Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Zvezda 1/100 (15mm) Matilda Mk 1 Infantry Tank (A11) - a review..

Picture courtesy: http://tinyurl.com/n684nzz
Tank, Infantry, Mk I, Matilda I (A11) to give it it's full designation was of that peculiar breed known in the British army post WWI  as an infantry tank ie. it substituted speed for armour, and was intended to support the infantry in assault, whereas the cruisers fulfilled the old cavalry role..

The Matilda Mk I shares its name with the better known Mk II but in reality the tanks were completely different and shared no components or parts at all.

Designed by Carden at Vickers-Armstrongs in 1935 (you can see the similarity to the Carden designed Bren carrier in the running gear I think??) the army requirement was for something cheap that used standard components to also allow for easier maintenance..  which is exactly what they got...in reality however, the design was hopelessly outdated

So what do you get when you open the box? Very little - the kit is so simple they don't even provide an instruction sheet... 

There are just 6 parts on that sprue..


Which when cut off and clicked together give the following snappy little armoured perambulator...


So what was the tank actually like? Mixed bag, mostly bad, I'd say...

Hull and turret were well protected against the current crop of anti-tank weapons (Armour thickness: Maximum 60mm Minimum 10mm - NB. Panzer II max 13mm), but the tracks and running gear were completely exposed.

Armament was either the .303 Vickers MG or in some cases the larger .5 inch, so no anti-tank capability - this was real WWI thinking...

Maximum speed was 8mph (NB. Panzer II 25mph), but cross country no better than 5-6 mph - in fact there are reports that the infantry could move faster and often had to wait for the tanks to catch up.

 In addition to these other disadvantages, there were also crew issues; besides operating the machine gun the commander also had to direct the driver and operate the wireless (which was in the hull due to lack of room in the turret)...  in addition to the commander there was just one other crew (driver)

Nice detailing on the rear casing..
The first order for Mk 1 Matilda was placed in April 1937 (for 60), the tank remained in production until August 1940 at total of 140 were produced - most of them were left behind after Dunkirk. Remaining tanks in the UK were used for training only.

Last of all some pictures of the completed items....  with figures for scale - they are tiny!





References:
http://www.tanks-encyclopedia.com/ww2/gb/Matilda-MkI.php

12 comments:

  1. I just bought three of these but have yet to see them out of the box.
    Thanks for the heads up to manage my expectations when I do!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Paul - I reckon you'll be delighted.. they're a lovely little model when made up...

      Delete
  2. Just for info, if fitted with a 0.5 inch mg, armour piercing ammo might have been provided, as on the Light Tank Mk VI and VII. This would give some ability to penetrate lightly armoured German tanks like the Pz I and II. Maybe worth looking into.

    Cheers, Keith.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Keith - you're a mine of info (I remember you came up with some stuff when I built the Hanomags)... thanks for that heads up, I had no idea they would have had that capability at this stage of the war, I'll do some research...

      Delete
  3. Excellent! Love those early war thirties tanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Legatus - I love 'em, so much character, whilst being as mad as a bucket full of frogs... I stand in awe of the brave men who went to war in them!

      Delete
  4. Lovely little model Steve, I'd not considered plastic tanks but it obviously goes together really well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Lee... I hadn't either until my oppo DG passed me a Zvezda Opel Blitz kit he didn't need... was very impressed with the detail, the ease of build, and when I found out the price that was me done!

      Delete
  5. They have a Spanish Civil War look very appealing!
    Regards
    Rafa

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ola Rafa - they do.. I'm sure they could be used as a generic Republican tank!

      Delete
  6. Great review! I love the mini history lesson as well, that's a nice touch. I am surprised that there was no assembly guide on the back of the box as I seem to recall that that's generally where Zvezda puts them (and having reviewed a bunch of Zvezda 1/100 WWII models I ought to know even though I cannot recall).

    One note on the .50 cal: as Keith alludes to, I believe that the round was invented as an anti-armor round. If I remember correctly, which is always a valid question given the quantity of brown ale that flows through this body, it was meant to punch through WWI era tank armor. I know that in certain WWII games (such as the excellent Combat Mission), the .50 is a threat to all German light armored vehicles such as halftracks and armored cars.

    It is really easy for us to forget that designers of that era were literally making things up as they went as the whole field was new, and this little POS (by our standards) was cutting edge thinking when it was designed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cheers Nick - much appreciated... you may be right abut the assembly instructions being on the back of the box, I never looked there! :o) (If anyone is still reading here by the way I recommend Nicks blog - http://spottinground.com/ I've been subscribing for ages!)

      Delete