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Building Churchill's Wall Of Steel

Building Churchill's Wall Of Steel
with Chris Townley

During the Armoured Fist Live Launch I wrote a short article about the Churchill Armoured Squadron I was very tempted to build.

Click here to go and read the original article… 

So, despite having way too many half-started, half-finished and almost complete armies I finally caved in to the pressure of seeing a small pile of plastic sprues sitting on my desk every day and started thinking about how to build them.

Before diving in I decided to ask around the office for some suggestions on interesting things to do to personalise the force as nine tanks that all look the same is great from an ease of building and painting perspective but might be a little dull on the table without some extra work.

The answer came from Casey (who despite having blood that runs Soviet red still likes to keep his options open) suggested I look at removing some of the Churchill track guards. After a little research I found that originally the Churchill did not have the guards covering the top of the tracks, making the tank look reminiscent of a World War I tank design.

The guards were subsequently added during the development process but would be often removed in theatre to simplify track maintenance which was already a difficult and lengthy process thanks to the size of the vehicle and number of bogies. The removal also stopped mud and vegetation from clogging on the inside.

Right: a crewman trying to remove debris from the idler wheel at the front

Building Churchill's Wall Of Steel

Looking round at some of the previous metal and resin models I remembered that when Evan originally sculpted them he made different versions of the tracks featuring the removal of different sections. A few minutes of research (and a quick email to Evan) and I came up with this guide (below) for the most common pieces of guards to remove. Each of the sections highlighted in red are some of the most common pieces that you can choose to not add (in the case of the front guards) or remove from the plastic upper hull in the case of the middle and rear pieces.

Building Churchill's Wall Of Steel

Clipping the various pieces off are fairly straight forward, just make sure you use a pair of plastic side cutters, rather than a heavier set suitable for clipping metal components. I carefully removed sections of the guards and then tidied it up with a sharp knife. 

Be careful not to remove too much of the guards as you will expose the internal walls of the lower hull. As is the case with most modelling projects it is better to measure twice and cut once. I of course give this advice after not following it and cutting away too much of the upper guard leaving a view of the interior the tank… That one might get relegated to the role of objective with some extra battle damage added to complete the look.

Building Churchill's Wall Of Steel

Now if this is not enough for you there are some other slightly more unique modelling efforts you could undertake.

Churchill tanks had a Sirocco fan just being the engine which provided air circulation. However, it would also whip up dust that would be forced inside the tank via the hatches. Many vehicles in North Africa carried a canvas apron that was slung between the forward horns to reduce the effect of this. I suspect that it would not be that difficult to add a thin piece of wire between the horns (assuming you have left the front guards on) and suspend a fan made out of a piece of thin paper or green-stuff.

Building Churchill's Wall Of Steel

Another option that would have no in-game effect but look interesting would be to build “Sunshield” canopies. This one far exceeds my current modelling time available but I think it would look very unique. During Operation Bertram in the lead up to the second Battle of El Alamein in North Africa dummy vehicles were used to deceive the Germans where the next attack was going to come from. Real tanks were disguised as trucks, using these canopies.

Building Churchill's Wall Of Steel Building Churchill's Wall Of Steel

Real tanks were parked in the open, far back from the front lines. Then two nights before the attack, the tanks replaced the trucks, being covered with “Sunshields” before dawn. Dummies were placed in the tanks original positions leaving the Germans to believe that the British armour was days away from reaching fighting positions.

Churchill Armoured Troop

For now, I am going to stick with a little clipping but hopefully this will give you a few good ideas on how you can personalise your Churchill tanks from Armoured Fist.

Click here to find out more about the Churchill Armoured Troop box...


Building Churchill's Wall Of Steel

Last Updated On Wednesday, May 23, 2018 by Chris at Battlefront