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REVIEW
Churchill NA 75
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#406
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Posted: Sunday, November 24, 2013 - 03:14 PM UTC
Jan Etal builds most of the 1/72 Dragon Armour Pro Churchill Mk. IV NA 75 kit and gives his impressions of it.

Link to Item

If you have comments or questions please post them here.

Thanks!
ChrisDM
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Posted: Sunday, November 24, 2013 - 09:41 PM UTC
to add to your observations and very good review Jan:

The turret top and bottom halves do not match. The ventilator on the turrt roof is far to the left indicating an earl production MkIV turret. This turret had an overhang at the back with slots on the inside facing the turret ring for ventilation. Adding the slots is a bit crazy, but the overhang should be there

The turret base provided is for a mid production (as much as you can use terms like that) MkIV turret with the overhang deleted but without the casting around the exterior of the turret ring seen on late IVs, Vs and VIs


So; the two halves do not match which means it depicts a fictional turret type

To add to that, all NA75s I have ever seen (and I've looked at a lot of pics) were mid or later production turrets. So this upper half is of a type not used on NA75s


Finally, the kit is missing the Sherman periscope fitted to the churchill turret roof. This was to accommodate the sherman's periscope sight for the gunner
tread_geek
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Posted: Monday, November 25, 2013 - 04:51 AM UTC
Chris,

Thanks for the comments and also that you liked the review. This is the first Churchill kit that I've ever been exposed to and it proved to be quite difficult to review. I had to do a LOT of research and I was quite lucky to find this North Irish Horse Article about the NA 75. It is quite an in depth article about the tank and was also extremely interesting.

As to your comments about certain turret aspects, I appreciate your sharing your knowledge in this thread. This is where these insights can greatly help others in the future. I find it interesting that you first mention that the turret halves do not match and this explains why I had so many problems with trying to get the pieces to fit. Based on your comments I went back and looked at even more pictures and find that they seem to be correct. One observation that I made this time around was that depending on the image (model or real), some have the bolt holes on the outside of the Sherman mantlet and others appear as if that section is cut off?

Thanks again for pointing out some of the errors with this kit.

Cheers,
Jan
ChrisDM
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Posted: Monday, November 25, 2013 - 06:51 AM UTC
Hi Jan, yes there was a variation in Sherman mantlets used. The british were operating shermsn from various manufacturers in Africa and the only qualification for use of a particular one was availability! The interesting thing is that NA75s used what was a very new turret type whereas we might have thought they would have used older tanks for the conversions
ChrisDM
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Posted: Monday, November 25, 2013 - 06:53 AM UTC
It might be that the ventilator location was better suited to their use, or maybe something as simple as the only tanks available to Major Morrell were that type

I have one of these on the way to me. I'll be casting to complete critical eye on it when it arrives..... I'm disappointed personally with Dragon's efforts on the churchill which to me have seemed a bit half hearted. Despite that I think you've got the best from an iffy kit in your review shots
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Posted: Monday, November 25, 2013 - 08:22 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Hi Jan, yes there was a variation in Sherman mantlets used...



Okay, so I guess either type mantlet would be appropriate. Actually, the one without the holes/bolts would probably have fit better with the turret Dragon used/created.


Quoted Text

The interesting thing is that NA75s used what was a very new turret type whereas we might have thought they would have used older tanks for the conversions.



Very interesting and from what I've read, these were "new" Mk. IV's and there had been qualms in the chain of command about using them for the conversion. BTW, I checked out this issue about the ventilator and it's location on this kit is where the Sherman periscope should be, while the ventilator location should be pretty much dead centre.

Cheers,
Jan
ChrisDM
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Posted: Monday, November 25, 2013 - 11:00 AM UTC
It depends Jan, two types of turret were used the MkV standard which has the central ventilator and the Later MKIV standard which had it slightly to the left (from the commanders point of view) of the centre, The turrets had other differences, mainly the apperture for the mantlet but of course that is gone on an NA75
ChrisDM
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Posted: Monday, November 25, 2013 - 11:01 AM UTC
The periscope should actually by further forward and more to the right of the sight mount in front of the ventilator, not where the DML ventilator is
weathering_one
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Posted: Monday, November 25, 2013 - 12:10 PM UTC
WOW Jan, what an active and fascinating review and more so, discussion about it! I'm not often concerned about accuracy but the build ability but I must say this is interesting reading. Now I hope this isn't out of line but do you think that the upcoming Dieppe Churchill will have the same problems as this version?

Thanks,
AJ
ChrisDM
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Posted: Tuesday, November 26, 2013 - 10:01 PM UTC
from the CAD it looks like the Dieppe one has a few problems, but its not really fair to judge a kit on CAD, personally I'm waiting to see whats in the box
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Posted: Wednesday, November 27, 2013 - 05:54 AM UTC
I thank both of you for your continued interest in these kits. As for this current topic of the Dieppe version, one can only speculate based on Dragon's past activities. Basically, the Mk. III and Mk. IV kits use the virtually exact same hull as the NA 75. The only difference is what appears to be an extra pair of fire extinguishers on the Mk. III engine deck. Therefore I think that it is safe to conclude that the Dieppe version will have the same issues with the body as the NA 75. From brief research it appears that several marks of Churchill were used at Dieppe. Based on that I can assume that they will use the Mk. III lower body and one of the turrets with a 6 Pdr. gun. I think that we can also assume that a new sprue will carry the air intake and exhaust extensions and of course new decals. Then again, the box top and the CAD images don't show the intake extensions but do show new shorter fenders. Therefore I think that we can assume basically the Mk. III with minimal additional parts.

Cheers,
Jan
ChrisDM
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Posted: Wednesday, November 27, 2013 - 10:37 AM UTC
Its worth noting the MkIIIs that went to Dieppe were very early production MkIIIS and had a number of differences from later IIIs, and all the IV based tanks (IV V and VI)

If DML have just used the same moulds this introduces the possibility of even more errors, but as I said, until we see it in plastic....
tread_geek
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Posted: Wednesday, November 27, 2013 - 03:09 PM UTC

Quoted Text

...If DML have just used the same moulds this introduces the possibility of even more errors, but as I said, until we see it in plastic....



Chris,

I won't disagree but, if we go by past DML actions/practices, it is too early for them to abandon the Churchill III moulds. There are far too many examples where they reuse before they create new moulds. After only three versions of this tank, it seems to me it's too early for them to make a new mould. An example is the Sd. Kfz. 222 series vehicles where they had it, the 223, 260, 261 and all have the original body sprues/moulds in the box and reuse the same basic body halves. All their Stug III use the same body parts but only the "tank" versions use different, simplified versions. There are also several other examples of this process that isn't always a negative.

Cheers,
Jan
ChrisDM
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Posted: Wednesday, November 27, 2013 - 11:07 PM UTC
if they wanted to re-use moulds they could do:

MkIII* (MkIII with a 75mm gun and uparmoured - which could be on a new sprue)

MkIV 75 (MkIV with a 7fmm gun)

MkV

MkVI,

Basic MkIII AVRE

Basic MkIV AVRE

ARK I and II

SBG Bridge layer



All of which require just a couple of extra parts and no change to the sprues unless they wanted to correct the existing mistakes

Their mistakes so far, and their choice of subject in the Dieppe tank reveals either their ignorance of the subject they are selling or, more likely, that it is just not important to them because they can't see it affecting sales
tread_geek
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Posted: Friday, November 29, 2013 - 04:59 AM UTC
Chris,

This speculation was something that a few Braillers in my local IPMS club were quite excited about at the last meeting a few weeks ago. They mentioned the same variants that you do and were most excited by an AVRE or bridge layer. Another easy variant would be a Russian Lend-Lease Churchill (basically change the decals). I strongly doubt that accuracy is a major concern of Dragon as to them sales potential and thereby profits are more important.

If sales of Churchill kits are quite good then they might offer further variants. After all, they have a basic hull and suspension that can be reused. I don't know for sure, but at last count I believe they have produced something like 15 or more variants of the Sherman. Then there are the four Panzer III variants recently released and heaven knows how many Tiger I's they've made. At the very least, we finally have some Commonwealth subjects.

Cheers,
Jan
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Posted: Tuesday, December 03, 2013 - 09:46 AM UTC
Gosh, I must say rather you than me review this kit, Jan, the world of Churchill variants is not something I'm familiar with, and it seems every bit as complex as the fifty shades of Panther D...
This is the second Dragon kit reviewed recently to have the issue of warped large components, and as for the mismatched turret halves, it's actually quite difficult to understand how that happens with CAD drawn designs... it all seems very careless, and along with the patchy research that appears to have been done by the designers, it might be yet anotherr 1960s Airfix kit reborn in some weird plastic kit possession. Regarding the inaccuracies Chris mentions, there isa certain irony in lots of variants being produced that are all based upon an incorrect base.
ChrisDM
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Posted: Monday, December 09, 2013 - 09:59 PM UTC
Its like all kits I guess, none are perfect and how much you are personally willing to live with is up to you. A good review arms people to do that for themselves so thanks Jan for a good review
tread_geek
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Posted: Tuesday, December 10, 2013 - 04:52 AM UTC
Chris,

Thanks for the compliment on the review and I try to cater to trying to give a general overview of the kit so that people can make an informed decision. I have an acquaintance from a local club that was most excited to get these Churchill kits when he read about them. He's quite an avid builder of 1/72 "Commonwealth" vehicles and was especially excited about the Dieppe version. After reading this review and following this thread his ardor for that kit (and the others) was substantially dimmed.

Cheers,
Jan