The Mk. III Infantry Tank, better known as the Churchill, was a heavy tank used by the British during World War and the war in Korea. Despite many outdated ideas incorporated in its design the tank proved a successful interim solution.
About 6 months ago I reviewed the Mk.IV variant, kitted by Dragon
. Later on DML also released the Mk.III, which is essentially the same design, armor and armament, but equipped with a welded turret instead of a cast one. Reviews of the Mk.IV can be found at these links:
Churchill Mk.IV in-box
Churchill Mk.IV built
As is usual with the Dragon releases each of the 5 sprues is packed in a separate bag. The total part count is 73 – 71 styrene pieces and 2 DS track runs. The decal sheet from Cartograf presents 3 options:
• a tiger-striped machine from 145th Regiment, Royal Armoured Corps, 21st Tank Brigade, Tunis 1943
• a Canadian Army machine nicknamed “Bill” from Operation “Jubilee”, Dieppe, France 1942
• a second Dieppe raider - “Betty”.
The instruction is rather simple and easy to follow with just 5 construction steps, presented in line diagrams.
No surprises here, as most of the kit is the same as the Mk. IV – sprues A, B, X, Y and Z being identical.
Sprue A – drivers, idlers, air intakes, hull details, machine guns and turret hatches.
Sprue B – sponsons, suspension and roadwheels, gun barrel, towing equipment.
Sprues X and Y are the top and bottom hull, respectively. Sprue Z holds the DS track, and while detail is on the same level as in the Mk. IV release the sprue gates in my example are seriously oversized and extend well over the respective track ridges. They broke off very easily, but will also break parts of the tracks themselves, which is NOT good for the end result. Of course you can install the tracks in such a way that the broken ridges face inside, but this shouldn’t really be up to the modeller.
Sprue D has the new details – the welded cupola with a new luggage bin, an updated motor deck with an extra pair of fire extinguishers, as well as the new extra fuel tank and a fuel line to the hull.
Strangely, the muzzle of the “bomb thrower” (two inch mortar) is missing from the turret roof in this release, whereas it was present in the Mk. IV kit.
Now, as you have noticed there are two tanks that participated in the Jubilee landings. The Churchills involved had certain modifications made to them – e.g. deep wading trunks, or at the very least extended exhaust. These parts are not included in the kit, so adding them is up to the modeller if he chose to build the particular machines.
The turret can be assembled in a few minutes, and this is exactly what I did. The only part that required extra attention was the bin – I blanked off the opening and filled the molding recesses next to the fire extinguisher locating pins.
Just as in the Mk. IV kit in step 2 the instructions here will have you glue the wrong parts together for the drive sprockets and the idler wheels. You need parts 24 and 27 for each of the idlers and 25 and 28 for the drivers.
Again, I had to cut off the sponson wall next to the driving wheels, because it interfered with the fit.
No changes in the front hull plate either – I had to thin the upper edge for the upper hull to fit.
I painted the base color on the assembled (but not glued) hull halves and the turret. I then masked the pattern I wanted as well as the roadwheels with Tamiya tape. A sandy mix was sprayed over the sides and the top of both hull and turret. The tracks were painted separately. The DS runs are long enough to go around the sponsons. As a lot of each would be hidden I cut off a few links on each side to hang as spares to the front and the sides. After the paint on hull was dry I superglued them in place, and assembled the hull again using Humbrol Liquid Poly (very sparingly, as the fit is very good).
I’ve added the radio antennae from stretched sprue. One of them is bent back as per the custom of 145th Regiment before commitment in Africa. The second is straight, without the antenna base (part A9) as per wartime pictures. I used the insulation of a thin copper wire to add the thicker segment at the bottom.
With the build experience of the previous version, DML’s Churchill Mk. III really offers no surprises in terms of fit and parts – it is a very quick build with no filler needed at all. Regrettably the missing parts for the Jubilee Churchills leave the modeller to only build a single machine.
Churchill IV Build review
Churchill NA 75