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Flames of War

 

Comet Platoon (BBX30)

Comet Platoon (BBX30) Comet Platoon (BBX30)
includes five plastic Comet cruiser tanks, one plastic Tank Commander sprue & one Decal sheet.

The Cruiser Tank (A34) Comet was the pinnacle of British cruiser tank development, following on from the Cruiser Mk VIII (A27) Cromwell. With its powerful 600hp Rolls-Royce Meteor engine, the Comet retained the Cromwell's speed, but with improved armour protection. Its powerful 77mm gun was a match for all but the heaviest enemy tanks. 

Designed by Will Jayne
Painted by Aaron Mathie
Between the world wars, British tank doctrine was divided into two distinct roles: infantry tanks, those meant to help the infantry breakthrough enemy lines, and cruiser tanks that were designed to exploit gaps and cut deep into enemy territory. While the infantry tanks (or I-Tanks) were heavily armoured and slow, the cruisers relied on speed to protect them from enemy fire.

Cruisers were tested in combat from the very beginning of the war, with A9 Cruiser Mk I and A10 Cruiser Mk II tanks in France, 1940. Shortcomings of these tanks were incorporated in the next generations of cruiser, such as the A13 Cruiser Mk IV and the Cruiser Mk VI ‘Crusader’. The Crusader tank achieved great fame in North Africa and underscored the value of having a light tank for exploiting and charging into enemy territory.

Comet Platoon (BBX30)

However successful it was, the cruiser tank’s weaponry was still unable to tackle infantry and anti-tank guns due to a lack of high-explosive (HE) ammunition. In 1942, a new cruiser tank design emerged which would eventually become the A27 Cruiser Mk VIII ‘Cromwell’. This tank introduced a 75mm gun with HE capable of dealing with soft targets, thereby removing a vital weakness from the cruiser tank. The Cromwell entered battle in Normandy and was applauded for its powerful engine, which came in useful during the race across France and Belgium in 1944.

One final problem with the cruiser tank remained to be solved: German armour protection. The enemy’s tanks, such as the Panther, were so well protected that they could not be knocked out from the front. It was believed that the speed of the cruiser would overcome this, but experience in Normandy and Holland proved otherwise. Stopgaps were designed, such as the 17 pdr-armed A30 Challenger and Firefly, but this once again brought back the problem of having no HE ammunition, so they were usually paired with Cromwells to restore the balance.  

Comet Platoon (BBX30)

In early 1944 the solution came together with the new A34 Cruiser ‘Comet’ tank design. This design fixed some of the problems reported by Cromwell crews, such as fixing track links, additional armour protection around the turret, and a heavier gun, while retaining the Cromwell’s speed, low profile, and high-explosive ammunition.

Comet Platoon (BBX30) Comet Platoon (BBX30)
The 77mm High Velocity Gun
T
he major advancement that the Comet offered was its powerful 77mm gun. The gun used the same 76.2mm projectile as the 17 pdr, but a smaller casing was used to make it usable inside the Comet’s turret. The resulting round had a slightly slower muzzle velocity than the 17 pdr, but was still quite deadly to all but the heaviest German tanks. There was also HE ammunition available, finally giving the cruisers the capability of tackling all enemy targets.
Comet Platoon (BBX30) Comet Platoon (BBX30)
Rolls-Royce Meteor Engine
The Comet featured the same Rolls-Royce Meteor Engine Mk III V12 petrol engine that powered the Cromwell. Due to maintenance fears, the 600hp engine was governed down to 32mph (51km/h). However crews must have disabled the governors as speeds across the German autobahn far exceeded this during the race to the Baltic Sea in May 1945.
Comet Platoon (BBX30) Comet Platoon (BBX30)
Armour on the Comet ranged from 32-74mm on the hull, while the turret was from 57-102mm.
Comet Platoon (BBX30) Comet Platoon (BBX30)
The Comet in Flames Of War
      Armour
   
Name Mobility Front Side Top Equipment and Notes
Weapon Range
ROF
Anti-tank
Firepower
 
Comet
Light Tank
7
4 1 Co-ax MG, Hull MG, Protected ammo, Tow hook.
OQF 77mm gun
32"/80cm
2
14
3+
Semi-indirect fire.
Comet Platoon (BBX30) Comet Platoon (BBX30)

The Comets went into combat for the first time during Operation Plunder, the 1945 British crossing of the Rhine, as a follow-up and breakthrough force.

Once the gap was made by the infantry the Comets raced from river to river in Northern Germany, finally reaching the German autobahn in May. When the Comets hit the famous German motorway, they screamed across the countryside at full speed, stowage flying off the back decks and riflemen passengers clinging on for dear life. The division arrived at the Baltic in early May 1945, with nothing but the highest praise for the Britain’s finest battle tank.

The Comet went on to serve the British Army in Korea, paired with the new Centurion tank. The Comet soldiered on in British service until 1958.


Assembling The Plastic Comet
Let's begin by ensuring the contents of the Comet Platoon box match the box contents image above. If you have any problems or issues with the contents of your box set, please feel free to contact our Customer Service team at: customerservice@battlefront.co.nzWhen you've checked that you have everything, you can begin assembling the Comet, starting with the hull.
Components Required For The Comet Hull
The components required to assemble the hull of the Comet can be seen below highlighted in green on the appropriate frames.
Comet Platoon (BBX30)
Assembling The Comet Hull
Begin assembly by attaching the upper and lower hull sections.
Assembling The Plastic Comet Assembling The Plastic Comet Tip: Although regular Hobby Glue can be used to assemble plastic vehicles, we recommend that you use plastic cement instead. It gives the strongest bond when gluing plastic to plastic.
Next, attach the tracks to the hull. (Unless you prefer to paint the tracks separately and attach them after painting.)
Assembling The Plastic Comet Assembling The Plastic Comet Assembling The Plastic Comet
Note: Each track has keys to correspond with a particular side of the lower hull - two on the right and three on the left. This aids in ensuring the correct orientation of the tracks when assembling the miniature. Now attach the rear hull plate.
Assembling The Plastic Comet Assembling The Plastic Comet Assembling The Plastic Comet
Next, attach the front armour plate. Glue the hull machine-gun into the rectangular slot in the front armour plate. Tip: Take extra care when clipping the machine-guns from the sprue, as they are quite fragile. You'll need two per tank, but there are three on the sprue so you will have a spare in case you break one.
Components Required For The Comet Turret
The components required to assemble the turret of the Comet are highlighted below in green.
Comet Platoon (BBX30)
Assembling The Comet Turret
Assembling The Plastic Comet Assembling The Plastic Comet Assembling The Plastic Comet
Glue the upper and lower turret pieces together. Attach the mantlet to the front of the turret...  ...and the storage bin to the rear.
Assembling The Plastic Comet Assembling The Plastic Comet
The main gun has a semi-circular key
to ensure correct orientation.
Glue the 76mm main gun into the hole in the mantlet, taking care to ensure it is straight.
Assembling The Plastic Comet Assembling The Plastic Comet Assembling The Plastic Comet
Glue the co-axial machine-gun into the rectangular slot to the right of the main gun.  Next, attach the searchlight. For correct placement, align the small tab on the searchlight with the notch on the left-hand side of the turret. Like the machine-guns, this piece is fairly fragile, so take care when clipping it from the sprue.
Assembling The Plastic Comet Assembling The Plastic Comet Assembling The Plastic Comet
Attach a cupola. To show the tank 'buttoned up', use the closed-hatch piece. Note the alignment of the hatches. If you want to add a tank commander - either to mark the tank as a command vehicle, or perhaps just for some variety - use the open-hatch cuploa piece. Choose a figure from the tank commander sprue and glue him in place. Alternatively, you may prefer to paint the tank and commander separately first.
Assembling The Plastic Comet Assembling The Plastic Comet
Finally, glue the turret peg into the hole in the bottom of your turret. It fits into the hole in the tank's turret ring (don't glue this!) allowing the turret to rotate to shoot at targets in any direction. 

Alternatively, you may prefer to glue rare earth magnets into the recess in the hull and to the bottom of the turret. Magnets are a quick and secure way of fixing your turrets to the hulls, but they are a small added expense, which is why the turret peg is provided, leaving the choice up to you.

Rare Earth Magnets (XX105) are available through the online store here...

These 1mm x 5mm magnets fit perfectly into the round spaces in the hull and turret.

Rare Earth Magnets (XX105)
Included on the plastic sprue are two sections of spare track links, a fuel can and an ammunition case.
These are optional but can help add some modelling variety to your miniatures.
Assembling The Plastic Comet
We hope you find this assembly guide useful when it comes time to assemble your own plastic Comet.

Happy modelling!