Recently I was introduced to Bolt action by the guys at my local wargames club, I'd heard of the game before, and drooled over Warlord's 28mm scale minis (I took some pictures of them at salute 2012, you can see that gallery HERE), but not ventured into actually buying anything for it. If you've read my blog before you'll know that I'm already a Fan of the 15mm game Flames of War, another world war 2 based miniature wargame, so it didn't take much to convince me to get into Bolt Action! After playing one game of Bolt Action, I was pretty hooked. We played an eastern front mission of German Regulars facing a mixed Russian force, With around 25-30 infantrymen  and two vehicles on each side, which was About the maximum size I would really want to play Bolt action at, anything bigger and I would probably want to play flames of war. Bolt action is primarily a "platoon level engagement game" where Flames of war is very much a company level engagement game. Both can work in smaller or larger games, but they were designed with those in mind. I decided I wanted to stick with Brits, to start with at least. I already have a pretty extensive British Parachute company in 15mm For flames of War, so I wanted to do the same in 28mm for Bolt action. As ever, when I started to look for minis to buy/paint I totally ignored what I actually needed, and went straight for the tanks.. So I bought a Tamiya 1/48 scale Cromwell tank, which is one of my favourite tanks of world war 2. Not for any other reason than I just think it looks freaking sweet!  

Building the cromwell tank

Tamiya Cromwell tank Box

Tamiya Cromwell tank Box

 
cromwell tank Box contents

Box contents

 
cromwell tank

Never had a mini with screws before!

  The Tamiya kit is a very nice model, not too many parts (I really dislike when kits are split into hundreds of parts when clearly a few dozen would have done). The level of detail is great, and the size feels "just right" to go with the 28mm figures.
1/48 cromwell tank

Top of the hull

The lower section of the hull is metal, the box says it's to give "realistic weight", although personally I think that "realistic" is quite a strong word to use! and I can safely (and thankfully) say that it doesn't weight anything close to what a real cromwell weighs! It did add a good weight to it though, a fully plastic model would have been a little on the light side.
1/48 cromwell tank

Metal base (for "realistic" weight)

1/48 cromwell tank   Thought I would post up a picture of the tools that I used to complete this project, The screwdriver set was used for the two screws that jon the top of the hull to the metal base, I usually prefer to use a craft knife to cut out parts as I can usually get a neater cut that when I use clippers. The super glue is just cheap stuff, I've found in my many years of model building that for most tasks, the cheapest of the cheap superglue works for most situations, but if precision is required, then use expensive superglue gel. For this project, the cheap stuff worked fine.
Photo 09-02-2013 18 23 39

Tools I used when putting together this model kit

This kit was very straight forward to put together, nothing really to say about the construction other than the tow rope. The tow rope was quite fiddly to put together, and laying two of them on top of each other was even more fiddly. The best way that I found to do it was to overlap the end piece into the recess in the plastic. So the raggy end stuck out, superglued it into the recess, then when the superglue was dry, cut off the raggy end. It was easier to do it this way than to tame the cut ends! I left the turret unglued, so it can be moved when in a gaming situation. The tracks on the tank for the most part were quite straight forward too, they are the same type that GW use on their leman russ tanks, although no doubt GW were "inspired" by the idea elsewhere. 1/48 cromwell tank  

Painting the Cromwell tank

  After I was finished gluing I undercoated the model with a black undercoat from Vallejo (through my badger 150 airbrush). As you might spot, the next picture isn't of the cromwell! It's some Flames of War Germans! Something I tend to do when I'm painting is to have some boring painting tasks on standby, as any wargamer will probably admit to, the "unpainted" pile is probably larger than the "painted" pile, I am no exception to this rule! Undercoating is one of them things that has to be done, but it's not very exciting. While I'm painting something enjoyable, I generally have some less enjoyable task like undercoating on standby. That way while I'm waiting for a coat of paint to dry on the model I actually want to paint, I busy myself with some other tasks. In this instance it was undercoating a fair number of german half tracks and a few gun teams! Photo 09-02-2013 21 17 57 After the Cromwell was undercoated, I base coated it Green. I'm not one of these people who goes for 100% realism when I paint my figures, I go for something that I think looks good. Sometimes this might be hyper realistic, because its the only way I think it looks good. Sometimes It's simply whatever I think looks good at the time. As I've recently moved house, and spent a couple of months living out of boxes in my girlfriend's house before that waiting for our new house to be ready, I hadn't painted anything for a while! I realised that it was 6 months since I last picked up a paint brush before this tank! So I decided to keep it simple, and paint it in the same way I painted my 15mm cromwells. The paint of choice was Vallejo, 20 Drops Reflective green, 5 Drops of Russian Uniform and then 13 drops airbrush thinner. This gave me a very nice colour, and a great consistancy. I think I did the whole tank with two lots of that. 1/48 cromwell tank     Once the green layer was dry, I then sprayed the tank with a black wash. It was after I washed it that I realised that I should have varnished it first. Varnishing with a satin or gloss varnish makes the wash run into the recesses a lot easier, and stops it from pooling in the large flat surfaces. As it happens, this didn't matter too much (I think I was lucky), Also adding another layer of varnish somewhere in the middle can help the paint job last longer and survive better. Never mind!! 1/48 cromwell tank   Once the black wash was dried I drybrushed the whole tank with the same mixture, and added in one drop of vallejo ivory. Just makes it slightly brighter (the black wash has darkened it down anyway so you dont want it to be TOO different). Drybrushing was quite difficult with this tank as it has a large number of big flat surfaces, I didnt want to leave any brush strokes, so I had to be pretty careful. After the drybrush, I painted the road wheels and the tracks with Vallejo German Grey, and the tool handles with a dark brown (chocolate?) and then the light on the side with a yellow. I also Painted the tow rope black, and then drbrushed it with Games workshop Boltgun metal. 1/48 cromwell tank 1/48 cromwell tank   That's pretty much it! The box came with a variety of transfers, I decided to go with the 7th armoured ones for this build. I applied gloss varnish to where I wanted each transfer to go, this gives a good surface for the transfer to adhere to. After the varnish had dried, I applied the transfer with water and tweezers. After the transfer had dried in place, I used matt varnish over the top. This takes away the residual shine from the gloss varnish, and it also dulls down the transfers (especially where they can appear shiny round the edges), really makes it look part of the tank after that step, as opposed to just a stuck on waterslide transfer.     1/48 cromwell tank   Here's the cromwell tank next to some of my newly finished paras!
Cromwell tank next to paras

Ready For action!

Thanks for looking at my Blog, Hope you've enjoyed this post. Feel free to comment below! Chris

3 Responses

  1. Dave Curry

    Hi Chris,

    I enjoyed your review of the Tamiya 1/48 Cromwell tank. I am looking for one of these as a birthday present for my son, who is an occassional war gamer, but do not seem to be able to find a supplier.

    Can you help? I would be most grateful.

    Regards,
    Dave

    Reply
    • Chris Sutherland

      Hi Dave, Thanks for your comment. I’ve had a look around the websites I usually purchase from, and the only place I can find it at the moment is Amazon, but it’s £70!! I would suggest looking at warlord games though as an alternative. http://www.warlordgames.com their cromwell is VERY nice, but it is 1/56 scale, so a little smaller. it’s resin as well, rather than plastic. that’s the only thing I can suggest at the moment. Sorry I couldn’t be more help!

      Chris

      Reply

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