Another Italeri release of one of the old Esci Moulds. This along with the Valentine was one of the nicer releases from Esci. Having said that the kit is not without is's minor faults, but it is the only plastic one on the market
The first sprue contains the upper hull and the turret plus most of the other attachments to be fitted. The hull is provided with the drivers hatch as a separate piece and is correct in shape and size, the front stowage bins have the louvered tops, although this is correct a lot of photo's show that a metal plate of some kind has been welded over the top, this was because with the louvers it was easy for the stowage to catch fire and become a danger to the crew, it also obscured vision to effectively reduce the fighting capability of the crew and tank. The turret comes with both hatches open and a separate commanders cupola also with open hatches although these are missing the small pistons mounted on the inside. There is a lot of stowage and boxes to be added to the outside of the turret including 2 smoke dischargers, which are marred by not being completely round and have the edge near the turret flattened, the ends could do with replacing to correct this. There is no turret interior provided like on the valentine kit, so if you wanted to build it with the hatches open you would either have to add the crew or part build the interior.
The second sprue contains the lower hull and the running gear along with the exhaust and auxiliary fuel tank. The suspension looks complicated but actually fits together quite easily and is very nicely detailed, shame that most of it is hidden behind the mud chutes and the side skirts.
Once the two hull halves are put together it is noticeable that the weld seams on the front nose of the tank are not correct as can be seen from the comparison picture, the black lines are roughly where the weld beads should run. Also noticeable on this picture is that the two notches in the nose are missing on the real tank, this indicates that it is a Mk III, as can be seen the two stowage boxes still have the louvered lids, which possibly means that the metal plates were a field Mod and varies from unit to unit or even vehicle to vehicle.
The tracks are of the Vinyl type, although Link and length would have been preferable you can see that when compared to the picture of the real thing above they are actually a good representation and as most of them are hidden from view anyway I am hoping that they will be fine once fitted.
Decals are provided for 4 vehicles One Russian, two from North Africa 7th Armoured and 7 RTR and the one shown on the Box top N0.4 Independant troop Malta.
All in all a nice kit that with a bit of loving care will build into a fine example, the kit measure out well to 1/72 scale according to the meager references I have for this vehicle.
Matilda Infantry Tank 1938-1945 by David fletcher Osprey new Vanguard NV008