Cruiser Tank Mk I (A9)

Cruiser Tank Mk I (A9)

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Cruiser Tank Mk I (A9)

The Cruiser Tank Mk I (A9) was designed to replace the Medium Mk III that had been cancelled due to its high cost, and saw limited service in the first years of the Second World War.

The A9 was designed in response to a General Staff specification of June 1934 that called for a tank with the same firepower and armour as the Vickers Medium Mk III, but that must be cheaper than the A7 or A8 designs. Sir John Carden of Vickers Armstrong responded by reducing the weight of the tank by enough to allow it to be powered by commercially available engines instead of a more expensive purpose-built tank engine. The intention was to use the 7.67litre Rolls-Royce Phantom II but a combination of a higher than hoped weight for the tank and lower than expected power from the engine meant that Vickers had to use a 9.64litre AEC bus engine instead. At this stage it was known as the Medium Mk IV, and would only become the Cruiser Tank Mk I in 1938.

Originally the A9 was to use a smaller gun, but in November 1934 the specification was modified to include the new 2pdr gun. The 2pdr gun had a higher muzzle velocity than the gun it replaced, and thus a flatter trajectory, so was both a more powerful anti-armour weapon and easier to aim. Its only flaw was that its high explosive shell carried a very small charge. The A9 was also the first British tank to have a powered turret traverse, although gun elevation was manually controlled.

The tank carried three .303in machine guns, one mounted in the turret and two in auxiliary turrets mounted at the front of the tank. This was a very outdated design feature even by 1934, but was used because the War Office demanded a very wide field of fire for the hull mounted machine guns.

The prototype underwent trials from July 1936. It was three tons over-weight, had problems with its new suspension design and tended to shed its tracks. Vickers spent most of the next year working on these problems, and when production began in 1937 the A9 was a reliable vehicle.

In 1937 an order was placed with Vickers for 50 Cruiser Tank Mk Is. Eventually 125 were built, fifty by Vickers and seventy five by Harland and Wolff (Vickers moved on to the Cruiser Tank Mk II). Production of both the Mk I and Mk II was limited because the War Office decided to adopt Christie suspension and work moved on to the A13 Cruiser Tank Mk III.

Deliveries began in 1939 and by 3 September 1939 there were 77 Cruiser Tanks Mk I and Mk II in service. This rose to 117 by October, and by May 1940 there were 158 Cruiser Tanks Mk I, Mk II and Mk III in service in France. About a third of the A9s were delivered as the close support Cruiser Tank Mk ICS, armed with a 3.7in howitzer.

The Cruiser Mk I first saw combat in France in May 1940, at which point it was still a new and largely untried machine. It was part of the equipment of 1st Armoured Division, where it was used alongside the A10 Cruiser Tank Mk II, the A13 Cruiser Tank Mk III and a number of light tanks. The division arrived in France in late May. 3rd Royal Tank Regiment was sent to Calais, where it was isolated from the rest of the division and wiped out. The rest of the division landed further west, at Cherbourg. It was then rushed forward to the new front line on the Somme, where it launched an unsuccessful attack on the German lines. On 5 June the Germans attacked the new French line on the Somme, and soon broke through. 1st Armoured Division was forced to race back to Cherbourg,

The first ten A9s reached Egypt in October 1939 and was allocated to the 6th Royal Tank Regiment. By June 1940, when Italy entered the war, all four tank regiments in the 7th Armoured Division had at least one squadron of cruiser tanks, with a mix of Mk Is (A9), Mk IIs (A10) and Mk IIIs (A13). More arrived in September when the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment reached Egypt, equipped with a mix of A9s, A10s and A13s (mainly A13s).

The A9 was used at the battles of Sidi Barrani, Beda Fomm and during Operation Battleaxe, although always in small numbers. In December 1940 at Sidi Barrani the cruiser tanks were used to sweep around the Italian flank, get behind them and prevent reinforcements from reaching the front. At Beda Fomm (January-February 1941) the cruiser tanks took part in the dash across the desert that helped trap large parts of the retreating Italian army. After these two battles the A9 was praised for its reliable engine, the exact opposite of the feedback after the fighting in France in May-June 1940!

In June 1941 the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment (7th Armoured Brigade, 7th Armoured Division) had two mixed squadrons of A9 and A10 cruisers, and one squadron of A13s. Their job during Operation Battleaxe was to break through the Axis front line on Rommel's southern flank, capture Hafid Ridge and drive towards Tobruk. The A9s and A10s were used to make the initial breakthrough. The A13s were then sent through the gap and attacked Hafid Ridge, but were repulsed. Soon after this the last A9s were withdrawn from front line service.

During 1940 the prototype A9E1 was used to test out the idea of an amphibious tank. While the production tanks had been of riveted construction the prototype had used bolts, many of which were missing. The two machine gun turrets added extra problems, and the light-weight tank was surprisingly buoyant. Despite these problems the A9 successfully crossed the River Stour underwater on 24 May 1940.

Cruiser Tank Mk I (A9)

Production: 125
Hull Length: 19ft
Hull Width: 8ft 2.5in
Height: 8ft 8.5in
Crew: 6 (commander, gunner, loader, driver, two machine gunners)
Weight: 28,728lb
Engine: 150hp
Max Speed: 25mph (road), 15mph (cross-country)
Max Range: 150 road radius
Armament: One 2pdr OQF, three .303in Vickers machine guns
Armour: 14mm maximum, 6mm minimum


Britain became interested in fast tanks after observing the Soviet BT tanks during the 1936 Red Army manoeuvres. The BT was based on the revolutionary designs of American J. Walter Christie and a team from Morris Motors was sent to the United States to purchase a Christie tank and the rights to build more. The tank became known as the A13E1 and was delivered in late 1936, but the hull was too small and this led to a second British-built prototype.

The A13E2 was built to mount the turret of the Vickers designed Cruiser Tank MkI (A9). This carried a 40 mm Ordnance QF 2-pounder gun and a co-axial .303 water-cooled Vickers machine gun. The drive train was also revised, with the road wheels no longer powered so the tank could not be driven on its wheels alone. Better tracks were used, with rear-mounted drive sprockets and in trials, over 40 miles per hour (64 km/h) was attained on them but later the speed was governed to 30 miles per hour (48 km/h). The armour of the A13E2 was 15 millimetres (0.59 in), in line with other pre-war fast tank designs.

The A13E3 was the final trials model, which led to the production tank, A13 MkI, Cruiser Tank Mk III, which entered production in 1939 at Nuffield Mechanization & Aero Limited, a munitions subsidiary of Morris Motors. An order for 65 tanks was placed and at least 30 tanks completed when the War Office decided to build a new model with thicker armour. The A13 MkII, Cruiser Tank Mk IV, had a maximum armour thickness of 30 millimetres (1.2 in) and faceted armour was mounted on the original turret sides and rear. This gave the tank a far more modern appearance some Mk III tanks were re-built to Mk IV standard while at the factory.

The .303 Vickers machine gun gave constant trouble and was replaced by the 7.92 mm BESA. All British tanks were to have their designs modified to mount the new weapon from early 1940. This led to the main production version, the A13 MkIIA, Cruiser Tank MkIVA. A few examples were sent with the BEF to France, along with most of the earlier A13s. It is not known how many A13 MkIVA tanks were built - the numbers depending on the source. Between the Cruiser Mark III and Cruiser Mark IV, 665 had been built when production ended in 1941. [2] English Electric, Leyland and LMS Railway were also involved in A13 production.

During the Battle of France, the A13 did not perform well, due to poor crew training as a result of its being rushed into service. Many tanks shipped to France were in poor condition and some were so new that they had vital parts missing. The A13 performed much better in the deserts of North Africa and coped with the conditions better than some other designs. It was fast, adequately armed and armoured against Italian and German tanks. It remained an effective weapon until late 1941, when newer models of the Panzer III and Panzer IV appeared with thicker armour and larger guns. In North Africa, it was the anti-tank gun that claimed the vast majority of British tanks lost in battle German tanks accounted for few British losses, contrary to popular belief. [4]

The Cruiser MkIV was replaced by two tank designs, the Cruiser MkV Covenanter tank and the A15 Crusader. The A13 Covenanter was a radical departure from the original A13 design and constituted an entirely new tank though reliability issues meant to was used just for training. The A15 Crusader tank retained the original Cruiser IV Liberty engine but in all other respects was a new design.

  • 65 MkIII, built 1939 by Nuffield (some converted to MkIV)
  • 225–665 MkIV and MkIVA, built 1939–41 by Nuffield, Leyland, English Electric and LMS.
  • MkIV CS, not built
  • MkV, re-design by LMS Railway as A13, Cruiser Tank MkV Covenanter

Mk IVA / AC Mk IIA Edit

.303 Vickers machine gun replaced with 7.92-millimetre (0.312 in) Besa machine gun. The MkIVA featured a new gun mantlet and was built at several factories, including LMS Railway. It was the main type used in the desert from 1940 to 1942.

Approximately 40 Cruiser Mk IV and MkIVA, saw service in France in 1940 with the 1st Armoured Division of the British Expeditionary Force. [ citation needed ] Most were abandoned at Calais, and the few tanks that did see action were destroyed by the numerically superior German armored forces.

From October 1940, the Cruiser Tank MkIVA was sent to North Africa, where it was used with the older A9, Cruiser Tank MkI and A10 Cruiser Tank MkII. The A13 was never available in sufficient numbers and a typical armoured brigade would have a mixture of slow (10–20 miles per hour (16–32 km/h)) A9 and A10 with faster (30–40 miles per hour (48–64 km/h)) A13 and Light Tank Mk VI (acting as cruiser tanks). This caused tactical and supply difficulties, but the A13 was popular with its crews [ citation needed ] and its only [ citation needed ] deficiency was the lack of a high-explosive shell for the 2-pounder. In common with all cruisers, it was vulnerable to standard Axis anti-tank guns, (unlike the Matilda II infantry tank), which it could only counter with short-range machine gun fire. The A13 was generally reliable [ citation needed ] and the 2-pounder gun was adequate [ citation needed ] against all Axis tanks up to late 1941, when the A13 was retired. It was replaced by the A15 Crusader tank, which was an enlarged A13 with thicker armour.

Nine MkIV tanks captured by the Germans after the Battle of France were reused as command vehicles for Panzer Abteilung (Flamm) .100 during Operation Barbarossa. [5]

Early WWII British Cruiser Tanks

The cruiser tank–sometimes called the ‘cavalry tank’–was seen as a medium-weight, fast machine which could make reconnaissance forays deep into enemy territory, much as horse-mounted cavalry had in former conflicts.

Modern thinking on tank design demands that equal attention be paid to mobility, firepower and protection. These principles were not as well accepted in the mid-1930s when the concept of the cruiser tank was first mooted and the emphasis on the speed of the cruiser tank was generally at the expense of armoured protection and firepower–for the first years of the war, British cruisers were armed only with a 2-pounder (40mm) anti-tank gun.

As the Second World War progressed, the role of the cruiser tank, as originally envisaged, became less and less clear and battlefield experience showed that the cruisers were vulnerable to more powerful German anti-tank weapons–the fearsome 88mm KwK L/56 gun of the Tiger being an extreme case in point. The 2-pounder (40mm) gun was soon replaced by a 6-pounder (57mm) and then, in some cases, by 75mm, 77mm and 17-pounder (76.2mm) guns in an effort to engage German armour on equal terms. Of these, probably only the 17-pounder (76.2mm) and the related 77mm were superior to the German 88mm, particularly when firing armour-piercing discarding sabot (APDS) rounds.

Eleven cruiser tank designs were produced between 1934 and 1945. Some never saw enemy action at all and were retained for training purposes others saw action but were no match for the German machines. Only two of the designs were really satisfactory–the Meteor-engined Cromwell and the up-gunned Comet variant.

Cruiser Tank Mk I (A9)

What became known as the A9 cruiser tank Mk I was originally conceived as a medium tank to replace the Vickers A6 medium tanks Mks I and II. Development work had started in 1934 under the direction of Sir John Carden of Vickers-Armstrongs, with a view to coming up with a cheaper and more effective design. The A9 was notable for being the first British tank to incorporate a ballistically designed hull, albeit that the maximum thickness of armour was not sufficient and the machine-gun turrets were vulnerable. It was also the first to be fitted with a centrally positioned hydraulically powered turret, and was the first to incorporate the Vickers-Gerlach tank periscope, rather than using direct-vision heavy glass blocks. The A9 was also a pioneer in deep wading and, in 1939, one example was successfully driven completely submerged.

The tank was relatively small: the low hull had a length of just 231in and a width of 100in. Riveted construction was used throughout, with a maximum thickness of armour of 14mm, giving a combat weight of around 12 tons. There was no separation of the driving and fighting compartments and the hull must have been a tight fit for the standard six-man crew. Vickers had proposed that a Rolls-Royce Phantom II engine be used, but production vehicles were powered by a rear-mounted AEC A179 six-cylinder petrol engine, producing 150bhp from 9,630cc, and driving the rear sprockets through a five-speed manual gearbox. Utilising the Vickers ‘slow motion’ suspension, the road wheels were arranged in threes on a pair of bogies, the front and rear wheels on each side being of larger diameter. A large single spring was provided for each bogie, together with a Newton and Bennett telescopic hydraulic shock absorber. Top speed was in the order of 25mph on the road and 15mph across country, with a range of 100–145 miles.

For the prototype, the main gun was a 3-pounder (47mm) but all production vehicles were armed with the standard 2-pounder (40mm), together with three Vickers .303in water-cooled machine guns: one coaxial with the main gun, the other two in auxiliary turrets on either side of the hull. A fan was fitted in the hull to clear the gun fumes. There was also a close-support variant–cruiser tank Mk I CS–which mounted a 3.7in howitzer in place of the standard 2-pounder (40mm) gun.

A total of just 125 vehicles were constructed: fifty by Vickers-Armstrongs and seventy-five by Harland and Wolff in Belfast. The Mk I cruisers saw service in France in 1940 and in the Middle East the following year however, although the main gun was effective against the Italian tanks, it was no match for the more sophisticated German machines. The crews also complained that the design was unreliable and was prone to shedding tracks.

Cruiser Tank Mk II (A10)

Three months after starting work on the A9, Sir John Carden’s team at Vickers-Armstrongs began designing an infantry version, designated A10. However, despite the armour being increased to a maximum of 30mm using bolt-on plates, the design was felt to be inadequately protected for the infantry-support role and it was reclassified as a heavy cruiser, becoming the cruiser tank Mk II. Even as a cruiser it was not successful, however, and despite the suspension being found to work well in the desert, the War Office criticised the machine for being slow and underpowered, with a poor cross-country performance.

In design the hull was similar to the A9, although the auxiliary machine-gun turrets were omitted, which allowed the crew to be reduced to five. The Vickers ‘slow motion’ suspension was retained, as was the AEC A179 petrol engine and the five-speed transmission. Measuring 217in in length, making it slightly shorter than the A9, but with the width identical at 100in, the additional armour put the weight up to 13.75 tons, having the effect of bringing the top speed down to 16mph on hard surfaces and 8mph off the road.

The main gun was the 2-pounder (40mm) there was also a single coaxial Vickers .303in water-cooled machine gun, and a 7.92mm Besa machine gun in a barbette to the right of the hull, making it the first British tank to be fitted with an air-cooled machine gun. On the Mk IIA there was an armoured radio housing and a redesigned mount for the main gun the Vickers machine gun was also omitted in favour of a second 7.92mm Besa machine gun. As with the A9, there was also a close-support variant (cruiser tank Mk II CS) mounting a 3.7in howitzer.

Production started in 1938, and the type was built by Vickers-Armstrongs (ten), Metropolitan-Cammell Carriage and Wagon Company (forty-five) and the Birmingham Railway Carriage and Wagon Company (120). Like the A9, the A10 was never considered to be more than a stop-gap measure whilst the A13 was developed.

Cruiser Tank Mk III (A13)

The cruiser tank Mk III was probably the most significant British tank of the interwar period and made much of what had gone before redundant. Developed by Morris Commercial Cars and constructed in small numbers by the company’s newly established munitions subsidiary, Nuffield Mechanizations and Aero, it was the first British tank to incorporate the suspension that had been designed by the American J. Walter Christie. Using a combination of short swinging arms bearing against long coil springs, the suspension gave the tank a standard of off-road performance that was far in advance of anything previously seen in a British tank and the Christie suspension went on to be used on all subsequent British cruiser tanks.

Although Morris Commercial had been supplied with two Christie tanks from the USA during 1936, the hull of these machines was considered to be too small to accept the typical British turret and the decision was made to incorporate the suspension into a completely new hull. The opportunity was also taken to incorporate Newton and Bennett telescopic hydraulic shock absorbers. The A13 was powered by a rear-mounted Nuffield Liberty V12 tank engine, the origins of which went back to an aero engine designed in 1917. With a power output of 340bhp from a capacity of 27,022cc, the engine was coupled to the rear sprockets via a four-speed manual gearbox. In prototype form, the vehicle was capable of a maximum speed on the road of more than 35mph, with 25mph achievable across country–this led to various mechanical problems. Eventually the road speed was governed to 30mph in conjunction, the transmission was modified and the tracks redesigned, with a shorter pitch between links.

With an overall height of 100in, and an overall length of 237in, the A13 seemed long and low, an illusion reinforced by the large-diameter road wheels that also served as track-return rollers. The turret was similar to that fitted to the A9 and A10, and the main gun was the familiar 2-pounder (40mm), together with a coaxial Vickers .303in water-cooled machine gun. The maximum thickness of armour was just 14mm, giving a battle weight of 14 tons.

Trials began in October 1937 in January 1938, even before the trials were completed, sixty-five vehicles were ordered, with deliveries scheduled to begin in early 1939.

Cruiser Tank Mk IV (A13 Mk II)

With the design redesignated as A13 Mk II, the cruiser tank Mk IV was fitted with a new style of turret that incorporated distinctive V-section side plates to give a spaced armour configuration. At the same time, new minimum requirements for the armoured protection of cruiser tanks resulted in the maximum thickness of armour on the hull being increased to 30mm, raising the total weight of the vehicle to 14.75 tons. Some examples were built with additional armour covering the gun mantlet. Whilst the turret may have been redesigned, the main gun was still the 2-pounder (40mm), and there was also a coaxial Vickers .303in water-cooled machine gun, which, on the Mk IVA, was replaced by a Besa 7.92mm machine gun. A close-support variant was also produced, mounting a 3.7in howitzer and designated cruiser tank Mk IV CS. The engine, transmission and running gear were unchanged and, despite the increase in overall weight, the maximum road speed remained 30mph.

Some sources suggest that the total production amounted to 655 vehicles, of which 455 were produced by Nuffield Mechanizations and Aero, and a further 200 by the London Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS) workshops, English Electric and Leyland others suggest that the figure was 240. The A13 Mk II was withdrawn from active service at the end of 1941, but remained in use as a training vehicle.

World War II Database

ww2dbase The Cruiser Mk I (A9) tanks were the first cruiser tanks in the history of the British military, designed to bypass main enemy lines of defense to disrupt communications and logistics in the rear. This first attempt at creating a fast and mobile tank design was fairly successful, but the design did have flaws, such as the relatively thin and vertical armor and the relatively large crew size, but the design was considered good enough for production, which began in 1937. 75 of them were built by Harland and Wolff, and 50 were built by Vickers, bringing the total production number to 125 between 1937 and 1941.

ww2dbase During WW2, Cruiser Mk I tanks were employed by the UK 1st Armored Division in France and by the UK 2nd and 7th Armored Divisions in North Africa. With the latter divisions, they were initially fairly effective in North Africa early in the war, where their QF 2 pounder guns were large enough to punch through the weakly-armored Italian tanks. Once German forces arrived in North Africa en force, however, Cruiser Mk I tanks were quickly rendered obsolete in the face of more modern German tanks and anti-tank weapons.

ww2dbase The later Infantry Mk III Valentine tanks shared the same lower hull structure and suspension systems as the Cruiser Mk I tanks.

ww2dbase Source: Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Aug 2008


MachineryOne AEC 179 6-cylinder gasoline engine rated at 150hp
SuspensionSprung triple wheel bogie
Armament1x40mm QF 2pdr gun (100 rounds), 3x7.7mm Vickers machine guns
Length5.80 m
Width2.50 m
Height2.65 m
Weight12.0 t
Speed40 km/h
Range241 km

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IBG Models 1/72 A9 British Cruiser Tank Mk.I with 2 pdr Gun (WAW011) Build Review

The order of construction here is dictated by the way in which this kit is presented. I want to paint the wheels and tracks before attaching these to the hull. That also means leaving off the track guards until the tracks are painted and attached.

I begin with construction of the hull. There are no particular problems here, though there is an error in the instructions. If you look at the image above, you’ll see that I have fixed part K15, the mounting for the middle return roller, as shown in the instructions.

However, that’s wrong. If you put it there, it not only doesn’t line up with the roller, it will stop the track guards fitting in place. The correct location for this part is lower and further to the rear, arrowed in red on the image above. Everything fits nicely with no need for filler and other than this minor issue, the locations for all parts are clear despite the instructions being rather brief. Some small parts, the headlights, for example, are tricky to remove from the sprues without damage. The plastic is rather soft, the attachment points are thick and you do need to use a very sharp knife. I leave off the exhaust and tools so that I can paint these separately.

Next, the turret, and again, fit is good and construction straightforward. Surface detail and especially the rivets are very well done. The only odd feature is that the Commander’s hatch is square while the opening beneath is circular, but that’s a feature of the original too. The hatch can be fitted open or closed, though because there isn’t a figure or any internal detail, I’m going for closed. The radio antenna is way too thick, so I cut it off the base and I’ll replace it with stretched sprue at some point.

I construct the MG turrets too, but I don’t add them to the hull yet. I think that painting these and the surrounding hull will be easier if I keep them separate for the moment. I do drill a small hole in the base of each and mount them on screws to make handling easier while I’m painting them.

That’s as far as I can go with construction until I have painted the tracks and lower hull. I’m using Vallejo Russian Uniform for the base colour. It isn’t a precise match for Khaki Green G3, but it’s probably close enough. I’m brush painting as usual and there is some very fine surface detail here, so I’ll be building up several coats of very thinned paint.

The suggested paint scheme in the magazine shows the camo extending to the lower hull, under the track guards, to the roadwheels, but I’m not convinced. Looking at wartime photos and images of the A9 in The Tank Museum in Bovington, it seems more likely that the dark green camo pattern was only applied to the track guards and above.

For painting the tracks, I begin with the base green, including highlights. Then I add dark grey for the tyres (and the idler has a rubber tyre as well as the roadwheels) before starting on the tracks. These are painted a lighter grey, then highlighted with gunmetal and given a final acrylic brown wash. Once everything is dry, the tracks and lower hull get a coat of clear varnish and then a wash of dark grey oil to pick out the shadows.

Once they’re painted, I add the track guards to the lower hull and then fix the tracks in place (and you must do it in that order, if you fit the tracks first, it isn’t possible to get the track guards on). Painting the one-piece tracks and running gear is more challenging than working with separate parts, but overall, I’m not unhappy with how it looks in the end.

Next, everything gets a couple of thinned coats of the base colour followed by some drybrushing of edges and details with a lightened version of the same colour.

Then I add the camouflage pattern using a dark green I mixed using Vallejo Dark Grey and Olive Green and following the detailed 3-view drawings in the magazine as a guide. Once it’s done, I again add drybrushed highlights using a lightened tone of the same colour.

Then, I paint on the tools on the track guards and the lens on the turret spotlight and add the shovel and crowbar on the right side of the hull. I also add the decals, and these are commendably thin and densely printed and they go on with no problems using Vallejo Decal Fix and Decal Softener. Strangely, there are spares on the decal sheet – there are three of the blue squares for the turret where only two are needed and two of the 1 st Armoured Division rhinoceros where only one is needed. I suppose it’s always good to have spares.

Finally, it all gets an overall coat of clear varnish followed by an oil wash. I use a dark grey overall wash to highlight shadows with a few spots of white to show streaking and bleaching on the hull and turret. All that’s then left to do is give it a final coat of clear matt varnish, then add a stretched sprue radio antenna on the turret and fix the exhaust to the rear hull and put everything together.

After Action Report

This was a satisfying and simple build. Fit was good, there were no real problems and I rather like the look of the completed model. Detail is sharp and the camo scheme didn’t turn out too badly either.

Don’t let the fact that this is described as a fast-build kit put you off. Yes, the tracks, roadwheels, etc. come as a single part, but detail is generally good. Apart from the tracks themselves of course, and how many small-scale tank kits have I said that about?

This is a fairly cheap kit, but IMHO, it’s as good as or better than many other more expensive kits. The provision of the magazine is a nice touch and it does give some interesting background to the development and use of this tank. And it’s great to find a decent model of a little-known British tank. I haven’t tried any of the other IBG World at War series, but if they’re as good as this little A9, they should be well worth looking out for.

1/72 IBG A9 Cruiser Tank Mk I

This is my first posting of a built model here, hope you like it. Its the brand new 1/72nd scale A9 Cruiser MkI from IBG, sold under their World at War brand. I have to say that for £9.99 here in the UK this is tremendous value for money. I'm no rivet counter (and there are lots of rivets on this kit) but it looks and feels like an A9 to me. The only deal-breaker for some will be the way the tracks are represented, and it really is a shame, considering what IBG are capable of. The wheels and tracks are moulded as a single unit as per some of the other kits they make. The problem here is two fold. Firstly the characteristic slots in the track surface are missing, and secondly there is no representation of the gap between the outer guide horns in the inside of the track. When IBG have done this on other kits I have of theirs it has been fine, as there was only a single centre horn, which is easy to represent with a two part mould. Outside guide horns would be very difficult to represent accurately without making the tracks a separate item. One could also open out the cooling slots over the engine bay. I dodged this with paint.

I painted the kit in a Caunter pattern I found on the web using AK's Real Colours, thinned with Mr Color Self-Leveling Thinner I looked and looked for a prototype to model but couldn't find anything suitable so this is the finished thing with no unit markings. Probably overdid the weathering, but it looks more restrained in the plastic, so to speak, than in the photos.

Next time, and there will be a next time, I really enjoyed building this, I will have a go at making the tracks look better. And add an aerial!

I'm sure someone will come along and tell me why this is nothing like an A9, but It went together in a couple of evenings, fit was good to excellent and with the exception of the tracks was a hugely enjoyable experience, even masking the Caunter scheme.

Plastic Soldier 1/72 A9 Cruiser Tank conversion to A10

Posted by huib on 12 Feb 2019, 15:36

Recently I built two A9 Cruiser Tank Mk.I's from Plastic Soldiers 1/72 series. They feature three quick build vehicles in one box, intendend for wargaming. You can see the result of these builds here .

Now I intend to convert the third model in the box into a slightly different type: the A10 Cruiser Tank Mk.II, also known as heavy cruiser.

The box.

Two sprues to make one tank, with different parts to make several versions. In the box are six sprues to build three tanks.

The A9 Cruiser Mk.I was a lightly armoured fast tank, equipped with two 1930's style machine gun turrets on the fron hull.

The A10 Cruiser Tank Mk.II was a direct derivate of the A9, intended to create a cheap heavily armoured Infantry Tank. Therefore the armour was upgraded and the machinegun turrets were replaced with a more conventional boxlike structure for the driver and the machinegunner. Although unsuitable as an Infantry Tank, it made a useful heavy Cruiser Tank which was deployed in France in 1940, in the early desert campaign and in Greece in the spring of 1941.

I intend to make an example from the campaign in Greece, inspired by the following pictures:

Posted by huib on 12 Feb 2019, 15:39

The build is started by removing some superflouous plastic:

The lower and upper hull from the box.

After removing some parts of the upper hull, necessary to build the A10 hull front.

And now to build things up again!

Posted by huib on 14 Feb 2019, 18:30

Reconstructing the front hull

After cutting away the front of the A9 hull. I now have to replace it with an A10 hull front. But first:

Due to the injection moulding, the tracks guiding teeth are massive blocks. To improve that I cut away some parts of the track, shaped the guiding teeth with a very small file, and replaced the track parts.

Next is a new glacis plate.

Then the hull top and bottom and the tracks were glued together. A new hull front plate was added in connection to the glacis plate.

The boxlike superstructure, scratched from 1mm styrene sheet.

The superstructure roofed.

Then the quite complex shaped addtions to the superstructure were added. All irregular shapes

From the other side.

The basic shape of the superstructure is ready now. On to some detailing including 100+ rivets!

Posted by Dad's Army on 14 Feb 2019, 19:10

Posted by Wiking on 14 Feb 2019, 23:33

The pic with the greek text at the house
as a dio is in my head since years.

Nice that you do that tank in Greece.

Look like a good start the cut and glued scratch parts.
I really hope you surwive the rivets challenge.

Posted by Jaques on 15 Feb 2019, 00:55

Posted by huib on 03 Nov 2019, 14:54

Thank you guys! This build stalled for for about 9 months, due to several group builds on different fora that I committed myself to. But now I picked it up again with renewed enthousiasm. And I managed to overcome the rivet issue.

Posted by huib on 03 Nov 2019, 14:57

The new built front of my A10 was of course lacking the surface detail present on the rest of the kit. This mainly means rivets, but also hatches, persiscopes, etc. But especially the rivets were labour intensive. I made them from stretched sprue.

Especialy the front plate is rivetters paradise!

Now I am working on the tools and other details on the rest of the hull.

Posted by C M Dodson on 03 Nov 2019, 16:05

Posted by Beano Boy on 03 Nov 2019, 22:55

Beano Boy Supporting Member (Gold)
Posts: 7683 Member since:
03 Sep 2013, 14:45

Posted by huib on 04 Nov 2019, 15:42

Last weekend I made a lot of progess during a local modelling event.

Detail was added to the complete hull. Most conspicoius is the big long range fuel tank on the left fender. Furthermore headlights, a Besa gun, tools, fire extinguishers and a rearview mirror.

On the back the rack for petrol cans is most conspicious, together with the protective maze for the exhaust. Also handrails, hatches, tools, etc.

Now to continue with the turret.

Posted by Peter on 04 Nov 2019, 22:26

Posted by Hellboy on 05 Nov 2019, 21:40

Posted by huib on 05 Nov 2019, 21:49

Thank you, Peter and Hellboy!

I continued with the turret:

The biggest conversion on the turret was the gun mantle. This is a totally different model than on the A9: a cast iron block of organic shape. I tried to replicate it using milliput, that I first shaped by hand and than with a lot of filing and sanding. I used the 2 pounder barrel from the kit, and built a frame around the mantle from plastic card and iron wire. The two rings on the turret side are spare rubber bands from the road wheels. You can often see them on contemporary pictures.

The inside of the hatches got some attention, as well as the search light and the folding mechanism of the antenna. On the turret side a welded on ammunition box for extra stowage, a detail that was also inspired by photographic references.

Ready for a bit of paint, I think.

Posted by huib on 08 Nov 2019, 15:39

While searching for references for my A10 conversion I was much attrected by the beautiful camouflage pattern on this drawing:

A10 Cruiser Mk.IIA in Greece, 3rd Royal Tank Regiment, April 1941.

The A10 on this drawing has no dustboard over the left track. I couldn't find however an original picture on which this drawing was based. The picture that comes closest is this one:

A10 Cruiser Mk.II in Greece.

This one also doesn't have dust board over the left track. oh wait, have a good look. there are the remains of a torn off dust board on the left fender. So it had a dustboard once.

Other pictures of A10's in Greece all show dustboards on the left (and not the right!) track. You can see for your self:

This one.

. and this one.

Till now I built my model without the dust board, but I start realising now that the drawing might be wrong. All A10's that were transported to Greece in April 1941 came directly from North Africa, were the dustboards were normal and necessary to keep dust out of the air intakes of the engine and cooling system.

So in this late stage of the build I changed my mind and decided to add a dustboard. I cut it from the alternative upper hull from the sprue and glued it to the fender of the model.

Some filler was needed for a smooth finish.

I am happy I succeeded without damaging some fragile details.

Now its really time for some paint!

Posted by Graeme on 09 Nov 2019, 12:43

Another amazing conversion, the rebuild of the front section is excellent..

I know it will look great after painting but it's good to stop and look for a while at the finished model before paint, with the mismatched colours showing all the work you've put in. fabulous job!

P.S. I tried counting the rivets but there were too many for me to keep track of.

Posted by C M Dodson on 10 Nov 2019, 09:46

Really excellent modelling and super research.

Posted by huib on 13 Nov 2019, 21:32

I was much attracted by this camouflage scheme of a Cruiser Mk.IIa of 3rd Royal Tank Regiment during the Greek campaign in april 1941, that I found in the Tank Encyclopedia. But I do not know were this scheme is based on.

Bronco suggests the same scheme for a 1/35 scale kit of this tank. But I couldn't find any fotographic evidence of this scheme. Still I choose to make is as it is very coloful and exotic.

I suspect this scheme is a variety of Caunter Scheme, with addition of a red brownish color, probably Purple Brown No.49. So I used the colours I used for Caunter Scheme earlier:

- Humbrol 121 for Portland Stone
- Humbrol 240 (RLM 02) for Silver Grey
- Revell 42 for Slate
- Revell 84 for Purple Brown.

I first covered the whole tank in Portland Stone. As I used this as a primer too, it took me four successive layers to reach sufficient opacity.

Then the first color of the scheme: Silver Grey.

The second colour: Slate. You have to study the images very good, as it is a very complex scheme to paint.

And the third colour: Purple Brown. The scheme now is very hard with a lot of contrast, but I hope after weathering, having used some filters and drybrushing, it will tone down a lot.

After that I painted all detail.

Now for a gloss cote and decals.

British Cruiser Tank Mk I (the A9) - technical question

Oct 08, 2020 #1 2020-10-08T21:26

Can anyone track down the turret ring diameter of the A9 please? I have a vague suspicion that it was probably 54 inches but would welcome some confirmation (or otherwise) of that please.

Oct 08, 2020 #2 2020-10-08T23:18

Oct 09, 2020 #3 2020-10-09T04:57

Oct 09, 2020 #4 2020-10-09T20:05

Thanks both for the responses. I'm currently re-evaluating some research I did a few years ago on CDL tanks. The first British prototype turret (in 1938) was to be fitted to an A9 and later an order was apparently placed for 100 production turrets to be fitted to Valentines. The first turrets I can definitely trace were fitted to the Matilda and the order quantities do not match the figure of 100.

My curiosity is whether the A9 and Valentine had similar turret ring diameters to the Matilda or whether the 'Matilda' turrets had to be designed to fit a different turret ring diameter to the earlier design.

Oct 10, 2020 #5 2020-10-10T05:49

Best of luck with your research. I cannot suggest a source for turret ring diameters, it is not the sort of thing usually recorded outside design offices.

As an aside, there is a very short article in the Friends of the Tank Museum Magazine TRACKLINK Issue 102 for Summer 2020 on the "Canal Defence Light" on a Carden-Loyd Carrier which new research suggests was something else entirely.

Oct 10, 2020 #6 2020-10-10T09:20

Having seen photos of the early, unarmoured CDL lights fitted onto Renault UE tractors (much of the development work in the 1930s was done in France), anything may be possible. There was a definite difference of opinion on whether the ideal chassis for the CDL project should be 'light' or 'heavy' - some argued for a tankette/carrier-type chassis whilst others suggested the Vickers Medium would be a better choice.

Unfortunately my Friends membership lapsed a while ago so I no longer receive the magazine.

Oct 10, 2020 #7 2020-10-10T15:12

A quick measure of the Bradford plans of the A9 shows the outer diameter of the lower round section of the turret to be 63.5". However, his A10 plans in the same book of the same turret show the lower section to be 60.5" outer diameter. A 54" ring diameter is certainly feasible in either case.

His plans of the Matilda II show an outer diameter of 64.5" for the thicker turret and those for the Valentine show a much smaller 55" outer diameter. The small diameter of the Valentine ring was of course one of the reasons why it was so hard to upgun and most versions only has a 2-man turret.

So it would appear that the Matilda and A9/A10 might have had the same ring size, but the Valentine did not. Which might explain why the Matilda got the gig as the production CDL platform rather than the Valentine although there were many more Valentines. Not forgetting that the CDL turret was also fitted to the Churchill with an outer turret diameter of about 63" and the M3 Medium with an outer diameter of about 65".

British tank crusader A9 help to identify

Post by Leclerc1944 » 29 Aug 2007, 21:13

hi, now i come to specialist, because would identify, the correct version, whas crusader MKI A9 Tank!

so can't you me help to identify, the correct version by this 3 photo!
because, on one site, one model is identified as A9, and by other site, same model is identify as A10, and so i have found 2 different model! (we on each model, whas difference, called A9) and another with designation A10

ok here, first model! (with a serial HWH848, i think that is a serial. )

and now second model (BWW133)

and here third model! (BWW835)

so what photo is correct, for Crusader A9 MKI, all site, announce that Crusader tank version, has begun called A9, so i think, that nothing give a previous version, called A8.

and now, i have found this on a swedish or norvegian site! . k1/mk1.htm

but i have just can read valentine!, for HWH 848, but if a swedish people is here, it's possible to translate this text tank's!

Re: British tank crusader A9 help to identify

Post by redcoat » 29 Aug 2007, 21:55

Leclerc1944 wrote: hi, now i come to specialist, because would identify, the correct version, whas crusader MKI A9 Tank!

so can't you me help to identify, the correct version by this 3 photo!
because, on one site, one model is identified as A9, and by other site, same model is identify as A10, and so i have found 2 different model! (we on each model, whas difference, called A9) and another with designation A10

ok here, first model! (with a serial HWH848, i think that is a serial. )

and now second model (BWW133)

These two are both Cruiser Tanks Mk I.( Known at first as the A9) the minor differences is probably due to the fact that two companies built this tank, Vickers and Harland and Wolff.

ps, the serial on the front of the tank is actually a traffic number plate to allow the tank to be used on public roads

and here third model! (BWW835)

Post by Leclerc1944 » 29 Aug 2007, 22:32

ok many thanck's for explain, redcoat, so HWH 848, don't whas first valentine prototyp?

so we norvegian or swedish link site as say!
i think, that what i have can translate, would say prototyp!
from this link!

Post by phylo_roadking » 29 Aug 2007, 23:10

Leclerc, those pics have bee cribbed from here

and go down the left side and click on "Great Britain".

Bookmark the site, its a good reference for anything tankish up to 1948-50 except Germany.

Post by Leclerc1944 » 29 Aug 2007, 23:33

English version under Construction

this done after i click on index "down left side" (many thanck's)

but i don't can translate this sentence:

no sorry, i would know, what whas write on my link!

Re: British tank crusader A9 help to identify

Post by cbo » 30 Aug 2007, 14:51

A9E1, which was the prototype for the A9

A10E1 prototype. It was later rebuilt with a flat front to accomodate a hull machinegun, meeping the A10E1 designation.

The production version was the A10.

The A9 was Tank, Cruiser Mk I

The A10 was first Tank, Cruiser Heavy Mk I, then relabelled to Tank, Cruiser Mk II. When the Vickers coax was replaced by the BESA, it became Tank, Cruiser Mk IIA.

Later, names were given to different tank types and "Crusader" was a name for a later cruiser tank but had nothing to do with the A9 and A10.

None of these tanks were prototypes for the Valentine. The Swedish homepage you refer to call them predecessors of the Valentine, whatever is meant by that.

Valentine was a independent design by Vickers, which was not made to a War Office specification, so the Valentine never got an A-number, which was a design specification assigned by the War Office. It used different parts from the A9 and A10, engine, transmission and suspension, but it was not really a development on either of the two. The War Office first rejected the Valentine when it was offered in 1938 but accepted it in 1939 as Tank, Infantry Mk III.

Cruiser Tank Mk I (A9) - History

WAW012 – A9 CS Close Support British Cruiser Tank Mk. VI

“Cruiser Tank” was the British term for its medium-weight tanks intended to be used by Armoured Divisions. The first of these was known as the A9 after the original War Office specification for the type. The naming system changed in mid-1940 after which it became known as Cruiser I. Development took place at a slow pace by Vickers. The earliest design sketch was drawn in 1934, building work on the prototype began in late 1935 and following trials and modifications it was accepted for service in June 1937. Production began in January 1939, by the outbreak of World War II in September 1939 there were 35 in service. The last of 125 vehicles was delivered in June 1940. Armour protection was no more than 14mm but its 2pdr main gun was as good against tanks as any comparable weapon of that time. Secondary armament was one .303” Vickers water-cooled machine gun mounted next to the 2pdr, two more machine guns were fitted in small turrets at the sides of the driver. This meant the crew was six men. Some tanks carried a 3.7” Mortar in place of the 2pdr to fire smoke shells.

Watch the video: Tank Chats #78 Cruiser Mark I A9. The Tank Museum