Italeri Crusader III AA Mk.1
By Ethan Dunsford
Italeri is getting the most out of their legacy kits. On the heels of their Mk.3 AA tank, the company has released a companion vehicle based on a surplus Crusader chassis mounting a 40mm Bofors in a new turret. Yes, you guessed it, the Bofors is essentially the same kit as the towed 40mm version sold separately and the chassis is the same old Crusader I played with in the '80s.
The kit is molded in olive with vinyl tracks. Part details are good despite a small mount of flash and my only concern is the sparse decal sheet. The only markings offered are the British serials. The hull and running gear are the same as any Italeri Crusader and feature the oddity of no parts numbers on the runners. You must map the less obvious parts from the instruction sheet that has the trees labled.
The sprue for our variant actually shares many of the parts from the 20mm Mk.3 and the unused parts are many. Detail is adequate and is plagued by ejector pin marks in a few noticable places.
I began with the lower hull and running gear. Bogies required sanding as the mold line was quite pronounced. The suspension is sandwiched between hull plates and my kit went together flawlessly, The plastic reacted well to the MEK I use as a glue. ( I know, look out).
The upper hull attached with some gaps, I filled the seams with Tamiya putty and added the hatches, bins, and louvers. Idlers and sprockets went on with their retainers and spin freely. To this point, construction took less than two hours.
The gun mount and turret base allow the gun to elevate if so desired. There is room for photo etch and or metal improvements. My elevation pneumatic actuators never quite fit so with a bit of deliberation, i left them off. Crew seats and gun controls are a bit of a mystery to me. They have the elevation and traverse levers on the side walls but I do not see foot pedal triggers. When the turret is closed you really don't see much so I am not worried for my build but I can see a true believer going to the photoetch immediately.
Italeri details the tureet interior walls with stowage bins, map cases, radio faces, and fire extinguishers. While adequately detailed, some metal hangers or resin radios would be nice. My main problem was the sink hole locations up high on the inside turret walls.
When assembled and dry fitted to the hull the kit looks very weird to me. Then again, so does a Whirbelwind. The turret fits
perfectly and the MEK let the molded in weld beads remain and look pretty good. I glued the turret into halves so I could paint the interior. With the sub-assemblies ready to go I began to paint. I am a coverted Acrylic user and first chose Tamiya Nato Brown as my Primer/basecoat. Camoflage is Tamiya Khaki Drab, my prefered base color for ETO British Armor.
The kit took the paint well and as it is Arizona, was dry soon.
I am still debating whether to get a metal barrel but for the review I will stick to the basics. I added the sight and turret back. I used various Browns and Olive drabs to add depth to the turret. I decided to do my first weatheriing before adding the road wheels.
This time I used a sludge wash with a 1 inch sponge brush and let it dry.
I used Tamiya Flat Black for the rubber. Then I washed the wheels with the same sludge.
Kit coming together. I wanted to add some markings but the research tell me these vehicles were in Normandy, but no pictures are available. The decals in the kit are from the museum model and were supposedly from the Armor school where the vehicle was used. Time for some creative license. I used the leftovers on an old set of Verlnden Dry transfers and fudge a vehicle from the 7th armored.... I think.
After some weathering. I am working on the gun and stowage as we speak.
Thanks to Model Rectifier Corp for the review sample.