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Tamiya 1/35 Challenger 2 ‘Desertized’

The Challenger 2 is the third vehicle of this name, the first being the A30 Challenger, a Second World War design using the Cromwell tank chassis with a 17-pounder gun. The second was the Persian Gulf War era Challenger 1, which was the British army’s main battle tank (MBT) from the early 1980s to the mid-1990s. Vickers Defence Systems (later Alvis Vickers, now BAE Systems Land Systems) began to develop a successor to Challenger 1 as a private venture in 1986. Following the issue of a Staff Requirement for a next-generation tank, Vickers formally submitted its plans for Challenger 2 to the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

Secretary of State for Defence George Younger announced to the House of Commons that Vickers would receive £90 million contract for a demonstrator vehicle, a deal that was finalised in January 1989.

The demonstration phase contained three milestones for progress, with dates of September 1989, March 1990, and September 1990. At the last of these milestones, Vickers was to have met 11 key criteria for the tank’s design.

In June 1991, after competition with other tank manufacturers’ designs (including the M1A2 Abrams and the Leopard 2 (Improved)), the MoD placed a £520 million order for 127 MBTs and 13 driver training vehicles. An order for a further 259 tanks and 9 driver trainers (worth £800 million) was placed in 1994.

Oman ordered 18 Challenger 2s in 1993 and a further 20 tanks in November 1997. Production began in 1993 at two primary sites: Elswick, Tyne and Wear and Barnbow, Leeds, although over 250 subcontractors were involved. The first tanks were delivered in July 1994.

The Challenger 2 successfully completed its Reliability Growth Trial in 1994. Three vehicles were tested for 285 simulated battlefield days. Each day is known to have consisted of:

British Challenger 2 Highlights

  • 27 km (17 mi) of on-road travel
  • 33 km (21 mi) of off-road travel
  • 34 main armament rounds fired
  • 1,000 7.62 MG rounds fired
  • 16 hours weapon system operation
  • 10 hours main engine idling
  • 3.5 hours main engine running


The Kit:

Honestly, about the 1/35 scale Challenger 2 from Tamiya you get what your used to with Tamiya Models. A high quality and precision model kits. One of the things I love the most from newer Tamiya model kits is the great detail on the finished model without having to go thru literally hundreds of parts (ala Dragon Models) saving precious model building time yet yielding a beautiful and realistic model when finished. All kits featured here are built for the most part out-of-the-box. However I decided to add the Photo Etched set from Tamiya which features the rear engine grill is is very affordable.

Painting Tamiya’s Challenger 2:

This is my personal point of view on the subject. so take it accordingly. Unlike the 1:35 scale Challenger 1 Mk.3, which was painted with Testors Model Master Acryl, 4813 British Gulf Armor Light, I took another approach with the Challenger 2. In my opinion, the Acryl 4813 finishes a bit dark making it an off-scale color. For the Challenger 2, I mixed a 1:1 ratio of Acryl 4813 with 4720 Sand. The tracks are made of rubber and they fit like a glove.

For the tracks I always paint them with PollyS Grimy Black as a base color. The paint wont crack or peel when the tracks are bent and set on the model.

The 1/35 British Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank from Tamiya is one of my best experiences (after the Abrams M1-A2) with Tamiya armor. Definitely you can’t go wrong with this kit. Don’t take this as gospel, but the owner of my local hobby shop told us that this kit has been discontinued. This kit is highly recommended.

George Collazo
George Collazo

George has been hosting review sites and blogging about toy collectibles, travel, digital photography and Nikon digital imaging since 1998. His first model kit build was a Testors 1/35 DODGE WC-54 in 1984.