Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Achilles tank destroyer

A quick blog on the Achilles tankdestroyer and the model made by Armourfast. The M10 tankdestroyer was developed by the allies during WWII as a fastmoving armored vehicle able to destroy german tanks like the Pz.Kfz.II, III and IV used in the 'blitzkrieg'. The tank had the same chassis as a Sherman tank but less armour to make it lighter and faster. The M10 was armed with a 3" or 76,2 mm gun. The British also aquierd these vehicles but mounted it with the much more potent 17-pdr gun. This version of the M10 is known as the 'Achilles'. At first look these tank destroyers look just like tanks, the only difference is the fact that they have relatively weak armour, suited to repel shots from AT guns with a caliber up to 50mm but not from heavier weapons used later during WWII.

A real Achilles. Armourfast makes a model of the vehicle in 1/72. This is a kit with a limited number of parts for wargamers but with it's hard plastic tracks, precise 1/72 scale and availability it serves as an excellent basis to detail the model yourself. With +/- €9,00 for a box with 2 kits it is also very cheap.

Box of the amourfast offering of the Achilles. I think I added about 100 parts. Most made for pieces of sprue (for the exaust and stretched sprue for the rods to attach the stowage too, I can't think of the right word right now), plastic sheet and copper sheet. The turret is open on the top just like the real thing but closed on the underside. No need to scratchbuild the entire interior if you don't want to. The pictures speak for them selves I think. Click on them for a larger version:

During the building process:

On a diorama base:

Compared with the Armourfast Firefly:

Recommended for everyone wanting to (practise) scratch building your own details, wargamers and modellers who don't demand the finest detail.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Challenger Mk.I

The Challenger Mk.I was the main battle tank of the United Kingdom and Jordan in the eighties and nineties. In the UK the Challenger Mk.I is replaced by the Mk.II variant. In Jordan the Mk.I's are also upgraded, the most remarkable about the Jordan upgrade the is fact that the new turret is a robot turret! It's called 'the falcon' and is designed by the King Abdullah II Design and Development Bureau. Apart from the turret of the Stryker MRGS it's the only robotic turret I'm aware off. Here a picture of the Falcon turret:

The turret looks a bit like the turret from the M60A2 'Space ship' (which had one crew member by the way). But back too the original Challenger I. The most noticeable about the Challenger Mk.I was it's Chobham armour, strangely enough this british product was used in the American M1 tank for the first time.

A Challenger Mk.I at tankfest Bovington

Revell released there model of the Challenger Mk.I earlier this year. This model is from a mold bought from Matchbox and is one the oldest 1/72 models in the Revell range. (the models from their 1/76 range, also from Matchbox molds, are even older). Currently not released by Revell is the version with extra armour added on. It is availible in a 'ACE' boxing at hlj.com.

Boxart of the release from this year

The fact that this is a model from an older mold means it has fewer parts as the models engineered by Revell them selves, about 90 instead of 120 too 160. There are also fewer small parts and especially the smaller parts are less detailed as those in later releases. The lagere parts are very well detailed however, the upper hull a true master piece! The only thing that has to be redone are the baskets on the turret. On the real thing these are made out of steel frames with a mesh, the plasic parts don't even look like this. My replacements didn't turn out the may I liked but even these are large improvement over the kits parts. I painted mine in the two tone camouflage standard for armoured vehicles of the british army. The picures (click on them for a lrger version as always):

Recommended for everyone wanting to make a model of the Challenger Mk.I. The relatively low number of parts make this a project that can be finished fast although the turret baskets can be a challenge(r) if you want to upgrade these however.