Tamiya 1/48 Crusader MK I/II Build part I

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Now I have only ever done 1 build for any kind of article before and that was for a kit I had not chosen and was just thrust at me in the car park of the international centre Telford the year before last and was the subject that kick started this whole blog thing off early last year. I have chosen this particular kit for a few reasons really, the first being simply because earlier in the year I signed up for a group build on Facebook titled 1/48 British Armour and another was that I already had the kit having bought it for an Armorama campaign several years ago. I was also looking at something to do on this blog other than just my normal blog posts and finally I fancied trying out some of the reasonably new AK Interactive Real colors and thought this was a great opportunity to do so. The Tamiya 1/48 range are great little kits and I have bought and built quite a few and they are always a joy to build, they can be built straight out of the box with very little problems or you can add some after market if you so choose to do so.

The kit was started Saturday lunchtime and by my own admission my builds usually take forever however now my workroom has been refurbed I am doing my best to be more proficient with my space and time. On with the kit, now I am not one that usually follows the instructions stage by stage and this project was not going to be any different so instead of cracking on with the wheels I decided to skip the first 2 stages and cracked on with the lower hull parts planning on returning to the wheels and then the tracks further on down the line, the lower hull parts went together without any issues and to be honest if there is an issue to be had I will find it whether that be an inherent issue with the kit or one that I have made myself. Since the workroom was refurbed I now have this lovely clean workspace with plenty of light and space the only down side is I do not know where anything is, which rears its ugly head often which it did last Saturday when I needed some super glue, after searching for what seemed like forever and making one hell of a mess I found it and was able to crack on with the build. One of the things I like about the early kits in Tamiya’s 1/48 range is the metal chassis and although I am not the most proficient with superglue it kind of gives the kit a nice weight to it and there is not too much to super glue so the risk of me making a complete mess and cocking it up is greatly reduced.

Moving swiftly from lower hull to upper hull the kit was slowly coming together and I was beginning to enjoy the build, Tamiya’s instructions and parts breakdown in my opinion puts them head and shoulders above their competitors in this department and although they may simplify the kit in some parts it does make for an easy and pleasurable build. As I approached stage 8 and started attaching the first of the upper hull features this is where I encountered my first issue and I really needed to take several looks at the instruction sheet to make sure I put part B2 (which is a little box) in the correct place that on first look sits on the rear mud guard however on closer inspection it sits in a little space next to the mud guard, disaster number 1 averted. If you are following the instructions by the letter this is where you screw the upper and lower hull parts together however as I had not done the wheels and tracks yet I chose not to and cracked on with the upper hull parts then return to the wheels to enable the glue to set on the upper parts. This particular Crusader kit enables you to build either a mark I or a mark II, decisions time, it was a simple decision really as I had purchased paint for a vehicle from 42/43 and according to my reference I needed to be building a mark II, so I cracked on completing the upper hull parts only coming upon one other issue and that was part B27 as I was not quite sure where it sat so a little peek at my references and voila the upper hull was complete, I had left off a few bits that either need painting separately like the spare tracks and the tow cable and parts A26 that I will attach once the wheels and tracks are in place and I have screwed the 2 halves together.

With the upper hull off to one side drying it was time to turn my attention back to the wheels and to be honest they are easy to do just a bit repetitive, the only issue I had was with one of the drive sprockets and that was self inflicted as I was being a bit to eager and gung-ho with the craft knife and removed a large part of one of the teeth however all was not lost as once the tracks are on it will be hidden, once these were all fixed into place I could turn my attention to the turret and if the two hull halves went together without too many problems the turret was the complete opposite. The first part I needed to deal with was the mantlet and gun, no issues there and in all honesty if I had followed and concentrated on the instructions and references I am sure that the turret would have caused me no problems at all, however me being me all common sense flew out of the window and I made a real rookie error, once the gun machine gun and mantlet were ready they glue nicely onto the front of the upper and lower parts of the turret, now for some reason there are 4 little bits of excess plastic that need to be removed from the upper turret half, normally you would remove them and dry fit until the 2 halves fit together without leaving a gap between the 2 parts, yep you guessed it for reasons only known to me I just went all out and glued the 2 halves together added the mantlet and put it all down to dry and when I noticed my error it was a bit too late, now the gap is not too obvious however I may leave it or may fill it and once it has some primer on I will decide the next course of action and of course having made one cock up I was on a roll, as I started adding the turret detail I could not help myself and as I came to add parts A3 (the 4 turret lifting hooks) my common sense left me once more and I blundered on and did my best to look like a right amateur whilst cleaning these up and left 3 out of the 4 sitting flat on the turret side instead of leaving them slightly proud, normally this is where I would be checking my references however for some reason I just cracked on. The rest of the small turret parts went on fine and I am now left with a Crusader MK II minus tracks and a few small details that although is not perfect looks like a Crusader and hopefully with a bit of luck I will get the time and opportunity in the week to come to finish it off and once my paint arrives I can crack on and get it primed and painted.

The Average Modeller