The Churchill tank is probably the last machine created with the “infantry tank” concept in mind. Slow and heavily-armored, the initial versions had a 2 pounder gun in the turret and a 3 inch howitzer in the front hull. Churchills served in North Africa and on the European fronts from 1942 till the end of the war, and were famous for their thick armor and ability to crawl up hills that would defeat any other tank.
With aging earlier releases by ESCI, Airfix and Hasegawa the Braille scale world has been expecting an up-to-date kit for quite some time. Well – here it is! Dragon has the most-numerous Churchill – the Mk. IV, which featured a cast turret and a 6 pounder main gun with much greater anti-tank capabilities. The howitzer in the hull was replaced with a Besa machine gun.
The kit contains 70 parts:
68 in grey plastic
2 runs of DS track
A decal sheet for a single Mk. IV tank from the North Irish Horse is included.
There are two main hull components, cast as separate parts – the upper one represents the top deck and the fenders, and lower part is the slide-molded hull tub. It is interesting to note that there are fuel can racks at the aft end of the fenders, and Dragon has included two pairs of British-style 2 gallon cans to be posed there should the modeler so desire.
The rest of the details reside on three sprues, with the turret another slide-molded part. The commander’s and the loader’s hatch doors are separate parts, and can be posed open or closed. Antenna base, storage bin, fire extinguishers and periscope are all separate details, too. Two alternative parts are provided for the main gun, possibly representing the 6 pounder and the QF 75 mm, respectively. There is also a nice Besa machinegun to fit in the mantlet. There are no specific instructions regarding the mantlet itself (it is a separate part), which probably indicates it is not intended to be poseable out of the box.
A second Besa machinegun is controlled by the hull gunner. It’s interesting to note that the vertical armor in front of the gunner and the driver is made from one piece, but there is detail molded onto the inside of the driver’s direct vision port. The motor deck with molded-on tools is a separate part, as are the exhausts, the radiators and their top covers.
The bogie assemblies are nicely-detailed, with the springs represented with actual raised spiraling detail. The instructions inform you the one-piece DS tracks are 205mm long and contain 75 links each. You are advised to either cut them if they are too long, or stretch them if they are shorter than needed.
There are two tow cables molded onto the sponson sides. Two spare track links are provided in plastic (one for each side).
Instructions & painting guide
The instructions consist of 5 very straight-forward steps with standard Dragon graphics.
The painting guide shows one overall dark green machine of C Sqn, North Irish Horse, Italy, 1944.
This is another of the newer Dragon kits, which appears to be mainly designed for ease and speed of assembly. DML has expertly filled the gap between earlier Marks (I and II by Hasegawa and III from ESCI) and the later Airfix Churchill VII with an excellent, hassle-free kit.
Churchill IV build review
Churchill NA 75