The Linebreaker: A39 Tortoise from Die Waffenkammer!

Clean casting, lots of spare parts, easy to built and pretty much no need for gap filling. Beautiful.

So, despite my recent endeavour to make Operation Sea Lion a thing, I do play far more Konflikt 47 then Bolt Action. My games with Paul over at the Clubhouse is basically Konflikt 47 but with pretty much everything but the kitchen sink added to it. Occult? Check. Vampire aristocratic Germans? Yes. “Mad Jack” Churchill in powered armour. Oh yeah.

Naturally, this opens up a lot of fun options. I also love obscure WW2 armour, and I got quite a treat when I discovered a Canadian miniatures company called Die Waffenkammer. This small operation makes absolutely beautiful kits of some of the weirdest and wackiest WW2 vehicles you can imagine, alongside regular vehicles. I had heard good things, but never actually ordered anything.

However, I got quite a neat surprise when I opened up the website and checked out the British section. Inside was both this tank, the A39 Tortoise, and my favourite tank, the Tog 2. While my heart said Tog, my brain rationalized that the Tortoise, being a late war development, made more sense in the expanded war of Konflikt 47. So, I went with that first. The Tog is next, for sure!

First, a bit of history!

The big monster, at the Bovington Tank Museum in the United Kingdom. While its not the biggest tank, it has a certain presence about it.

The Tortoise was developed from 1943 onwards, as part of a series of line-breaking assault tanks, a program that also produced the A33 Excelsior, as well as developments to increase the armour on Churchill tanks. The goal: to produce a vehicle that could punch right through the Siegfried Line and other heavy German defenses.

Nuffield Mechanizations and Aero Limited came up with the Tortoise over a period of time, going through 18 designs, each heavier and more armoured then the last. Finally, in February 1944, design AT16 was completed and approved by the Tank Board, who then ordered 25 right off the drawing board, with no prototype! The goal was to have them ready by September 1945.

The Tortoise was very difficult to transport!

Of course, the war ending made the tank pointless. As well, the German defensive lines it was designed to break were simply bypassed, a smart ploy by the Allies. Only six were built, and one was sent to Germany for trials. It performed well, if not a bit slow. A reliable vehicle, it also used its 32 Pounder main gun quite effectively, being a stable and accurate gun platform. It easily could penetrate most German designs at the end of the war. But, there simply wasn’t a need for it anymore.

Few remain. The one at Bovington, a mild steel(not meant for combat!) version remains in running order. Another lies in a military training area in Scotland, lieing out in the moor and difficult to recover. Finally, a shell used as target practice lies in Dorset. It is nothing more then scrap.

Onto to the kit!

I recieved the kit quickly once it was cast, and it was extremely well packaged. No metal parts here, and in a touch I quite liked, the barrel of the 32 Pounder had a length of cardboard attached to keep it straight. While it was still a little bent, it was bent far less then some kits I have recieved from other, bigger companies in the past. As it was resin, it was a breeze to fix.

As always with resin kits, I washed the parts thoroughly with Dawn dish soap and water. This was to remove the mold release.

The Hull went together with the tracks quickly and easily. I did scrub the pieces in soapy water before assembly, to remove any mold release.

Honestly, the kit was so easy to build I didn’t document many of the steps. The instructions, as they are, are mostly a parts listing and a few reference photos, and that combined with the internet helped me to built it correctly.

I did however make a few alterations. I magnetized the barrel. This was for two reasons, ease of transport and also so I could mount a Weird War weapon onto it. I also magnetized the machine-gun turret on the top, mostly so it won’t fall off during gameplay and still remain moveable.

Added magnets, simple as. Nothing too difficult here!
The magnets I had on hand simply worked; I just dropped them in. I did remove the mounting points on both the main gun and the machine gun turret to ensure a mostly flush fit. Its not perfect, but its good enough for my purposes.
The resin is very easy to work with, a great material. I used a large drill bit to make the hole needed here.
I also just trimmed away the mounting point on the 32 Pounder, and slapped a magnet on it.

Die Waffenkammer does supply a generous amount of crew and stowage, but I have yet to use the stowage. I kept the crew off, while I usually like unbuttoned crew I figured a tank like this is going full-bore into enemy lines. No need to stick your head out and get shot!

The completed Tortoise. I’m quite happy with it! I can’t wait to spring this on my Clubhouse friends…if I can convince them to let me use it!
This model has an imposing presence, especially considering its 1/56th scale. Die Waffenkammer does have a bigger tank, the T28, but I don’t play Yanks so I don’t have an interest in it….but I have a friend who does, who intends to get it!
An excellent tank butt. Loads of detail here too, which should take paint really well.
Unfortunately, my magnet work in the hull is off, making the barrel not straight. But it could move, so it works!
Loads of detail on the top as well!

Of course, I need to show you some comparisons in scale. I don’t own a Sherman, which seems to be the best tank to compare things to. But I made do!

A Konflikt 47 Grizzly Walker on the left, and a Rubicon Comet on the right. The Tortoise isn’t a massive vehicle, but a very well armoured and heavy one.
Here it is with a M5 Stuart. Certainly a lot bigger than that little tank!
A Konflikt 47 British Armoured Infantryman and a Warlord Games Commando. The Tortoise feels big and hefty here, compared to the infantry. As these infantry figures are quite large, I imagine with Perry miniatures figures this Tortoise will look even better!

Finally, for something weird. The magnetised barrel allows me to add a weird war element to this tank, yet also keep it Bolt Action ready if I don’t need it. This part is a WIP, as I’m not 100% certain I want this barrel. But lets take a peek!

A neutron laser from a 40k Mechanicus kit! I do kinda want to wrap some wire around it to make it a tesla weapon, but I’m looking up guides on how to do that first!
Of course, I could also keep it as a giant sci-fi laser!

All in all, I’m very impressed by the kit. Die Waffenkammer has done a brilliant job here bringing an obscure piece of WW2 armour design into the miniature world. I heartily recommend going to them for your WW2 armour needs!

Here is a link to their webstore. The prices are very reasonable for what you get. Shipping outside of Canada can be rough, but that is unavoidable.

It feels nice to support a Canadian company, and it was a pleasant surprise to discover they existed. I will be ordering a Tog 2 as soon as I can, as well as some Shermans!

But that is all I have for today. Happy Wargaming wherever you are, and remember to give Jerry what for!

14 thoughts on “The Linebreaker: A39 Tortoise from Die Waffenkammer!

  1. Oooh, I like that! đŸ™‚ It does look a really nice model! Good call with the magnets – having the gun barrel removable makes it easier to store if nothing else. I’d have gone with the Tortoise rather than TOG, since models of the latter tend to just have the Challenger turret on top of the TOG hull and no-one seems to work beyond that unfortunately.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Great model. I’m going to check out the webstore.

    Love the kitchen sink approach to wargamming. My next planned game is WWI-themed, with zombies and Chaos hounds thrown in for good measure.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Sounds like a great time! Weird War but in WW1 is a growing new thing, it’s quite a cool concept. Nothing like zombies and magic creatures to break the deadlock of trench warfare right?

      There is a great blog, I need to copy the link and I’ll get back to you on that. You probably have already seen it! But it does weird World War One really well, with a focus on horror.

      Liked by 4 people

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