The Challenger tank was introduced to the British Army in 1983 and has served operationally in Op Granby (ODS), the Balkans, and Op Telic (OIF) in Iraq. In the late 1980's, the British Army saw a need to upgrade the Challengers and a new version, named the Challenger 2 was introduced. It incorporated a new turret onto the same basic hull, which gave better crew protection and improved fire control systems. The Challenger is also exported to many Middle Eastern allies and they have modified them in many interesting ways as well.
This book is another great example of Osprey's excellent modeling guides. It is written by Graeme Davidson, an accomplished modeler and Captain in the Canadian Army, and Pat Johnston, founder of the New Brunswick Military Modelers and TamiyaCon Canada winner. This is their second book together and their third Osprey publication each.
The book is broken up from building a standard Challenger 1 Mk 3 from 1999 to building a mostly scratch built Falcon 2 AB9C5 of the Jordanian Army. It has a total of 80 pages with 5 black and white photos and 214 color photos to illustrate the model builds. It is divided up among 7 build chapters; Challenger 1 Mk 3, Kings Royal Hussars c.1999; Challenger 2, Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, Op Telic c.2003; Challenger 1 Mk 3, 4th Armoured Brigade, Op Granby c.1991; Desert Challenger 2, 1st Tank Regiment, Royal Army of Oman c.2001, Challenger Armoured Repair and Recovery Vehicle, Bosnia c.1995; Challenger 2, Royal Dragoon Guards, Op Telic c.1995; and the aforementioned Falcon 2 AB9C2 of the Jordanian Army. Further, each build section is broken up into Background, Construction, and Painting and Weathering sections. Each build also lists the degree of difficulty, kits and AM parts used, markings, paints, and references.
It also includes a Gallery section, a Further Reading page with links to armour modeling websites (Armorama is listed) and reference websites, and a section on available kits and accessories. Also included, as a cutout page, is a very nice color chip chart with corresponding common modeling company paint colors that match them.
The builds cover both 1/72 and 1/35 models and many of the available upgrade and accessory sets for the Challenger. It also covers tips and techniques fro improving optics and applying non-slip texture to the hull and turret. The subjects are varied and give a good example of the different versions of Challengers that have been used through the last 23 years of its service. It also touches on the lesser-known versions such as the recovery vehicle and the Omani and Jordanian Challengers. It is well written and the pictures show great detail on how to construct the versions it focuses on. The text and pictures flow well together and make it easy for the average modeler to understand what they are doing in the builds.
In conclusion, this is a great modeling guide and a must have for British armour fans. It shows how to build the versions, not just the finished models. It is definitely an asset to have on the shelf.
My Thanks to Osprey for the review sample
Highly recommended. A great guide to one of the most prolific tanks used all over the world from the mid-1980's to today. This book covers everything from a basic Challenger 1 to a Challenger 2 in Iraq, and a couple of the lesser-known Middle Eastern countries versions as well. A must-have for British armour fans.
About Gino P. Quintiliani (HeavyArty) FROM: FLORIDA, UNITED STATES
Retired US Army Artillery Officer, currently a contractor at MacDill AFB in the Tampa, FL area. I have been modelling for the past 40+ years, really seriously on armor and large scale helos (1/32, 1/35) for the last 35 or so.