Cruel Seas Merchant Tanker

The Merchant Tanker is one of the firsts vessels that were available for Cruel Seas and has a cardboard stand in included with the Strike Fast! Strike Hard! starter kit.

Crues Seas - Merchant Tanker Crues Seas - Merchant Tanker Crues Seas - Merchant Tanker

As a "neutral" ship that could be found in service of every nation this kit bears the potential to be part of most scenarios, either as a mission objective to defend / attack or for example to claim its cargo. Merchant tankers had the objective to ferry supplies such as food, fuel, steel, clothing or munitions and weaponry.

The Merchant Tanker is a made to order kit by Warlord Games and as such comes without a regular blister or packaging, simply in a bubble wrap bag if you buy it directly. In stores it is sold as a blister pack. It is a resin and metal kit in the scale of 1:300 and costs 18 GBP. The ship comes without instructions, you will need to take the product pictures from the shop as a guide for the assembly.

Crues Seas - Merchant Tanker

The main part of the ship along with the bridge is casted from resin, with the further detail bits like the chimneys or mast casted in pewter. The underside of the hull is almost smooth, you need to sand down the casting connection pieces a bit, but beyond that it is ready to go.

Resin needs to be prepared before further use. It is highly recommended to give it a luke warm wash in soap water to remove any left-over release agent. In case your ship should not align with the surface, drop it briefly in hot water and align it in cold water to correct any possible warpage. Usually Warlord Games has a small leaflet covering the instructions on handling resin kits and it would be helpful for the players to have those at hand in this case.

The tanker comes without the stat card, wake markers and such, as those are included in the starter kit.

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The hull is almost 17 cm long and comes with a separate bridge. I really love the amount of details they modelled on the vessel. Look at the surface of the deck and smaller details like the anchor or rescue boat.

Crues Seas - Merchant Tanker
Crues Seas - Merchant Tanker Crues Seas - Merchant Tanker Crues Seas - Merchant Tanker

So bit by bit, the chimneys and such are added. Make sure to do a dry fit on the pieces, in case you need to drill the sockets or sand down the parts that go into the sockets.

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Take a bit care with the mast, as these are fragile and might need to be straightened. There is a strip of three crew and a gun as spare parts. I am not sure where to add the gun, as there are no instructions nor a picture showing it being used. I assume it is the optional 3" gun stated on the data card. Unfortunately, unlike the MGs the position of the 3" gun is not shown on the card.

Crues Seas - Merchant Tanker Crues Seas - Merchant Tanker Crues Seas - Merchant Tanker

To give you an idea of the size of this vessel, here it it is mid between a M-class minesweeper and a Flower Class Corvette (which is 1:350th scale), as well as in the mid between a Vospers and a german E-boat.

Crues Seas - Merchant Tanker Crues Seas - Merchant Tanker

And a comparison with the card board cut-out, very good fit. You will see that the cut-out is close cut on the back, that is due to the wake marker.

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Some pictures of the assembled merchant tanker.

Crues Seas - Merchant Tanker Crues Seas - Merchant Tanker Crues Seas - Merchant Tanker

For me, this is a must-have. A civil ship like this tanker is a mission objective, that is very versatile and as such simply set if you want to play a game like this. Usually you would have a merchant ship and / or some kind of convey in larger naval battles, but a tanker like this has to anchour in a harbour, as such fitting to these coastal battles as well.

18 GBP is reasonable, especially if you compare it with some of the smaller vehicles from the Bolt Action range that are made from resin and pewter as well. Casting was properly done, no air bubbles or offset of the mould. A bit of cleanup was needed, but that is not uncommon with resin kits. The hull was slightly warped but brought back into shape within less than a minute with hot water. It would be helpful if they supplied an explosion diagram on the Warlord Games' website with the resin kits, as some of the smaller pieces are often not clearly visible on the product images.

Maybe a few bases along with some half-sunken crates or cargo would go great with this ship (to upgrade the cardboard tokens from the starter kit). But I assume I could build these from a few from beads or small dices, maybe plastic strip cut in 5-6mm length. You can look up some more information on merchant seamen in world war II here on Wikipedia, there is even a flag for those ships. I'd probably go with a "neutral" flag, like Spain, Portugal or Sweden.

Warlord Games shows the tanker in a neutral grey, which is perfectly fine from what I've seen online. I guess I will give it a red hull with black trim, as that is how I imagine a tanker.

Cruel Seas is a brand of Warlord Games.

The reviewed product item was provided by the manufacturer.

Posted by Dennis B.

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  1. Thanks for this review. Do you think the model is flexible enough to allow for placing, say, the bridge farther forward, to allow several ships with slightly differing looks?

  2. You can move it a bit forward on top of the pillar. Otherwise recut the other pillars in the mid section and reposition the bridge on top of those.

  3. Nice article. Thanks for going over the building, as I have 4 of these to put together.

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