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Tamiya 1/48 Matilda Mk.III/IV Tank

The Matilda was developed as a heavily armored infantry tank and was one of the British Army’s main tanks in North Africa during WWII. The Matilda swept aside opposing Italian tanks and was respectfully called the “Queen of the Desert” by German forces. During Operation Battle axe to lift the siege of Tobruk in June 1941, German forces famously used their 88mm AA guns in the anti-tank role as they were the only effective counter against Matildas.

The first suggestion for a larger Infantry Tank was made in 1936, with specification A12 and the contractor was decided around the end of the year. The Infantry Tank Mk II was designed at the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich to General Staff specification A.12 and built by the Vulcan Foundry. The design was based on the A7  (which had started development in 1929) rather than on the Infantry Tank Mk I, which was a two-man tank with a single machine gun for armament.

When war was recognised as imminent, production of the Matilda II was ordered and that of the Matilda I curtailed. The first order was placed shortly after trials were completed, with 140 ordered from Vulcan Foundry in mid- 1938.

[Source: Wikipedia]


  • Highly detailed plastic pieces molded in tan
  • Assembly type tracks with one-piece straight sections
  • Realistic cast metal texture on mantlet and hull
  • Metal chassis weights enhance the sense of mass
  • Commander with 3/4 torso figure
  • Waterslide decals
  • Illustrated instructions
    One decal sheet with markings for 3 versions:
  • 1) 42nd Royal Tank Regiment
  • 2) 32nd Army Tank Brigade
  • 3) 49th Royal Tank Regiment


The 1/48th scale Matilda Mk.II/IV model kit from Tamiya was a project I started pretty much last summer. But soon other projects arrived to my office’s desk that had more priority. The kit ended up back in the box to a corner. When I decided to pull it back from the oblivion’s corner, I forgot colors I already started and left the model with. I recalled I was using Tamiya Light Blue XF-23. But I wasn’t sure about the sand and ‘bronze’ looking color on the camouflage pattern. Well, I found which one was the sand color of the base color. After using XF-59 Dessert Yellow for some touch ups, I quickly realized that it wasn’t the color I originally covered the model with. Tamiya’s XF-59 Dessert Yellow has a reddish tinge that honestly, I hate. Well, finally the color after some trials was XF-60 Dark Yellow. I don’t mind that much if the color is a bit dark in this case because one can always light it up a bit during the weathering process. Now I needed to find out what color was the bronze/brownish I also outlined the model with before I sent it to the oblivion’s corner. After a few trial and errors inside the lower hull I found it; It was Tamiya Khaki Drab XF-51.

The kit build very nice and has plenty of nice detail for its scale including separate molded tools. Unlike many of the lower hulls on Tamiya’s 1/48 Miniature Series that are molded in die-cast, the lower hull on this one has 2 metal tubes to add some weight/mass to the model. There was one big mistake I made with this kit and has nothing to do with the fact that it was put on hold for so long. To have the camouflage lines aligned, I cemented the side skirts (parts # B2 & B5) to the upper hull. This came later to haunt me because the roller guides on the inside of the skirts were on the way when I tried to slide the upper to the lower hull. So cementing the side skirts on this kit before its step call out is a no-no my dear friends.

The decal markings were added on puddles of Microsol to avoid giving the model kit a coat of gloss. Once the decals had dried, I gave them a pass of the stronger Walthers Solvaset and once this was dried, the model received a coat of Testors Dullcote in spray before proceeding with the weathering. All weathering was done with a combination of AK Interactive and Ammo by Mig weathering products.

Because I have to put aside some builds to give way to other build priorities, it is not the 1st time that I forget which colors I started X or Y model with I learned my lesson. I’ve got small sticky notes to write down the colors I’m using on models that I have to put aside for some time.

If you like the scale, the 1/48th Matilda MK.II/IV will not disappoint you. It builds very nice with the quality that Tamiya has accustomed us to. This review sample comes courtesy of my wallet and I highly recommend this little gem.

George Collazo
George Collazo

George has been hosting review sites and blogging about toy collectibles, travel, digital photography and Nikon digital imaging since 1998. His first model kit build was a Testors 1/35 DODGE WC-54 in 1984.