- Published on Friday, 14 October 2011 21:16 Robin Jenkins
Kit Number 99013
Available direct from Armourfast for £7.50 for a pack of 2 vehicles
By far the most important of the cruiser tanks used by the British Army during WW2, the Cromwell could trace its lineage back to the early cruisers of the 1930s, through the later cruisers used in France and the early Desert War and through to the Crusader. Unlike all of these vehicles, however, the Cromwell actually had a reasonable balance between armour, firepower, reliability and speed; unless it was faced by a large antitank gun, a Tiger or a Panther, then it usually had a fighting chance in combat. Introduced in a battle-ready variant just in time for the D-Day landings, it fought its way across Europe and is fondly remembered by its crews (below). Usually armed with a 75mm QF gun, there was a specialist demolition or light artillery version, the Centaur, which carried a 95mm howitzer, plus several other variants for special duties including a bulldozer! It served with the army for a few years post-war before being replaced with the Centurion.
The latest Armourfast kit on review is for the Cromwell; the practice of enclosing 2 kits within the box is carried on as usual. I have now got into the practice of comparing new releases from this company with their crowning glory, their super little Crusader II tank; I will say up front that the Cromwell does not quite reach that standard, but is now the second best offering I have seen from the company. The single sprue (below) holds all of the pieces; a quick comparison with my plans shows Armourfast have done their research again, since this time the kit is very close in outline, with perhaps the width of the tank being slightly too broad. The turret matches my plans exactly in every dimension.
The surface of the plastic pieces, particularly the upper hull when seen in close-up (above) is a little puzzling. The parts here give a very realistic cast texture, actually executed really well for such a small scale – but in reality, these metal areas of the Cromwell were not cast, so would not have a textured surface! This is really odd; if they applied this sort of texture to the turrets of their Russian tank kits then they would be praised indeed. As it is, it will either have to be sanded off for accuracy or covered with a couple of thick coats of paint to hide it.
Apart from this, I was pleased with the kit; separate hatches are provided so the tank can be crewed and, apart from the machine gun barrels needing replacing, everything else is fine. Wargamers and younger modellers will love this vehicle kit. No tools are provided and the tracks and wheels are single pieces in the usual Armourfast manner.
The instruction details are carried on the rear of the box in the normal style (below).
With 2 models in the box, the kit offers very good value for money as usual from Armourfast.
So What Do We Think?
An annoying slip-up with the texture of part of the kit lets down an otherwise really nice model. Not far from the standard of their best offering.
A praiseworthy effort.
Our thanks to Armourfast for the review sample.