by: Alan McNeilly [ ]
IntroductionResicast bring us yet another excellent conversion for the AFV Club Churchill Mk III; this time to convert it into the Churchill ARK Mk I. The conversion set offers parts for the early version of the Mk I (short rear ramps) or later version of the Mk I with the longer rear ramps.
The ARK (Armoured Ramp Carrier) was one of the first ‘Funnies’ to be based on the Churchill tank hull. Designed to be driven into position, whilst under fire, against obstacles like sea walls and also used in bridging craters and ditches, both the Mk III hull and Mk IV hull were used.
About 50 were produced in time for D-Day by REME workshops and the M.G. Car Company. The ARK was fitted with a longitudinal track-way over each tank track. These sat on a frame and were 2ft wide and designed to allow armoured vehicles to cross over the top of the ARK. At each end of the track-way, hinged ramps could be lowered to facilitate the crossing.
The SetThe set comes in the standard Resicast stout cardboard box, with a good colour picture of the completed conversion on the top and 3 further pictures of the completed set on the front for reference.
Inside is a 12 page instruction booklet, 4 zip plastic bags containing the conversion parts, and 8 lengths of track-way to allow either building the early or later version of the Mk I. A further zip bag, No 5 contains some thread (‘wire’) and plastic rod which you will need to complete the conversion.
The instruction booklet is in the new Resicast style, page 1 features a B & W picture of the completed conversion and a listing of the resin parts. Page 2 sets out some ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ and identifies the replacement turret hatches and exhausts by picture and part number. Page 3 identifies the track-way parts, again by picture and number. Pages 4, 5 and 6 concentrate on building the frame that the ramps sat on and pages 7, 8, 9 and 10 concentrate on building the extension track-way that protruded off the end of the vehicle.
All the parts are cast in a light grey resin. The detail is crisp and clear, the track-way measures exactly 2ft wide from beam to beam which is correct for the early version. I could see no warping or damage to any of the kit parts, and everything you need to build the track-ways is included in the set.
Replacement armour for the front, in the form of part U, is provided as are replacement rear panels parts JQ and JR, so a little kit alteration will be necessary.
You may need to add some handles to the replacement hatches, and in the instructions kit part M should read N and vice-versa, but apart from that this is a fairly straightforward conversion that most modeller should be able to handle.
Normal precautions apply when working with resin and care should be taken to read the instructions carefully before commencing the build. The kit should require minimal clean up, but you will need a sharp razor saw and good model knife, plus some emery boards to smooth off the cuts.
ConclusionThis is another excellent conversion set from Resicast. It looks a simple and straightforward build, and therefore should be achievable by most modellers. This may prove to be a good starting kit for those wanting to try working with resin. I couldn’t fault the quality of the parts and the option for either the early or later version of the ARK Mk I, which will allow modellers a greater choice of finish.
The set offers great possibilities for builders of stand alone vehicles and dio builders alike and is a cracking conversion of a much under represented vehicle.
Modellers interested in the set may also want to note kit no 35.2311 which provides Churchill early pattern tracks often seen on these vehicles.
I may have been spoilt by the recent excellent carrier conversion sets, but I couldn’t help thinking that the early pattern tracks should have been included in this set as well as being available independently.