Dan Taylor Modelworks
|Set #: 76009|| Review
Edited by Marc Mercier
The 1/72 Churchill kits nowadays are lacking a satisfying correct assortment of decals for the Normandy campaign, only Italeri gives us a 31st Armoured Brigade (AB) tank, but the set is incomplete. To get the markings for my Normandy Churchill troops, I had to look for other sources and I found them in this set.
The set is generic for the three Armoured Brigades using the Churchill tank and deployed in the NWE: 6th, 31st and 34th. The 79th Armoured Division (AB) Churchill Arms of Service (AoS) numbers and divisional badge can be found in the 8th AB and Gold Beach set (see OTW review here). The markings are also useful for their Recce troops Stuarts Mk III, Humber SC and other liaison or utility vehicle. The AoS are for two Brigade HQ vehicles and three vehicles for each battalion: enough for 33 vehicles in total. Additionally, some bridge class badges (for the Churchill tanks) are provided.
make two specific tanks, two WD numbers are supplied:
is also the number 1873/ (I think part of a LCT/LST numbering system)
which was painted on the right forward fender of a Mk IV 75mm/Mk VI
(it is hard to say without the WD number or the rear plate sight,
but I bet for a Mk IV) of a well known photo [IWM B5993]. The comment
says the date is June 26th 1944, during Epsom. The AoS doesn’t
leave room for misunderstanding: 31st Brigade 7th RTR. This tank had
the heavy tracks too.
other four suggested tanks are quite generic examples missing any tactical
markings, troop numbers or WD numbers.
A note explains why : British tanks often show a widespread use of camouflage netting, with or without the hessian tapes. If this wasn’t enough, early in the campaign, Churchill tanks often were up armoured with track lengths (taken also from other tank types, mostly Shermans) fixed or welded to the turret and on the hull, hiding most of the markings. The dust and the mud (sometimes smeared to hide the bright colours of the badge) completed the job which is why it is often difficult to identify a tank (if not impossible).
Anyway, as far as I’ve seen about the 31st AB and the 34th AB tactical markings, they usually carried them on the turret sides, on the rear bin and on the port side of the turret front, filled in black.
the Guards 6th Brigade, the turret sides tactical marking were replaced
by smaller tactical signs on the hull sides, up till now I still have
to see a Guards tank in Normandy with the turret front marking. Sometimes
the former larger turret markings were crudely overpainted like on
4th Grenadier Guards A Sqn FULHAM [IWM B8567].
the suggested brigade badge positions, they look correct to me when
comparing them with the photos I’ve seen.
the 34th AB, the instructions warn the modeller: the "mailed
fist" badge apparently is not visible on the known photos and
its use can’t be confirmed. Effectively in my (few) Normandy
photos I didn’t saw it. Instead there is the 2nd Army badge
in the brigade badge position. An alternative position for the 2nd
Army badge could be on the port side of the turret front, as shown
The 141st RAC markings are unknown to me. The (very few) photos I’ve seen, didn’t show clear markings, hidden by the usual baggage already mentioned above. As long as the unit was part of the 31st AB, I guess their tanks could have followed the Brigade rules. In September 1944 it passed on to the 79th AD, later joined by the 7th RTR and the 1st Fife and Forfar Yeomanry who took the place of the 9th RTR. At this point some posts on a couple of forum states that the divisional badge was added next to the brigade one, so the tanks sported both. However, since my focus is the Normandy campaign, I have no photos to confirm this practice.
The set is made for 1/76 scale, anyway the difference to the 1/72 is so little (about the 5%) that they are perfectly suitable for our scale.
Well, despite the absence of other markings, the set is very useful and I like it. On the other hand I like the Churchill tank, but I don’t believe I will make 33 of them. Perhaps a bit of space could have been used for some other tactical markings, WD numbers and names, renouncing to some Brigade badges and AoS. Anyway as already told, the original photos mostly show us the tank made "anonymous" by dust, dirt and other items.
Preview sample purchased by the author.