Review Italeri 1/56 Churchill Mk III

This kit will build any of the following: Mk.III 75mm – MK.IV – AVRE – Mk.V – NA 75 – Mk.VI

  • Version A : Mk. III 75 mm 31st Tank Brigade 7th R.T.R. Normandiy France 19444728 Flat Olive Drab
  • Version B : Mk. IV 25th Tank Brigade 51th R.T.R. Italy 1944 4726 Flat Dark Green
  • Version C : Mk. III “Kingforce” detachment El Alamein Egipt 1942 4720 Flat Sand 4768 Flat Black
  • Version D : NA75 21th Tank Brigade North Irish Horse Italy 1945 4728 Flat Olive Drab
  • Version E : AVRE 79th Armoured Division Normandy France 1944 4728 Flat Olive Drab

The Churchill medium tank came into service with the British Army in 1942 to support and replace the earlier Valentines, Matildas and Crusaders, which, by then, were all outdated and inadequate in terms of both armour and weaponry, easily falling prey to the more advanced German tanks. Equipped with thick armour and a reliable engine, it proved to be tough and dependable, later being produced in ever-more efficient, upgraded versions. Its chassis was also used as a platform for specialised support vehicles such as the mine clearer, the bridge layer and the flame-thrower.

The kit comes in an end opening box with illustrations on top indicating the 7 build choices that you have. The back of the box shows 5 decal options for the Churchill. There doesn’t appear to be painting or decal options for the Churchill Mk V or Mk VI. Paints are indicated on the back of the box with Italeri reference numbers. However the instructions list seven paints. The three plastic sprues are inside a single sealed plastic bag.

The box contains:

  • 73 plastic parts on 3 sprues
  • 1 decal sheet
  • instructions booklet

The sprue attachment points are small and any ejector pin marks are either out of the way or on the sprue and not a concern.

The level of detail on the kit is quite nice and I don’t see any flash on the parts. In order to keep the parts count low some parts have been simplified and some assemblies are moulded as a single part. This will make for either a really quick build or it will allow youngsters access to the hobby without having to struggle with small parts.

The instructions are a 12 page booklet. The build is covered in 12 steps, although not all will be applicable. Steps 1-7 are for all builds and then you will use certain steps from 8-12 depending which version you decide to build. The images are quite clear enough to easily build the model with no problems and colours are called out on each step. There are 6 paints indicated in the instructions and they are named in English, given federal standard reference numbers and also Italeri paint numbers. Three pages of the instructions give the five decal options you can build.

The small decal sheet, as mentioned, contains five different choices along with some common white stars. I guess you could actually use these common decals if you built a Mk V or Mk VI. Options A-D have 2 sets of vehicle numbers so you can actually do 2 options of each of those, making 7 options in total.   The decals themselves look to be quite nice and the backing film conforms quite closely to the text with links in between the letters to make sure everything lines up.

As mentioned the kit is built in several steps. The first 7 steps are common to both options and then you will use certain steps from 8-12 depending which version you decide to build.

  • Step 1 puts together the right hand running year. The whole side complete with most of the wheels has the idler and the drive gear fitted. Then the track is fitted with a large top and bottom part and a small front and back part. You will have to dril  holes for the Mk III and Mk IV.
  • Step 2 is identical to step 2 but for the left hand side.
  • Step 3 fits the 2 running gear assemblies to the lower hull.
  • Step 4 adds the upper hull to the lower hull.
  • Step 5 adds the frontal armour of the divers position, exhaust and  a mud guard.
  • Step 6 adds the right hand exhaust and another mud guard.
  • Step 7 adds 3 parts at the rear of the hull.

Now you have to make a choice of what you want to build

  • Step 8 and 9 are a choice of turret – step 8 is a welded turret used for the Mk III and Mk III 75mm. Step 9 is what you use for all other versions.
  • Steps 10-12 add the right gun for your choice of turret.
  • Step 12 also contains a nicely detailed 3/4 figure that looks like it would be suitable for all versions.

This kit is an interesting direction for Italeri to go in. The scale of it means it is bigger than 1/72 scale models and not too far off 1/48 scale. This kit would be ideal for youngsters who don’t have the skills or patience to build finely detailed kits. It would make an ideal gift and could easily be built in an afternoon if someone wasn’t too bothered about accurate painting.

I’m thinking this kit should do well in both the wargaming market and the part of the market that is aimed at newcomers to the hobby.

Many thanks to Italeri for the review sample.

Paul Tosney – Editor
ModelBuilder International

Paul Tosney

Paul has been with Model Builder International since almost the beginning. He started building models as a boy, and took a hiatus, but started building again a few years ago. He builds pretty much anything, but mostly WW2, with a smattering of modern and the occasional SciFi model.


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