The Crusader was a result of interwar British amor doctrine that produced tanks known as “cruiser” tanks and “infantry” tanks. The cruiser tanks were designed as modern armored and mechanized cavalry, while the infantry tanks were designed to support an infantry attack.
The Mk. III Crusader was fitted with a larger gun than its predecessors, i.e., a 57mm or 6 pounder gun. This larger gun cramping the inside of the turret necessitated the elimination of the gun loader whose duties were taken over by the tank commander. This seems to have been less than satisfactory when the action started, i.e., the commander being occupied with duties other than commanding during an engagement.
And therein seems to be the story of all the tanks on either side in WWII. There was a constant race to fit larger and larger guns to tanks to defeat the more heavily armored tanks with every bigger guns being fielded by one’s opponents.
The Crusader served fairly well in the Western Desert, but once that campaign was over they had reached the point where they were not holding their own with German armor. Many were converted to anti-aircraft carriages, gun tractors and other uses.
I always liked the shape of the tank with the highly angled turret and large road wheels.I also wonder how the crews faired when hit with shots that broke some of those bolts loose and sent them ricocheting around the tank’s interior. That may have been unpleasant.
The kit is typical Tamiya quality. I wish a figure had been included since my search for a British armor crewman in desert garb proved fruitless. Armor models need a figure.
Here are the paints and weathering materials used:
Tamiya XF-61 Dark Green
Tamiya XF-69 NATO Black
Alclad Aqua Gloss Clear
Matt Lucky Varnish by Ammo
Track Base Coat (Tamiya Mix)
Vallejo Air 71.080 Rust
Vallejo 71-143 UK Light Stone
Ammo Oilbrusher – Dust A.Mig 3516
Ammo Enamel Wash “Dark Brown for Green Vehicles” A.Mig 1005
Ammo Streaking Effects – Dark Streaking Grime A.Mig 1206
Tamiya Weathering Master Set A
The model was finished with the Dark Green XF-61 that was glossed for decal application and weathering. Next, came the Ammo Wash for Green Vehicles followed by the Ammo Oilbrusher dust color and some Ammo Streaking Effect Wash for Dark Streaking Grime. Finally, I applied Tamiya Weathering Master Sand color to unify things. All in all, I am satisfied with the look.
After all, the Crusaders arrived in the Western Desert painted a Bronze Green and went into action. I tried to duplicate that by starting with a straight-up green tank (see photo below) and then making it look dusty.
While my weathering work does not qualify me as an “elite modeler”, I am getting better at envisioning how to get where I want to go. Trying to imagine a tank fresh from the garrison and then planning on what layers of dirt and tear descended on it in the field helps me put together a combination of effects producing a realistic whole. At least that is what I am trying to do with my weathering. More than any other aspect of model building, weathering calls for extreme patience.