With the invasion of NW Europe looming, it became necessary to develop a series of specialized AFVs to deal with the heavily fortified defensive positions which would be encountered. Amongst these, was the Churchill AVRE (Armoured Vehicle Royal Engineers) which, using an existing turret, had a 290mm Spigot Mortar mounted in place of the usual armament - six-pounder AT gun in earlier Churchill variants, a 75mm in the later ones. The spigot mortar could fire (or 'project') a 40lb projectile - much in the same manner as the Infantry PIAT launcher. Typically seen mounted on the Mark IV turret, the vehicle itself could also mount a 'fascine bundle' (designed for filling trenches or deep ditches) or a light-weight bridge suitable for vehicles of limited tonnage.
Legend's Update Set - the basics
LF1151 - Churchill MK.IV AVRE Turret set
is a 1/35th scale update in resin produced by the Korean manufacturer, Legend Productions
. The set is packaged in the usual manner, inside a side-opening cardboard box with the contents packed inside snap-top plastic 'baggies' with a section of bubblewrap to protect them. The kit consists of just 20 parts with the smaller components mounted on a multiple sprue and the larger items - turret, projector, mantlet, projector mount, cupola and turret ring, seperate. A small instruction sheet is proided which simply shows a plan of the parts and brief assembly instructions.
: This is a very substantial casting of an (earlier pattern) Mark IV turret. As can be seen from the images, the casting is solid allowing a 'half-figure' to be inserted into either of the hatches and fill in the space. All the details are correctly positioned - ventilator, periscope etc. Casting numbers are moulded into the turret sides as are the distinctive bolts towards the turret rear. The bulged ventilators are moulded within the turret and although NOT badly done, they would benefit from a slight improvement. In the original, the ports have a more seperate look, in the model, they seem to be moulded as part of the turret. There are four (two per side) small strips with holes missing from the kit - these would be simplicity itself to add.
: These are correctly-shaped and well moulded. No apparent inaccuracies whatsoever.
In the original, this was little more than a 'plug' which fitted over large opening in the front of the turret casting. This fits perfectly well and is accurate.
this is thinly-cast with the internal ribs as in the original. The biggest problem here is not in it's accuracy, but in removing it from the resin plug. When I removed the plug, I also removed a strip of resin from the barrel which has required some repairs to be made.. EXTREME care is required removing the part!
Rear Storage Box
: Dimensionally correct although from some of the images I have seen, it appears to be one of TWO types which were used (or not used?) - one was considerably less deep, the box provided in the kit is of a much larger type.
: I removed this from its runners and fitted it onto a Tamiya Churchill hull. It requires some slight adjustment to fit completely snugly. Flash is present in this part although easily removed with a sharp knife.
: A seperate commanders cupola is provided - possibly to simplify the casting of the (large) turret moulding. Correctly detailed and sharply-moulded.
: Two fire extinguishers (British type) along with an aerial mount and a signal flag tube are provided. All of these are perfectly adequate.
The Accuracy Issue
This is a COMPLETELY new update set. The turret has has none of the dimensional isssues asociated with the earlier models from Legend. I used a variety of Mark IV plans and this time, the length and shape are correct.
This is a set which will require careful assembly and a few (very minor) improvements. It is also a set which will stretch the life of Tamiya's 'venerable' Churchill VII just a little further. Quality of the parts is very good although the most negative aspect for me was a) the the difficulty in removing it and b) the sheer quantity of additional resin. The kiit is moulded in a pretty hard type of resin which really does require a lot of effort to remove in the larger parts. What most concerned me though, was, before starting the Review, was whether or not the accuracy issues had been addressed. This, i'm delighted to say, has been rectified.
It would be remiss of me NOT to mention the help and pointers given by both 'Ossie' Osbourn and Mark Cooper. One of the links which was given to me is excellent for clarifying one's ideas on turrets: HERE (LINK)