Tuesday, September 10, 2013

It's Crud-a-licious!

The Crusader Armoured Squadron in all its glory.  OK, they can't spell 'armoured' but then again, they can't get their tanks to go a day's march without breaking down, either.  All part of the fun!  Pictured is the HQ front left [differentiated by two crew figures] with the Crusader CS 'close support' tanks next to them.  Note that nearly all tanks are Old Glory Command Decision tanks, with the CS tanks and the spare tank next to them being BF.  The BF are noticeable for the spare fuel tank that is cast directly onto the rear.  The OG one is separate and glued on [correct and better looking, but sometimes fragile].  Also worthy of note is that the third tank in each platoon is a 6pdr Crud III from MW.  Apparently I opted for the flexibility to have some of them in the army.  In EW they can just be ignored and played as regular Crud I's and II's.

The HQ of CiC and 2iC.  I figure the pensive looking fellow gazing ahead must be the CiC and the fellow looking at him for orders must be the 2iC.  That sort of 'story in the diorama' is a big part of the fun for me.
The Close Support 'CS' Cruds.  They're armed with a 3" howitzer whose most noticeable features are the ability to Tally Ho! [move with full RoF 2] while shooting dug-in guns and infantry with Firepower 3+.  Aside from that, they're useless with Anti-Tank 5.  Well, they're dangerous to halftracks, MkII tanks and uhm, actual desert rats, I guess.  Still, they're important to the company and IMHO the first thing any bunch of guns and infantry should try to knock out.

Of interest to modelers is the difference between these Battlefront castings and the Old Glory ones.  Both have sculpting and casting strengths and weaknesses, and depend on taste [or budget - the OG ones are less than half the price I think].  The barrels I made myself with plastic rods from Plastruct.  In real life the barrels are hard to tell from the 2pdrs, but I wanted to have a clear difference so I and opponents could tell.  Just seems fair to me.

Typical platoon of two Crud II, one Crud III with 6pdr [note the flat gun mantle compared to the 2pdr guns to the left].  Personally, I'm very satisfied with how the Old Glory models came out, and overall prefer them to the BF castings.  Also, as an old-time gamer I just like the heft of metal.

The original paint job got messed up with a poor washing job.  I forget what I did to rectify it exactly, but after being too disheartened to deal with them for about a year, I actively sought advice at TMP, BF and WWPD, as well as a couple of guys at the FLGS.  The net was that I hand painted them with Vallejo Dark Sand, sprayed them all with Testors gloss finish, THEN applied a GW Devlan Mud wash [or Gryphonne Sepia...but probably Devlan].  Special thanks to Butch S for sharing how he does all his desert Limeys.

With the tanks basically painted, they just need some wear marks, baggage, sand drybrushed on, decals, aerials with pennants, and the crews painted.  Whew!  Quite a lot of work for a squadron that historically probably only lasted 20 minutes in heavy action with Ariete.  But more on that later.  Meanwhile, we can appreciate that the Crud represents the pinnacle of British cruiser tank design, and therefore the sleek appearance should dissuade us from discussions of mechanical reliability or the power of its gun, the lack of HE and shortage of MGs.  Quite a lot, really...!

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