For me, one of the iconic tanks of the Western Desert campaign is the British Crusader, and I wanted to incorporate one in my “in-process” British Western Desert force for Bolt Action and other WWII skirmish gaming. While at Historicon, I came upon the new (well, new to me) Blitzkrieg Miniatures at the Architects of War booth. One of the kits was for a Crusader Mark 1 or 2 in 1/56th scale (28mm). I purchased that kit along with several other Blitzkrieg vehicles ensuring that my future 8th Army force will have many interesting support choices.
(Here's an article reviewing a product from a company I'd never heard of before, and it looks like a great one. I will have to check them out myself. Big thanks to my friend and fellow BARbarian, JMilesR for his work. If you haven't yet, check out his amazing blog. - Judson)
The kits come in a nondescript cardboard box but the packaging is done very well – there were no broken or missing parts despite the box being dropped, by yours truly, several times while loading the car for the return trip from Historicon.
The tank kit comes in 7 resin pieces (pictured above). The tracks are cast onto the hull, which made assembly a snap. In fact all the parts test fit without any alteration or sanding. You do have the option to use either the small turret or the hatch to go in the hole on the front of the tank. I chose the turret ‘cause it’s more guns. The only flash that had to be removed from the model was a light film between some of the road wheels. A few cuts with an Xacto knife and we’re good-to-go. Total assembly time from box to done was less than 5 minutes.
A few close ups of the hull and completed model before it was cleaned and primed. The casting quality is top notch – the exhaust piping in the first picture and the light protectors in the second (at the front) are all cast onto the hull. This is some of the best resin casting I’ve ever seen.
An “in-process” picture showing the model after a base coat of Vallejo Sand Yellow was applied (70916). The stowage was added from another Blitzkrieg kit (the Bren Carrier Platoon). I went through three shades for the tank before settling on Vallejo Iraqui Sand (70819). Given the kit will be modeled in the Western Desert painting was a snap.
After a quick wash with some of the old GW “Devlan Mud” (my supply is dwindling) and a dry brush of light rust (Vallejo Panzer Aces 301) on the fuel tank and tracks, it’s a very serviceable model for the tabletop. I’ve stopped work on the model now while waiting to receive some British 8th army decals. The only work remaining to be done is add the decals and then some additional dry brushing for weathering.
My overall impression of the Blitzkrieg Miniatures kit is very favorable. In fact it’s the best 28mm (1/56th) scale kit I’ve ever had the pleasure of working on. I’ve grown used to accepting repair work for resin kits and there was really nothing to fix on this one. The only areas for improvement might be the inclusion of an instruction sheet and some basic decals, but those are very minor issues.
The current list price for the kit is $29.00 in the US and 19.99 pounds in the UK. Those prices compare very favorably to other 28mm scale AFV models on the market.
Conclusion: Lets see, top notch quality and on the lower end of the pricing spectrum, that means this kit is both better AND cheaper. In the best tradition of spinal tap this model is rated 11 out of 10.
Blitzkrieg Miniatures kits are available in the US from Architects of War (http://www.architectsofwar.com) and for the rest of the world directly from the manufacturer (http://www.blitzkriegminiatures.com) or the Perry Brothers (http://www.perry-miniatures.com).