Tamiya 1/35th Challenger 1 MK 3 Build

i started off, with this challenging build with the idea of building a super detailed challenger, with all the after market products and detail sets i could, so i ordered the Eduard photo etched kit for the chally, but as it turned out, i didn’t actually need all of the parts from the Eduard kit, as the original, out-of-the-box kit is quite detailed.

This means then, that i selected the P/E parts i would use before the build commenced, as i see it quite pointless using the P/E parts, over the correctly detailed kit.

Following the instructions, (and after giving the whole kit a priming coat of Humbrol Matt Dark Green 30) and trying to ignore Tamiya’s quirky little dude in a helmet that features on most of their instructions, i got cracking on the hull and the wheel assembly, nothing too major, cut, file glue, basic stuff and nothing that would tax even the most inexperienced modeler.

photoThe hull and wheels after the first part of the build

Next up, the rear superstructure. Believe it or not, from start to finish this section took about 8 hours. It was one of those parts that all modelers experience from time to time. The part of the build that takes hours and yet looks as if you have done absolutely nothing. Unbeknownst to me, i was to experience a lot of these on this build!

It was fiddly… REALLY fiddly, but it was enjoyable. The rear light units were made up of separate components, requiring each light to be glued into place (i know right?!) the colours are Citadels old paint range, and are macharius solar orange, and blood red, but I’m sure any orange or red will do in honesty, i just used them because i have recently switched from citadel paints to Revell and Tamiya paints and wanted to use them up. The spare tracks are just chaos black (again from Citadels old range) with a dry brush of silver to give it a metallic sheen. The photo etched chains were added (boy were these a pain in the arse, they are so small i actually lost 2 before i got one stuck in place!) the barrels were done in Humbrol 30 again, but dry brushed with Citadels catachan green (now caliban green) to give it and oily, greasy, handled look. The strops were then painted black, again using chaos black and the buckles given a dry brush of silver.

photo (1)

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Next, the wheel rims were painted chaos black, and the tracks were added, and this part of the hull was set aside for later.

photo (3)


Next up was some of the photo etched parts. The grills were airbrushed with Humbrol 30 again, and while these were drying, i gave the existing grills a coat of Revel anthracite to give it a bit of depth when the grills were applied. The Grills were then applied and set in place once i was happy with the final position.



So, grills in place, we moved on to the outside detailing. This was to prove another one of those times where you spend 6 hours on something and look as if you are absolutely no further forward than you were when you started… First up, the front details. The lights were fairly easy to do, pop em into place, glue em in, let em set. Robert’s your fathers brother.

The section behind the drivers hole, was almost as simple, paint the back section red (although the instructions state blue, all the photos i found of a chally show its orangey reddish in colour and as that was all i had to go by, i went with that.) then slide the clear plastic part in and cement in place. Bingo bango bongo. What i like most about that particular detail, it the fact the plastic part gives it its own shine and reflection whilst the colour behind makes it look authentic.

Since i have decided to do the NATO variant of the chally, as opposed to the heavily armoured desertised version, some of the detailing is different, IE, there is no front  armour on the NATO variant, and the side skirts are different, again, being less armoured. Some of the finer detail is also different, there is no extra water jerrycan at the back, and the front end has different detail.

The back rubber skirts, were painted black and given a very watery white misting of spray to give that greyish rubber feel to it. the tool box was assembled, then glued into place, as was the plethora of tools including an axe, axe handle, shovel (or for those in the know, a tool trenching universal!) and the engine exhausts were added.



At this point, i deviated slightly from the instructions, for no other reason than i fancied a bit of a painting session, after spending 6 hours screwing my eyes up trying to fit all the fine detail. so i started on the barrel. The chally barrel was covered in canvas, for reasons I’m not really sure about, so to achieve an accurate portrayal of this, i needed to have the parts represented by canvas, to be a slightly different colour of green. for this i used Revell NATO Olive. The flash eliminator and the base were painted in Revell anthracite again and the base green is again, Humbrol 30.


That’s all for now I’m afraid folks, but please, stay tuned for more on this build as and when i get a moment to update it!

Build Part 2

I decided to use heavy mud and weathering, to represent a well used chally, as opposed to a mint condition, straight out of the factory look. For this i used a medium base coat of Revell Dark Earth, followed by a light dusting of Revell Beige, completed with a mixture of the two for a 3 toned effect.





As you can see, this was applied (in stages) to the wheels and side of the hull, the back, the front and the tracks. I then gave it a very (deliberately) watery and splodgy coat of Citadels Scorched Earth, followed by coating the wheels, with Citadels Baddab black wash, to give the impression of mud that was still wet on the wheels.


So, moving on from the extraneous detail, i though it was time to work a bit on the upper hull. The time has come to give it its camouflage markings, well, stripes haha! so i diluted the Revell anthracite roughly 3/1 and turned the propellant down really low, to give a very thin layer of spray and gave it the once over. Its still a little rough, but there is plenty of time to neaten up nearer the end, besides, i intend to use heavy weathering on the sides, front and rear, so neat feathered edges aren’t really going to be an issue. This was followed by a very light, gentle spray all over, of the Humbrol 30, just to soften the anthracite a bit and give it a faded, washed out look to the paint.



Whilst this was drying, i decided to go ahead with the turret and main gun barrel construction. tough little customer this, trickier than it looked in all honesty.



Unusually, the barrel construction consists not of a interlocking movable part, but of a nut and screw type of affair. This for me, is a much sturdier construction and easier to do, as there is very little to go wrong, and no parts that require cementing in place and therefore, no parts to accidentally get stuck together.

The small, window type affair was added, by a pointlessly hard series of cutting out a fiddly part and cementing a bit of clear plastic to it, then painting it red (why the fiddly small part that was extremely hard to cut of the sprue in one part couldn’t have been moulded with the rest of the turret construction is beyond me) The small part being so close to the sprue, resulted in me cutting it too short to fit, and having to bodge a piece to fit. The clear plastic part was also too small to fit, and necessitated a lot of messing about cutting another and filing it to the right size.


After this was completed, the top of the storage box and the rail at the back were added, and the sides slotted into place. Once this had dried, it was dry fitted onto the hull base/barrel assembly to ensure a good fit.




Once i was happy with the turret, the base was fitted and cemented in place. I then touched up a few bits that needed it with a 2/1 mix of Humbrol 30 and water.

Next, it was time to get the turret together and start adding the finishing details, before giving it the final coat of charcoal, and the finishing weatheirng details.



After fitting the camo net carriers, the waterbottle and jerrycan containers, the rear light and a few other bits, it was time to get the charcoal coat on the turret. This proved somewhat difficult, as i am new to airbrushing (this being my first time, and holding it close, while it got thinner sprays, produced gloopier results, whilst holding it further away produced more even results, but wider stripes than i wanted, as you can partially see from the photo below.


To counter this, i ended up doing wide stripes, and feathering the edges with a brush, with first green, then charcoal, to properly blend it, and make it a bit softer and worn looking.


The end result, i was quite pleased with, and although it looked a bit rough in parts, we have to remember the paint on the Chally, would probably have been applied by brush rather than sprayed, and thus would have been rougher in some parts than others. Whilst doing this, i was applying certain decals as well, choosing to work by section, rather than complete it and decal it all together.

Moving by sections, i carried on the decaling, whilst touching up and thing necessary whilst i went along. The level of detail on the decals for the Chally, was superb, showing minute details like the writing on the ammo tins and the fire extinguishers, for someone detail orientated like me, this was very pleasing




So, after completing the decaling, using water, instead of the usual decal soft due to the model shop being out of stock, i proceeded to the last layers of the weathering, and the mud effects. I used the same colours as the first layers, but in a slightly more watered down mix, so it didnt completely obscure the decals, but gave them a muddied, overspayed look.

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To achieve this, i used a tap-spray method, whereby i just touched the pressel instead of keeping a constant contact with it the beauty of using this method, is that each touch gets a different weight of spray and so, give you a different volume of spray. A good example of this can be seen on the front and rear of the Chally, where it was most important to have different layers and colours to achieve this effect.

The results i think were good, but not as good as they could have been, as although the front and rear look realistc, the sides looks sprayed, rather than muddied if you get me.

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Conclusion: The build was hugely enjoyable, the kit was amazing, further enhanced by the Eduard Photo Etched kit i bought with it, and the first use of an airbrush. The level of detail, was amazing, although i would have like to see an interior detail set either in aftermarket, or actually included in future kits, as this would have completed the kit for me.

My first taste of airbrushing was enjoyable, whilst not necessarily effective overall, i lack the practiced skill of someone who has been doing it years, and so for a first attempt, consider it to be highly effective as a tutorial, and the end results, whilst nowhere near as good as some i have seen, certainly have encouraged me to try airbrushing on later builds.

Tamiya got it right on this one. The kit, the decals, the details, everything about this was brilliant from start to finish, although some of the instructions WERE a bit baffling, especially the little guy with the helmet telling me to take a break halfway though, (as anyone who has done Tamiya kits will be familiar with!)

I thoroughly recommend this kit, and for anyone with an interest in armour, this kit is a MUST!!!

Stay tuned for the Desertised version of the same tank, coming in future (yes, i liked it that much im going to build it again with the alternative parts!!)

Overall Rating: five-stars (1)



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