Crusader Mk. III
By Michael Hatch.
This is my Hasegawa Crusader Mk III. The kit was built basically straight from the box with only minor modifications.
It is meant to represent a vehicle of the British 6th Armoured Division's 26th Armoured Brigade in Tunisia during the winter of 1942/43.
I first inspected the kit to look for areas to refine or modify. These included the following:
As this vehicle only had a two-man turret, which was very cramped, I choose to leave the commander's hatches closed. I also didn't want to use the external fuel tank so I filled the mounting holes with crazy glue gel.
I left the engine exhausts, tracks and front and back dust-guards off until after painting. The base colour is Humbrol's old British Deep Bronze Green mixed with white about 2 to 1. I then painted the rubber on the road wheels Panzer Grey. The tracks were painted Humbrol gunmetal and when dry, given an orange watercolour wash. When that was dry, they were rubbed down with a silver pencil crayon. The peg and hole ends of the tracks were cut off and then they were crazy-glued onto the tops of the rear four roadwheels. The ends were then wrapped around the drive sprocket/idlers and glued down under one of the roadwheels. This eliminates the connection bulges that occur when using the manufacture's method of connecting the track ends together. (I must say, as far as soft vinyl tracks go, these are very nice tracks. They were easy to work with and look good when finished.) At this point the dustguards were attached and painted. The exhaust system was painted Model Master's Brunt Iron and while still wet, dipped into baking powder. The excess baking powder was then knocked off and the exhausts were set aside to dry. When dry they were attached and given a light wash of orange watercolour.
External stowage consists of three small packs cut form vinyl British Infantry, tarps made from tissue paper soaked in a 50/50 solution of water and white glue and various tools from the spares box. The German jerry can is Leva resin. I added a tow cable made from fairly thin thread dipped in Humbrol steel paint.
Most of the decals were supplied with the kit. The exception is the red square with the white 52 on it. This was from the decal spares box. The decals were applied onto wet Future floor wax and allowed to dry for 24 hours before decal setting solution was applied to them. Although they are supplied on the kit's decal sheet the instructions don't clearly show the placement of the red/white/red recognition stripes on the hull stowage bins and hull front.
I am still looking for three British helmets to stow about the exterior of the model and am going to add an American jerry can also.
This was a very straightforward build and I really enjoyed it. The only problem I had with it was the commander's sighting vane but that was just because it was such a small fiddly bit. In hindsight, I think the six-pounder gun barrel might be a bit on the heavy side but the overall, the effect is nice.
Reference included Squadron's out of print 'British Armor In Action', Osprey's New Vanguard 'Crusader Cruiser Tank' and Profile Publication's "AFV #8 Crusader".
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