Churchill Mk.III - Dieppe 1942

Published: June 7th, 2014     
Box Art
Box Art
Reviewed by: 
Jim Pearsall, IPMS# 2209
Scale: 1/72
Company: Dragon Models
Price: $26.00
Product / Stock #: 7510

The AFV

The Churchill was designed as an infantry support tank. The Churchill prototype was built before the start of World War II. The design parameters called for heavy armor and firepower over speed and maneuverability. The idea was that the infantry tank would assist the infantry as it crossed "no man's land" between the trenches in France, just as they had in World War I. So the ability to stand up to light anti-tank weapons and to cross rough ground, including shell craters, was more important than tank-busting.

The prototypes were still in progress when France fell in 1940. Suddenly the design changed, as there weren't going to be any trenches in France in the near future. The result of this change was that the Churchill was given a 6-pounder as its main weapon and a more powerful engine was developed.

The Dieppe raid was supposed to be a rehearsal for D-Day, with 6,000 Canadian troops landed on a beach near the French port city, supported by 60 Churchills. The Churchills were modified by having their hulls waterproofed and the exhausts extended to allow a "wading" landing at the beach. The raid was not a big success, as 70% of the troops landed were either killed or captured. Any Churchills which survived were abandoned on the beach as the survivors pulled out. Many felt that Dieppe was a fiasco, but I have read that the real objective was to capture the wave guide and high-power amplifiers from a nearby early-warning radar station, which would allow ECM to be developed. This was done, but obviously you don't publicize that you can now jam their radar.

One more note about the Churchill, it was as heavily armored as a Tiger tank. In fact, the Tiger on display at the Bovington Armor Museum was disabled by a Churchill. The Churchill's shot hit between the Tiger's turret and hull, jamming the turret. The German crew abandoned the tank.

The Kit

This is another of Dragon's super 1/72 armor kits. The hull and turret are slide molded, which means they are nicely done, and you don't have to assemble the chassis or work with the fit on the turret. On the other hand, there are a LOT of small parts. The detail is admirable, and it will require planning and (probably) magnifiers to complete the "fiddly bits."

Assembly

The instructions are divided up into 5 fairly efficient steps.

  1. Turret
  2. Suspension and Drive
  3. Tracks and Hull Top
  4. Hull Details
  5. Instillation of the Turret and Wading Exhaust.

I painted the entire model while it was still on the trees. The Churchill would be very difficult to paint as a unit without painting the tracks the same color. This model lends itself beautifully to this method, as it's all one color overall. The color instructions don't have a Model Master reference, so I went into my "paint stash" and found MM 2111, Italian Dark Brown, which has a pretty good-looking reddish cast.

Of course, airbrushing the whole thing while it's still on the sprues means that I'll have to touch up just about every part's connection to the sprue. I did this with a smallish brush, and it looked OK, except that some of the brushed areas were slightly glossy. These spots were not an issue, as I used Future for the decals.

Step 1 was pretty much trouble free. I had to do a little trimming on the sprue connectors to get the turret hatches to cleanly install in the closed position, and I left the lights and antennas off until the end to prevent handling accidents. As it was, the stub antenna on the rear top of the turret (E7) was bent on the sprue, and I later replaced it with a piece of tag wire.

In Step 2, I ran into some difficulty. The instructions call for assembling parts B1 and B4, and B2 and B3 on the other side. They don't fit together. I think it should be B1/B2 and B3/B4. Unfortunately I didn't keep track of which part was which after I removed them from the sprue, so I'm not totally sure here. (See photo Instructions Problem 1 below)

Everything else worked as it should. I did have some trouble getting the alignment between the suspension and the hull correct, as the top of the suspension just fits into a series of semicircular cuts in the hull and then parts B 5/B6 complete the holes. This explains the track misalignment seen in the front view photo of the finished tank. You can learn from my mistakes, because I make a lot of them.

Step 3 was a breeze. Dragon's tracks are a really great idea. In this case, I was able to hide the joints under the hull top, and they look good. I did have a problem with track alignment, but that's me, not the kit.

Decals

The decals were very good, but then I've never had a problem with Cartograf. My problem with the decals came from the markings on the side of the hull, particularly the serial number and the red/white/red panel. There's a molded-on steel cable where these decals go, and the markings are supposed to be behind that cable. I tried cutting the panel decal, but I couldn't get the angle right, so the panel wound up badly aligned. I finally just gave up on these two decals. (See Instructions Problem 3 photo below) I'm also really in doubt that I got the markings placed correctly on the front. The diagrams and the model don't look the same to me. Good thing these are very good decals that stand up to a lot of handling.

I discovered while researching for this review that the Churchill I built is in a photo taken on the beach at Dieppe. See below.

Final Assembly

My final assembly stage is where I put on all those parts I would have to reinstall after I knock them off during a later assembly step. The periscopes and antennas on top of the turret, the lights and the towing hook on the front, and the exhausts on the rear of the hull. This stage is also where I found another small problem with the instructions. There is a towing hook and two towing eyes which just appear in the drawing for Step 4. Nowhere are you instructed to install them. (See Instructions Problem 2 below)

Overall Evaluation

Dragon's 1/72 Churchill is highly recommended. The kit goes together nicely, and I had no fit or seam problems, possibly a first for me. The problems with the instructions are by no means a show stopper. In fact, if I had more AMS or OCD, I would have ground off the molded-on cable, put on the decals and replaced the cable with braided wire. (NOW I think of this!!)

Many thanks to Dragon Models USA for providing this very interesting kit and IPMS/USA for letting me build it.

  • Painting & Markings Instructions
    Painting & Markings Instructions
  • Instructions Problem 1
    Instructions Problem 1
  • Instructions Problem 2
    Instructions Problem 2
  • Model Painted and Ready for Decals
    Model Painted and Ready for Decals
  • Instructions Problem 3
    Instructions Problem 3
  • Finished Model - Left Side
    Finished Model - Left Side
  • Finished Model - Front
    Finished Model - Front
  • Finished Model - Right Side
    Finished Model - Right Side
  • Finished Model - Rear
    Finished Model - Rear
  • Finished Model - Top
    Finished Model - Top
  • Churchills at Dieppe
    Churchills at Dieppe