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Built Review
172
Churchill NA 75
Churchill Mk. IV NA 75
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by: Jan Etal [ TREAD_GEEK ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

Introduction

The designation 'NA 75' was allocated to 200 plus Churchill Mark IV tanks that had their main armament, the 6-pounder, replaced by 75mm guns taken from knocked out Shermans. The American guns were installed at the REME Workshops, Bône, Algeria. The primary objective of this exercise was to provide tanks with a better high explosive capability that was lacking with the smaller bore weapon. A side benefit of this conversion was that the Churchill proved to be a better gun platform than the Sherman and thus the effective range of the 75 mm was increased.

Build reviews of the Dragon Model Churchill III and Churchill IV by Peter Ganchev (PGP000) are available here on Armorama and links can be found at the end of this review.

This review will concentrate on the new turret, as well as providing this reviewer’s impressions of this “new” kit, the Churchill Mk.IV NA 75, 1/72 Armor Pro, kit #7507.


Contents

After opening the box one is presented with two clear plastic bags containing sprues moulded in the standard Dragon Model grey styrene. One bag contains two sprues while the second bag contained Churchill NA 75 specific parts as well as the upper and lower hull. Also present were two smaller bags with one containing the Dragon Model DS tracks and the other a small sheet of Cartograph water-slide decals.

Sprue and parts breakdown is as follows:
  • Sprue ‘A’ - 39 (Generic Churchill Mk. IV parts)
  • Sprue ‘B’ - 16 (Generic Churchill hull side parts)
  • Sprue ‘C’ - 15 (Turret and Churchill NA 75 parts)
  • Sprue ‘X’ - 1 (Upper hull)
  • Sprue ‘Y’ - 1 (Lower hull)
  • Sprue ‘Z’ - 2 (Dragon, DS tracks)

Total parts count is 74 with 4 styrene parts marked as unused.

A four sided instruction card is provided displaying a parts diagram, five instruction steps with exploded view line drawings with arrows for parts placement and one page showing painting and markings. The painting and marking illustrations are for three tanks that are an overall green colour. One of the tanks represented is for the ‘C’ Sqd., North Irish Horse, Italy 1944 and the other two are for “Unidentified Unit”, Italy 1944. The colour references provided are for the GSI Creos Corp Aqueous Hobby Color, the same company’s Mr. Color and Model Master enamels.

Review

First impressions of the overall moulding detail are that compared to some Dragon Model kits, it is not quite as crisp on the upper hull (hatches, engine covers) and sponson sides. Speaking of hatches, while the hull ones are moulded on, the turret crew hatches are positional in either an open or closed position. While there are not a lot of visible tools on this vehicle, what there are and the tow cables are moulded on. One particularly nice feature or detail are the top and bottom engine grills at the rear of the engine compartment. These clearly show what Dragon Model can achieve with their state of the art moulding technology.

Some light flash was evident on a few smaller parts and moulding seam lines are quite light and removable with a light sanding or scraping with a sharp hobby knife. Ejector pin marks are located where they will not be visible after construction. There are sink marks located on the underside of the bogie assemblies but should not be particularly visible due to their location.

Perhaps the most disturbing thing that modellers will find is the sprue attachment points (gates). For a number of the larger parts the gates are quite large, thick and numerous. Many are located in odd positions and will need care to remove from the sprue and then time to clean them up. A number of parts, such as on the turret, had gates that overlap two and occasionally three surfaces making delicate cleanup a necessity.

Build Observations

The Turret
The instructions are divided into five steps and as stated above, the primary focus of this review was to be the turret construction which conveniently, is Step 1. The most logical place to start was to assemble the complete mantlet. This subassembly is composed of five parts (C12-C17) and starts with two internal pieces (C13, C14) being mated with the Sherman mantlet provided in the kit. C14 is a tubular shaped piece that is meant to allow for the main gun and coaxial machine gun to be capable of being elevated and depressed. It in turn is meant to rest between four protruding lugs at the back of the mantlet C16 with a plate C13 holding it in place.

This simple assembly would prove more difficult than one might expect as the two internal pieces are quite small and handling them for cleaning up was tedious. C14 needed to be sanded down around its circumference as it did not want to rest between the lugs in the mantlet. Once that was accomplished C13 needs to be attached on the tops of the four lugs so that C14 does not dislodge. After a couple of attempts to accomplish this it became evident that part C13 was too small to span all four lugs. In the end this reviewer decided to scratch build a larger replacement for the part from sheet styrene.

Next the secondary mantlet C15 is to be attached to C14. In this case the lug meant to mate with a hole in C14 proved to be a bit too short. After using regular glue to position the part, the joint was reinforced with gap filling CA glue. This was not the best elevation arrangement that I’ve seen from Dragon Model.

The next focus was to work with the turret top and bottom. Both pieces had sprue gates that overlapped two surfaces that needed to be cleaned up. On this sample the lower, right, front had a bit of warp and a gap was quite visible. No amount of sanding or filing could get it and the top part to sit flush. The gap needed to be filled with putty and then sanded smooth.

Turning attention to the mating of the mantlet to the turret front also proved an issue. It took examining dozens of pictures of these tanks to determine the best location to mount the mantlet as the instructions were of little help. In its most basic form, the bottom of the Sherman mantlet should align with the bottom of the turret (not the turret ring). Adding the barrel to the mantlet proved a non issue other than the fact that the fit was quite loose. Locating the fire extinguishers proved to be an interesting exercise as they are so miniscule. The gunner’s periscope C7 had a pin that fits into a hole in the turret roof but the hole needed to be enlarged. Unquestioningly the hardest parts to deal with were the two lifting rings that mount on the upper mantlet. These are about one-third the size of the fire extinguishers and will seem microscopic to many.

The Hull
The Peter Ganchev Churchill IV review covers many issues that pertain to the hull and suspension. These included the necessity to thin the driver’s/hull gunner's front armour plate (A11) and that the idler sprocket instructions are wrong as to the assembly of the sprockets. In the case of this kit the instructions call out for the rear sprockets to be made up of parts A27 and A28 but should be A25 and A28. A similar case exists with the front sprockets where parts A24,A27 are the one’s to use. Also to be noted is that the sprockets with the lightening holes are for the front while the solid ones go on the rear. Unlike Peter’s kit, the rear sprocket fits on its pin without any interference from the surrounding plastic.

Another issue with this kit’s instructions was the numbering for the assembly of the bogies. For the right side use parts B1,B3 and for the left B2,B4.

With my sample I found that a couple of the larger parts had some warping to them. This in turn caused fit issues with the worst being the upper hull and fenders piece (B12). This is particularly evident where the front fenders project beyond the hull deck and will make fitting the inner skirt pieces (A13,A12) difficult.

Overall the fit of smaller parts in general is what one might expect. Cleanup of some of the smaller pieces is more time consuming than actual assembly.

Conclusions

Despite a limited number of parts this kit will not be a quick build if you want it to look good. From photos available on the Internet, the overall shape and details look about right. For the purest, the only inaccuracy is the Besa machine gun mounted in the hull position. In truth, all these Churchill NA 75’s had this hull gun replaced with a Model 1919A4 Browning model.
Perhaps the nicest feature of this kit is the way Dragon Model handled the lower suspension. The long slide-moulded bogies should be a real time saver as opposed to the Airfix incarnation of a Churchill.

While not the most trouble free kit, those with some experience should be able to overcome any issues. This will result in having a decent representation of this unique converted Churchill.

Related Reviews

Churchill III Live links

Churchill IV Build Review Live links

Churchill IV Live links
SUMMARY
Highs: A unique Allied vehicle, position-able turret hatches. Excellent moulding of complex bogies.
Lows: Poor instructions, some bad turret parts fit, many poorly located sprue gates. Hull hatches, tools and cables moulded on.
Verdict: For those interested in Allied armour, this kit should be a welcome addition.
Percentage Rating
74%
  Scale: 1:72
  Mfg. ID: 7507
  Suggested Retail: $19.95
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Nov 25, 2013
  NATIONALITY: United Kingdom
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 84.51%
  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 Jan Etal (tread_geek)
FROM: ONTARIO, CANADA

I've been building models since about age 10 with the occasional hiatus due to real life events. First armour model was a 1/76 Airfix Tiger I and was followed by a 1/72 Revell F4U Corsair. I've built primarily 1/76 and 1/72 armour and aircraft but occasionally have tinkered in other larger scales....

Copyright ©2017 text by Jan Etal [ TREAD_GEEK ]. 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

from the CAD it looks like the Dieppe one has a few problems, but its not really fair to judge a kit on CAD, personally I'm waiting to see whats in the box
NOV 27, 2013 - 05:01 AM
I thank both of you for your continued interest in these kits. As for this current topic of the Dieppe version, one can only speculate based on Dragon's past activities. Basically, the Mk. III and Mk. IV kits use the virtually exact same hull as the NA 75. The only difference is what appears to be an extra pair of fire extinguishers on the Mk. III engine deck. Therefore I think that it is safe to conclude that the Dieppe version will have the same issues with the body as the NA 75. From brief research it appears that several marks of Churchill were used at Dieppe. Based on that I can assume that they will use the Mk. III lower body and one of the turrets with a 6 Pdr. gun. I think that we can also assume that a new sprue will carry the air intake and exhaust extensions and of course new decals. Then again, the box top and the CAD images don't show the intake extensions but do show new shorter fenders. Therefore I think that we can assume basically the Mk. III with minimal additional parts. Cheers, Jan
NOV 27, 2013 - 12:54 PM
Its worth noting the MkIIIs that went to Dieppe were very early production MkIIIS and had a number of differences from later IIIs, and all the IV based tanks (IV V and VI) If DML have just used the same moulds this introduces the possibility of even more errors, but as I said, until we see it in plastic....
NOV 27, 2013 - 05:37 PM
Chris, I won't disagree but, if we go by past DML actions/practices, it is too early for them to abandon the Churchill III moulds. There are far too many examples where they reuse before they create new moulds. After only three versions of this tank, it seems to me it's too early for them to make a new mould. An example is the Sd. Kfz. 222 series vehicles where they had it, the 223, 260, 261 and all have the original body sprues/moulds in the box and reuse the same basic body halves. All their Stug III use the same body parts but only the "tank" versions use different, simplified versions. There are also several other examples of this process that isn't always a negative. Cheers, Jan
NOV 27, 2013 - 10:09 PM
if they wanted to re-use moulds they could do: MkIII* (MkIII with a 75mm gun and uparmoured - which could be on a new sprue) MkIV 75 (MkIV with a 7fmm gun) MkV MkVI, Basic MkIII AVRE Basic MkIV AVRE ARK I and II SBG Bridge layer All of which require just a couple of extra parts and no change to the sprues unless they wanted to correct the existing mistakes Their mistakes so far, and their choice of subject in the Dieppe tank reveals either their ignorance of the subject they are selling or, more likely, that it is just not important to them because they can't see it affecting sales
NOV 28, 2013 - 06:07 AM
Chris, This speculation was something that a few Braillers in my local IPMS club were quite excited about at the last meeting a few weeks ago. They mentioned the same variants that you do and were most excited by an AVRE or bridge layer. Another easy variant would be a Russian Lend-Lease Churchill (basically change the decals). I strongly doubt that accuracy is a major concern of Dragon as to them sales potential and thereby profits are more important. If sales of Churchill kits are quite good then they might offer further variants. After all, they have a basic hull and suspension that can be reused. I don't know for sure, but at last count I believe they have produced something like 15 or more variants of the Sherman. Then there are the four Panzer III variants recently released and heaven knows how many Tiger I's they've made. At the very least, we finally have some Commonwealth subjects. Cheers, Jan
NOV 29, 2013 - 11:59 AM
Gosh, I must say rather you than me review this kit, Jan, the world of Churchill variants is not something I'm familiar with, and it seems every bit as complex as the fifty shades of Panther D... This is the second Dragon kit reviewed recently to have the issue of warped large components, and as for the mismatched turret halves, it's actually quite difficult to understand how that happens with CAD drawn designs... it all seems very careless, and along with the patchy research that appears to have been done by the designers, it might be yet anotherr 1960s Airfix kit reborn in some weird plastic kit possession. Regarding the inaccuracies Chris mentions, there isa certain irony in lots of variants being produced that are all based upon an incorrect base.
DEC 03, 2013 - 04:46 PM
Its like all kits I guess, none are perfect and how much you are personally willing to live with is up to you. A good review arms people to do that for themselves so thanks Jan for a good review
DEC 10, 2013 - 04:59 AM
Chris, Thanks for the compliment on the review and I try to cater to trying to give a general overview of the kit so that people can make an informed decision. I have an acquaintance from a local club that was most excited to get these Churchill kits when he read about them. He's quite an avid builder of 1/72 "Commonwealth" vehicles and was especially excited about the Dieppe version. After reading this review and following this thread his ardor for that kit (and the others) was substantially dimmed. Cheers, Jan
DEC 10, 2013 - 11:52 AM
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