1/35 RFM Challenger II TES "Megatron"
4 of 4 for 2021!
The Challenger II is one of, if not the best protected MBTs in service today, with heavily sloped composite armor throughout. This is fine for conventional warfare where your tank can hull down with only its turret peeking out and safely pop targets at range, but "needs must" as the term goes, and tanks wind up getting tossed into hideously inappropriate scenarios like urban conflict. Tanks rumbling through a blasted-out cityscape are very intimidating, until someone gets the unsportsmanlike idea of popping out of a sewer drain to fire a RPG at the rear of your turret, or hiding a bundle of random artillery shells in some rubble, or any number of things that just aren't healthy for tanks.
In an effort to address these threats and squeeze more life out of the Challenger II platform, BAE developed a host of add-on elements to increase protection. Additional armor on the belly, RPG cages around the rear of the tank and rear turret, ERA blocks over the side skirts and turret sides, a remote weapon station and what looks like a picnic table sitting on the rear turret playing host to a array of antennas; all of this brings the tank up to Theater Entry Standard (TES). The kit's subject, MEGATRON, is actually the TES reference vehicle and company demonstrator.
After my last experience with Rye Field Models and their M4A3E8, I swore I wouldn't put myself through another torturous experience like that again. And I didn't! The Challenger II kit is, despite its daunting amount of parts and apparently fragile assembly, a satisfying kit to build. I followed the weathering process I used for my Leopard C2 MEXAS: https://imodeler.com/2020/06/meng-1-35-leopard-c2-mexas-dozer/
RFM provides you with an important correction sheet that highlights errors in their instructions. You're going to lose this sheet, so make the appropriate edits to your instruction booklet now before you get stuck in. The anti-RPG slats seem fragile, but they're actually quite sturdy. You can replace them with photoetch, but this is the best example of "just because you can doesn't mean you should."