by: Frederick Boucher [ ]
Aurora was one of the pioneers of plastic modeling. Their large series of standardized 1/48 scale models of aircraft and armor evolved from toy models into models as miniature prototypes that we expect today. However, Aurora’s star dimmed and some of their models were issued under the K&B logo. Eventually Aurora died. Some of their molds were acquired and reissued by other companies. Monogram’s 1/48 F-111, A-7, Fokker D.VII, Sopwith Camel and Se-5a are Aurora models. It was reported that Monogram bought the lion’s share of the Aurora tooling but that most molds were destroyed in a train wreck in the late 1970s.
Aurora has never been considered in the same league as Tamiya, but some of their 1/48 armor produced in the 1960s is as good, if not better, than what Tamiya released at that time. Their PzKpfw V Panther, PzKpfw VI Tiger II, IS-3 (or T-10 ?) Stalin, and M-46 Patton are considered toys in need of complete rebuilding. Aurora’s Churchill was a fair model and definitely one of the cooler tanks Aurora gave the modeling world! Your reviewer offers mainly photographs and defers to you, as to whether that still holds true.
The Churchill was a heavily armored infantry tank. It was designed with a hull-mounted 75mm cannon and a 2-pounder in the turret; the hull gun was quickly deleted. It was successful despite an obsolescent design, slow speed, and small turret that limited it to small guns. That small turret could hold a surprise -- the Churchill VII mounted a 95 mm howitzer. See the photos for Aurora’s history of the tank!
Aurora issued this model in several phases: the long thin box of this review, the sturdy square box with dramatic box art, and the 1970's small box featuring a photo of the built model.
The kit consists of 87 parts of hard olive styrene (including four figures), and a pair of vinyl rubber band tracks. The parts vary between sharp and soft molding. Many suffer from molding and ejector marks, some sinkholes, and minor flash. There is no texture on the armor plating. No attempt to simulate any weld seams.
Fine detail is molded on the turret and hull surfaces. The tools and other storage are also molded on. There is some hinge detail for access hatches but none for the turret hatches; they open and close via hideous snap-tight fittings.
The figures have soft detail and some mold marks. Their detail quality is pictured for you to judge. The late 1960 square-box releases of Aurora’s kits were so shaped to accommodate a vacuform terrain display base.
Decals and painting
Aurora included markings for one tank, T215625. A light and dark camouflage pattern is shown but not described. Aside from the flesh of the figures, not painting directions are provided. Aurora’s own paints are referenced.
These models show up for sale online and at shows from time to time. Depending on the issue and box, prices vary dramatically. For those with a critical eye, detail references, and patience, this model can be improved. Not a bad model though the Churchill is mainly worth having for nostalgia and fun.
Click here for additional images for this review.