Tracked Rapier entered service in 1983 following the cancellation of an order placed by the Shah of Iran. The Systems equipped 2 of the 4 Batteries in the 2 Germany based Air Defence Regiments and provided Area air defence in the forward areas where their enhanced mobility and time into action were seen as an advantage. With each launcher capable of covering 100 square kilometres the 48 systems offered considerable cover to the forward deployed divisions.
The Cromwell model is moulded in white resin, the parts are finely moulded and whilst there is a degree of flash on the smaller items this is easily removed. There were no air bubbles on either of the two copies I received and the level of detail and accuracy is high. The kit does not include the track guards but pictures show the vehicle deployed both with them with and without them. The track Gurads would be relatively Easy to scratch build or re use from one of the many M113 kits on the market.
Fit is generally good and the limited number of parts mean the model is quickly assembled, reference to images of the vehicle are helpful in construction. The only difficulty I experienced in construction was fitting the missile containers to the launcher this is done on a single resin peg and might be better drilled and pinned.
From pictures of the vehicle deployed on exercise they were well camouflaged but lightly stowed. I intended to do one in road mode and the other static and camouflaged in a fire position. Camouflage consisted of draped hessian and hessian roles with extensive draping of camouflage nets and hessian over both the cab and the launch unit. Most bulky items would probably have been carried in the accompanying M548.
After looking at the model it seemed a pity to conceal so much of the detail so the end result is not quite as drastic as those shown in the images. I am quite surprised by the cam nets on the launch units as fouling here would have a good chance of rendering the system inoperable. The Crew and Stowage details are as follows:
- The crew figure is Britannia.
- The rolls of Hessian are made from green stuff, which is rolled, attached to the vehicle then marked using a wet knife.
- The Cam Nets are non elasticated bandage covered in white glue. The overall effect is built up using a number of different strips pasted over the top of each other.
I painted the vehicle in line with the Cam schemes previously described but having moved onto an airbrush and Tamiya paints I used the following colours
- Olive Drab XF- 67 as the base colour
- This was oversparyed with 50:50 XF -67 and XF- 65 Field grey.
- Nato Black XF-69 was used for the disruptive pattern.
- Pin wash used a mix of GW Badab Black and Agrix Earth Shade.
- areas of the vehicle had filters applied that were dilute solutions of badab black
- Cam Netts were painted inVallejo Bronze Green and the Drapes were Vajello Olive grey, highlighted with Grey Green
- Reds, Yellows Oranges were all Tamiya paints
the vehicles was marked in line with the images in this post using the TS Modelblau 1/87 decal set. The image above shows the markings on the missile well, whilst the vehicle markings are outlined in the Image below and included:
- Weight Classification
- National Symbol
- Battery Symbol
- Warning Symbols
The RA Symbols on this vehicle are unlikely to have been used in the field during the Cold War so I have not included them. All up a very pleasant build and a very nice model.
The vehicles were obtained via an excellent service provided by Charles Mclaren who can be contacted at email@example.com. The service is highly reliable and provides assured access to the Cromwell range with prompt and responsive communication. A lot of the Cromwell battle ready range is being discontinued which is a shame as their are some very useful models in the range that are difficult to source elsewhere.
- Military Database, Germany based military exercise picture database
- walk round and description on Harvey Blacks website
- Armorama walk round
- Encyclopaedia of the Modern British Army
- The British Army in Germany: An Organizational History 1947-2004
- Cromwell Kit list
- Modelling - Stowing Cold War British Vehicles
- ORBAT - 1980s British Air Defence
- ORBAT - 1980's British BG Part 3, Equipment Change
- ORBAT - 1980's British BG Part 5, Artillery