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Model Photo Galleries
Part 7: British Tanks

According to my records, I've been building model tanks since 1970 when I was 10 years old. Two or three years after that I got my first tank book, and a life-long fascination with tanks and other armoured vehicles grew from those two events.

Although I've culled my collection of 1/35th scale models in the intervening years, I still have a few shelves' worth of my old kits. I've never been a contest-winner, I'll be the first to admit, but I've had a lot of fun building and painting them, which as far as I'm concerned is the only important part of the hobby.

This is the first model photo gallery featuring tank models I've posted. Enjoy this walk down memory lane with me.

By the way, these are all 1/35 and 1/32 scale kits.

Let's start with the post-World War II tanks. This is Tamiya's Centurion Mark III kit, which I built in England in 1982. I believe I added the .30 calibre machinegun on the commander's hatch, but I can't remember where I got the MG from. It's probably modified from one of Tamiya's infantry weapons sets. Otherwise the kit is stock.

Note that the decals are a little cracked and yellowing, a problem I never had until I moved back to Pennsylvania in 2003. Some of my old kits are suffering from decal disintegration, others are still doing fine even though many of them date back to the 1970's and 1980's. Also note that some of the paint has rubbed off the gun barrel, a problem I've been fortunate enough to largely avoid despite moving my model collection many times over the years.

Chieftain kit from Tamiya, still one of my all-time favourite tank types. I built this in 1978 in Illinois, shortly after I finished Basic Training in the Air Force. Of all the nearly 1250 model kits I've built over the last 48 years, this is one of my favourite models.

I added the camouflage netting on the turret and hull, otherwise the kit is stock. Notice all the dust on this thing. I still haven't figured out a good way of dusting models without breaking anything.

This is Tamiya's Challenger Mark I kit, built in 1988 in Pennsylvania during my last year in college. Notice the small block of foam propping up the main gun. Like many of my other modern tank kits, it suffers from barrel droop. The plastic that had enough friction to keep the barrel elevated back when I built the kit no longer has enough "oomph" to keep the gun barrel up. (Insert your own joke about growing old.)

A cool model of a cool tank.

Moving back to WWII, here is Italeri's Crusader Mark III. My impression of Italeri kits was that their overall detail was always very good, but their crew figures and infantry left a bit to be desired and were not as realistic-looking as Tamiya's. Still, I loved all the Italeri kits.

I built this one in 1976 in Michigan when I was a sophomore in high school. This was one of the few tank kits I weathered. I got some decent results in my various experiments with weathering, but I didn't enjoy doing it at all, which is why most of my kits are unweathered.

Tamiya's Matilda II. I built this in 1975 in Michigan. The decals are deteriorating badly. It's a shame, as this is also one of my favourite kits, and sports one of my better weathering jobs. It's also probably one of my first attempts at painting realistic camouflage. Note the front idlers and drive sprockets are bare, unpainted plastic.

Back around 2003 I bought one of those new-fangled diecast models, just to see what they were like. I can't remember the brand or whether the scale was supposed to be 1/32 or 1/35. It's a nice model though, well-painted and well-weathered, and compares favourably with the Tamiya 1/35 scale plastic kit. Sadly, the commander figure that came with the diecast model was painted better than my average figure paint job. Sigh.

Overhead shot of the Tamiya Matilda (on the left) and the diecast Matilda to compare the size and proportions. For some reason the diecast tank is covered with a weird, grimy, sticky dust. I think it's because I had it on display in my library, but none of the plastic models that have been on display in the same part of the house, or any of the books or shelves for that matter, have that weird gunk on them.

Finally, here are the Emhar Whippet and Mark IV Male kits. I built the Mark IV in 1993, initially painted it a plain green, and repainted it in 2009 with a much more interesting camouflage pattern. The Whippet I put together in 2005 but didn't get around to painting until 2009. These tanks just don't look quite right without being caked in mud, so I really should have weathered them. I hate to ruin those nifty paint jobs though. The Whippet came with decals for the white-red-white striped areas, but as is usually the case, the decals weren't quite the right size and didn't sit well over all those bumps and knobby bits. I ended up just painting the white and red stripes on by hand.

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The content on this page was written: May 15, 2013
Last updated: June 11, 2016