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New Vanguard 80: Chieftain Main Battle Tank 1965-2003

by Simon Dunstan, illustrated by Peter Sarson

Osprey Publishing Ltd.

ISBN 1-84176-719-0; 48 pages

Here is just the reference that we’ve been waiting for. It gives the development history of the Chieftain from its very beginning, in good detail. Then comes a technical description which throws interesting light on the final design and also gives a terrific bonus – six pages providing comprehensive notes on the differences between the various Marks of the tank. This gives exactly what any modeller needs, a rundown showing what to change in the existing kits to model the precise version you want. Good captions point out those differences as seen in the very clear photographs as well, and there are some views of the interior so you can scratchbuild most of what’s easily seen through the hatches if you leave them open. The New Vanguard trademark cutaway plate helps here, too. There’s also a good breakdown (pun intended!) of the engine modifications that eventually resulted in a reliable powerplant. Recovery, bridgelaying and armoured engineer Chieftains are not forgotten, with their own comprehensive section. The colour plates have good captions and show 8 different tanks with full markings for identified units, including the recovery and engineer Chieftains used in Desert Storm as well as the Kuwaiti Mark 5/2K gun tank. Highly recommended.

John Prigent