Gecko Models has finally arrived on the scene with some style with the release of three different kits covering the A10 Cruiser Tank in 1/35th scale. The three variants covered in this release are the A10 Mk 1A, A10 Mk 1 and A10 Mk 1A CS, as you can see the three vehicles covered are similar but each have their differences from an external appearance. I am going to say right from the start that I am impressed at what Gecko Models has offered in their initial releases.
I am going to start the review with the commonalities in the three models and that begins with the lower hull. The hull has been made using four panels covering the floor, sides and front portions, this approach by Gecko Models has allowed a lot of detail to be moulded in a clear and precise manner with a very high degree of accuracy when checked against images of the A10 on display at Bovington Tank museum that I took a number of photographs of.
Something that makes these offerings stand out from previous releases from others is that an interior is included; it is not a full interior but a good amount none the less. I have no reference for the interior and so I have relied upon videos produced by Nicholas Moran and included them with this review. The control sticks are accurate in look and location, the gear shifter also appears to be a good representation. The drivers seat looks an excellent offering, but the radio operators seat is a repeat of the drivers side and the video which shows the interior of the Bovington A10 indicates that the radio operators seat was not in any way as detailed. The raised area beside the driver is very well replicated and while I cannot see the instrument cluster present there I appreciate its inclusion.
The fire wall between the fighting compartment and the engine bay is very nicely represented in the model and this will add a nice backdrop inside the tank when viewed from the front through the bulkhead opening between the turret area and the front portion of the vehicle. The front bulkhead is a fairly plain detail but it needed to be there for accuracy. The front plate of the hull with its ribs has been well replicated and I am both surprised and pleased at the level of detail from a single piece moulding. Also included here is some ammunition for the main gun that initially caused me concern as there are two different guns across the line of tanks, I need not be concerned as Gecko Models considered this and supplied the correct ammunition for each of the three models.
The next area I looked at was the suspension, wheels and drives. The suspension on the A10 is the same as the Valentine and is quite a complex area of the model that has been very well tackled by Gecko Models. Every attribute of the suspension units has been made workable and will remain workable if care is taken during assembly, that said I would always advise that once the desired position is achieved the suspension is locked down to prevent breakages in the future. The details on the suspension all appear to be accurate as far as I can see and I am also pleased to see that the wheels retain the ability to rotate after being added to the model as that makes painting them an easier task.
The plates that protect the springs and such that are on the suspension have been supplied as injection moulded plastic parts where as previously I have usually seen these parts supplied as photo etched parts, however looking at the parts I am pleased to say that the thickness and detail is well done and will of course be easier to deal with than photo etch. The drive wheel has a very nice level of detail that will look good and again retains the ability to rotate. The only wheels that do not rotate after assembly are the return rollers which I find acceptable. The tracks supplied are workable and consist of twin pins being trapped between an upper and lower track pad. These are not the easiest tracks to assemble as it is easy to get glue where you don’t want it, but Gecko Models has supplied a jig to help you with assembly and holding parts in place. One observation is that Gecko Models state 74 links per side where as I am informed it should be 73, that said I am not going to get excited by 1 link different.
Moving onto the upper hull of the model from Gecko Models and we continue to be presented with some very nice detail. The armoured plate in front of the driver and radio operator has a very nice full BESA machine gun. The viewing slot for the driver can be assembled opened or closed which is a nice inclusion. The interior face of the armoured plate is also detailed but I admit I do not know what the added details represent.
The main upper portion of the hull continues to have added interior detail in the form of an instrument panel. The bolt detail is well represented and appears to be accurate from what I can see. Due to the complex shape of the upper hull there are a number of panels that need to be added and so care will need to be taken to insure that the angles are correct when added. The turret ring has been cleverly moulded and has enabled the ring to be moulded as a single piece and still have all of the bolt detail that surrounds it. The hatches on the hull have all been offered separately and designed so that they can be added in an open or closed position and that includes the engine hatch if you know where one can be obtained. The headlights have been supplied hollow with clear lenses provided. The driver periscope has been supplied in a way that allows it to rotate after being added and so can be set in the position desired by the modeller.
The air intakes have also been provided in an interesting way that has allowed the complex structure to be well detailed and also easy to assemble. When adding the grab handles to these units make sure to correctly add them as they are different sizes. The exhaust is a very accurate representation of the real thing, in particular the shroud for the exhaust that is supplied in two pieces of photo etch that has a solid shield at the bottom and vented at the top. Gecko Models has also correctly shaped the solid portion that allows the exhaust to correctly attach to the hull. The only disappointment for me is that Gecko Models has not provided the exhaust pipe as a slide moulded part and so some work with a drill bit will be needed.
One area where the three models do differ is the mudguards where most of the tools are stored on the vehicles and in two of the cases an external fuel tank. The thickness of the various mudguards is very good and should meet with approval in most cases. The rubber portions of the mudguards have no distortions present and so do not stand out as a rubber area of the vehicle, but the wave pattern where rubber and mudguard meet is well replicated. The brass fire extinguishers are nicely replicated and these are supplied with the information/usage plaques. The external fuel tank supplied with two of the models is well replicated and has nice brackets made with a mix of plastic and photo etch; with that said I would not utilise the fuel tank as I cannot believe that the British Army sent tank drivers to war with a full fuel tank next to his hatch.
The lower interior of the turret is the same in all three cases which is understandable. The commanders seat is very nicely tackled as is the ammunition bin, but I do wonder if the bin was different depending on if it contained ammunition for the 2 pounder gun or the 3.7 inch howitzer. Items such as the turning gear have also been very well replicated. The result of this is a very nice turret basket with a good level of detail in place.
The main guns of the models have been nicely slide moulded making life easy for the modeller. The full breeches of both guns have been very well replicated with excellent detail throughout. The BESA machine guns are full offerings and so offer a nice addition. The sighting devices are excellent but are very complex which will make assembly difficult in the case of the 3.7 inch howitzer version, but if you have the hatches open the detail will be seen and the work effort appreciated. The 2 pounder versions are easier to tackle as it was aimed manually as opposed to gearing systems. The rest of the interior faces of the turret have been detailed in some places, but of particular note is the radio array at the rear of the turret with photo etched grill protectors. The interior roof of the model also has detail present, but I cannot see how these details will be seen.
The exterior of all three turrets is the same with the exception of the main gun differences and I have not been able to figure out if this is correct or not. Again Gecko Models has done an excellent job on the raised bolt detail and without counting them I believe they are correct in placement and number. The turret hatches can again be added in an open or closed position, and with the very nice level of detail inside I would recommend leaving the hatches open. The single periscope is again able to be rotated.
Each of the models offered by Gecko Models of the A10 has a different figure supplied with them. All of the figures are British or Common Wealth troops and they are moulded to a very high standard, 2 of these are dressed in shorts and so ideally suited to desert and Italian theatres unless shown inside the turrets, I would have liked to see these two figures with legs that fitted into the shorts as this would have allowed for some pleasing undercut detail. One of the figures is looking through binoculars and the other is enjoying a cuppa. The last figure is in what I believe is coveralls and is provided with the option of a beret or tank helmet.
35GM0001 – Cruiser Tank A10 Mk 1A CS
HQ C Squadron, 3rd Royal Tank Regiment, 1st Armoured Brigade, 2nd Armoured Division, Greece 1941
B Squadron, 3rd Royal Tank Regiment, 1st Armoured Brigade, 2nd Armoured Division, Greece 1941
A Squadron, 5th Royal Tank Regiment, 3rd Armoured Brigade, 2nd Armoured Division, North Africa 1941
35GM0002 – Cruiser Tank A10 Mk 1A
C Squadron, 2nd Royal Tank Regiment, 1st Armoured Division, UK 1940
B Squadron, 3rd Royal Tank Regiment, 2nd Armoured Division, Greece 1941
C Squadron, 3rd Royal Tank Regiment, 2nd Armoured Division, Greece 1941
HQ, 2nd Royal Tank Regiment, 1st Armoured Division, UK 1940
HQ Squadron, 2nd Royal Tank Regiment, 7th Armoured Division, Libya 1940-41
35GM0005 – Cruiser Tank A10 Mk 1
9th Queens Royal Lancers, HQ Squadron, 2nd Armoured Brigade, 1st Armoured Division, France 1940
HQ, 1st Armoured Division, France 1940
HQ, 5th Royal Tank Regiment, HQ Squadron, 3rd Armoured Brigade, 1st Armoured Division, France 1940
HQ, 3rg Armoured Brigade, 1st Armoured Division, France 1940
German Tank Crew Training Unit, Kummersdorf, Germany, 1940
Having looked over these three offerings from Gecko Models cover the A10 Cruiser Tank I can only say very well done. The inclusion of workable tracks, suspension and wheels was a nice starter for 10, but then this was bettered by a partial interior that allows the modeller to open the vehicle up without the need for scratch work or further expense. The interior could also be looked upon as a starting point for someone who wants to take this model even further. The only downside I can come up with was the exhaust pipe not being hollowed out, which with it being a reasonably easy task to rectify is in no way a deal breaker. Perhaps one aspect that finishes these three kits off a treat is the inclusion of a different figure in each offering which is a nice touch.
These are the two videos produced by the Chieftain covering the A10 on display at Bovington Tank museum and he covers both the outside and interior.
Highs: The effort that has gone into the interior, suspension and topped off with a figure.Lows: I can only critique the exhaust pipe not being hollowed out.Verdict: These three offerings are all high quality offerings that offer a lot for the modeller and very little to complain about.