Cromwell MK IV
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Kit                                 : Cromwell Mk IV tank
Manufacturer              : Revell
Scale                             : 1/72
Type                             : Injection molded
Paint                             : Humbrol, Revell, Vallejo
Accessories                  : Scratch
Reference Material     : “Model”, edition “Normandy part 1”   
                                       : “Steel Masters nr 26”

 


 

History:

The Cromwell was first built in 1942 and is an improved version of the Centaur tank that was a derivative of the former Cruiser and Crusader tanks. In fact, it is a Centaur Mk III that received a Rolls Royce Meteor engine and was renamed the Cromwell. The Mk IV had a 6 ponder gun and entered service from October 1943. They were used in Normandy and were much appreciated by their crews.

The kit:

 This kit forms part of the new Revell range and can best be described as very good, with a lot of details and most of all a very good price tag/quality rate. The fact that Revell makes most of its product in China for the moment will not be strange to this. The average modeler can be grateful for this.

As usual, a good reference material can make a difference and the article in “Model” provided a lot of information. 

A PE after market set is available for this kit but I didn’t opt for this as the kit is relatively complete for a model in this scale. It can be however be improved, in particular the handles and hatches. 

The PE set costs almost 3 times as much as the kit itself and I find that there must be a limit somewhere. It is not so easy for a modeler to find PE sets like that because most of the shops that sell kits do not sell these PE sets. You must look for them at meetings or purchase them via mail order. Price tags of these sets are high, even for 1/72 kits. I agree with the fact that, from the moment that a new kit is released, a PE set is also released but in this case I find it exaggerated. Therefore only one solution left: to do it myself. 

Construction:

It starts with the back panel on which a tow hook and a cover need to be fixed. The tow hook needs cleaning up.

Building continues as usual with the chassis and the running gear. The bottom plate gets a separate front and rear panel. The towing eyes on the front plate were left off due to the fact that a “Cullen Device” will be fixed in a later stage.

Both sides get a double plating (pieces 14 and 15) that hide the torsion bars on the wheels. It is a new trend to mount everything before painting of the model begins. The running gear of the Cromwell had rubber tyres, and therefore they were only mounted after the main colors had been applied and the tyres were painted. I experimented with a new trend but I can’t find myself doing it in this scale, detail painting is too difficult.

 The top plate is fixed in stage 8. I replaced all handles (a small strip of plastic on the kit), by new ones made from fine copper wire and bent with the aid of an Etch Mate. I drilled holes were they had to be situated and the new ones got fixed in place with super glue. It demands a lot of work for a relatively low result but in the end you can see that there are handles on the hatches and it is this amount of detail that makes the difference 1/72.

 

The same thing was done to the turret hatches, something that had been forgotten in the kit. Those hatches also received some interior detailing made from Milliput and a belt (from paper) to close them. Sealing these parts was achieved with Zap-A-Gap.

This only concerns the commander’s hatch. I couldn’t be sure about the fact if the other hatches had handles. The driver’s hatch certainly did not because these would have obstructed the turret when turning. The fact that the turret blocked the escape way to the driver when under a certain angle was a serious danger for the crew. 

The machine guns in the turret and front plate were drilled out.

Stage 10 proposes the fixing of a grille on the exhaust (piece 22). The PE set provides a new and much better grille and this one would indeed be recommended if you decide not to use part 52 in stage 19. The fact that I wanted to use that part and therefore have no view on the grille was another reason not to buy the PE set.

I am also convinced of the fact that a careful paint job regarding weathering and dry brushing can give a good result.

 

Stage 17 concerns the fixing of the barrel. This one needs cleaning up and to be drilled out. The searchlight on the left of the turret (piece 50) is also drilled out to receive a drop of silver and some Kristal Klear as a glass replacement. It also received some wiring running from the upper left of the turret to the back of the light as well as a handle on top of it.

The antenna (piece 49) can be replaced too but this is rather difficult when using some left over PE. I constructed it with a piece of Evergreen rod, serving as the mast. The end terminates in a circle made from metal and this circle is fixed to the mast using four fine copper wires. It is an extremely fine job because it is only 5 mm tall. 

An open circle and a piece of plastic that represents the glass represent the 5 periscopes in the kit. The real ones had caps that were connected on the circles. I constructed those caps from left over PE and also added two metal frames to the turret. The first one is just behind the periscope; the second frame stands behind the first and has the shape of an M from Mc Donald’s. Both frames probably served as aiming device without the use of optical instruments as a periscope.

 

Fenders must be fixed in stage 21. The rear ones (parts 24) needs the adding of a round red reflector. I painted them on an L shaped piece of metal fixed head down.

The fenders are only glued on after the tracks are put in place. 

These already painted tracks are mounted after basic painting was done and the running gear added. Stage 20 shows that parts 54 should be fixed on the lower side of the tracks and parts 53 on the upper side. This is wrong, you need to change them: 53 on the bottom and 54 on top. Take care to mount the track in the correct direction and one must realize that the first track link is the most important because all other links close up with the first. You need to work from the rear to the front and you must start with the links on the idler wheels. If everything fits, then you have no links left. 

Painting: 

A white base color was spray painted (spray can Revell) after the necessary preparations like degreasing were done.

I had decided to follow the paint instructions as given in the article in “Model” as much as possible. In this article Tamiya paint is used but I mainly work with Humbrol, Revell and Vallejo and I used the corresponding colors. 

A first coat on the entire tank is Olive Drab mixed with Desert Sand in a 70/30 proportion. The article describes this as a color that is a bit too light but that will darken in further stages.

When this coat was dry, the rubber wheels on the running gear were painted and than they were fixed to the hull. 

Phase 2 requires a fine needle (0, 2 on 1/35 and so 0, 15 on 1/72) in order to apply a form of post-shading. Strongly diluted Olive Drab is used and all sunken or raised parts get attention.

Meanwhile, tracks are painted rust as base color followed by gunmetal. Tracks finally get a dry brushing with polished steel. The Cromwell did not have rubber pads on its tracks and so they could be shiny.

 Phase 3 consists of the base color (olive drab + sand) but this time in a 50/50 proportion and only applied on flat parts, not on edges.

 Phase 4 regards the appliance of a coat of earth on the lower parts of the tank. I used the equivalent Humbrol 89 ochre and sprayed this on chassis and wheels.

 

All this was followed by the fixing of the tracks and I had to admit that it looked good already.

Next came a coat of Klir (Future) and the adding of the decals. 

Decals: 

First, I wanted to represent a tank in the colors of the 11th armored Division in Flers (Normandy) July 1944 as on the box but a picture of the real tank showed that it didn’t have the Cullin Device at the front.

So I opted for the second version being an Artillery observation tank of the 5th Royal Horse Artillery at Villers-Bocage in June 1944. The front license number was left away because it was hidden under the Cullin Device. 

The post difficult part is the fixing of the decal on top of the turret ventilator and therefore had no flat surface. I used Daco decal softener instead of Humbrol Decal Cote 1 and 2 because the Daco product lets the decal melt over the surface. Once it was draped over the ventilator as if a cloth, I cut the ventilator opening out with a sharp knife after which I added softener again until the decal found its place over the ventilator, looking as if it was sprayed on. It demands some work but I think it is a bit simpler to do than to spray paint it with the use of a template in this scale.

 Decals were sealed with a coat of Klir (Future). 

Finishing: 

Once dry and in place came the application of different washes or filters as called by the Spanish school.

 A 1st wash consists of strongly diluted matt black that gives a better result on the sunken edges. The general idea is not to apply a wash over the entire tank but only on the parts that easily get dirty.

 A 2nd wash is made from strongly diluted light green oil paint. This was new to me but I must admit that it did well to the model, especially on the turret.

 Wash 3 is strongly diluted raw umber. The heavy dilution is necessary because one must be able to see that it is there without the fact that it jumps to the eye. You could also apply a wash of burned sienna but I did not do this because I wanted to represent a tank that fought in Normandy and these tanks were rather new. Burned sienna lets rust come forward. 

The whole tank got than a coat of matt varnish after all these washes had thoroughly dried.

Than came detailing such as gun metal on the machine guns and tools, wood on the tool handles, red on the reflector and black pastel on the barrel mouth. 

As a finisher came a coat of pastel powder representing a layer of dust on the tank.

 Conclusion: 

A nice kit, that brings with it, a welcome variation to the Sherman and Churchill tanks on the side of the Allies. 

A model that enjoys the extra attention that it gets but that also comes to right with a good painting.

A model that lends itself to conversions and I sincerely hope that Revell will use the chassis in order to release other versions such as there are the AA tank or the recovery tank.

The way of painting this tank is described as the “Spanish School”, it was enriching and I certainly will apply it on other models.

 

Keep ‘m building, 

Erwin
 


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