Friday 16 August 2019

Kit Build/Review: Airfix Churchill Mk. VII, Pt II

I didn't get as much time modelling yesterday as I'd hoped to. And what little I did was just some painfully slow painting: first I base-coated the Churchill and several other gray undercoated Allied vehicles in Humbrol acrylic Olive Drab; then I set about blocking in areas of other colours, black tires, wooden tool handles, gunmetal where required, and different shades of greens and grays for blanket rolls, etc.

I opted to make the Universal Carrier and associated gun (6 pdr?) a darker Olive Green, such as many of the WWII British vehicles I've seen in places like Bovington and the Land Warfare Hall at Duxford are. The (?) truck will be getting that 'black clouds' type camo' I've seen on such vehicles. But that'll have to wait till another day. As we turned in, on account of a Teresa having an early start and requiring my taxi services.

A whole heap of Allied materiel gets the Olive Drab treatment

I took the opportunity to further painting work on a few other languishing models, giving me a nice chunk of Allied gear. Some of these vehicles will be populated with figures. But that's not going to be immediate, as I don't know what figures to use, and only have a few Jeep riding Yanks anyway. I'd like at least some of this stuff to be British (or poss' Canadian?) ... hmm!?

Blocking in some other basic colours.

At this juncture I decided to fix the (6pdr?) gun, by adding a little disc underneath, to stop the trailing arms from continually falling off. This proved to be a tricky and very fiddly/delicate operation, involving some masking, so as not to allow cement to seep into the moving parts and glue the whole shebang into one solid immovable block.

Note tiny disc plate and two-part masking mit ein tiny hole.

Mask in place, disc gluing. Success!

Once I've got a bit further with the painting of all these Allied vehicles, I'll need to address decals. British markings appear to be a bit of a minefield. So, with the Churchill AVRE, should I do it up as the 79th, as in Hobart's lot? Or are there other options. My researches so far are inconclusive and confusing. A divisional emblem and individual tank name and number are, I think, essential. Bridge weight discs and arm of service flashes aren't visible on many (any?) of the wartime photos that I've seen. Some Churchill AVREs appear to have had the geometric squadron marking, and sometimes letters and numbers as well (see second pic below). I've seen models with aerial recognition stars to. But I've not seen them on actual wartime vehicles yet. 

Percy Hobart, of Funnies fame.

A terrific picture, but not many markings visible.

Yesterday ended with a visit to Hardwick, and a pub dinner with my dad and family, and my sister and nieces and friends of theirs, at The Blue Lion. Pub drink prices, at least in some places, are going through the roof! Still, that's good in some ways. It'll prevent me getting too bibulous. My dad's been knocking back the sauce rather worryingly of late. Fortunately on this occasion, he was under control! It was lovely to see my sister, over from Spain, with daughters Ali and Sofi.

Even though we only stopped for an hour and a half (constrained once again by my darling wife's work commitments), the trip each way is an hour long. All this family business doesn't half cut into one's modelling time! Thank goodness we don't have kids. Then I'd never get any hobby type stuff done.

Useful track reference...

Speaking of which, back to the models. I found this quite useful link (there's a vertical volume suspension system pun in there somewhere!), in my quest for inspiration and information when painting tracks. Whilst the page in question deals only in VVSS tracks, it's good enough for me as general ref' for Allied tracks as a whole.

I've opted to undercoat all tracks black, except where they're either spares or armour, in which case they may well be the same body colour as the vehicle (often getting painted in situ). Once all the other basic blocking open of colours is done, I'll gloss spray a whole batch, and start adding weathering washes, the decals, etc.

My current WIP batch is growing ever larger.

Thought I'd include these two Sherman's.

I have a whole heap of Shermans, of various types. I plucked out two in an Olive Drab that matches my current batch of models. Blocking in the tracks was very messy, as they are very chunky in their detailing. As well as blocking in colours for tools and stowage, I had some fun adding one of the two crew figures from the Hasegawa Grant kit I built recently to kind of these tanks.i had to do some surgery on both arms to get them to sit more naturally. Plus I made a map and map case, to add a little interest.

The original Churchill, now an AVRE mortar, almost lost in the crowd.

The original dynamo for all this work, my Churchill AVRE conversion, is now almost lost in the crowd! This is in part due to my confusion over markings. But otherwise it's down to the glacially slow speed I'm currently working at. I had hoped today I'd have gloss coated the whole bunch. But I didn't finish work on the blocking-in of base colours till about 10.30pm. Hopefully I'll do it tomorrow, before we head over to our friend Patrick, for a day on his boat.

Three Jeeps, one completed ages ago. Two on the go.

I like this guy. One of two figures from the Hasegawa Grant kit.

I forget where the trailer in the above photo came from. Was it with the Academy Halftrack? I enjoy adding some stowage, including a coil of cotton thread rope, fixed in place with liquid cyanoacrylate glue, aka superglue. The figure was the other of the two that came in the Hasegawa Grant tank kit I built recently. I did that all hatches closed. The figures don't actually fit those hatches anyway! So I thought I'd use them elsewhere. I've now put one in one of my many Sherman's, and gave this chap ready for another, when the time comes.


  1. Hi Seb, ran across your bog while searching for info on the Airfix 54 mm figures.(as in what the kits originally were, mine are old and had been modified)
    Was contemplating getting an old Airfix Churchill, for a variety of reasons, so had a look at your build.
    The short is this, WW2 Churchill AVRE were based on Mk.III or Mk.IV Churchills, (the Matchbox bridgelayer is a Mk.IV IIRC), which makes sense as the Mk.VII was the upgraded gun tank replacing the Mk.III/IV's. There were AVRE based on the Mk.VII, but post war.
    Also, colours, back in my youth, British tanks were green, or sand in the desert, but since then I found British tank colours are a bit more complex than that!
    If you have not seen it, this is an overview - To get the colours, really you need to mix them. The link has Humbrol, Revell and Tamiya, these are for Vallejo,
    The Napoleonics came out very well too.

  2. Seb, I tried to post a comment regarding WW2 British armour colours. Museums often get restorations wrong, Bovington was notably poor for this years ago. For full details of what colours were used on what and when, see here
    Note during the war older Churchill, Mk.III and IV models were used for AVRE conversions, but post war they were based on the Mk.VII version.