- Published on Monday, 10 October 2011 16:59 James Hatch
1:76 Cromwell IV Tank
Catalogue # A02338
Available from Airfix for £6.99
The Cromwell tank, named after Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell, of the English Civil War, was first pressed into service in mid-1944, with its baptism in the Battle of Normandy. The subject of this kit, the Cromwell IV, was the most numerous of this family of tanks, through successive variants. The Mk.IV, powered by an upgraded Meteor engine, utilised a 75mm gun as its main armament, with two 7.92 MG's as a secondary firepower. The Cromwell had a lower profile than its stable-mate, the Sherman, and also had the ability fire High Explosive shells. The Cromwell also benefited from a relatively high speed and manoeuvrability over contemporaries in both the Allied and Axis armies. Having said this, its firepower simply couldn't match the standard tanks of the German army. The Cromwell was eventually adapted through successive variants into the Comet, which carried a more powerful primary 77mm gun.
The Airfix Cromwell IV comes in the now familiar and sturdy top-opening box, with a glossy finish and some excellent and inspirational artwork. Side by side with the main artwork are two smaller profiles showing the two variants carrying the differing options which can be modelled from this kit. Parts count in this kit is 90+, depending on which equipped version of Cromwell you build.
Within the box, Airfix have bagged each sprue individually so as to minimise transit and handling damage, with the instructions and single decal sheet sitting in the bottom of the box. The kit consists of two sprues moulded in light grey styrene, and incorporating single piece tracks. You either love or hate this concept, but for this scale, I think it's more than acceptable. The tracks are moulded, of course, with the correct sag, and the individual track links are well represented. One small niggle here are the now almost standard large sprue gates holding these, as well as other parts. This will take extra clean-up to remove, and remove it you must, as you'll still see the top of the tracks underneath the fenders.
The upper and lower hulls are beautifully detailed, if perhaps a bit too much on the heavy side in some respects, but nevertheless it is this detail which makes this kit look so appealing to build. The panels, latches and fasteners on the rear hull deck actually look very good, as do the brackets holding the moulded –in fenders. The road wheels, drive wheels and idlers are really very good, with some excellent detail being exhibited on the drive wheels themselves. Airfix have taken their time with this release and the attention to detail is superb for this scale. Unfortunately though, the hull tools are moulded onto the hull fenders, and would have looked better as individual parts.
The turret cupola ring is supplied in both open and closed form, with the open one having a small plinth underneath where you can stand a crew figure, not supplied. The remainder of the turret itself is provided as a main upper part onto which you apply the armoured plates, with a separate lower floor and turret fitting ring, with the forward mantlet being the last of the main parts comprising this area. Again, detail is excellent throughout, and Airfix should be commended.
Sprue gates, again, are something which trouble me on this release, as so they with a good number of the new tooled kits we are now seeing from Airfix. They are simply too big, too thick and in some cases in awkward places. The sprue gates to the detailed drive wheels have been slightly offset so they full just under the external rim of the wheel.
As shown on the box art, there are indeed some optional parts within this kit. These are used an elevated exhaust system, an elevated turret entry or 'wading trunking' and a hedgerow clearing plough for the front lower glacis.
Airfix supply two schemes for the Cromwell, presented on a single colour sheet insert. These schemes are:
• 5th Royal Horse Artillery, 7th Armoured Division
• 11th Armoured Division
Decals are supplied on a single sheet, and although not numerous, they are well printed in solid colour and perfect registration. Printing is also quite thin, but please check a spare decal with your setting solution before attempting to use the stuff wholesale on your model. I have no personal experience as to if Airfix decals look these solutions or not.
Whilst not without small niggles, this is actually a very good release, which has plenty of detail, is crisp in execution, and presents excellent value for money. Well done Airfix, I hope we can see more releases like this! This will look great next to the Ruined Church from Airifx, of which a review will be forthcoming.
Many thanks to Airfix for the review sample used here. To purchase this directly, click THIS link.