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In-Box Review
135
Churchill Mk III Interior
Churchill Mk III Interior Detail Set
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by: Alan McNeilly [ ALANL ]


_ORGINPUB:
Armorama

Introduction

Inside the Armour is a new British company that plans to specialise in vehicle interiors. Chris Meddings, whom some of you will know well, is heading up the operation and the company has just released its first interior update detail set for the AFV Club Churchill Mk III. My understanding from Chris is that there may well be further Churchill interior detail sets, so keep an eye out for developments. Also in the pipe line is an interior detail set for the new Tamiya Matilda. This set will be for the Matilda Mk III/IV and should be available around 10th April, 2010.

Sorry, I digress! Back to the Churchill Set. The release of the new AFV Club Churchill has brought joy to many and finally put this venerable old war horse back to a position that it rightly deserves. Making an interior update set for any vehicle is a gamble, but the initial response from the modelling community has been very positive. This set is designed for the AFV Club kit 35153.

Obviously vehicle interiors are complex and consist of many small fittings and fixtures. My initial research into the content of the set has been very positive, with all the major areas of the vehicle being adequately covered and represented in the kit.

The Set

The set comes packaged in a sturdy cardboard box. On the front, the box is sealed with a large label depicting the manufacturers details and product information. The label contains 5 colour images of the set in various stages of construction. At the bottom of the label is the web address for Inside the Armour.

Inside the box were 3 zip bags of resin parts, a PE fret and a 4th zip bag containing plastic rod cello taped to a hard backing card for protection. Two different thicknesses of wire are also provided for the build, plus a set of instructions. The parts were wrapped for further protection in a fold of bubble wrap, and my set arrived undamaged through the normal post. My first test of any kit is to gently shake the box, this produced an alarming rattle of moving parts, so perhaps a little more bubble wrap might be in order.

The parts themselves are cast in a light cream resin. The overall casting looks very good and I could see no air bubbles or other major cause for concern. However, no part numbers or letters are given on the casting blocks, so careful study of page two and the instructions will be required for identification purposes, (see instructions below). The set contains 87 resin parts, plus a medium sized fret of PE, so there is a lot of build for your bucks here.

The instructions come in the form of 7 x A4 pages folded into a 28 page booklet. Page 1 shows a colour picture of the completed conversion, product details etc. Page 2 contains contact details for the company and safety information regarding working with resin and page 3 contains a parts list depicted by 5 small colour pictures showing the resin parts and part numbers corresponding to the build instructions. Given that no part numbers appear on the blocks themselves this would appear to be a sensible approach to over come this issue, although I would have liked bigger pictures for the visually challenged folks like myself. I would also have liked to see a typed parts listing ie: Part 1 = Turret Bin c/w load. My rational for this is that whilst it is good to know where a part goes, it is even better when you also know what exactly that part is.

Page 3 opens with preparations to the AFV kit and follows on in a logical sequence showing the internal right hand pannier build, then the left hand internal pannier build. Then they move on to the hull floor build, fighting compartment build and rear fire wall build. The last 7 pages concern the turret build and again follows a logical sequence. No complete build pictures are linked to the diagrams contained within the instructions so unless you are a Churchill expert I strongly suggest a thorough read of the instructions, study of the parts and cross reference this to both stowage diagrams and reference pictures. This should ensure that you have a good understanding of what goes where, before you start.

I have added into this review some of the original test build pictures from Chris that I hope will aid your build and help give a more rounded picture of the set.

With over 80 resin parts it would be impossible for me to comment on every single piece. However, I have looked in detail at the parts, both comparing their position within the vehicle and overall quality/accuracy and I would comment as follows:

The parts give an accurate representation of the various stowage bins, cans and pouches found within the vehicle. For example Part 1, the stowage bin under the No 19 radio, is moulded with the Bren drum magazines, spare w/t valves case, spare periscope prisms and even the tin containing 2lb of bleach powder in place. The ammo stowage bins have the correct number of round spacing’s, the breech has ratchet elevation for the later Mk IIIs if needed and there are even small bags of personal kit. As far as I can tell just about everything that is shown on the stowage diagrams is represented, with the exception of the Bren and Thompson MG’s which you would need to add. Couple all this with wiring diagrams and a full turret basket coupled with turret interior parts, and you are working towards one very busy interior.

The accuracy of the parts is very good indeed, most if not all of the small items found inside the vehicle appear to be present. The detail overall is excellent, although one or two of the items have detail not just as sharp as I would have liked, but they will still give me a perfectly acceptable representation of the kit. If you add to this the additional detail provided by the PE fret and wiring, then you have a very accurate and detailed representation of the vehicle interior. As this is a first venture into the manufacturing arena for Inside the Armour, this is a very creditable set, showing lots of accurate research and time devoted to getting it right.

Normal precautions apply when working with resin.

Conclusion

An excellent set fit for its purpose, well researched and thought-out. It will add a level of detail to your Churchill that many modellers like to have, plus of course the satisfaction of having a more complete kit. The casting is of a very high quality and you get everything you should need for the build in one box, and that is always good.

For me vehicle interiors add a whole new dimension to a vehicle, making me look even more closely into the vehicle itself, and by doing so gain a greater understanding of the actual equipment and how it functioned. They also add so much additional pleasure and fun to a build and tend to leave me feeling much more satisfied with the project. They throw light onto how the vehicle was fought and the conditions in which the troops operated, and whilst tank interiors are seen by some as a waste of time, my advice would be build one then see how you feel.

I think the instructions could be improved upon, but they are good enough to allow for a successful build. There is a Part1 but not a Part 2, and page 4 needs a Right Hand Side Pannier heading after the data about preparation. I would have liked bigger parts pictures and a listing of the function of each part, and for ease of identification to have part numbers on the casting blocks.

I believe this set will be welcomed and enjoyed by many, and I take my hat off to Inside the Armour for adding yet another useful item to that growing list of available British kits. As a stand alone kit or added into any diorama this will give interest and joy to many. With more possibilities in the pipe line a company to keep your eye on.

For the purists it should be noted that no roof fittings come with the set.

Recommended References:
For those interested in this build I would recommend the following references:

Mr Churchill’s Tank by David Fletcher, ISBN 9 780746 306792. This is a comprehensive account of the development of the Churchill Gun Tanks and contains a mountain of useful information for the Modeller.

Armour in Focus: Website Link. This contains a restoration build of the Mk III Vehicle and is a valuable resource for Churchill enthusiasts.

There are two Osprey publications that may also be useful. Churchill Tanks 1941 – 51 Osprey Publishing (New Vanguard) ISBN 1-85532-297-8 providing a potted history of the vehicle. And for painting/building and inspiration Modelling the Churchill Tank by Mark Bannerman, another Osprey Publication ISBN 9-781841 768694.

Of course a visit to the Imperial War Museum on line site, Link, will provide a wealth of actual pictures to aid and inspire you.

Thank you to Inside the Armour for providing this set for review.



This set will be put to use in this Build Log on the Forums.

SUMMARY
Highs: A highly detailed and interesting set that should build into an excellent representation of the vehicle interior.
Lows: Some improvements in the instruction layout would be good.
Verdict: Highly recommended, but not a kit for the beginner.
Percentage Rating
87%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: ITA 35001
  Suggested Retail: £60.00
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Mar 18, 2010
  NATIONALITY: United Kingdom
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 88.73%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 90.46%

About Alan McNeilly (AlanL)
FROM: ENGLAND - EAST ANGLIA, UNITED KINGDOM

Greying slightly, but young at heart. I've been teaching adults off and on for most of my life. Left the services in 85 and first started modelling in about 87 for a few years. Then I had a long spell when I didn't build anything (too busy) and really just got started again during the summer of ...

Copyright ©2018 text by Alan McNeilly [ ALANL ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Model Shipwrights. All rights reserved.



Comments

Hi Darren, There is an argument as to why buy AM at all I suppose, just build OOB and use platic card, but where would that lead us . My understanding is that the Turret conversion parts will be available separately at some point for those who don't want the Full Monty. The other thing I find is that the more complete the model the better your understanding of how the real thing actually worked becomes as it requires that extra bit of research. Enjoy the Tiger. Al
MAR 17, 2010 - 06:26 PM
I've been looking forward to this one! Great review Alan, enjoyed reading it
MAR 17, 2010 - 08:22 PM
I dunno, I always thought the British WW2 tanks were often the best candidates for interiors, what with pivoting hull hatches and the like. For the Churchill, you have sponson hatches, the hull top hatches, the big swing-out port for the driver, etc. Open those up and you can probably see an awful lot! Matt
MAR 18, 2010 - 01:56 AM
Hi Matan. Thanks, should be fun. Hi Matt, Lots of interesting developments coming along on the British front. Al
MAR 19, 2010 - 05:39 AM
The more i think about it, the more i want to buy this set, but 60GBP is a bit high. Anyway, Ill follow your build before i decide
MAR 19, 2010 - 07:17 AM
Hi Matan, Yes, cost seems a bit high, but this is their first kit, so I assume there will be set up costs and associated expense just getting things up and running. Also to a degree, this will have a limited market, so price would be set on a given number of sales to at least break even and if sales exceed that then make a small profit. The price of resin kits seems to have gone up a bit this last year or so, but none of them come cheap, unfortunately. I passed on a number of the Plus Models British Trucks for that reason. Al
MAR 19, 2010 - 07:37 PM
Review Update As a result of customer feedback and the build blog on site here: http://www.armorama.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=SquawkBox&file=index&req=viewtopic&topic_id=154977&page=1 Chris at Inside the Armour has re-designed some of the parts contained in the set. These new parts will be contained in all kits sold from next month. My understanding is that for customers who have already purchased the kit due to the cost involved Inside the Armour will not be able to issue these for free but will be able to offer them at cost. For more details please contact the company directly. If I get a listing of the updated parts I will add it in. This is a very positive step and a big commitment from a new manufacturer to listen to the feedback and take the time and effort to make some fixes where necessary. Personally I'd like to see Chris offer the fuel tanks and transmission for the kit but realise that these might have limited apeal. Thanks Al
JUN 20, 2010 - 12:05 AM
Wow, 6 years since the last post. I sure thought that the Churchills would have had a lot more attention that they have gotten, they are awesome tanks that could do at least on thing most tanks couldn't, that is, climb a very steep hill and fight while doing it. Plus, they were more survivable than the Shermans, the 6 pound ammo was updated to a discarding sabot and could do decent damage to a Tiger if they could get up close. But that's not a problem in France and Italy like it was in the east. Despite promises from two different aftermarket makers who have been around a long time longer than Inside the Armor was, there is no new aftermarket interior stuff. Maybe I am the only person in the world that wants to see this. I have a stock of almost every different Churchill offered but the aftermarket kits never came out, so looks like I'll try to build one based on drawings and one lone After the Market Churchill III rebuild (I forget what they called the IIIs which were upgraded with thicker armor and other improvements.). So. Here I go.
MAY 24, 2016 - 12:49 AM
Well, here's a bump from 2018... I can't find this set anywhere.
JUL 02, 2018 - 09:48 AM
   

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