This offering from Pen and Sword as part of their Tank Craft series looks at the Churchill Tanks, British Army, North West Europe 1944-1945. These books are I feel an attempt to offer the modeller a combination package covering both reference on the vehicles and a look at the models and items available to replicate the Churchill Tank as a scale model.
This offering from Pen and Sword is authored by Dennis Oliver, who is an author whose efforts I have looked at a lot recently. This is a soft backed book with a good card cover protecting 64 pages of semi gloss paper. The contents of this title are laid out as follows:
The Army Tank Brigades
Camouflage and Markings
1st Assault Brigade, Royal Engineers
Technical Details and Modifications
Product Contact List
The text in this title begins with a quick look at how the British Army came to have the Churchill Tank. British thinking as tanks went at that time was that tanks moved at the same speed as the soldiers on foot as they were envisaged as infantry support, or the alternate was the cruisers in the form of the Crusader which were fast but lightly armoured. I was not aware that the Churchill tank was only saved due to the performance of the Churchill Mk III at El Alamein in Late 1942 as it was felt that the Cromwell was the better tank.
The breakdown of a British Army tank brigade is a useful inclusion as it provides an insight into how it is all supposed to come together and work. The section looking at the British Army tank battalions has a really nice addition in this title; There is a breakdown of the Churchill tanks of the 4th Battalion, Coldstream Guards, 6th June 1944 listing the name and type of every Churchill as of that date with this unit. I would have loved to see more of these charts covering different units, but regardless I know the modeller will appreciate this type of information.
A section providing prints of a fair number of Churchill tanks is next up. All of the tanks are shown from the left or right side and also offers a good number of head on prints that will help with locating unit badges. Another nice inclusion here is a good look at some of the Division badges. Something I was not expecting to see here are black and white period photographs that do lift the section as it helps to put together the detail in the prints with those of the photographs.
The modelling section starts with a showcase of finished models that are all stand alone only and a list of these can be seen after this chapter. The section covering the kits available is a great section for the modeller who wants to see where to aim his or her pennies at. Models in 1/72nd and 1/35th scale and covers injection moulded plastic offerings; I am sure that you will not be surprised that AFV Club takes the gold with this model. A good effort has been made to cover the aftermarket products with a slew of Resicast products getting an airing here showing a great mix of offerings.
Churchill Mk IV AVRE in 1/35th scale by Sheng Hui; there are some nice close up photographs here.
Churchill Mk VII Crocodile in 1/35th scale by Antonio Martin Tello: this offers a very nice and unusual paintjob with very impressive weathering.
Churchill Mk III AVRE in 1/35th scale by Marcos Serra; This model is quite heavily weathered but I like the images showing the detail before paint hits the plastic.
Churchill Mk VII in 1/35th scale by John Tham; This offering is lightly weathered but appears to me to have a very nicely done paint modulation method.
Churchill Mk IV AVRE in 1/35th scale by Marcos Serra; this is a very nicely finished model, but it shows what looks like wooden battens in the carpet. It is my understanding that these were actually metal poles and so feel free to jump in on that.
The book then returns to covering the tank brigades and as I have said earlier I think the data here will prove popular. The book comes to a close with a look at the details and changes on various types of Churchill tank and equipping the modeller with the knowledge to identify specifics of the Churchill family.
Dennis Oliver has a very impressive skill set when it comes to writing a book that will be of interest to the modeller while still offering something to the person specifically interested in the vehicle. He has nearly always managed to grab my attention with some aspect of the information and he manages to this within a limited page count. The period photographs are well chosen and I like the effort put into the captions provided with them. The section covering the finished models is what I think of as a section to get the juices flowing; it is the section on products that will help the modeller most here. Another nice addition to the Tank Craft range.
Darren Baker takes a look at one of the Tank Craft series of books covering Churchill Tanks, British Army, North West Europe 1944-1945 from Pen and Sword.
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About Darren Baker (CMOT) FROM: ENGLAND - SOUTH WEST, UNITED KINGDOM
I have been building model kits since the early 70ís starting with Airfix kits of mostly aircraft, then progressing to the point I am at now building predominantly armour kits from all countries and time periods. Living in the middle of Salisbury plain since the 70ís, I have had lots of opportunitie...