Fast Enough: The Battlefront Cromwell Box Set | Print |  E-mail
Written by Don MacVittie   
Monday, 26 November 2007

The box looks cool enough, but what about the contents?

While the British used a lot of American Sherman and M3 Lee tanks during World War II, they also produced a fair share of their own armour as the war dragged on. One of these tanks was the fast and agile Cromwell, a medium tank with a low profile, powerful engine and Christie suspension. While not produced or utilized at the level of the Sherman, Cromwells were put to use in the armoured recce regiments of several British armoured divisions, and fully equipped the 7th Armoured Division. They were also used by Polish and Czech forces.

We painted up a platoon of Cromwells with a Sherman Firefly for heavy armour support. Here's a peek at what you can expect from the Battlefront Cromwell Platoon box set.

We'd like to extend a special thanks to Dominic of Dom's Decals for all of his help with this review - both before and after it was an actual review.

We were going for a look that differentiates these later-war British armour from their U.S. brethren, so we mixed up several different paints and layered them; for example, Russian Green coated by a 50/50 Bronze Green and Russian Green mix. While it came out nice enough, we'll probably experiment with something slightly lighter in the future. Luckily, the pictures came out lighter than the tanks actually look.

The platoon with various color schemes. The Cromwell labeled 'B' would be good for Sicily (though Dom assures us there were no Cromwells in Italy). That color, coated by the color on the Cromwell labeled 'A,' is what we used for NW Europe.

The box includes four Cromwells and a Sherman Firefly. The Cromwells come with a ton of options: the 95mm CS howitzer, "Normandy cowls" (exhaust extensions fitted to many Cromwells), tank commanders, and hatches that can be modeled open or closed. The package also comes with stowage sprues, but we chose not to place any stowage on the tanks at this time. There is a set of decals for a 7th Amoured Division platoon, and we used a few of them, but sparingly. Interestingly, the tactical markings used on turrets are not included on the decal sheet. Note that there is no plastic in this box set; it's all resin and metal.

The parts for a single tank laid out. The hull MG and driver sprue is missing from the photo.

These are brand-new casts, so of course they're very clean. While everything went together just fine, we suspect that as the molds begin to wear, the front and rear side track guards will become difficult to fit. For now though, this is not a problem. They slip right into place. That said, there are plenty of photos of Cromwells without mudguards fitted, especially later in the campaign, so you can always leave them off.

The barrels were a little painful to attach�they fit into the holes well enough, but didn't stay on their own. Even with quick-dry spray, it was difficult to keep them straight and get them to dry. But it can be done, as you can see from the pictures. Just be patient. The same is true for the hull machine guns, which are very nice but require some dexterity and patience to seat correctly. In fact, we strongly recommend tweezers or needle-nose pliers for this part, and even then you will need some persistence.

The models assembled and awaiting primer.

This box marks the first time we've been disappointed with resin. We don't own any resin Sherman Firefly tanks, this was our first, and frankly that long metal barrel is just too heavy for the resin turret. We will likely follow the example we picked up from Camelot Miniatures, and use our pin vise to drill and pin this turret to keep it attached, yet moveable.

The crew for these tanks is very nice. While we like the brave figures that stand up in their turrets with two thirds of their bodies in the open, it was a rare tank commander who was willing to expose himself so when bullets were flying. These chaps are either just poking their heads up through the hatch, or are out only from the chest up, which is much more realistic in our opinion.

All of the tanks in the platoon.

We have the Battlefront British Infantry Company box set sitting in the closet awaiting its turn in the Army Boxes series of articles, and these tanks will provide them with some nice armoured support in most of the games that we play.

The dimensions are 6.4 cm long by 3.0 cm wide and 2.9 cm high. Our sources for the original indicate accurate dimensions for 1:100 would be 6.35 cm, 3.04 cm, and 2.84 cm. This is close enough that our measurements or how we fit pieces on could account for the difference. This is good news in new product from Battlefront, we would like to see all of its models come so close.

We hear that Dom Skelton of Dom's Decals is cooking up an expanded set of 7th Armoured decals. That would be cool if you're planning on making an armored squadron, since the included decal set is for one platoon.

All of the tanks, Cromwells to the front.

All things considered, these are some of the nicer Battlefront tanks we own. We gave them a solid rating, with the only bits taken off being due to the Sherman barrel weight issue and the weapon attachment pain on the Cromwells.

4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

Manufacturer: Battlefront Miniatures
Model: Cromwell Armoured Platoon
Model Number: BBX12
US MSRP: $ 45.00
US Source: The War Store
UK MSRP: � 27.50
UK Source: Stafford Games

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