1⁄35Crusader Mk II Gun Tractor Mk I
The announcement some time ago of the pending arrival of the new Bronco 17pdr anti tank gun prompted me to get out the Crusader kit I had and the Accurate Armour conversion set for it. I’d had both sitting around for about 4 years, and it was then a further 12 months before I got around to starting the build. The Crusader kit I used was the old Testors/Italeri Crusader Gun Tank Mk III kit that was given to me as a present (thanks Paul) and the conversion set came from Accurate Armour kit No C041. Both kits have been available for some time. To add to that I had bought a set of the Accurate Armour Resin Tracks. To help guide me on my way I had a copy of an article by Phil Greenwoood on the build first published in Military Modelcraft International in December 2001. This proved a very valuable resource as the instructions with the conversion are of the older style and layout and tend to assume a level of knowledge you may or may not have.
BackgroundThe Crusader Gun Tank was developed in three stages the Mk I, Mk II and Mk III and you can use any of these kits for the conversion. Around 5,300 were built, but by 1942 they were starting to become redundant being replaced by the M3 Grant and later the M4A1 Sherman Mk I. Operational use of the Crusaders finished around May 1943 and thereafter they provided a valuable training role for new tank crews. Early in 1943 the new British 17pdr anti tank gun started to come on line. The 17pdr is a large beast and was too big for the Loyd and Universal carriers to handle. RA regiments started to use the M9 Half Track to tow the gun and also the Morris and Quad Gun Tractors but the wheeled vehicles didn’t have a great cross country performance. It became apparent that a new gun tractor would have to be developed. With large quantities of Crusader being available the decision was taken to convert some of these for this purpose and so the Crusader Gun Tractor was born. The Crusader could handle towing the gun well and offered good cross country performance. After development and trials the final vehicle was designated Crusader Mk II, Gun Tractor Mk I. Phil’s article contains more detailed information regarding the overall background and deployment of the vehicle should you be interested.
Conversion PartsYou can see the make up and the quality of the conversion parts below, and the pictures speak for themselves.
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