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.

I hadn’t painted anything in a long time! Just recently, I moved into this house. Before that, I had spent a few months living out of boxes in my girlfriend’s house while we waited for our new house to be ready. There were a lot of projects I planned for our house, such as renovations, drainage repairs (similar to, and some exterior improvements. Among all these, I think that the most crucial one was the exterior improvements like getting the sidings, the eavestrough fixed, and the roof repaired. However, the list had one more important task, i.e. getting the exteriors of the house painted with the help of a professional like the ones at Ultimate Upkeep –they are known to be reputed a painting contractor Lynchburg. I have heard that professionals like them have the caliber to restore the external areas of different kinds of houses. For instance, recently, one of my friends purchased a historic home, which was around 50 years old. Hence, it is common knowledge that he was in desperate need of different types of home improvement tasks. However, the most important one appeared to be painting the house. Of course, he did not want the house to look shabby and dull. Hence, he began his search to find the professionals who could be adept at painting a historic home. Not long after this, he called me one fine day and told me that the painting job has been taken care of. I was so amazed that even I wanted to hire the professionals, but my girlfriends seemed to have other plans.

Perhaps I’ll follow through with it again in the future. Well! For the time being, my girlfriend is handling everything. I believe she is currently planning a complete kitchen renovation. She is talking to a lot of people and is most likely visiting the Arizona tile slab yard to find the perfect countertop for our kitchen. She is also looking for lights to match the kitchen decor. But, in any case, we’ll leave that discussion for another time.

Back to my painting, 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!


4 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.


    • 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. 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!


  2. Michael

    Do u still play flames of war stuff, I’ve been trying get hold of some but no one plays it.


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