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Accurate Armour C41 Crusader Gun Tractor

Andrew Dextras


The Crusader Gun Tractor was a modification brought upon by the fact that the new 17 pdr anti tank gun was
difficult for many four wheeled vehicles to handle. Redundant Crusader Mark II (and/or Mark III) gun tanks
were chosen as the platform for this new gun tractor. The vehicles were subjected to extensive modifications in
which the whole forward superstructure was replaced with a 14mm thick armoured compartment with room for 2
crew members, 6 member gun crew and 40 rounds of ammunition. Many detail changes were incorporated into
the design including drum shaped air cleaners on the engine deck, trailer brake connections and of course
provisions for the gun ammunition and small arms for the crew. The vehicle had a cross country speed of 27
mph which proved to be too much for the gun carriage and it was found that the guns were taking a beating from
this speedster. The vehicles weighed approximately the same as a gun tank and were outfitted with deep wading
for vehicles used in operation Overlord. The exact number of vehicles that were converted remains ambiguous as
some references state "an unknown number" while others indicate 200 or so were converted. These vehicles
were apparently well liked by the crews and were used throughout NW Europe. Most published photographs of
these vehicles show them in factory fresh condition. I have not as yet found one showing the vehicle in action.

The Kit

Upon first hearing that Accurate Armour was to produce this vehicle I must admit that it got my attention. I
assumed that it would be a very basic conversion. I was very wrong. The kit comes packaged in the usual sturdy
AA box and it is stuffed to the rim! This conversion is quite comprehensive and has a significant (102 actually)
number of parts. The sheer size of the large ammo storage casting is quite impressive. The majority of the kit is of
course cast in a light grey resin and the kit itself was very cleanly cast with no warpage and no sign of airbubbles.
White metal detail parts including the air cleaner ducting are very nicely rendered and a small etched brass sheet
(containing mostly details for the stowage) is also included. The instructions are as in the case of the 17pdr gun an
8 page booklet with photographs and a keyed parts list on the back page.

The kit is broken up into subsections that include the drivers compartment, main ammo storage and superstructure
sides/stowage. The driver's subsection consists of one large floor casting with some details cast on this. Small
details are added to this assembly and this section looks very straightforward. The details in this area are very
impressive and should be painted prior to final assembly in order to get all those hard to reach spots. The next
steps require some surgery to the Italeri donor kit's upper hull. Nothing very complicated here either. As usual
with any resin conversion kit, careful dry fitting will yield the best results.

The "pit" behind the driver's area contains the main ammunition storage and as previously mentioned this is one
large casting with etched details that are added. The sides of the rear hull contains two large stowage bins on top
of which nicely molded camo nets can be placed. The rear towing hook mount is included so you can attached
that AA 17pdr gun you just bought. British flimsy petrol cans in their racks are included for the rear fenders. The
two superstructure side panels are positionable in either horizontal or vertical (shut) position. A spare 17pdr
wheel is included for the rear deck. The driver's and commander's vision plates in the front superstructure can
also be positioned either open or closed.

The attention to detail, sheer bulk of parts and amount of stowage/accessories included in this kit really make it a
comphrehensive conversion and will certainly keep you busy for a good while. Unlike other conversion kits which
may use a donor kit of questionable quality, the Crusader is certainly one of Italeri's better efforts, which makes
our job easier and more enjoyable.


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