Tamiya 1/48 Cromwell Mk IV
|PRICE:||1900 yen SRP|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The Cromwell tank, officially Tank, Cruiser, Mk VIII, Cromwell (A27M), was one of the most successful of the series of cruiser tanks fielded by Britain in the Second World War. Named after the English Civil War leader Oliver Cromwell, the Cromwell was the first tank put into service by the British to combine a dual-purpose gun, high speed from the powerful and reliable Rolls-Royce Meteor engine, and reasonable armour, in a balanced package. Its design formed the basis of the later Comet tank.
The name "Cromwell" was initially applied to three different vehicles during development. Early Cromwell development led to the creation of the A24 Cavalier. Later Cromwell development led to the creation of the competing Tank, Cruiser, Mk VIII, Centaur (A27L) design. The Centaur tank was closely related to the Cromwell, both vehicles being externally of very similar appearance. Cromwell and Centaur differed in the engine used. While the Centaur had the 340 hp Liberty engine, the Cromwell had the significantly more powerful 600 hp Meteor.
The Cromwell first saw action in the Battle of Normandy in June 1944. The tank equipped the armoured reconnaissance regiments of the Royal Armoured Corps, in the 7th Armoured Division, 11th Armoured Division and the Guards Armoured Division. While the armoured regiments of the latter two divisions were equipped with M4 Shermans, the armoured regiments of the 7th Armoured Division were equipped with Cromwell tanks. The Centaurs were not used in combat except for those fitted with a 95mm howitzer, which were used in support of the Royal Marines during the amphibious invasion of Normandy.
This is one of the more complex of Tamiya's 1/48 military vehicles. There are four olive brown sprues of which two, comprising the track sections and road wheels, are duplicates. This kit is one of their earlier offerings and as such, provides a cast metal chassis. This will require super glue or epoxy to hold the parts onto it. Cast onto the chassis are the stubs onto which the road wheels, idler and sprocket are attached. The sprocket is held in place with a polycap, while the rest are glued in place.
The front and rear sections are quite different with the forward piece being a single construct and the rear made of a half a dozen parts. Road wheels and idler are two pieces with the sprocket being four. What I like is that the tracks are link and length, which many of us find easier to work with than other types.
Upper hull is screwed into place and there are pieces used to cover the access holes. To this piece are attached the various covers, vents tow rings and pioneer tools. Most of the fenders are also molded into the top piece with only the end sections and the various tool boxes added to it.
A nicely done turret is provided, complete with all the large rivets used to attach the armor. The gun barrel does not have a breech as none is required. This is because the kit is designed to have everything buttoned up. The upper hatches look like they can be posed open in case you wish to install a figure.
Instructions are well drawn with the usual 'Tamiya only' paint references, but British armor green is not difficult to find. Markings are for three vehicles, two from the 7th Armored Division and one from the Guards Armored Division. The decal sheet is nicely done and offers all you should need.
This is another fine addition to the Tamiya line-up of 1/48 military kits. I particularly like these as they are well engineered, go together rather quickly and do not take up the display space of the larger, 1/35 kits. They are also easier on the budget.
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