When I decided to have a go at a model of a Challenger tank, I didn’t realise quite what a task it would be. A couple of years ago I built one in 1/24 scale and thought it would be much the same, but of course because of the larger scale it allowed far more detail and I just didn’t know how much.
This time I started the model from the turret,a bit strange but if I could get this right I hoped the rest would be a bit easier. I still had my old 1/35 scale Tamiya kit and a few good photos so I got started. The first thing was to make the base plate without the turret ring opening from 60th plastic card, to this I fitted the two side walls and the back wall to keep it all square, the two front sloping walls were added allowing for the correct shape opening for the mantlet, the rear box was fitted and the top cover to the front plates, this assembly was set aside to dry.
When it was time to carry on with the turret I started adding the roof plates starting from the rear I made the two back plates from 30th card and using a piece of scrap card I propped them up and glued them in place, it was then a case of doing the same thing with each section of roof shaping them to fit as needed, before the last top plate was fitted a box about 1 inch in cube was fitted inside and to this a piece of 1/4 inch tube with a limited amount of movement was added to take the barrel at a later stage, the basic turret unit was now ready for all the add on bits.
All the pieces that go around the turret sides were copied from the kit parts and checked against photos as I made them, this way I hoped to get them fairly right. The parts were made from 20,30,40 and 60th card and many different strip and rod, I also used a piece of old net curtain for the front stowage basket All external stowage boxes and bins were made from 30,40 and 60th plastic card and various strip and rod detail. The water can holders are from 3/64 rod fitted to brackets,all roof plate joints were filled with .5mm rod The barrel is from 5/16,3/8,and 7/16 tubes with a piece of opened up 1/2 inch tube for the centre fume extractor, wrapping is from fine expanded polystyrene sheet held with 1mm x .5mm strip and small square tube for buckles.
1/16th Scale British Challenger M B T
Profile Shot The lower hull was made from 60th card sides, bottom, and front and 30th for ease of shaping at the rear,5/16 tube was inserted at all axle stations full width of body, protruding ends were covered with 1/2 inch tube and fitted with 40th disc cover and 2mm hex bolt heads, axle swing arms are 1/4 inch tube with brass rod inners fitted to 3/8 x 3/16 strip drops the arms these were then fitted into 5/16 openings on body at correct height and allowed to dry overnight.
The main body top was then built up onto this assembly with 40th card and the plates shaped as fitted, the turret ring opening was cut and extra card bracing fitted inside. The rear engine panels and grilles were made from 1mm x .5mm strip edge 1mm rod middles and 60 x 60th centre dividers all sizes were guesstimated and if it looked OK it was OK, some fine mesh was used the various vent covers and all other detail was the usual different rod and strip.
The exhaust outlets were made from 40th strip and 30th card shaped and fitted to the body tops,all the hinges and other detail was made from card, strip and rod.
The rear plate was cut from a piece of 20th card and because it was so thin allowed me to shape it to fit around into the base plate,all the fittings for this was then copied from photo’s and the Tamiya kit.The two rear drums are resin parts with straps from thin strip added,one of the most complex parts was the barrel lock assembly which was made to work ( I wonder why?) all other parts were made in the usual way from card, rod and strip.
I had made a master for the road wheel and sent it off to Terry Beale at Castoff to have 24 produced, I then recieved a call from him to say ask if I would like a new master made as he could turn me one up and then cast them,i guessed that in a subtle way he was saying the first one was tosh, but not wanting to look a gift horse in the mouth I said yes. I certainly made the right choice, when they all arrived completed they were really well done with separate centre hubs, rear wheels(no bolts) and front wheels (with bolts), I found the best way to fit them was to glue the hubs to the rear wheels and line them all up on the axles and then glue the front one’s to these, when they were all dry they could be taken off as complete units and put aside for painting.
I made a master for a track link and again sent it to Castoff to have 200 made, these were completed pretty quickly and returned. I then set about drilling them out to be able to articulate the two finished sets to make it easier for assembly, I must say at this stage that if you’ve been put off at the thought of drilling and pinning all those track links, then you’re in good company I think everyone dreads the idea,but I have made enough models now to know it is worthwhile doing ( even though I still hate the idea of it).
The next thing I did was to make the sprockets these were again copied from the kit parts with a front disc of 30th card cut with the teeth all in one and bolt head detail added,the two rear discs were the same but without the detail and the spacer between was two old large wheels from the spares box, two pieces of 1/4 tube was fitted to the backs with pieces of 3/16 and 1/8 tube in the middles for strength.
I then made the idlers from 30th front and rear discs with the shaped holes cut out this time with only narrow spacers and again fitted to 1/4 tubes.
The front reactive armour assembly was copied from the kit and made from various thickness of card with details of 2mm hex rod and strip.
The side reactive armour skirts were made again copying the kit parts starting this time with a 60th piece of card and adding all the strip and bolt detail on to them, I also made the handles at the back and front and the water (fuel) can holders on each side from 1mm x .5mm strip.
Finally it was ready to start being assembled, firstly I fitted the sprockets and the idlers and made sure they lined up along the body,I then fitted all the road wheels, first putting 2mm thick washers behind to bring them out to the correct distance and lastly fitting the tracks.
The wheels, tracks, front armour and a few other parts were painted before fitting together and then the whole model airbrushed in various shades of sand, and spraying darker shades in the joins and gaps.
The whole model took about 450 hrs, and almost 4000 parts to complete but luckily it was spread over a long time. I would like to thank all the usual suspects for help with this model.
Perkins Distribution for Evergreen products