Airfix 1/76 Cromwell IV Kit First Look
By Ray Mehlberger
|Date of Review||January 2012||Manufacturer||Airfix|
|Kit Number||2338||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Nicely detailed with 2 options||Cons||No interior detail|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$7.95|
The Cromwell (official name Cruiser Tank Mk. VIII) was one of the most successful British tanks of WWII. Named after the English Civil War leader Oliver Cromwell, the tank proved to be an adept and rugged fighting machine. Equipped with Christie suspension, it proved to be a surprisingly rapid tank, fighting its way across Europe after being amongst the first armored vehicles to land on the Normandy shore in June of 1944. Following this, the Cromwell participated in various assaults across Normandy, including the infamous defeat to Wittmann's Tiger at Villlers-Bocage, as well as the failed Operation Market Garden. The Cromwell then crossed the Rhine and served until the end of the war.
While out-gunned and out-armored by German tanks, the Cromwell nonetheless managed to hold its own through better manoeuvrability, due to its relatively small size and reliability in combat, something sorely lacking in German armor.
After the war, the Cromwell continued to serve as a training tank, also seeing some combat during the Korean War, although by this time it was obsolete.
Airfix is based in the UK. They are the Hornby Hobbies LTD. Company.
The kit comes in a tray and lid type box, held shut with scotch tape. The box art shows a Cromwell moving through rubble in a damaged city. There is an explosion erupting behind it. It is in overall khaki drab. It carries the white stenciled serial number T817796 on the bow plate of the hull. Above this, on the right side of the front plate of the fighting compartment it carries a black square with the letter RD in white on it. Above it is several lines of white lettering, too small to read. In the center of the plate is a square that is divided into two colors. The top half is red and the bottom half is blue. The white number 76 is on it. Above this is another square that is red outlined in white. It has a white circle with a rat figure in it. The white stenciled serial number T817796 appears again on the sides of the turret.
The painting instructions in the kit show that the square markings and the serial number are on the rear hull wall and a large white star in a circle is on the back of the turret and on it’s roof in a smaller size. This tank is assigned to the Royal Horse Artillery, 7th Armored Division.
One side panel gives one paragraph histories of the Cromwell in 5 languages, none of these in English and the mention that the kit was made in India.
The other panel is printed upside down when compared to the first side panel. It has the one paragraph history now in English. Next to it are two side profiles of the Cromwell showing the two schemes provided in the kit.
One side panel of the kit’s tray has color photos of a Spitfire aircraft model being built and painted. The captions under these 4 photos say:
- Build and paint following instructions
- Use Clearfix for clear parts
- Cut out decals and soak briefly
- Slide decals off sheet
The captions are in 6 languages including English.
The other side panel of the tray continues with 4 more of these photos. Captions here say:
Read instructions, create work area and project surfaces Paint small parts while on sprue Cut off one part at a time. Remove excess Use bands or pegs while glue is drying
The bottom of the tray gives Airfix’s web address, a mention of a modelers club that they run and WARNINGS that the kit is not suitable for children under 36 months because of a choking hazard due to small parts. This is in 11 languages, including English. Hornby Hobbies Ltd. Street address is provided here.
Inside the box are 2 loose light blue-gray parts trees, the decal sheet and the instructions.
The instructions consist of a single sheet folded in the center to create 4 pages in 8 ½” x 11” page format. This sheet is then folded twice along it’s length to fit the box.
Page 1 of the instructions gives the history of the Cromwell in 5 languages including English. This is followed by international assembly symbol explanations and the statement that some parts in the kit may not be required to build the model. Below this is Hornby’s street address, their phone number and Airfix’s web address.
Page 2 begins with general written assembly instructions in 12 languages, including English. Below this is the first 4 assembly step drawings.
Pages 3 and 4 give a balance of a total of 22 assembly steps.
There is an option in assembly step 13 to add a hedge row cutter to the bow of the tank.
An option in step 19 is for either leaving the turret upper hatches open or closed. There is no interior details to be seen if you leave these open though.
In step 21 and 22 you opt to use…or not use…a deep water air intake on the back deck and water barrier box on the turret roof.
A second 8 ½” x 11” sized sheet in the kit has two 5 views of schemes for the Cromwell that are provided on the decal sheet.
These illustrations are in full color. Both schemes are in overall khaki drab.
One scheme is the box art one, already described above.
The second one is a tank of the 11th Armored Division. It has the white stenciled serial number T187816 on the center of the hull front and rear. To the left of this number on the front is a yellow square with a black animal on it and the word Taureg II in white letters. To the right of the serial number on the front is a second square that is black with the white stenciled number 40 on it. These 2 squares are in reverse sides on the back and to the right of the serial number is a yellow circle with the number 28 in it in white. This tank also has the smaller white star in a circle atop the turret, but not on the back of the turret like the first scheme has.
Each light blue-gray tree is numbers sequentially, but not alphabetized. This will cause some confusion finding parts.
One tree holds: the double hull side parts, bottom, front and rear hull walls, turret parts etc. (39 parts)
The second tree holds: the treads (which are molded into one continuous loop), road wheels, idler wheels, hull top, armor plates, tow rings etc. (49 parts)
There are no crew figures in the kit.
The decal sheet and instructions complete the kit’s contents.
This is a nicely detailed kit of the British Cromwell.
My sincere thanks to Airfix USA for this review sample!