Calgary: Dragon 1/72 Armor Pro Chrchill Mk III
There are good kits which look good and assemble effortlessly, there can be good looking kits which are a pain to assemble and then there are bad kits which are painful to build and behold. For all the reasons I love the Hasegawa 1:72 kits I have loathed building this Dragon model.
In fairness, Dragon produces the model which is the Dieppe 1942 variant of the Mk III Churchill - so full marks for supplying the market with something I needed. It is also a good looking kit so my assessment falls very much into the middle category - thank goodness.
The instructions are; however, very poor. They rely completely upon illustrations but often they are from a point of view which is no use at all. I have at least two parts which I cannot guess how to fit them on and I'm not convinced they can been seen on the completed model. Parts are not always provided with recesses or receiving holes and sometimes they are illustrated but do not exist. I found myself reaching for my reference works constantly which were of limited assistance. Also, thank goodness for my magnifying lamp because some of the illustrated detail is a strain for my ageing eyes.
The bogey assembly is something I've never come across before. It does work but this is a kit you really have to test the parts for to properly ascertain how they go together - it's not at all obvious. There are adequate fixtures for the drive wheels and for the life of me I couldn't figure how the rear drive wheels went together - no combinations made a proper fit. When assembled, the bogeys are far more detailed and complete than the Hasegawa counterpart but you can't really see them and there is no real benefit.
If I was to have my time again this is a wargaming project worth spending that little bit extra and getting the die cast model for - if it's available that is. I could have saved myself a power of grief
The end result for all of my complaints is a good looking model and I'm very happy with how it matches up with the other Hasegawa MKI's and II. I've made a lot of errors but it will pass for wargaming.
I elected to go for a green colour scheme. I've read so much on the Churchills and the Dieppe raid that I can't remember where I gleaned half of my knowledge on the subject any more. Suffice to say that the introduction of the MKIII in 1942 coincided with the phasing out of the old khaki colour scheme. Now no one seems to know or has published any definitive comment regarding what colour were which tanks.
The MKIII might just as easily have been painted with remnant khaki like earlier tanks or have been painted in the new scheme being adopted at the time it was finished - and I've seen it modelled in both. So, I have elected to go with a dark green (bronze green) just to shake it up a little and because variety is the spice I life.
At the point in the painting process I was required to fix the decals I was delighted that this kit gives me three MkIII markings for Dieppe - Blossom, Beefy and Calgary: the latter being the tank I am representing. Hooray! The molding details do present a problem as the tank sides include tow cables which are smack-dab it the way of both the Canadian national emblem and the vehicle serial number. Curiously, the marking guide provides for a Canadian decal on the front hull but there is no room to fit the serial number, tank name and national emblem. I left it out as this suggestion was also inconsistent with my other vehicles.
The decals required cutting to get around the cast cable and Microsol has never been more essential to better melt the decals onto the uneven surfaces on the front hull. I chipped it (possibly too much) and gave it some rain marks and minimal oil weathering in key mechanical areas. The photos are without much light assistance and I lightened them up 26% on Photoshop.
Well that's it for my Dieppe project for the time being - on to Franco-Prussian was 15mm and some French for the Plains of Abraham.