Italeri Churchill Mk. III Build in 1/72 Scale

For some reason I thought this was a new tool Churchill kit from Italeri. I’m not sure where I got that impression, this is the old ESCI kit first released in 1988. In fact, even Italeri had issued previous boxings, so my curiosity of what Italeri would do with a new tool armor kit is still unsatisfied.
Two plastic sprues and flexible tracks are in what’s in the box, along with a small decal sheet with four marking options. Scalemates indicates there are new parts here, I’m guessing they would have to be the tracks. The instructions indicate the tracks are designed for CA glue, which does in fact work well. You also get a crew figure, a nice touch.
Each side of the suspension is constructed using only eight parts (including tracks). This is a mercy, as the breakdown of the Churchill suspension could have easily run into 40 – 50 parts, even using continuous band tracks. My personal preference is for buildability over a myriad of detail which cannot be easily seen, and alignment of all these bogeys as individual parts would have been a nightmare. These parts required some cleanup as there were mold seams and a little flash, the old ESCI molds are beginning to show their age.
The tracks reacted well to superglue. This Churchill variant concealed the return run of the tracks under an extensive fender system. The tracks turned out to be slightly long (or I stretched them during installation), but I was able to cut off the excess and hide the ends behind the air intakes. Pioneer tools are molded onto the engine deck, and handles are molded onto the hatches.
There are some seams to address with this kit, on the majority of the armor kits I have constructed this has not been much of an issue. There are also some annoying ejector pin marks in bad locations, visible here on the armor plate in front of the hull machine gunner’s position and in the turret trace over the track fenders. Filling and sanding these would result in lost detail so I filled them with Perfect Plastic Putty, which can be smoothed with a wet Q-Tip.
The camouflage was masked off using poster putty. This is one of the modeling supplies available at the supermarket, and is re-usable. It provides a solid demarcation between colors without as great of risk of paint seeping under as with masking tape.
Here are the colors used. The Sand FS 30475 was done first as layers of Mr. Color 44 and 19 to vary the tone, while the Extra Dark Sea Gray is a mix of 116 RLM 65 Black Gray and 366 Intermediate Sea Blue.
After decals and a second coat of Testors Glosscoat recesses were highlighted with a wash of Tamiya black panel line wash. I then added some chipping with a dark brown make-up applicator. The entire model then received a very thin coat of light tan “dust” to unify the finish, followed by Testors Dullcote. While the molds are beginning to show their age, the kit builds up well with a few enhancements.

18 thoughts on “Italeri Churchill Mk. III Build in 1/72 Scale

  1. Now that is really nice, Jeff! 🙂 I still bear the scars of having built the Airfix Churchill kit as a kid (it had separate roadwheels and axles, so three pieces per sprung roadwheel assembly)! It’s fairly common to see older Churchill variants in the later European campaigns with at least some of the trackguards removed, although I would suspect this was not common (or sensible) in North Africa.

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  2. Who doesn’t remember the Airfix Churchill with 43 road wheels!!? Also stitching and stapling the vinyl tracks and insulating them from the styrene wheels with cigarette packet foil to prevent track rot. Ah, there’s the missing wheel in my trouser turnup!

    Regards, Chris.

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    1. I shudder at the thought of separate pieces for the running gear! Difficult to see, can be covered in mud, and the potential for alignment issues outweighs any gain in detail. YMMV but for me the simplified gear is much better in this case!

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    1. Never tried over Dullcote. Glosscote holds up well, you can burn through it if you’re really aggressive with removing the excess or work for a while in a saturated area. I make it a practice to move my bottle of lacquer thinner to the corner of the bench before I start weathering, that will remove all paint layers in a few seconds if you grab it by mistake.

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  3. Nicely do Jeff, my mate bought the old Airfix one but I have a feeling it was I who ended up finishing the build 🤔, great work on the camouflage the poster tack worked well.

    Liked by 2 people

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