British Army Chieftain Main Battle Tank
Over the last couple of days, I've had the pleasure to put together and paint this new kit.
Here's the kit laid out before I started. The body, turret and tracks are cast from a high quality lightweight resin, while the barrel, track guard and small pieces are cast in white metal.
I started by assembling the turret. These are the turret pieces laid out, before I started. Sloppy Jalopy has included a nice tank commander miniature. The Chieftain tank can be modelled buttoned down or with the hatch open and commander in hatch. This is the option that I have taken. The turret needs to be drilled out slightly to accommodate the generous lug on the barrel. I used a simple hand drill and needle file. A dremmel type drill could also be used.
The turret stowage bin, GPMG, cupola, hatch and smoke generators were glued into position using superglue. I use industrial strength superglue that I buy from our local builder’s merchant in a big bottle.
Here are the pieces laid out for building the hull of the tank. I have spent a bit of time with a craft knife and needle file to remove the thin web of resin from around the wheels, track and running gear. This is definitely easier to do before gluing pieces together.
At this stage I have glued the rear mud guards into position together with the lights at the front, the drivers hatch and a spare jerry can and chain link.
I have left the track guards off for now to make it easier to paint the tracks and wheels.
Here we can see the rear mud guards in position together with the two rear tow hooks. These were a bit fiddly, so a pair of tweezers was used to hold them in position until they had dried.
In this view we can see the position of the headlights and the front tow hooks.
Time to start painting. I painted the hull, turret and track guards separately using a combined primer / base coat spray. 'Chieftain Green' from the Battlefront Team Yankee range.
The tracks and the edge of the wheels were then carefully painted with a size 2 brush using Vallejo Black Grey paint. I did not paint the top track or running gear as it will be hidden by the track guard.
The tracks and wheels were then painted with a weathering product from AK Interactive called 'Track Wash'. This is an enamel based wash specifically designed for tank tracks. If you do not have any an alternative approach is to use a black ink or Army Painter Strong Tone.
Using a size 1 brush, I then picked out the detail of the GPMG, headlights and tow chain using Army Painter Gunmetal paint.
The next stage is to paint the black camouflage pattern onto the tank. I did think about masking and using black spray paint until I read how crudely the paint was applied, thinned down with petrol and either hand sprayed with axel grease used as a mask or painted with a broom in the REME workshops. In light of this, careful painting with a size 3 brush is more than adequate. Although the colour scheme is often referred to as black over IR green, the black is not really black at all, far more a dark grey. I used the same black grey that I had used for the tracks and mixed it 50/50 with black ink to get a dark grey / off black that flowed into detail well. All of the photos I'd looked at of Chieftains on exercise had about 1/3rd black, 2/3 IR green with 4 large stripes starting on track guards and then continuing to hull decking and turret.
It's not a hard pattern to apply, but you need to be bold!
Leave the base coat to dry completely. I left mine over night, before starting 'weathering'.
Weathering is the process of making the model look like it has not just rolled out of the factory door, but has seen a bit of use in the field.
I always start with my trusty 'Citadel' tank brush and apply a light dry-brush all over with Army Painter Gun Metal, paying particular attention to the tracks, wheels and corners were paint will scuff and scratch. Put a little paint on your palette, with a small brush or toothpick then just dab the tips off the tank brush in it, and paint up and down over a piece of kitchen roll until you have removed most of the paint from the brush.
The second stage of weathering was to start applying dirt/mud to the vehicle. Here I have used a Mig Earth weathering powder, applied with a dry brush. When I was happy with the build up, I dribbled some white spirit around corners and creases to draw the dirt to them. When the white spirit had evaporated, I sprayed the tank all over with Army Painter Matt Varnish to seal the weathering powder in position.
For the final stage of weathering I used some liquid mud from AK Interactive that I applied with my old toothbrush. This is a great technique to model the splatters of fresh mud that a vehicle picks up in the field. If you do not have the special weathering paint do not worry as you can really use and brown acrylic or enamel paint, although it needs to be of a good thick consistency. Put the paint on your pallet, dip the bristles of your toothbrush in the paint and then from a couple of inches away, and at pretty much ground level, draw your thumb across the toothbrush to send mud splatters over your vehicle. It makes your thumb really dirty, and is best not done on the kitchen or dining room table, as it can make a bit of a mess, but I think the result is worth it.
This is a great addition to Sloppy Jalopy’s range of Cold War vehicles, and I think that gamers collecting a BAOR based army have been awaiting it's release with some anticipation.
The kit is available from Sloppy Jalopy and Sally 4th mail order, and we will have kits available as Sloppy Jalopy’s show agents from next weekend (12th February 2017) at ROBIN, onwards together with the painted version in our display case. You can check out the shows that we are attending by clicking here, and you can view the Chieftain kit in our web store by clicking here.