Relish Models

Relish Models
RSS 2.0 View Cart Forum

One Kit Is Never Enough Part 12 - The Challenger 2

Building the Trumpeter 1/35 Challenger 2

by Ethlian Middleton

At long last the Challenger can be assigned to the finished box, although I have to admit I am not best pleased with the final result. Whether it was the enforced lay off because of the new kittens or just the overall “feel” of this kit, but I have to say I have not really enjoyed this. The problem with the photo etch set, most parts were either over sized eg the gunner’s sight, or undersized eg the engine grills, but this kit has definitely not inspired me and has turned into a grind to finish it. However, it is finished and after the gloss coat was sprayed over the decals it was time to start the weathering.



I mixed up some LifeColor Dust with LifeColor thinners, basically I wanted a very thin mixture so used about 20% paint and 80% thinners. This was misted onto the Chally around all of the raised objects where dust and sand would naturally accumulate. 



From the photographs I have seen of Chally’s in the latter stages of their deployment to Iraq, it would seem they did not accumulate a lot in the way of dust and sand, or damage to the paint work. Even without their thermal blankets the tanks remained remarkable clean so the weathering on this Chally will reflect that and mainly consist of various washes and filters of sand coloured paints and some pigments. 



When the various washes had dried it was time to apply the matt varnish. Humbrol varnishes have always worked well for me. Some turps are added to help it flow better through my Eclipse CS airbrush and it was not long before the entire tank had had a couple of coats of matt varnish. Usually at this stage I start to feel better about a model. The hideous gloss finish has gone and the various washes and filters really start to come to life.....not with this model though. It looks too flat to me and all the variations in colour that were there before seem to have blended into each other. However I persevered and started to add some Mig pigments to the tank, slowly it started to come to life and look more like i had imagined it.



It has been a week or so since the Chally was finished and there has been plenty of time to gather my thoughts on this model. Firstly the good points. It is the only plastic kit of this particular version on the market today. Although the bar armour is simplified the kit parts give a good impression of what the armour on the Chally would look like. Small details are well done and really stand out with a pin wash. The anti slip texture saves on an awful lot of work and so speeds up the construction process.



Now the bad points: Overall it is weaker than the Tamiya Challenger which is a superior version of the Challenger. The tracks are too long and impossible to shorten without having problems rejoining them. It should be possible to cut them to length and then sew them together that gets around the problem of trying to connect them. The detail on the wheels is very poor with the wheel bolts looking like unrecognisable blobs of plastic. The fit of the hull bar armour left a lot to be desired as did the turret bar armour.



Overall if i was to model this particular Chally again i would buy the Tamiya kit and the accurate armour photo etched bar armour. It would increase the cost of the model by a lot, but it would be more accurate and having built a couple of the Tamiya Challenger II kits, more fun. Trumpeter should be congratulated on choosing to release this version of the Chally, and if you are looking for a quick and easy build without too much concern about the accuracy of certain parts, then the Trumpeter Chally is a good choice.