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Tamiya 1/35 scale Matilda British infantry tank

Subscriber-only early access review
Tamiya 1/35 scale Matilda
Kit: No. 35300
Scale: 1/35
Manufacturer: Tamiya, from Tamiya America, 800-826-4922,
Price: $47
Comments: Injection-molded, 348 parts (10 vinyl), decals
Pros: New mold; crew; optional link-and-length tracks; poseable hatches
Cons: No interior detail; some markings oversized
Issue Published: November 2009
Tamiya 1/35 scale Matilda
Tamiya 1/35 scale Matilda
Tamiya 1/35 scale Matilda tank
Tamiya 1/35 scale Matilda
Tamiya 1/35 scale Matilda
Tamiya 1/35 scale Matilda
Tamiya 1/35 scale Matilda
Tamiya has completely retooled its Matilda tank kit: new track-pattern mold; glueable one-piece tracks and link-and-length tracks; positional hatches; three crewmen; and three different 2-pounder barrels, one tapered, one stepped, and one a 3" howitzer. Markings are provided for three Matildas: two North African campaign tanks in three-color camouflage (one from the 42nd Royal Tank Regiment, 1st Army Tank Brigade, the other from the 32nd Army Tank Brigade); and an England-based tank from the 49th Royal Tank Regiment, 35th Army Tank Brigade. Besides the instruction booklet, a color two-page walkaround is provided.

The five-piece hull had no fit issues. I just made sure the hull front stayed in place while the glue set (it wanted to pop out of alignment).

If you've ever had the experience of building World War II British armor, you've encountered some of the most complicated running gear you can build. Tamiya has done its best to make it easier, but it's still a lot of fiddly work. You do get the choice of link-and-length or one-piece tracks. With so little of the tracks showing, and the good quality of the single run, I chose the latter option. I painted the tracks with Tamiya X-10 (flat brown); for the sand in the cleats, I used Stardust dark dust weathering pastel.

The upper hull locks in place with a tongue-and-groove in the front and Tamiya's signature polycap and post at the rear. The only issue I had was with the front fender seams not lining up; I had to clamp them for proper fit.

Review the instructions to drill holes in the turret. There are two sets of holes, one for the C version and one for the other two. Also, Part D59 goes only on the C version; it's in the fine print in Step 29.

The biggest problem was choosing a paint scheme. I chose the 42nd Royal Tank Regiment's markings, painting the model with Tamiya XF-23 (light blue), XF-59 (desert yellow) and XF-61 (dark green). The plans would have you mix XF-1 (flat black) and XF-26 (deep green), but after looking at the color pictures of a museum's restored tank I thought XF-61 was a better color match. I applied a wash of dark brown oils and a dusting of Tamiya weathering pastels. The decals for the turret (Nos. 7 and 8) were too wide and had to be trimmed.

For fans of British armor or WWII's North African campaign, this kit is a welcome addition. Considering the unused, optional parts left over, I believe we will see other versions of this tank. With the ease of the build, I can easily recommend this kit to intermediate builders. It took me 25 hours to complete it, with about a third of the time masking and painting.

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