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The second “tank” volume is this series was worth waiting for. Mark Bannerman has assembled a crew of other well-known modellers to contribute, and the result covers both 1/35 and braille scale models of Matilda I and Matilda II.
After a useful chapter on tools and materials the first model covered is the author’s Cromwell Models Combat-Ready 1/76 scale Matilda I, with the emphasis obviously on painting techniques since there’s little building to do in this model series. Next is one by Arthur Sekula, on building the Fujimi 1/76 Matilda II in its Malta camouflage, and again concentrating on painting the model. To end the small-scale section there’s a look at Rick Bennett’s Matilda II in Western Desert colours, from the 1/72 Esci kit and with notes on the few improvements that needed to be made.
Then we move on to 1/35 scale with Mark Bannerman’s Matilda Frog, from the Tamiya kit with the MR Models conversion, Eduard etch and Friuli tracks. Here there’s an emphasis on building the model with notes on how to use the conversion set and on adding extra details. There’s also an extremely useful 6-page section of walkround photographs of Frogs at the Puckapunyal and Melbourne museums!
Changing up a gear to “Advanced/Master” level we have Sean Dunnage’s Matilda II in the Western Desert. Excellent stuff, with comprehensive notes on improving the Tamiya kit. Sean even added the fighting compartment interior, which to me makes this Master level and never mind the “Advanced/Master” of the chapter heading. A 1/35 Gallery sections comes next, with Steve Zaloga’s Matilda II at Arras and Juan L Mercada Pons’ 7 RTR Matilda II in the desert.
The final building chapter deals with Mark Cooper’s conversion of the Tamiya Matilda II to the German “Oswald” conversion mounting a 5cm gun in place of the turret. Here are further ideas on correcting and detailing the Tamiya kit as well as a “how-to” on building the new gun and its shield. Excellent, my only question mark being the complete boxing in of the area under the turret ring – wouldn’t the Germans have wanted access to the ammo stowage area in the hull? There are no photographs of this part of the real conversion, so Mark’s speculation is as likely to be right as is mine. His ideas about the camouflage seen in the few existing photographs of Oswalds are certainly very convincing.
To end the book there’s a list of all the Matilda variants, 8 pages of photographs of preserved Matilda IIs, a “kitography” including accessories and covering all scales down to 1/285, and of course the standard page of colour chips with notes about their use on its back.
Highly recommended to all fans of WW2 British armour.
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