their own review of the item, providing they actually possess or have built it. This is a great option as it can provide the potential purchaser with more information on which to base their decision. I've seen a few reviews of basically similar kits by the same manufacturer by different reviewers providing quite different observations and conclusions (the Dragon Neubau-Fahrzeugs, Panzer III variants come to mind). Does the reader believe one over the other or make their own decision based on multiple reviews? Ideally a reviewer should strive to be objective but reality is that personal feelings, tastes, opinions or knowledge may cloud the effort. It's nice to see such a lively and informative discussion pertaining to a review item. Cheers, Jan
AUG 01, 2012 - 10:32 AM
Sorry for butting in, but James has a point there. There are lot of different levels of expected accuracy among modelers -not just the "wargamers vs model builders". I think the people who demand absolute accuracy from their builts, scratch-build and modify what is incorrect, are, in fact, the minority (I don't like labels, because by labeling something you somewhat demean it, but they're the "rivet counters"). Most people do this hobby as a -well- hobby. To relax, focus on something they enjoy doing, and do not take it absolutely seriously. While I understand the points brought up about accuracy, it's also important to remember that most people just want to have something that looks like the piece; and it is still modeling. If the green is a bit off, if it has a different track (which you can't see unless you REALLY know the subject), so be it. Especially in small scale -it's nice to know if there are inaccuracies, but the most important thing is the buildability and the quality. (This is why I stopped showing my Tiger builts around online. People really started picking them away )
AUG 01, 2012 - 10:45 AM
@spongya - Andras, You make some valid points and it is unfortunate that you aren't sharing your work in the Braille forum due to comments by a few. Where possible and most importantly desirable I may try to correct certain glaring inaccuracies or omissions in a kit but try not to lose sight of the fact that I mostly build for relaxation. Sometimes a straight OOTB can bring as much satisfaction as the most involved conversion. Cheers, Jan
AUG 01, 2012 - 11:09 AM
This has really turned into an interesting discussion, but I must admit it is going down a track that's (to me at least) sort of alien to modelling as a hobby. I've seen quite a similar argument under a different review a few days ago and I didn't like it. I feel that an opinion MUST be valued and accepted, whether you are "a rivet counter", or "casual modeller", because we're all doing this for our very own reasons, view the hobby as a personal matter, etc. The common thing between the two extremes is that we're all BUILDING the model starting with the base kit, okay? So in my review I value the base kit's fit and "buildability" - whether it is going to be finished OOB or you are going to add 2000 more pieces the basic components will remain the same. The fit's good, the general outline appears to match the prototype's, yes, there are simplifications and problems with parts - hence the 75 per cent. If it didn't look like an Mk. III when finished I'd give it even less, yet I feel it does resemble the particular Mark well enough to be a starting point. Considering we are looking at a scale model kit in plastic with molded on OVM kit and tow cables that is about 373 000 (72 times cubed due to the three dimensions) times smaller than the real deal I wouldn't expect anyone to read through all the kit's faults due to simplifications, technological limitations and/or lack of research. If 50% of the kit deficiencies were addressed I'd imagine the price would equal the price of a 1/35th kit. My apologies to anyone who feels offended. I've seen too many reviews that spend too much time talking about accuracy and don't utter a word on the fit. Many of us feel it is essential in the build experience. The review is my personal experience of the kit as a build - no more and no less. I feel anyone could submit his point of view on the kit via the facility offered at the lower end of the review page (namely the "YOU REVIEW THIS ITEM" button just above the discussion excerpts), and I'd be rather happy to go through it, and quite possibly - take notes. As noted above the camo colors of option 1 in the kit are still debatable (and is far from the only thing debatable about the Churchills). Drawings from various researchers very rarely agree on overall dimensions, kit location and other features. I've also seen a lot of research based on restored machines, older drawings, or a particular B/W photo. In conclusion: to me personally accuracy is a rather hypothetical category, so I prefer to leave it to readers and viewers to judge for themselves.
AUG 01, 2012 - 12:21 PM
Us 'rivet counters' that like kits to be more accurate and like to superdetail our builds ALSO do it as a hobby. we also do it to relax and also enjoy it. We just enjoy our hobby in a different way; but it IS still the same hobby I never said buildability should not be part of the review. I DO remember there are lots of modellers that want something that 'looks like a duck'. In fact, I've said so a few times What I would like is for the modellers that want something to looks like a duck to remember there are also modellers that want it to look like the tank it is supposed to be. Its those modellers that are being forgotten in these reviews not the ones that are not too bothered about issues Well thats a completely different issue though isn't it! There is a world of difference between accurately assessing a kit, its strengths and shortcomings, and critiquing someones personal model. Sorry but the issues are so different I don't see how they relate?
AUG 01, 2012 - 11:06 PM
While I do agree with the first part of your statement I can't help but observe that even without a dedicated section modelers familiar enough with the subjects have discovered the accuracy issues by themselves, using the discussion facility to bring a comprehensive "to do list". Understandably this is NO excuse for skipping such a section, and I will do my best to include such a section in the future reviews, as it will also help the "Looks like a duck, quacks like a duck - so it's a duck". Hope this will conclude the matter at hand and we will not be further departing from the subject of this discussion and turn it into personal matter, or "this group vs. that group" affair.
AUG 02, 2012 - 12:13 PM
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