Challenger (in progress)


Next project is a 15mm (1:100) Challenger. Not the modern Challenger, the descendent of Chieftain, but the WWII Challenger, the 17 pounder variant of the Cromwell. Once again I made the gun barrel from a length of 2mm brass rod, tapered down and provided with locating pins on my cheap (and fairly pathetic) little mini-lathe. I would have liked to have been able to turn the muzzle-brake in place rather than having to glue on a separate piece, but my lathe isn't anywhere near that precise.

I have printed this model by the estimable Mr Bergman before, in FDM, but at that time my Ender 3 printer was in the process of crapping itself, and I got a bit of layer shifting. I've thrown this print away now.

As it turned out, while I was looking for the Cromwell (below) I discovered that I'd printed another FDM Challenger more successfully, and completely forgotten about it, so I've got a couple of Challengers available on the very small chance that I'll ever need more than one for any game I'll be playing.

I wanted to see how the Challenger looked alongside the Cromwell, in this case a 1:100 PSC plastic kit. It's certainly quite stretched out, and it's tall compared with the Cromwell, but it wouldn't be any taller than a Sherman Firefly, the Brits' other 17pdr gun tank option at the time.

I've primed the Challenger model with Vallejo British Bronze Green surface primer.

The Challenger was intended to work with Cromwell troops, and by being built on what was essentially a lengthened Cromwell chassis, to minimise the logistics impact of having two different types working in the same unit. Also, the Cromwell was a pretty speedy tank, and the Firefly would have had quite a job to keep up with them. Not to mention that a Firefly would stand out to enemy observation even more in a Cromwell troop than they did with other Shermans.

The next stage is to apply the top coat, ready for markings and weathering.

The colour I use for late-war British stuff is VMC Russian Uniform, and it's applied by airbrush one panel at a time. I'm not aiming at even, solid coating, but rather apply the paint in a sort of mottle pattern from the centre of each panel out to near the edge, building it up in thin layers until it looks okay.

The panel edges are then highlighted by dry-brushing with VMC Buff.

Decals and/or markings will go on before any further weathering, so that they don't look too bright at the end of the process.

The finished piece can be seen here.

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