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Battleaxe Crusader

Tamiya & Scratch, 1/48 scale

by Steve Zaloga


This project using the new 1/48 Tamiya Crusader I began a bit backwards starting with the figures first.

I saw some pics of the excellent new Dartmoor white metal figures which are available from Garfield Ingram at Track 48. After having got a set of the British desert tankers (48M009) I started painting them up in Vallejo acrylics. Although I am not fond of white metal, the sculpting by Pete Morton is absolutely first-rate with a very natural pose and excellent detail. With a couple of figures done, now I needed a tank to go with them!


The new Tamiya Crusader I is one of the best of the new Tamiya 1/48 kits. I wanted to do the Crusader in Caunter scheme which means back dating it to one of the earlier configuration for Operation Battleaxe with a different mantlet, intermediate air filters, earlier sand-shields, fixed headlight, and a host of other little changes. This version is not well documented, but Peter Brown came through with a lot of great stuff. He is doing an article on this subject to accompany my eventual Military Modelling article on this project.


The main challenge on this conversion was the mantlet. For modelers not wanting to tackle this, an after-market resin kit is coming out from Belcher's Bits. It wasn't ready when I did mine, so I had to do it from scratch. The rest of the stuff was more straight-forward than the mantlet, and it was an enjoyable little project.


Masking the model for the Caunter pattern was a bit of a challenge, but it makes for an especially nice finish. I was curious to see that after putting a dust coat over the original finish that the slightly greenish silver grey color looks a little bluish. I think this may account for why many early interepretations of Caunter showed a blue grey rather than the proper greenish grey. Any one interested in this scheme is well advised to get Mike Starmer's monograph on the Caunter scheme which includes color chips.

Model, Images and Text by Steven J. Zaloga
Page Created 26 April, 2007
Page Last Updated 25 April, 2007