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One Kit Is Never Enough Part 10 - The Challenger 2


Building the Trumpeter 1/35 Challenger 2

by Ethlian Middleton


There are many tasks that can be considered onerous when it comes to modelling. With aircraft it could be the rescribing of panel lines, or the masking out of a camouflage pattern. With armour it could be the assembling of single link tracks, or the cleanup of a resin kit. It is different for each modeller. Predominantly. I am a modeller who likes to build rather than paint. When it comes to painting I do not consider myself to be that good, there are way better model painters out there who, I feel, make my work look like a child has painted it. However, every now and then I manage to produce something that i am happy with, and that is no mean feat as everyone who knows me tells me I am my own worst critic.



Why all the preamble about painting? Well we are at the stage where the build phrase of this model is over and we now move onto the painting stage. As with all my models, the first step in the painting stage is to wash the completed model in some warm soapy water. When all the dust, grease and fingerprints are removed the model is set aside to dry for 24 hours. The next stage involves a good coat of primer. I always use Halfords Grey acrylic primer on my AFV models. This is a very good primer that dries to a smooth finish and will shrink back as it dries. This is especially useful if the paint has puddled slightly when sprayed directly from the aerosol. To avoid this happening it is possible to decant the primer into your airbrush. For this you will need a drinking straw which you place over the nozzle of the aerosol with the other end in the paint bowl of the airbrush. Seeing as the primer is acrylic it can be easily cleaned when you have finished spraying it through the airbrush.



The primer was left for 24 hours to dry correctly. It is possible to apply the base coat to Halford’s Grey Primer after a few hours as this primer does dry quickly. The Challengers in Iraq were initially painted in a Mid Stone finish, but this was soon changed once the war fighting was over and they reverted to a dark green. To replicate this Xtracrylics Bronze Green was used. This paint can be a little difficult to apply when it comes to a camouflage pattern, but as a base coat it is very good and dries to a slightly satin finish. On all the Challengers I have seen that were painted green there were also some parts that still had the Mid Stone finish, namely the front add on armour, some of the side armour and the cradle for the machine gun. For this colour I used Xtracrylics Sand. The parts to remain green, on the front and side armour were masked off then the sand was sprayed on.



By the time I had finished, the Bronze green was dry and it was time to lighten the base coat. To lighten the Bronze Green some Sand was added to the green and this mixture was sprayed onto the center of the panels to show the effects of the sun “bleaching” the paint. The next step was to paint the smaller parts, such as the machine gun and mud flaps. For this I used Vallejo Black Grey, this was also used to paint the track pads and the covers on the smoke grenades. The tow cables received a coat of Humbrol Metal Coat and then the tank was set aside for a couple of days to ensure the paint was dry.



On my armour models I almost exclusively use Humbrol varnishes. Firstly I spray two thin coats of Gloss Varnish, in preparation for the decals. This varnish gives a hard smooth finish and is ideal for protecting the paint from the weathering stages. I use white spirit to thin the varnish and once the two coats were dry I applied the decals. There are not a lot of them on this Challenger and they went on without any major hassles. It is best to leave decals to dry for 24 hours, so after applying some decal setting solution the tank was set aside. When it was dry I applied two more coats of Gloss Vanish to protect the decals from the nest stage, the weathering. However that is a topic for the next article.