Since the release of the Tamiya Cromwell Mk. IV kit in June 2006, super-detailers have been waiting on a photo-etch detail set for the kit. Finally, Aber has come to the rescue with the first of what seems like many detail sets for this kit. The first set to be released is a basic detail set that includes many small and some larger parts that will really dress the basic kit up.
The set comes in the typical Aber packaging with the three photo-etch frets well protected by a solid 1/8th inch of cardboard backing and encased in a small plastic bag topped by a black cardboard header. There are 3 photo-etch frets included with only two of them being attached to the kit. The 3rd fret is a small one that contains two circles. One large one with holes drilled around the circumference and the smaller one blank. The large one is a pattern to rework the kit wheels into the “Christie” type by drilling holes through the pattern onto the wheels. It also acts as a mask for painting the wheels. Ingenious thinking by the people at Aber!
The other two frets are the main pieces to this set. The main fret has the majority of the pieces on it including replacement front and rear mud guards, tool brackets, grab handles, rear “Normandy” Cowling replacement, along with many small details to enhance the turret including antennae brackets and gunner sights. The etching is very clean with the small attachment points needing minor clean up before attachment. The many small and delicate parts will make this set challenging to use, but the added benefits from its use will be stunning. A photo-etch bending tool and rolling tool will be a useful tool in using this set. The mud guards are etched cleanly and feature relief’s on the bending lines that will aid in construction. The detail on the many small pieces is nice and by replacing the kit parts with these will bring them into a more scale appearance. The “Normandy” cowling often seen on these tanks in the Normandy region is the largest piece of this set. It is constructed from two separate parts and will replace the thick kit version producing a nice feature to the rear of the tank.
The third fret contains the 5 screens on the tank. The largest one is meant for the rear air intake that can be covered by the “Normandy” cowling. The other 4 screens are to add the vents to the side of the hull. These will require some surgery on the upper hull of the kit and will likely be hidden from view after the armored sides are added, so the builder has to make a choice on whether the surgery is worth it to use these other screens.
The instructions are printed on a double sided piece of A4 size paper. They are clear but really busy. With all the little detail pieces to be added, the builder should take time to make sure that no parts were missed in the busy instructions.
Overall this is a very nicely done detail set that will add a lot to the overall appearance of this kit. With the wheel jig included and the variety of small detail parts and big parts, this was a well thought out and otherwise complete basic detail set. I would recommend this set to experienced users of photo-etch because of the small detail parts. Not much surgery will be needed to the kit which is a good thing, but there is a large replacement of many small details. As with any photoetch sets a photoetch bending tool will give the best results. Recommended to experienced photo-etch users.
Matt McLean reviews the Aber Photo-etch update set for the Tamiya Cromwell Mark IV