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Osprey Modelling 5: Modelling the Matilda Infantry Tank

by Mark Bannerman

Osprey Publishing Ltd: Soft covers, 80 pages, 7.25 x 9.75-inches, 186 color photos,10 color drawings, one page of color chips, six charts, index, kitography and bibliography, ISBN 1 84176 758 1

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This is the second title in the re-vamped Osprey Modelling series to deal with modeling AFVs. It covers the famous and relatively widely used British Matilda Infantry Tank of World War Two in its Mk.1 and Mk.2 versions. To be honest, I was unsure if such a vehicle would warrant such treatment, but this fine book quickly changed my mind.

To begin with, it covers a fairly wide variety of kits in both plastic and resin, in 1/35 scale and in the smaller 1/72 and 1/76 scales, and of both the Mk.1 and Mk.2 versions. The book adds further variety to its coverage by depicting modeling projects based upon tanks used during the 1940 Battle for France, on the island of Malta, as well as the Campaigns in North Africa and the South Pacific. There is also a project based upon an unique German self-propelled gun fitted to a Mk. 2 chassis, as seen in Germany prior to the aborted invasion of Great Britain. Finally, to spice things up even further, several other modelers’ projects have been included, which shows how a variety of modelers used different means to achieve a given end.

The book features the following modelers and eight of their modeling projects. All illustrate modelers with various skill levels, which I would describe as advanced-to-master class.

  • Mark Bannerman’s Cromwell Models’ Infantry Tank Mk.1, in 1/76-scale resin, in France, 1940.
  • Arthur Sekula’s Fujimi Infantry Tank Mk.2, in 1/76-scale plastic, Malta 1942 .
    Steve Bennet’s ESCI Mk.2, in 1/72-scale plastic, North Africa.
  • Mark Bannerman’s Tamiya/MR Models Mk.2 “Frog” conversion in 1/35-scale plastic and resin, South Pacific.
  • Sean Dunnage’s Tamiya Mk.2 in 1/35-scale plastic, North Africa.
  • Steve Zaloga’s Tamiya Mk.2 in 1/35-scale plastic, France, 1940.
  • Juan Luis Mercadal Pons’ Tamiya Mk.2 in 1/35-scale plastic, North Africa.
  • Mark Cooper’s Tamiya “Matilda Oswald” SPG conversion in 1/35-scale plastic, Germany.

All of this is presented in full color, quality photography, complimented by several color drawings and a page of printed color chip cards. The photos are all well captioned and include a number of pictures of preserved Matildas in various museums in the UK, Belgium, Russia and Australia. Coverage of the “Frog” flamethrower tank as used by the Australians in the South Pacific is extensive, as is coverage of the standard Mk.2.

The text is easy to follow and provides enough detail to successfully “talk” the modeler through each project. However, I noted a possible glitch on page 45 between the second and third paragraph. It seems that the reader is brought in “in the middle” of the section where the text details what the modeler added to his turret, since the text refers to a step (possibly?) previously described, but I cannot find the reference! If that is so, then here is yet another instance of the lack of proper “human eyes” proofreading.

The color profiles scattered throughout the book are handy as is the fine color art by Ron Volstad depicting a British tanker in the desert. The printed color chips have notations telling the reader which manufacturer’s paint was used and which color it represented on each model. This is very handy as otherwise someone who wished to repeat the results, based only on the printed sample, would be at a loss.

The last sections detail available kits and accessories as well as reference books, museum collections that hold various Matildas and pertinent web sites. There is also an index to help the reader in searching for particular bits of information.So, we have another easily accessible modeler’s manual, which takes into account current trends in the hobby, while presenting competent and easily emulated means of achieving certain ends, all while covering a rather interesting subject.


Frank De Sisto

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