has released a very nice selection of Churchill tanks over the last few years, and here I get to take a look at one of the real oddballs that made it from the drawing boards to production. The British Army needed tanks with more fire power as the war progressed and Germany produced larger and harder hitting tanks that could withstand the hitting power of the British Armour. Along came the Churchill 3 Inch 20 CWT Gun, fitted with an obsolete 3inch anti-aircraft gun barrel, and placed in a box structure on the hull of Churchill instead of a turret. The guns had a limited traverse due to the use of a ball mount. The first tanks were ready in 1942 and met expectations, however they were deemed no longer necessary due to armour mounting the 17pdr gun now being available. The result of this was a limited production run and the tanks not leaving British shores. It is a little odd therefore, that AFV Club
decided on a box artwork showing this vehicle in combat.
The model is packaged in the now standard tray and lid used by AFV Club
. All of the parts with the exception of the tracks are packed either singly or as pairs in plastic bags, the contents of the box breaks down as follows:
- 12 green sprues
- 1 clear sprue
- 2 vinyl rubber tracks
- 2 vinyl rubber track pads
- 1 turned aluminum barrel
- Metal springs
- 2 photo-etched frets
- Length of black cord
- Decal sheet
- Instruction booklet
- Box top artwork poster
As with all of the other Churchill kits I have taken a look at from AFV Club
, everything looks good at first glance; however, this release is the first Churchill offering where I have noticed some flash starting to appear on some of the sprues; as you will see from the pictures it is very minor at the moment, but AFV Club
will need to keep an eye on the situation. On the plus side there were no other issues regarding the moulding that jumped out at me.
Suspension and Lower Hull
Anyone who has tackled an AFV Club
Churchill in the past, will be very familiar with the majority of this release, but for those that haven’t read on. The suspension on this model is workable, and so if you wish to display this model on an uneven surface it has the ability to look realistic. The down side of the working suspension are all of the springs that need to be trapped; when AFV Club
first released the Churchill tank models with this feature there were a number of complaints, the majority of these complaints were about the difficulty of trapping all of the springs while retaining the workability of this aspect. Lately these complaints have ceased and I am unsure if that is due to the springs having been softened, or modellers becoming comfortable with the task. Love it or loath it the result of all that work in this area, covering ten stages in the instructions, is a very realistic and pleasantly detailed suspension system and lower hull. The hatches in the side of these units can be opened or closed if needed or desired. The only possible issue accuracy wise that may apply to this area, are the idler wheels at the front of the vehicle. While the area between the teeth on the idler is not easily seen, I believe there should be oval holes in that face in order that collected detritus can get out. I should add that I am not 100% sure if it applies to this variant, but it is my belief and if it concerns you ‘Inside the Armour’ offers a resin and photo-etched product to add this detail. It has been suggested that one aspect of the side armour is not accurate and resin replacement parts are available, unfortunately my knowledge of this vehicle is not up to the level of confirming or denying this information.
As you would expect with this model the upper hull only consists of the engine decks, with a minimal number of parts needing adding. The exhausts have been moulded in two halves rather than one piece, this is due to AFV Club
retaining the hollow feature of the exhaust, but not being able to utilise slide moulding due to the exhaust being curved. The tools are reasonable, but do have moulded clamp detail on them.
The track guards supplied with this model look quite good, and due to their design give the modeller the option of showing some of the guards removed if so desired. One aspect I am not overly keen on is the plastic parts supplied to represent the mud flaps on the tank and I believe there are better options for representing this facet of the model. The air intakes have been kept simple to make while providing some very nice detail for the viewer after the model has been weathered. Racks are supplied on the rear guards for carrying four flimsies; one beauty of the flimsies is that they can be painted in a good number of colours and remain accurate. Lastly in this area, is a good representation of the external fuel tank, which is very similar to the ones that are carried on Valentine tanks, with the exception of being a single tank rather than two tanks butted up together.
This boxy structure is nicely represented and has nice rivet detail present. I cannot say if this structure is accurate as I found very little data on this variant of the Churchill, but I have not seen any complaints being raised about it either. The business end of the fighting compartment has a nicely turned aluminum barrel, which is a big plus due to removing the cleanup aspect and knowing that there will not be a seam line after the model is painted. AFV Club
has also designed the mounting for the main gun to allow movement both up and down and left and right. I cannot see any rifling detail in this barrel which is a shame as it is a fairly large bore; however if you intend to seek out a replacement barrel, you will need one designed for this model due to the attachment method selected by AFV Club
. The hatches in the structure all have the option of being shown open or closed, however the rear hatch has no detail on the inner face. AFV Club
has again supplied dimensions for the aerial on the vehicle which is good to see and a plus mark in my book. My pet hate however, is present again in the form of twine being supplied for the tow cables, love them or hate them; I know which camp I fall into. I must buy half of the entire produced lead picture hanging cable made in Europe to replace twine in model kits.
Instructions and Decals
The supplied instruction booklet is of a good quality. The guidance it supplies appears accurate with no obvious errors I managed to locate; it did forget to call out that the fire extinguishers’ should be painted a brass colour though. The black and white line drawings should guide you through construction without any major hiccups. There are two finishing options supplied, but no data is supplied about those two options, so you may have to look long and hard to find information if you want to insure an accurate finish on your model. The decals are of the usual quality from AFV Club
; however there are so few decals used due to them being numbers and letters only that dry transfers could be used if preferred.
This is I feel a good model of a very little produced Churchill variant that bodes well for some more funnies to come from AFV Club
. This model should be eye catching due to its novelty value and unusual appearance. The mouldings from previous Churchill releases seem to be holding up well for the most part, with just a little flash starting to creep in on some areas. This model is well worth your consideration if you are looking for something a little different.