Challenger Mk 1 & 2
Hi folks, I've finally got the Challenger 2 finished. Considering it was a Xmas present from the one before, not the one just gone, I seem to be a bit behind with my builds!
The Mk 1 was a build from a while back and my first attempt at armour. I felt that I could probably do a better job these days so I scrubbed off the old pigments and re-weathered it.
The Challenger 2 replaced the Mk 1 in the early 90's and is expected to stay in service with the British Army till 2035. They were made by Vickers Defence Sytems and a total of 448 vehicles were built between 1993 and 2002. One of the two primary production sites was just down the road from me in Elswick, Newcastle. The tank has a pretty good combat record with only one being seriously damaged, and that was from another Challenger 2 in a friendly fire incident. The white metal panels on the turret were added purely for target identification purposes to try and stop further such incidents taking place.
They are Tamiya 1/35 scale kits with markings from the Gulf War conflicts and the additional 'dessertised' armour included in the box. They both built up without any problems as you would expect from Tamiya. The only added extras are the radio antenna which I used lengths of guitar string for instead of the stretched plastic called for in the instruction manual. The tracks are just the standard rubber ones but work fine as there aren't any areas on show where the tracks would naturally sag.
They are both painted with Tamiya acrylics and weathered with Mig pigments. I've discovered their own brand of pigment fixer which I gently airbrushed on over the top to stop any dust or dirt being rubbed off when handling. Most of the reference pics I've looked at of the tanks during operations in the middle east show well maintained, structurally sound vehicles. I've tried to capture that here but with heavy weathering to show extensive use in the dusty desert environment. I've tried to make the Mk 2 look a little bit newer and cleaner though!
I had contemplated taking the models down to the beach to photograph them, but if you know anything about the weather on the north east coast in January you will understand why I decided not to in the end! Thanks for looking.