Wednesday 16 October 2019

Kit Build/Review: Matchbox 1/76 Churchill AVRE Bridge-Layer, Pt. I


I recently built a 1/72 Churchill, which I wound up modifying with a scratch-built spigot mortar. I then read about and got interested in Churchill AVRE types of all sorts, including these bridge-layers. I posted about wanting this kit on a few sites, and a fellow member of Wisbech IPMS kindly got me one at a show. Thanks Darren!

Inside the box...

In the box, which was still wrapped in its original cellophane, was a kit potentially as old as me. The sprues are in three different colours, green, beige and brown. The decals, which I assumed would be fossilised, look like they might be ok. Which, in a kit of this vintage, is pretty amazing. There's even a tube of ancient glue!

The rubber-band tracks are of a more plastic than rubber material.

Beige and brown sprues... nice!

The instructions start with the bridge. I decided to skip that, and start with the turret. I'll probably do the bridge last. In part because I want to make the bridge workable. The petard mortar is not as nice, in mine 'umble opinion, as my scratch-built one. I've built it as is. But I might want to redo the gun at some stage.

Will the ancient glue still work?

Assembling the running gear, pt. I.

I like the running gear assembly on this kit. Having all the road wheels in a single piece makes it easier to assemble. And the rubber-band tracks in this kit seem to be more plastic than rubber, meaning they actually glue together! 

Running-gear, pt. II.

Tracks on, turret with modified hatches.

Tonight I'm stopping at this point, having assembled the bulk of the Churchill body. I already left the two stowed blankets, or tarpaulins , off the turret. I'm not sure whether or not to put the mudguards on over the tracks either. Quite a few AVRE I've seen don't have the upper track guards

Mostly assembled. Do I add the upper track-guards?


  1. A very serviceable old model. I've never seen one in stores. Did the ancient glue actually work?

    1. I'm enjoying building it. The model can be bought new, sort of; Revell have re-badged it. But yes, the old Matchbox kits are only secondhand. And the glue? Hmmm... it works. Sort of. I glued a couple of bits with it, and then reverted toTamiya cement.

  2. I vote yes on the track guards.. though the Bovington one doesn't have them..

  3. Aha! So the Bovington tank (which doesn't have the bridge attached, does it?) doesn't have them. I should've known that, as I've seen and photographed it several times. My previous Churchill AVRE, converted from a standard tank, retains the mudguards. I remember when building that that I would've preferred not to have had them, but was kind of forced to (can't recall why now!). Thanks for the feedback.

  4. This is quite good.. the Bovington one doesn't have the guards, but all the historical footage seems to show them on... your choice I'd say.. :o))

    1. Yes, those tank chats are great, aren't they. I've been searching for footage of the AVRE bridge-layer. Not proving easy to find!