Thursday, October 1

Review: Takom’s 35th scale Chieftain Mk.11

Takom’s triple treat release of Mk 5, 10 & 11 Chieftain tanks in 35th scale is upon us – and we have already reviewed two of these three. Today Paul Lee looks at the kit he is building – the Mk.11 – before he starts cutting plastic….
Build review Pt.I Overview: Chieftain Mk.11
Manufacturer: Takom
Scale: 1:35
Type: Multimedia kit
Price: ¥7,470/ USD $62.22/ €55.56 from Hobbylink Japan

British armour fans rejoiced when Takom announced that they would be releasing a new moulding of the Chieftain tank, since it was around thirty years ago when Tamiya released their one. Not only was Takom bringing out the Chieftain, but three versions, and rather than the standard method of releasing one version at a time, Takom released all three versions at once!
The British Chieftain MBT saw many years of solid service with her majesty’s armed forces as well as several export sales in different versions to many countries mainly in the Middle Eastern part of the world. At the time of its introduction in 1966 the most powerful main gun and most effective armour of any tank ever made.
We have seen three versions of the Chieftain family from Takom. Regular readers of The Modelling News will no doubt have already read Andy Moore's review of the Mk 5, and Clayton Ockerby's review of the Mk 10, so I have been lucky enough to review the final version of the Chieftain, the Mk 11.
While the box is not filled to bursting point like some other manufacturers, the box is filled well enough upon lifting the lid.
The instruction booklet is presented in the familiar Takom style, and also has a little addendum for a moulded on detail to be removed from the turret.
The sprue map...
 And the short instruction guide - fairly clear and non cluttered but brief - just what we like about Takom's kits
Having previously built the Takom Tadpole, and Luchs, my first observation was that Takom appears to have changed to a softer, slightly more flexible plastic similar to the type Airfix uses for their newer releases - complete with square looking runners which is a new trend in modelling it seems.

The lower hull is moulded as a tub, with some strangely wedge shaped sponsoons but on closer inspection, they correspond with the shape of the upper hull, and fit of the upper and lower sections seems quite good.
The upper hull is very nicely detailed and will simplify construction with some of the moulded on detail.

Some may prefer photo etch for the moulded on braces on the fenders, but to me the moulded on ones seem quite acceptable.

The turret comes in an upper and lower shell with some wheel rims attached to the lower part of the turret. With three versions being simultaneously released, I thought Takom would have moulded the basic turret, and then have the Stillbrew armour as an add on, but Takom has chosen to mould the turret with the Stillbrew in place.
Again, Takom has chosen to simplify construction by moulding a lot of parts in place but the detail looks good to me.
The mantlet cover is provided in soft vinyl with the barrel of the ranging machine gun moulded in place. My previous experiences with bits like this is that they are quite hard to cut being so soft, but there is no flash or mould lines at all so well done Takom.
You get two copies of the A sprue which consists mostly of the running gear.
The suspension is moulded in one piece so it will not be able to be placed on an uneven surface.
However the road-wheels are very nicely detailed with only two attachment points each which saved carving..
Sprue B consists of some turret details which also includes the pieces for the TOGS sights which differentiates the Mk11 from earlier variants.
Sprue C has some features of the hull, final drive housings, toolboxes and vents that could not be moulded onto the hull.
Sprue D has some turret details including a nicely moulded GPMG.
 Smoke dischargers, parts of the gun and even an access ladder are included here...
 ..and parts of the turret ring so you can revolve it as well as various hatches with external detail only.
You get six copies of Sprue E which are the individual track pads for the individual track links which come in a separate bag, and thankfully, in individual pieces.
Sprue F gives you the main armament, side skirts, rear hull plate and a pair of tow cables.
The rear hull
I wanted to have a closer look at the moulded on thermal covers on the barrel and it looks to be very nicely detailed.
It was at this point that I noticed another change to the moulding technique that Takom has used for this kit in that the sprues frames are square in shape more like Warhammer kits, rather than the usual round shape. While this may seem inconsequential, going back to the other frames, it does mean longer attachment points to the pieces themselves but clean-up is still fairly simple since they're largely moulded to flat areas. 
However, in this case for the gun, Takom has moulded it quite cleverly in that the attachment points do not actually attach to the actual details but to the mating surface instead so that all the moulded on detail on the thermal covers is preserved after you remove them from the sprue.
Sprue G is a small assortment of parts for the tank
Sprue M
You also get a small fret of photo etch for the grills, turret baskets and other small details.

There is a small decal sheet with markings for five different vehicles.
While there are five schemes, three are for British Army Training Unit, Suffield (BATUS) vehicles, which are painted in sand and green. However, the camouflage patterns are not identical so the vehicles do not look the same. Takom appears to have mis-spelt Suffield as Suffied on the colour plates. You also get one plain green vehicle, as well as a green and black vehicle based in Germany.

5th Iniskilling Dragoon Guards, British Army Training Unit Suffied, Canada
Royal Scots Dragoon Guards
Unknown Unit, BATUS
A Squadron, 1 RTR Tofrek Barracks, Hildesheim, Germany 1992
5th Iniskilling Dragoon Guards, British Army Training Unit Suffied, Canada
First impressions of this kit is very good and if the Tadpole and Luchs was anything to go by, then this kit should build up very nicely as well. 

I'm really looking forward to putting this one together and painting it up. More to come.

Paul Lee

 Thanks to Takom for sending us this kit to review & build – check their website for full details on the rest of their kits…