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One Kit Is Never Enough Part 9 - The Challenger 2


Building the Trumpeter 1/35 Challenger 2

by Ethlian Middleton


So, officially, the British summer has started and this should mean less time for modelling and more time for outdoor pursuits. There is nothing better at this time of the year than spending a nice warm summer evening sitting in the watering hole of your choice enjoying your favourite drink, or so we are led to believe. Well all I can say is not with the way this summer is working out. Personally I blame this on the drought warnings that have been put in place in certain areas of the UK. As soon as these were announced the heavens opened and the wind decided to spoil any attempts at outdoor activity, unless wind surfing, or kiting is your sport of choice. So all of this has meant a lot more”enforced” modelling time.



At the end of the last article I mentioned the problems with the undersized LionRoar grills and have been pondering the best way to solve this. In the end I decided to use some plastic card strips to fill in the gap. While not perfect, when the turret is in place they will hardly be seen, so I am moderately pleased with the result but still annoyed with myself for the mistake. I have also added the photo etched exhausts from the LionRoar set. These are made up from four pieces of PE, a large flat piece that needs bending to shape and three louvers that need gluing in place. When they are finished they look a lot better than the kit supplied ones.



Once all of the brass was in place I turned my attention to the side armour and had these built up in no time. There are two areas here that need special attention. The first area is the locating of the side armour blocks, these need to be carefully aligned so as to avoid them looking out of square when the armour is put in place on the chassis. The second area is the bar armour. If care is not taken it is easy to not get these lined up correctly and this would impact on the fit with the rear bar armour. So make sure you have the side bar armour lined up correctly before the glue sets. At this stage i also built the front armour and the rear bar armour. Although the bar armour is not as good as the photo etched sets you can buy, it is still a lot better than nothing at all and will look fine under a layer of paint and dust. On the Challengers that served in Iraq after the war fighting was over aerials and boxes started to appear. Many have speculated what these were for and the smart money was on anti IED equipment. I have replicated mine from plastic card, for the boxes, and brass rod for the turret mounted aerials.



With the chassis/hull now complete it was time to move on to the turret. This was very straight forward to build and caused no problems at all, except in one area, the sight that sits on the barrel. Having made the mistake earlier with the PE screens I decided to make the LionRoar PE sight up first and I am glad I did. When I tried to fit the completed PE sight to the barrel there was no way it would sit correctly. When I did get it to sit correctly it did not fit, so that was consigned to the rubbish bin and I used the kit part instead.  I did replace the Commander’s sight with the LionRoar PE part and the fit of this part was perfect. However you do need to add the top of this sight from the kit parts seems a bit strange to me that you have the sides and front in the LionRoar PE set but not the top. It is strange how some of the parts from the LionRoar set fit perfectly and some are undersized or the wrong shape. It makes me wonder if the PE set was designed for two different tanks. The rest of the turret was very easy to finish off with there being no problems at all. I made the stand for the extra aerials from some plastic rod and plastic card. I did not have any measurements for this and so just went by the “Mark-One Eyeball”. It is not accurate, just a representation of the real thing.



The barrel is supplied in four quarters and apart from a very small seam line went together without any problems. With some careful painting it should be possible to high light the tie down straps on the barrel, thus eliminating the need to replace these with PE straps. If you want you can carefully scrap around these straps to give them an undercut, something that is just not possible with injection moulding techniques, well not yet anyway.



Basically that was the turret finished no dramas here and almost as easy to build as it is to write about it. I think the anti-slip on the turret looks better than on the hull, but for moulded on anti-slip I think Trumpeter have done a very good job with it. So all that is left to do now is wash the kit in preparation for the painting, more of that next time!



Post Script


During the time i was working on the turret the Le Mans 24 Hour race took place. This year’s event was one of the most exciting for many years and thankfully was not spoil by the serious accidents to McNish and Rockefeller. How both drivers managed to escape unscathered from such monumental accidents is truly a testament to the safety cells incorporated in this year’s Audi’s. One of the best moments of the year so far, for me, was the sight of Alan McNish climbing out of his wrecked Audi and walking away under his own steam. A truly horrendous accident and one that could have resulted in a tragedy similar to the Mercedes accident in the 1950’s, someone was really looking out for the driver and spectators at this year’s event.