1⁄35Crusader Mk II Gun Tractor Mk I
External Fitting and Spare WheelThe Crusader Gun Tractor had new air ventilators and large stowage boxes fitted to the rear of the vehicle, the rear deck remained unaltered so to round off the build you’ll need to add the external fittings. These are all nicely done and I didn’t experience any particular problems with them, just remember space is very tight between the bins and the spare petrol cans so test fit everything first. The spare wheel is provided for the 17pdr and sits up on a small stand, I assume because of the heat that would be generated by the engine. Accurate Armour provides two folded up camouflage nets for the top of the side bins and these can be fitted if required. Alternatively part 5 could be fitted there as I couldn’t see anywhere else they might go and they are not mentioned in the instructions or build pictures. Final fittings will most probably be the rear lights and tow hook and the frontal plates and front tow hook. Again no issues here follow the instructions and all should be well. The kit has a small PE Fret that provides padlocks for the bins and I was particularly impressed with the quality of these. The conversion set provided two side panels to fit into the kit once the square frame is added. You can model these in the open or closed position. The panels are very thin and if you are going to model them closed you may like to replace them with some alternative plastic card. I modelled them in the open position so just used the conversion parts. I also added some thin holding wire to each hatch, this was based on a best guess rather than any specific knowledge so they may be more accurate or less accurate - if anyone has clarity on that please let me know.
TracksThe older kits are not noted for their tracks so I added a set of replacement resin tracks from Accurate Armour – Kit No Trakpak T46. I built three top lengths and then bent them around with the heat from a hairdryer, then added the other two sections. If I used them again I would build 4 lengths on top which might make for an easier initial fit. They are a good improvement on the kit tracks but the detail between the bars is a bit suspect.
Painting and FinishingI painted the overall vehicle in OD, a mix of Tamiya Dark Green XF 61 and Tamiya Olive Drab Xf58 about 50/50 with a mixer of Vallejo Yellow Ochre 70913 to get the colour I wanted. I paint by hand as I go, and with the sub assemblies this would seem sensible but you will use what ever method you are most comfortable with. Decals were from the excellent Finger Print Design range and spares from previous Accurate Armour sets. I also added a decal from the Bronco 17pdr ammo set to the top ammo box on the load to brighten things up Data on the deployment of these vehicles is limited and they seem to have been deployed at Corps level so I opted for a vehicle from 73rd Anti Tank Regiment , Royal Artillery. 195 Battery, B Troop, who were with XXX Corps up to Oct 44. My thanks to Derek Barton for keeping me right on the markings and answering my many questions and to Ken for pointing out my original error! Phil’s article indicates that some may have been deployed at Divisional level with 7th, 11th and Guards Armoured but I had no data or reference for those. Additional stowage was added from Resicast and Accurate Armour to fill up the rear deck and make it look a bit more busy.
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