Saturday, 27 February 2010
15mm (1/100) Matilda 1
The Matilda 1 was slow, heavily armoured and armed with a single turret-mounted machine-gun: first a .303", then a .50" water-cooled Vickers, protected by an armoured shroud. It was envisioned as an infantry support tank, essentially a mobile pill-box, and therefore didn't require any more speed than that sufficient to keep up with advancing infantry.
The Matilda 1 had one moment of glory at Arras in 1940, but it was built around a concept that was no longer valid in WWII, and after the retreat from Dunkirk most of them were left behind. It's perhaps significant that even the Germans, notable for making extensive use of captured equipment, didn't seem to have any use for the poor old Matilda 1.
This white-metal model by Peter Pig builds up into a reasonably good representation of the original, but detail is fairly soft, and it does require quite a bit of cleaning up before assembly. The tracks and suspension especially needs a lot of work; the bogies and suspension are surrounded by a thick fringe of metal, presumably to ease casting, that needs to be removed before assembly. My dremel drill with a largish, coarse milling bit made reasonably short work of it (spreading metal dust far and wide), but its removal would be a rather arduous task for anyone who didn't own this very useful piece of equipment
The tracks themselves are modelled relatively coarsely, though that's understandable considering the limitations of metal casting. The Matilda's tracks were thin, narrow and rather flimsy-looking; this model's tracks look rather bulky, and lack much in the way of detail — the guide tabs on the interior, for example, are inconsistently modelled; sometimes they're there, sometimes not. I would have like to have seen an attempt at showing the track-sag that appears, from photographic evidence, to have been characteristic of the vehicle.
The drive wheels are modelled without any sprocket teeth, which is rather disappointing. Even a token indication would be better than nothing at all.
The model costs, as of 2010, £4.00 plus about £2.60 p&p — that's about $NZ 15.00 right now, so it's reasonable value for money compared with other manufacturers, even taking into account postage from the UK (£8.00 for three models).
More pictures of the model on my website