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Modelling the Challenger 1 and 2 MBT and Variants

Reviewed by John Prigent


Publisher and Title Osprey Modelling 29, Modelling the Challenger 1 and 2 MBT and Variants, by Graeme Davidson & Pat Johnston, Osprey Publishing Ltd
ISBN: 1-84176-927-4
Media and Contents: 80 pages
Price: US Price: $18.95, UK Price: £12.99, available online from Osprey Publishing
Review Type: First Read
Advantages: Interesting selection of modelling projects, subjects, scales and colours; useful and descriptive text; helpful colour chart
Recommendation: Highly Recommended



Modelling the Challenger 1 and 2 MBT and VariantsThis book is great for both 1/35 and Braille scale modellers because both scales are included. Instead of grading difficulty as Intermediate, Advanced and Master levels we get star rankings up to five – they’re just as easy to understand, of course. There’s a brief introduction, but no space is used to discuss tools and materials so it leads straight into the first build. This is a three-star exercise in detailing Tamiya’s 1/35 Challenger1 Mk 3 as used by the King’s Royal Hussars in Kosovo, using several aftermarket sets and showing how to improve the kit with some simple scratchbuilt parts. Then comes a switch to 1/72 scale with DML’s Challenger 2, built as one of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards in Gulf War 2. This is a one-star build with just the addition of an Extratech etched set, and shows how to use epoxy putty to create a rolled tarp. !/72 scale continues with Revell’s Challenger I Mk 3 as used by 4th Armoured Brigade in Gulf War 1, another one-star build with aftermarket etch and some resin and very simple scratchbuilt items.

The next model returns to 1/35 scale and moves up to three-star level with Tamiya’s Challenger 2 (Desertized) converted to a Desert Challenger 2 of the Royal Omani Army. The difference between this and Challenger 2E is explained, and the build is a fairly simple scratch conversion that involves making new hull side and rear plates and part of the engine deck. Then comes another three-star build, turning Tamiya’s Challenger I into a CRARRV wit Accurate Armour’s conversion set and a few accessories. The degree of difficulty here has more to do with weathering the white United Nations colour scheme than with the actual building, which is quite straightforward.

Following it is Tamiya’s Challenger 2 (Desertized) again, this time built at three-star level as one fitted with bar armour and used by the Royal Dragoon Guards in Iraq, 2005. The Accurate Armour bar armour set is used, and being rather fiddly to assemble properly it accounts for the difficulty level though this chapter describes the process clearly so will make it much easier for anyone else to build.

The final model is at four-star level, combining Tamiya’s Challenger I with a Modelpoint gun barrel and a lot of scratchbuilding to produce a Falcon 2 of the Jordanian Army. This is a major project, because the Falcon uses a completely different turret with its commander and gunner shifted into the hull and the loader replaced by an auto-loader. This one will be difficult for readers to build, simply because as the author says there are few photographs of it and no plans are available. He created the turret by extrapolating its dimension from photographs. Unfortunately he doesn’t give them in the book but anyone wanting to build this tank should be able to make the same extrapolations from the photographs of the completed model.

Each chapter gives useful suggestions, techniques and hints for painting and weathering, and there’s a good list of the available kits and accessories. The colour “chip” page includes recommendations and mixes for the various armies’ camouflage, which is very helpful – I wish all books in the series did this.

Highly Recommended.

Thanks to Osprey Publishing for the review sample