Home > Reviews > Britain WWII > Osprey Modelling 21: Modelling the Churchill Tank


Osprey Modelling 21: Modelling the Churchill Tank

by Mark J Bannerman

Osprey Publishing Ltd: ISBN 1-84176-869-3, 80 pages.

Buy from amazon

This book starts with the expected brief overview of the Churchill’s development, and gives us the bonus of a list of all the Marks (which can be hard to work out for yourself since so many were upgunned and/or uparmoured versions of earlier Marks) as well as a selection of colour photos of surviving Churchills. Unfortunately one caption to these has been misprinted: the lower photo on page 6 is a Mark VI, an upgunned Mark IV, not an upgunned Mark I or II. Then comes a short chapter on the tools that Mark finds useful before the first build. Like nearly all the other builds it’s based on the Tamiya Churchill Crocodile flamethrower (the Tamiya Mark VII is the same kit without the flamethrower’s fuel trailer) because there are no other 1/35 kits in polystyrene. This is an intermediate level job by Mark Bannerman producing a Mark III at Dieppe in 1942, using the Castoff Mark III conversion with Eduard etch and Accurate Armour tracks and tow cables plus a custom-made turned gun barrel and Besa MGs from Nuts’n’Bits. All the work needed is clearly described and shown in good photographs, and there are even reference photographs of several Mark IIIs and a Mark I at Dieppe.

Next is an advanced build by Dinesh Ned of a Crocodile in Germany in 1945, using Friuli white metal tracks but with everything scratchbuilt that would otherwise have come from etched sets and other accessories. Again, all the work is described and illustrated. This one is in winter white, with a great deal of weathering. The next build is by Mark Cooper and uses the Tamiya Churchill Mk VII to produce an Armoured Vehicle Royal Engineers carrying a Small Box Girder Bridge. He used the Resicast AVRE conversion and Accurate Armour tracks, but scratchbuilt the SBG bridge to produce this master level model. Plans for the bridge are not give, though a source is quoted for those wanting to do the scratchbuilt SBG and of course the Resicast SBG is available if you don’t want to scratchbuild such a complex item!

Finally there’s an advance level Mark V (CS) in Holland by Mark Bannerman, using the Crocodile kit again and with a Cromwell 95mm gun barrel, KK Casting AVRE conversion for the turret, Eduard etch, Accurate Armour tow cables and Nuts’n’Bits Besa MGs. This is mounted on a superb master level diorama base by Arthur Sekula, and again fully described and illustrated for both tank and base.

Next there are eight short descriptions in a Churchill Gallery chapter showing how Mark and other modellers have approached the AVRE, the NA75 with it’s retro-fitted M3 75mm gun from a scrapped Sherman, the Mk VI, the Mk III used by Kingforce in North Africa, the Churchill 3 inch gun carrier, the Canadian Indestructible Roller Device – a mine roller mounted on an AVRE, the Mk I experimentally fitted with two 3 inch howitzers (one each in turret and hull), and the Mk III as supplied to Russia.

Then come notes on useful reference books, plans and websites and on kits and accessories in all scales. The Nuts’n’Bolts Besa MGs aren’t listed here, but I’m sure I’ve heard of replacement Besas being available from someone. There are also useful notes on the work needed to backdate the Tamiya Mk VIII or Crocodile to earlier versions, and on scratchbuilding a Mark I or II turret, before the usual page of colour chips and suggested paints. Personally I wouldn’t use either of the suggested paints to reproduce British Olive Drab, but weathering changes colours so it’s for each modeller to work as he or she wants.

Recommended for anyone wanting to build Churchills without using the new Cromwell Models resin kits, or just looking for hints to improve those already great kits.

John Prigent

More details from Osprey Publishing

Read an extract at Osprey Publishing

Buy from amazon