PSC A9/A10 Cruiser (15mm) — WiP

 Some new toys arrived for me today from PSC, two boxes of 15mm (1:100) tank kits. I got some Stuart "Honeys", for future use when I get around to building up my Western desert forces a bit, and this one, the A9 or A10 cruiser, to pad out my B.E.F. force.

I already have a troop of A9, so this box will go to making me a troop of A10 gun tanks, and one each of an A9 and A10 CS (close support) tank.

The sprues provide optional parts to complete  five variants: hulls for European or desert versions of the A9 or A10, and turrets for gun tanks of various marks (distinguishable by the different gun mantlets) or the close support tanks mounting the 3" howitzer.

Note that the hull tops for the desert variants have symmetrical track guards, which wasn't the case on the original vehicles — they were actually deeper on the port side than the starboard to accommodate the vehicle's cooling system. If that sort of detail is important to you, you'll have to do a bit of trimming.

Regrettably there aren't enough running gear pieces to build more than one tank from each sprue, nor enough turret components to be able to just make a spare CS turret. Still, I can't really utterly condemn PSC for that. At about twenty quid for five tank models, they're already pretty good value for money.

Construction is pretty straightforward, though instructions are provided for only one variant — the A10 Mk.IIa for the European theatre. You'll just have to guess and hope for the others. The main thing is to make sure you're actually getting the right parts off the sprue for the variant you want to build, and with so many optional pieces it pays to double-check. The colour-coded layout shown on the other side of the instructions is useful for this.

The instructions given are very simplistic, but adequate (for the single tank variant shown) except for one part: Step 3 (highlighted here in yellow). DON'T DO THIS. Go straight to Step 4. It might be possible to force the running gear into place after the top and bottom hull pieces are glued without breaking something, but I doubt it.

I wasn't timing myself, but I'd guess that putting this first one together took me about half an hour.

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