Challenger 1

Manufacturer: Revell AG. (Kit #03110)

This is a remarkable model, and one that I thoroughly enjoyed building. Every new release of Revell's gets better and better, and this is one of their best. Some highlights of the kit include hard plastic, link and length tracks (very nicely detailed), a superb 7.62mm machinegun at the commander's station, extra fuel drums, and an overall remarkable level of detail. The driver's and commander's hatches can be positioned open, but unfortunately, the other three turret hatches cannot. The detail on the hull sides, behind the wheels is incredible. Too bad you can't see any of it. But if anybody wants to do a diorama with some of the wheels off, you're all set.

Some drawbacks to the kit: pioneer tools molded directly on the hull (but in excellent relief), open side hull sponsons above the tracks, poorly shaped smoke grenade launchers, and poor bustle racks (storage baskets) on the side and front of the turret. The kit racks are plastic pieces with mesh patterns molded onto them, but they look very unrealistic. The only other way that Revell could have done it is to include small pieces of mesh for the modeler to cut into shape (curiously, it looks like this is what was done for the pictures of the completed model on the box sides.) Although I wanted to build this kit "out-of-the-box," I just could not force myself to use the plastic racks, so I scratch-built my own from styrene and mesh. Unfortunately, I botched the one on the front left corner of the turret, so that now there's nothing there :(

There are two stowage bins on the rear corners of the turret. They both have horrendous ejection pin marks inside the bins, which are almost impossible to remove. I guess the best fix would be to fill the bins with stuff, and hide the marks.

Seeing as I did nothing special to this kit, there really is not much else to say about it. Construction was very straight-forward, with absolutely no hassles. Everything fit very well. According to vehicle's dimensions given in Jane's Tank Recognition Guide, the model scales out very well to 1/72nd. I guess if I had to find something else wrong with the kit, I could mention that it's high time that Revell started including tank crew figures with their vehicles.

The decals are physically of very high quality (with the exception of some numbers printed out of register). Regarding thinness, adhesion and lack of silvering, I'd say that Revell makes my favorite kit decals. I question, however, the color of the SFOR and vehicle number on the armored skirts. The decals are printed in black, which is very difficult to see when applied over black camouflage. The box art shows these items to be printed in white, which makes much more sense, but I am not sure which one is correct. Also, the red and yellow stripes which were to be applied to the rear fenders are far too large to fit, as is the rear vehicle identification number also.

This model is highly recommended.

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