Infantry Tank A11 Matilda I
FC Modeltrend, 1/35 scale
Reviewed by Brett Green
The Tank, Infantry, Mk I, Matilda I (A11) was a British infantry tank of the Second World War.
Despite being slow, cramped and armed with only a single machine gun, the Matilda I had some success in the Battle of France in 1940 owing to its heavy armour that was impervious against the standard German anti-tank guns of the time.
However, it was essentially useless in an attacking sense, as its weak armament made it toothless in combat against enemy armour, and the tank was obsolete before it even came into service.
The Battle of France was the only time the Matilda I saw combat.
The tank was cheaply built as the British government wanted each of the tanks to be built on a very restricted budget in the build-up to the Second World War. A total of one hundred and forty produced, including the prototype.
It is not to be confused with the later (more successful) model Tank, Infantry Mk II (A12), also known as the "Matilda II", which took over the "Matilda" name after the Matilda I was withdrawn from combat service in 1940.
They were completely separate designs.*
F i r s t L o o k
FC Modeltrend has a growing range of 3D printed accessories and full kits. Their newest 1:35 scale 3D offering is a full kit of the Infantry Tank A11 Matilda I.
This is a jaw-dropping example of its type. The kit is supplied in just four main pieces – hull, port and starboard running gear including tracks and the turret – plus two smaller parts for the turret hatch.
Detail is stunning. All smaller detail elements are printed directly onto one of the four major pieces including hollow guns, smoke dischargers and handles. The tracks look fantastic. The top run sags realistically between the return rollers and track pins are present on the outer edges of the links.
Printing quality is excellent with minimal striations. These are parallel marks on the surface that are sometimes left by the 3D printing process. In the case of the Matilda, the only striations are some diagonal marks on the engine deck. These should be easy to sand off.
The four main pieces have been supported during the printing process with seemingly hundreds of fine strips / rods. These taper inward where they attach to the actual kit parts, so clean-up may be a bit tedious (although less so than assembling individual link workable tracks) but certainly not difficult.
I would recommend nipping the rods as close as possible to the kit part with a good quality sprue cutter and then cleaning up any residue with a new hobby blade and a sanding stick. This should be a good task to undertake while binging your favourite streaming series on TV.
Once the four parts are free and the supporting strips are cleaned up, assembly will be a breeze. The breakdown of the parts will be ideal to paint each separately then bring them together. Super Glue or epoxy cement will work for this job.
Instructions are not included but they are not really required for assembly, which is pretty self-explanatory.
Decals are not supplied either, which is a bit more problematic. Fortunately, Accurate Armour offers a decal set for their resin 1:35 scale Matilda I. I ordered a set of decals from Accurate Armour for myself yesterday.
C o n c l u s i o n
FC Modeltrend’s 1:35 scale Infantry Tank A11 Matilda I is a pointer to the future of our hobby. 3D printing will allow very short runs of even the most esoteric subjects with no compromise in terms of detail or quality. Parts breakdown and assembly will be very simple in these scale models of the future.
If you are a modeller who prefers the painting and weathering stages of a project, you will love these next generation kits with minimal assembly. I can’t wait to start mine!
* Historical text courtesy of Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matilda_I_(tank)
Thanks to FC Modeltrend for the sample www.fcmodeltrend.com
Text and Images by Brett Green