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AFV/23 July/August 05

16/6/05

1:08 pm

Page 22

VICKERS CHALLENGER II MBT
The Chinese Interpretation of the British Challenger, spiced up with Scottish Refinements

T

he British Challenger II Main Battle Tank is a very

which received its baptism of fire in the first Gulf War. Even so,

interesting vehicle to many modellers, being the UK's

only 5% of the components are interchangeable with Challenger I.

number one fighting machine it is prominent in the

The most important changes are the climate controlled crew

media due to its participation in various hot spots

compartment (surely appreciated by the crews operating in desert

around the world.

conditions), an improved fire control system, upgrading to

The Challenger II is the first British tank since World War II to be

Dorchester Level II side and frontal armour and a complete
redesign of the turret.

designed and built by only one company-Vickers Defence

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Systems, whose plants in Barnbow, Leeds and Scotswood,

The Challenger II has a crew of 4 and weighs 62.5 tons. It is

Newcastle assemble the vehicles. It was developed from its

capable of a top speed of 56 km/h on road and has a range of

predecessor, Challenger I with the famous Chobham armour,

250-450 km; depending on the terrain it travels in.

AFV/23 July/August 05 16/6/05 1:08 pm Page 23 by Albert Tureczek 23 .

Additional armament is a coaxial Hughes 30mm chain gun. and a MG L37 7. including the controversial DU (Depleted Uranium) round. This kit is by far the cheapest version on the market so I wanted to see just how good this low price offering really is. One regular update set for a British KFOR tank and one for the Pearson Combat dozer blade.AFV/23 July/August 05 16/6/05 1:09 pm Page 24 The armament of Challenger II is most impressive. very similar to the one on the Apache helicopter. The Challenger is the heaviest and best-protected tank in the NATO Arsenal and has gained its reputation through many peacekeeping missions in war torn former Yugoslavia and lately in Operation Telic. It can fire most conventional modern 120 mm tank ammunition. Fittingly armed for the purpose and filled with enthusiasm. the UK component of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Available Kits 24 . The base for my model is the Trumpeter kit. The main weapon is the Royal Ordnance L30 120 mm gun with an effective range of 9km.62mm machine gun with 4000 rounds mounted on the commander's cupola. I set out to build a trustworthy replica of this mighty machine. Surfing the net I found that the Scottish company Accurate Armour had put quite some effort into updating the Trumpeter kit-I could not resist the temptation and obtained two sets.

which contains a resin Pearson Engineering Combat Dozer Blade. Update The update sets I used are from Accurate Armour. The first one is set A 053 with the thin edged side skirts and a new main gun and set A 032. one being Tamiya's new kit of an Operation Telic Challenger 2 which is a very good kit. 25 .5mm Diameter Construction The construction went smoothly and really poses no problem to the average modeller. Finally I used lenses for the headlights from MV Lenses. I like the human angle in my modelling and these figures served the purpose just right. The figures are also from the AA range. In my opinion the best available Challenger 2 is the full resin kit from Accurate Armour which is really a heavy weight-also with its price tag-almost ten times the price of the Trumpeter kit. LS 21 3.AFV/23 July/August 05 16/6/05 1:09 pm Page 25 There are 3 kits on the market which are interesting for Challenger 2 builders.

whereas Trumpeters Germany. The AA set provides a lot of sloped on the sides. The 5 brass parts on each instructions as to how the pattern should exactly the way my Challenger should be side are all single mounted and very form because this matched pretty well with displayed. 7th The rear wall of the Challenger II is busy. kit like Trumpeter's. point for the drum. I would use them on my model even though there have expected more trouble from a cheap I chose one of the versions provided by are aftermarket single link tracks available. closing of the hull. especially the big fuel drums are straight all the way up. I decided on spare barrel and mounted them on metal model. The advantage of this is obvious. I liked the Challenger with the soft sprayed demarcations between the . Royal Scots Dragoons. foil strips to simulate the empty mounting Dozer blade and I fitted an AA Pearson The road wheels are all separately hinged. and H33 for the European camouflage drums attached . B Next on the program is the turret. Next stage is the blade is not bad. diorama projects. I cut off the clamps from the delicate and they really look good on the most of my research material.AFV/23 July/August 05 16/6/05 1:09 pm Page 26 I started with the running gear and hull. The Trumpeter parts overall fit is 26 Painting and Weathering The vinyl tracks are great and I decided to very good and really surprised me. correct the angle of the thermal image box Armoured Brigade of the first UK Armoured filled with detail and really the focal point of mounted on top of the gun. Trumpeter-call sign Three Two. The one-piece their Challenger MBTs on train wagons and carried on each side which are cast as 120 mm gun from the AA set is also an deployed to Kosovo as part of NATO`s single pieces and do not have to be glued improvement on the kit gun. which is no problem either. but AA`s is better. I had to Squadron. In January 2000 this unit loaded items for this. I thought this looked which provides both sides in too thick one- pattern. stationed in Fallingbostel. bad. The AA brass side skirts are grey and chose after this Humbrol H155 Challengers only have one of the two really the major improvement on the kit. I stuck with the building pretty cool and decided that this was piece castings. This should be Division. This greatly enhances Dozer on mine. which is not Peacekeeping Force. the model. Again here the Trumpeter which poses interesting possibilities for realism on the model. together. but has to be glued together from I primed my Challenger with Testors Primer In my research material I found a lot of several parts.

AFV/23 July/August 05 16/6/05 1:09 pm Page 27 27 .

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antennas. warning light. Finally the tank was 'dusted'. The washes were done with a water/ink solution to start with and continuing with a Turpentine/ Raw Umber oil colour solution. Final Montage Final montage consists of the addition of side mirrors. even though it raised the price tag on my model to almost double. weather sensor. The Asian version spiced up with some Scottish refinement can be turned into a fine replica of a great fighting machine! 29 . Round Up The Trumpeter kit was fun to build and the AA updates served their purpose well. The surface was disturbed and softened up with a soft brush soaked with a little turpentine immediately afterwards to give it that uneven dirty look.AFV/23 July/August 05 16/6/05 1:10 pm Page 29 colours. I over sprayed the model with Matt Earth from Testors. I added the glass for the commander's goggles from a piece of negative film and both figures had the helmet microphones added. Following this I sprayed a darker earth colour on the sides and rear where the vehicles normally create most dust. true. towing cables and the figures. but I think it looks better. I decided that my crew should wear camouflage suits instead of the olive green suits sometime seen on crewmembers. After this I had to add the clear coat to accept the decals. but I have seen evidence of hard edged colours within the same Squadron. One will have to check research photos on this matter. headlights. It is more challenging to paint this pattern. Still there is a long way up to the price of the AA Full Resin kit and not everybody will be willing to walk that extra mile.