Sunday, 7 July 2013
Australian Matilda Hedgehog and Frog
The Matilda Infantry Tank, though generally considered obsolete by the British Army was still in use by the Australian Army right to the end of the war. Used primarily in the South West Pacific Theatre, Matilda Gun, Flamethrower and Bulldozer variants were used. The Matilda Hedgehog was designed as a "Buster Bunker" using a Naval anti-submarine mortar in a modified launcher on the rear of the tank. The Hedgehogs, although very successful in trials never saw service as the war ended negating the need for them.
The models were made from 20, 30 and 40 thou styrene sheet. Various Evergreen strips and shapes were also used.
The running gear sponsons were constructed first. Slices of suitably sized knitting needle were used for the road wheels and the track links were made up from individual pieces to replicate the pattern of the treads.
The lower hulls under construction. A bonus with this style of tank is the much of the top of the tracks cannot be seen, so doesn't need to be modelled!
Balsa was used for the bows with superglued thread for the weld marks on the bows. As can be seen, 6 Matildas were made, 4 as standard Gun tanks and 2 as what the Australian Army called "Circus Equipment", the Hedgehog and the Frog.
The turrets were a little difficult to make. The main problem was to get the complex curves right. Thin strips of plastic strip were laid alongside each other using the turret base and a line marked on the turret wall to achieve the sloping sides. These were then sanded, filled and sanded again. The main armament was made from knitting needle filed to shape in a hand drill. Auxiliary fuel tanks were made from aluminium tubing capped with plastic sheet.
The models were painted in Humbrol Bronze Green and the red fording depth decals are lining decal.