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HyperScale Resource Guide No. 2

Challenger I

Kit Review by Juho Ala-Jaaski
Model and Photographs (Kit 1) by Victor Vostrikov
Model (Kit 2) by Lindsay Sparkes and Ron Puttee

Challenger I Mk. 3
Kuwait, February 1991
Model by Victor Vostrikov


C o n t e n t s

Tamiya Challenger Review
Challenger Model Gallery
Victor Vostrikov's Challenger (five images)
Lindsay Sparkes' and Ron Puttee's Challenger (construction notes and five images)
Challenger WWW Links
Challenger References


C h a l l e n g e r   R e v i e w

British Challenger MBT

Tamiya Plastic Model Co.

Reviewed by Juho Ala-Jaaski

Catalogue No.: 35154
Scale: 1/35th
Media: Injection Plastic; Vinyl Tracks, Decals
Review Type: Construction
Rating: Highly Recommended


Price: around US$25
Advantages: the only model of the Challenger in plastic (see text); high quality, good detail
Disadvantages: open hull sponsons(as on most Tamiya tank models); locations for all decals aren't provided
Comments: Highly recommended for British, or Gulf War armor buffs. Particularly recommended if you don't want to pay over $120 for the Accurate Armour offering!


The British Challenger was developed in the early 1980s and has since been used in the Falklands and in the Persian Gulf.

For the Gulf War, the Challenger 1 was fitted with extra armor on the front and on the sides of the hull, external fuel tanks, improved cooling system and external mounts for water cans. Most but not all desert Challengers also received a new paint job.

The British Challenger MBT by Tamiya is the only one in plastic (if you don't include the "Lee" pirate copy - ed.).

The kit is moulded in the usual Tamiya's yucky colored tan plastic, with very few ejector pin marks and no sink holes.

The lower hull consists of the torsion bars (molded separately), road wheels, return rollers, and idler and sprocket wheels.

All the parts fit well, but don't forget to fill the holes in the bottom of the hull, and add sponsons on the fenders.

You have the option of making the NATO or the Gulf war version with this kit. Remember that not all British Challengers were fitted with extra armor, or were painted with the British Armored Sand. If you're building the Gulf War version, you mustn't forget to paint the tools with the external color as well.

Tamiya tells you to paint the pipes on the engine deck "gun metal", I have no pictorial evidence of this feature but I painted them with that color anyway. I suggest that you paint the gun travel lock separately, since it's almost impossible when assembled and glued on.

The turret goes together well with loads of detail. Tamiya tells you to cut off the antenna mounts, but since not all Challenger had their antennas removed you don't have to do so.

You'll need to add the MG-lamp cord and the wire for the winch on the back of the turret. If you want to mount the figure, do it now (first paint the turret of course!). The gun barrel cover is well represented. Don't paint the straps sand - paint them green or olive drab instead. Also, the muzzle head should be black, not sand.

Tamiya provides no accessories whatever. All the pictures I have of the Challenger have the back deck and turret covered with stowage and supplies. The stowage boxes are almost always covered with cloth. I "borrowed" a lot of accessories from other kits, but also made a lot of new ones from tissue.

I painted my model using Testors enamels, and Tamiya acrylics.

The decals were applied using Micro Sol. They responded well and snuggled down in the panel lines with ease. The famous "Jerboa" desert rat insignia is provided in the decal sheet, but the instructions tell you not to use it. It should be applied on the upper hull sides right by the fire extinguishers, and both turret sides. You don't have to worry about this too much since the locations of this marking varied.

I highly recommend this kit.


C h a l l e n g e r    M o d e l   G a l l e r y

Victor Vostrikov's Desert Storm Challenger I Mk. 3


Victor Vostrikov is a talented Moscow modeller. This is Tamiya's Challenger kit as described in Juho's review. A number of these photographs appeared in a recent issue of Tamiya News.

HyperScale is grateful to Vasili Goncharoff for sending these images.

In addition to the title image and the picture above, you can see more of Victor's beautiful model by clicking the thumbnails below:


Lindsay Sparkes' and Ron Puttee's Desert Storm Challenger I Mk. 3


chalrp_1.jpg (46811 bytes)


This Tamiya Challenger was originally built by Lindsay Sparkes and painted by Ron Puttee to Lindsay's colours and guidelines

A short time after the model was completed Lindsay offered to sell the model to Ron for a peppercorn amount. In its original configuration it won a monthly competition (novice) at IPMS.

Ron further refurbished the model recently for the inaugural Wheels & Tracks model competition in Melbourne (mainly due to not having any of his own new projects ready).

The paint finish on the Challenger was improved mainly using pastels. As well refinishing the paint, Ron added the following improvements:

    • Added a scratchbuilt camouf1age net using VLS netting and tea leaves from the kitchen
    • Added hand painted callsign numbers to the vehicle side armour
    • Added a Union Jack to the right hand side aerial
    • Added extensive weathering and generally gave the vehicle a used feel with fuel spill stains, chipping etc,
    • Repainted and refurbished the base keying in the vehicle to the base with weathering, dusting and small amounts of foliage.
    • Painted the previously unpainted taillights (this alone took Ron a few hours of research)
    • Shadowed packs and stowage with various tones of the same colour and adding a small amount of drybrushing to each.

Lindsay's original very capable extensive build & detailing, coupled with the Ron's refurbished finish and weathering obviously appealed to the entrants to this years inaugural Wheels and Tracks competition who voted it Best in Show.

The following thumbnails may also be viewed at full size by clicking on the small image:

chalrp_2.jpg (24298 bytes)         chalrp_3.jpg (47384 bytes)         chalrp_4.jpg (52157 bytes)         chalrp_5.jpg (60438 bytes)


C h a l l e n g e r   L i n k s

The UK Military Homepage has a number of photographs of a British Army Challenger 1 in an interesting sand and grey camouflage scheme. This is a training camouflage scheme as used on Salisbury Plain and the BATUS Area at Suffield in Canada.


C h a l l e n g e r   R e f e r e n c e s

I can recommend two good, inexpensive references for the Challenger Tank:

"New Vanguard 23 - Challenger Main Battle Tank 1982-1997" by Simon Dunstan and Peter Sarson, Osprey Military, London, 1997
ISBN 1 85532 485 7

"Operation Granby - Desert Rats Armour and Transport in the Gulf War" by Bob Morrison, Concord Publications Company, Hong Kong, 1991
ISBN 962-361-902-2


Review Copyright 1998 by Juho Ala-Jaaski
Model and Photographs (No. 1 Gallery Entry) Copyright 1998 by Victor Vostrikov
Model (No. 2 Gallery Entry) by Lindsay Sparkes and Ron Puttee
Photographs (no. 2 Gallery Entry) Copyright 1998 by Brett Green
This Page Created 21 May 1998
Last updated 09 May 2002

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