I splashed out and got myself a box of the new 15mm Churchill tanks from Plastic Soldier Company the other week. I hadn't thought I wanted Churchill tanks. They are after all, awkward and ungainly looking and the Canadian Armoured Corps never used them, except during the disastrous Dieppe Raid. But ironically, due to a personality clash between commanders during the Italian campaign, 1st Canadian Infantry Div got much of it's armoured support from British RTR Churchills while the Canadian Armoured Division was supporting British and Indian units. And who's to say my troops may not want to be British in some scenario as well?
The box comes with 5 tanks and you have the option to build each one as either a MkIII, MkIV, MkVI(with 75mm gun), MkV CS (with 95mm howitzer) or a MkIII AVRE. So the option of fielding a troop of three heavy "Infantry" tanks and a couple of AVREs to support my infantry attacks seemed like a good one. I've put a couple together this past week while watching TV with Mrs. Rabbitman.
So far I've done up one Mk VI since that, according to Wikipedia, was the most common variant, especially during the Italian campaign. I also built an AVRE just because I think they're super cool.
The hulls and tracks went together with ease. As usual I found if you aren't getting a good fit you are probably trying to put things together backwards. The track assemblies come moulded as one piece which is very nice. The Mk VI turret is one piece and pretty easy to put together, although I realize I glued on the wrong turret bustle. I'm going to say it was a field workshop modification. The MkIII turret is a little trickier, with four sides, the bottom and roof all needing to come together. I had to trim some overhang off the front mantlet and when it came to the turret bustle I discovered I had put the back wall of the turret on upside down and had to trim the locating lip off to get the bustle on! The 290mm Petard was a tight squeeze and you can see some pressure marks in the plastic.
The new command figure is nice. His arms are separate and you can glue them on with the binoculars up to his eyes, down at his waist, or I chose a more dramatic mid-way to catch him in the act of bringing the binoculars up to view a potential threat. I also opted to use a commander from a PSC Sherman M4A4 (he's the green fellow) to give a bit of variety and have him hunkered down in the hatch of the AVRE. Having the open hatches moulded on already was also very nice. I found trying to glue the hatches in place on the Shermans a bit fiddly.
All in all a good kit to get for your British WW2 force or to provide some exotic support for your Canadians, and at $7 Cdn a tank the price isn't bad.