by: Jan Klarbæk [ ]
Background There’s a new boy on the block, and even though there have been some beginners problems and a long delay, this is a company that, if they continue to market kits in this quality and finding attractive and so far unseen subjects, they are here to stay.
The Comet was a late war improvement on the Cromwell theme, with a wider hull and a better gun; it was considered a fair match to most of what Germany could field at that time.
the kit So, lets look inside the box, but, first of all, let me state that I am in no way either a rivet counter or an expert on British armor. In this review I am going to take look at the molding quality, level of details, compare the overall look of the kit with photos from the net, and give you my impressions on the kit. In other words - is it worth the bucks and does it look like a Comet!
You get 5 sprues of olive-green plastic, a set of rubber band tracks, a little baggie with 4 resin idler wheels for the WWII type of tank, some nylon string (hey, take a look at DML, now that’s wire!) and 2 frets of PE.
The plastic The plastic displays neat and crisp details and cleans up really nice with the help of a sharp knife and a file. There’s not much to see in terms of mould seams, and flash is nowhere to be found. If you cut close to the subject, most parts don’t need further cleaning.
Tracks Nice details with crisp molding, but the assembly is tricky to make invisible. You can hide the assembly point behind the mudguards - but if you are leaving the mudguards off, I would suggest you wait for someone to make an aftermarket set of tracks!
Lower hull There are ejector pin marks on the rear of the outer hull parts, these are visible and should be filled or sanded down.
The fit for the side parts was very snug, and with the wheels on, not much of the swing arms are visible, so you are free to decide how much time you are going to spend on clean up.
Care should be taken with the road wheels. If you assemble them with the cap on, you will find that the wheels protrude about one mm more than the return rollers, drive sprocket and idler wheel. The trick is to cut about one mm of the axles then they will fit.
Parts 4 from the PE sheet is not shown in the instructions, but photos show them on the rear plate.
Upper Hull The instructions call for the upper hull to be fitted at the end of the build. In my opinion this is asking for trouble due to the risk of breaking the many of the finer details during assembly, especially since my upper hull is rather warped. So on it goes, tape, glue etc. to hold it in place.
All grab handles are molded on. Considering the size of these handles, they would have been really easy to mould as separate parts, and they are very visible unless you plan on throwing a lot of junk on top of the rear hull. I replaced mine with wire, drilled trough the hull and glued on the inside of the hull.
I cheated a little by not doing the handles hidden under the turret.
The rear mesh screen is molded on. Considering that the kit already includes photo etch parts, its somewhat disappointing that the mesh isn’t supplied in PE. I am going to leave it as it is, and with the Normandy cowls it wont be visible, but together with the lack separate grab handles, it’s something that really stands out on the kit, and should with today’s standard not be an issue with a new kit.
Talking about Normandy cowls, its a mystery to me, why the wide type is supplied in styrene, the two-part type in PE, but there is no mesh screens in PE?, personally I would have preferred getting the mesh and living with the cowls in styrene.
The mesh for the sides screens are also missing, that’s probably okay, since they are not that visible, but again something for the aftermarket folks.
The brackets for the fenders are misaligned when the upper and lower hull is joined. When the overhang on the side is mounted, this is more or less hidden.
Turret Fit is excellent even tough the parts breakdown is a bit unusual. One of the turret sides was a bit warped, but gluing in two steps took care of the problem.
The internal turret ring seems somewhat on the small side, so if you plan on adding a partial or full interior, you are going to encounter some difficulties, especially around the turret basket and crew seats for loader, gunner and commander.
The commander’s cupola is missing the periscopes. Now, this is really visible and screams for some "do it yourself". These really should have been supplied in the kit, not necessarily in clear parts but at least supplied!.
The hatches are missing any internal details, but a lot of pictures on the Internet shows these details and the cushions and locking mechanism should be easy to do.
I did fix up the light on the side of the turret – a slight repositioning and addition of a new handle and some wires for the cables. No clear part is supplied for the light so go trough your spare box or another one for the aftermarket…
I used the supplied PE for the commanders sighting “birdcage”.
Painting Well, I’m a brush painter, and I like to paint during the construction. This mainly comes from not having much time for modelling, 15 minutes here, another 10 there, so starting up and cleaning an airbrush is pretty much out of the question for me.
Brush painting leaves stroke marks no matter how careful you are, the remedy for this is a thin wash with the base color which blends the paint and make the surface even.
Wheels are painted on the spruces and get a light touchup when attached. The rest are painted in various subassemblies.
For this kit I have used Humbrol´s Matt 155. With all the debate going on what OD is, I say – let it rest, with wash, dust, wear and tear it looks British enough for me!
After the base paint was on, the decals come next, and I have a little trick to make them sit nice. Instead of using some aftermarket solvents, I use my liquid Humbrol glue to make them sit. I brush the decals after fixing them, with an almost dry brush with glue on. It gently dissolves the decals and fuses them with the paint.
After that, and before applying a wash, the tank gets a coat of semi gloss lacquer, I prefer a water based lacquer as it seals the base paint against the solvents in the wash.
Further weathering must wait until I decide on the Comets future home, I’m thinking about a little diorama….