Cromwell Mk. IV

Kit #: 03123 Article by Danilo Carli - 172normandyafv(at)gmail(dot)com
Edited by Marc Mercier

The kit is composed of three dark green plastic moulds in a clear polyethylene bag. Flash free, the pieces are well done. The instructions are extensive and look like a newspaper. The decal set colours and printing is high quality. The kit is dimensionally correct (certainly within my tolerance range) and well detailed. It gives us also a Cullin hedgerow device, which I’ve never seen on an operational Cromwell tank. The kit looks very well made to me even though the tools are moulded on, there aren’t any optional parts and only the tank commander's hatch is open.

Speaking about the Cromwell tank, I’ve found a good amount of confusing (and sometimes contrasting) info about the development of this tank and the hulls used. First of all, on the same hull, two types of engines were used and the difference was noticeable in the name of the vehicle: Centaur (A27L type) for one and Cromwell (A27M) for the other. This wasn’t the only difference of course and to simplify our lives, some Centaur tanks received the Cromwell tank engines.

Despite the fact that “only” 2,494 Cromwell tanks (and 1,841 Centaur tanks) were built, these were armed with three different types of weapons (the OP tank could have a dummy gun) in nine marks: 6pdr = Mk I/III, 75mm = Mk IV/V/Vw/VII/VIIw and 95mm = Mk VI/VIII. Those tanks were built by different production plants which had their own particular features; producing seven, slightly different, hulls (type A, B, C, D, E, F and welded). Sometimes a different Mk didn’t indicate a new version, but a reworked tank of a former version: The Mk III was a re-engined Centaur I. The Mk V was a reworked and up-gunned Mk I. The Mk VII was an updated Mk IV. The Mk VIIw was an updated Mk Vw. The Mk VIII was an updated Mk VI. On the basis of the sources used, also a single all welded tank (including the turret) was in service with the 7th AD.

I know, here I should speak only about the kit, but I think this introduction is needed because a question rose almost immediately: which Cromwell tank batch has Revell given us? After having consulted the available sources, I think to be correct stating that the kit proposes us a Mk IV with the C type hull as built by English Electric (batch serials T189400 – 190064).

Luckily the Revell kit could be easily modified to a D/E type hull as built by Leyland or by Fowler, which was quite similar to the C type and differed only on the engine deck (batch serials T187501 – 188082 which comprised both 75mm Mk IV and some 95mm gun armed Mk VI). Speaking about the conversions possibility of this kit, the close support Mk VI C/D/E is also quite easily feasible (the T185xxx serials CS tanks seen in some photos weren’t Cromwells but Centaurs).

Despite all this complications, from a 1/72 modeller perspective, what we can see in NWE campaign photos are Cromwell tanks armed with a 75mm or a 95mm gun. Both these weapons could be found on a C, D/E or F type hull while welded hulls had only 75mm guns. B hulls of the reworked early marks are very rare in the photos I’ve seen and I’ve found only three operational tanks (not counting the Centaurs) with their straight sloped forward fenders. These different hulls were mixed within the same units. For example, at the start of the Normandy campaign, the 1st RTR was composed of 45 Cromwell tanks and 12 Firefly tanks. The Cromwell tanks were 8 x welded hulls, 32 x C hulls and 5 x D hulls.

To extricate myself in the Cromwell marks jungle (hoping to have understood correctly) I used the Osprey New Vanguard “Cromwell cruiser tank 1942-50”, HMSO book “Cromwell tank” and the book “Combat camera 1, Cromwell & Centaur”. A good walk around on the net is here.

The kit is very good and is one I could have built out of the box… I say “I could have”, but I didn’t. Here is what I did to add some basic detail to my Cromwell troop.


• Usually I don’t care too much about the pictures on the box or the instructions; anyway if someone uses them as a reference he has to pay attention to the photo in the first page of the instruction: the lateral rear plates are inverted and the lifting hooks are showed up side down!
• On the base of the photos I’ve seen, the mantlet hole had three shapes. Most of the operational tanks had the right lower corner clipped (standing in front of the tank) and this is the shape I choose for my tanks. The shape provided by Revell is correct but less common in the photos I’ve seen. The third one had four 90° corners (the upper ones a little rounded) and I saw it on the Mk VI in the T120xxx range. A fourth type, which I’ve seen only on the Centaur at the moment, had the right upper corner clipped. For my tanks I modified this hole with a piece of plastic shaped in place.
• The lifting points are a bit undersized and solid. I’d prefer them as separate pieces, but I suppose their dimensions made this almost impossible. This is a typical case where PE really helps. After having tried some scratchbuilding, I kept them as they are.
• There were two kind of aiming devices (both missing in the kit). The earliest one (rarely seen in the NWE campaign) was composed of three vertical blades on the left superior edge of the front plate. The later was a pentagonal structure in front of the cupola. I did scratchbuilt both types for my tanks. For the second one, I made a template around which I stretched a thin metallic wire.
• The gun barrel looked a bit thin to me compared with the photos of operational tanks, so I made some measurements with some 1/35 scale drawings. The results told me it is very little undersized: from – 0.08 mm just behind the muzzle brake to – 0.14 mm at the base. It should be almost indistinguishable; anyway I preferred to give my Mk IVs two new barrels with an enhanced bottle neck base using reworked two 6pdr barrels. A third Cromwell received a scratchbuilt 95mm barrel to have a CS tank.
• I kept the muzzle brakes whose ends need to be drilled out. I glued the muzzle brakes with the holes horizontal because I aesthetically prefer it this way, but there wasn’t a particular position : in the photos I seen these could also be vertical or inclined without a particular rule.
• The periscopes are well done and very fine; anyway usually they had a cover, which I made with plastic card.
• The lamp needs it's wire. I made it with thin metal wire.
• Part 49 was the base of an antenna. It shouldn’t be solid so I drilled it.



• The driver and gunner periscopes were also covered with their covers (see above).
• The towing ropes were stored alongside the right side bins (on the type F hull it was on the glacis). Missing in the kit, I made them with thin metallic wire and glued them in place with their hooks.
• The rear upper plate #2 should have some bolts also on the sides, I choose to ignore them.
• The handles on the engine deck are really undersized (one have to think that in 1:72 scale 0.1 mm means 7.2 mm in real life). I made new ones with thin stretched sprue.
• The hull – turret interlock gave me a little problem. I glued the turret's base before the lateral bolted plates. In this way they fall a bit too much within the turret so the turret's lower edge touches the hull deck. When turned they rubbed against the two forward engine deck handles. Thinking this could give me a bigger problem after the model was painted, I preferred to lift up the turret with a very thin shim.
• The forward fenders are, correctly, of the curved type used by the C hull type. These were often damaged and removed in the field. Sometimes only the vertical parts 24/25/28/32 were omitted, sometimes partially. To remove the solid part I cut off along the first scribed line from the forward edge and from this down vertically. Optionally they could be warped or indented with a motor tool or replaced with thin metallic foil sections to simulate some damage.
• The mudguards were almost always cluttered with boxes, cans, camo nets… so adding some items is a must.
• The exhaust smoke deflector 52 was another thin item subject to warping or damaging. It was stiffened by three rods. After having thinned the exposed edges, I made the rods with stretched sprue. Sometimes the deflector was replaced by homemade substitutes. In such a case it could be made as a single squared box-like deflector or two smaller items directly above the exhaust, squared or half rounded. Other times it wasn’t used at all.


Special features

• The D/E type hull (see intro) had a slightly different engine deck layout. To adapt this I filled the rear panel lines and engraved the new ones 0.5 mm forward of the engine oil dipstick covers. The new panels had a different handles and locks layout.
• The problem, which was immediately highlighted with the A type hull, was that both crew hatches were jammed by the turret if this wasn’t at 12 o’clock (and the turret could be jammed if they weren’t closed). The problem was solved for the hull gunner by the B type hull with the swinging out hatch, but for the driver the problem wasn’t solved until the F type hull which had a symmetrical hatch for the driver, while a third type hatch was used on the welded hulls. An interim solution was a driver hatch which was split with diagonally cut halves. It was introduced and retrofitted to the C/D/E hulls to permit the driver an emergency escape. I replaced the kit hatch on one of my two D type hull tanks with a plastic card new one. I made it closed, if one wants make it opened, he has to remember that only the forward hatch hinged outside while the rear one hinged inside the hull roof.

Wheels and tracks

The sprockets teeth number was asymmetrical and this must be kept in mind when the two halves are assembled or the teeth will not be aligned.
In the photos the roadwheels outer row are still to be glued. It will be done after painting the track guides.



My boxes are of the second edition, which provides a well made set of decals:
• T187816 was a command tank from the 11th AD HQ (AoS 40 on black) which had a D type hull and possibly a fake gun. The mantlet hole is correct as it is.
• Blenheim was a C or D hull 2nd Welsh Guards (AoS 45 blue on green) tank. The mantlet hole was clipped and the aiming device was of the earlier type. The wheels had the perforated rubber ring of the Centaur tanks.

The first edition kit had a different set:
• T187827, a Cromwell IV from the 11th AD 2nd Northamptonshire Yeomanry (AoS 45 on blue/green) which had a D type hull. The mantlet hole was clipped. The AoS badge is incorrectly red.
• T187796 was a Cromwell IV from the 7th AD 5th Royal Artillery Horse (AoS 76 on red/blue) which had a D type hull. The mantlet hole could be clipped.


The Cromwell tanks production begun when the camo colour was S.C.C.2 brown with a black disruptive scheme. Then the second colour was omitted, while the main colour was maintained after April 1944 when the official colour was changed to the S.C.C.15 green overall, so both colours are correct.
For a better understanding of the British camouflage colours history I used "British military markings 1939-1945" by P. Hodges and M.D. Taylor. For the paint mixes for the colours used by the British tanks during the WW2 have look here.

Actually I’m awaiting the Vallejo 71024 arriving in my town: as far as my supplier told me it should be the first “out of the bottle” S.C.C.2 brown and I hope it will.


The kit gives us a very well made standard tank. Highly recommended, it can be easily improved with very little work. A good amount of available aftermarket sets will help.

Some useful notes to improve it furthermore: the ARV cupola was introduced in 1944 and eventually retrofitted during the campaign on some tanks. The hull rear plate often received a further box fixed by welding or bolting, at least one 2nd Welsh Guards Cromwell (C Sqn) had a Sherman Firefly V bin while some 7th AD had a homemade rack. The same 7th AD tanks had a rear turret rack (possibly made with the exhaust cover mesh). At least one 7th AD Cromwell had a Crusader turret bin on the rear plate (no markings are visible) while some 2nd Welsh Guards had homemade bins which looks like the NWE Sherman ones. NWE campaign photos witness a large use of camo nets, often with hessian tapes.
For something more exotic, a Zimmerit like surface using rubber stripes was tested on some tanks of the 2nd Northants Yeomanry 11th AD. I’ve seen this at least on three C Sqn tanks: 1st troop T187714, name unreadable; 2nd troop “Galahad” (WD number not visible) and 4th troop no name or WD number visible.

Preview sample purchased by the author.


This model can be purchased from Tracks & Troops

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Article Last Updated: 25 March 2015