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
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
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.