Monday, December 14

Build review Pt III - Andy completes his 35th scale Takom Chieftain Mk.5/P

Takom’s release of the three main Chieftain variants (5,10 &11) have sparked a lot of interest and Andy’s Mk.5 is built today in Part III of his Chieftain journey. This is in addition to Clayton’s Mk.10 build & Paul’s Mk II build review we have already seen. See how it all goes together and Andy’s final thoughts on this kit…
Build Review:Part III
Chieftain Mk.5/5P 
Kit Number – 2027
1/35th Scale
Price - ¥7,470, £40.49, US$62.23, €55.86 from Hobbylink Japan
Wow, this has turned into a loooong build for me. What with delays waiting for paints, time spent on other builds and, boringly, lots of real life work stuff, it seems to have taken ages to get to the point of getting some paint on the Chiefy. But, we're finally there, so let’s get cracking.
We left off in part 2 with the tank built up and a few, hard to reach, spots primed, so the first job was to get the rest of the model coated. Before I could do this though, I needed to find a way of handling the kit while painting. In the end I drilled a 5mm hole in the base and attached a mini tripod, which acted as a handle while painting and a support while the paint dried.
Any areas that needed to be kept paint free, such as the axles and the hull sides where the side skirts would attach, were masked off, then everything was given a generous coat of AMMO black primer. This went on as well as always, and left a nice smooth surface for the following colours.
For this build, I decided to do the BATUS scheme included on the marking sheet. BATUS is a British Army training range in Canada, and the vehicles used there wear a sand and green camo, which makes a nice change from the regular British camo colours.
It's worth pointing out, before going any further, that the profile shown in the kit marking guide is technically incorrect. Although the colour scheme is accurate enough, the tank is described as being from an unknown unit from 1991. In truth, by that date, Mk.5's would have been supplanted by later versions and this is borne out by photos of the specific tank in question (06 FA 06) which is a Mk.10, fitted with Stillbrew armour (thanks for the additional info Dan).
Despite this, I decided to continue with this marking option, as the Mk.5's would have worn this camo too. The sand was added first using MIG-061 Warm Sand Yellow. This was built up in thin layers, letting some of the black primer show through to add shading.
With the base coat of sand yellow on, I added a filter using heavily thinned Vallejo Green Ochre. This was washed around details and in corners to emphasize the shading, then blended into the base colour with a clean, damp brush.
In addition to the shading filter, the smaller details, like bolt heads and hinges, were highlighted with a pale sand colour. Together, these two steps help give more volume to the model, without being too overstated.
AMMO recommend MIG-084 NATO Green for the camo colour. I did think that this might be a little too light going by reference photos, but in the end it seemed like a reasonably good match, especially as the subsequent weathering would darken it slightly. This colour didn't spray quite as well as the sand, and I got a slightly speckled edge to the camo. I suspect that this was mainly down to the cold and humidity in my work room. It's not fun modelling in winter!
With the basic camo applied, the rest of the detail painting could be done. There's not that much of it, but you'll need to check references for what to paint in which colour, as Takom haven't included any colour call-outs for the smaller details in the instructions. After that, the whole model was given a thin wash of MIG-1007 (US Modern Vehicle Wash). This was used more as a heavy filter than a wash, and helped unify the camo and leave a nice patina to the finish, without looking excessively dirty.
Isn't it always the same. You get close to the finish of a model, only to realise you've forgotten something. In this case it was the turret mounted MRS. Although this part is included in the kit, Takom haven't mentioned it in the instruction manual, which is how I came to miss it. It's part number 32 and can be found on sprue D. It was a quick job to paint the part and add it to the turret.
I wanted the tank to look quite dusty and well used without being too heavily weathered. To get this effect, I tried a new product for me, AMMO's washable dust paint (MIG-105). I worked on small areas at a time, first wetting the surface, then brushing the paint around details. At first, the effect seemed too strong, but once it was dry, the colour was much subtler, and dried without leaving any water marks. The paint can be further manipulated before it fully dries, but I found this left a patchier finish than letting the paint dry on its own.
I didn't want the tank to be too heavily weathered, but you don't want it sparkling clean either, so a bit of mud was added around the running gear. This was done with Vallejo mud texture paste, which was stippled around the lower hull and suspension. The colour's a little vibrant to say the least, but we'll take care of that in the next step.
A medium earth tone was mixed from Tamiya acrylics, with some flat base added to get a dusty, matt finish. This was lightly sprayed over the texture paste and on to the surrounding hull, leaving a soft transition between the two.
Burnt Umber oil paint was thinned with white spirit, and brushed over the mud effects to create damp areas and streaks. Most of this won't be seen once the side skirts are in place, but it's an opportunity to practice techniques without the worry of spoiling a more exposed area of a kit.
A lighter, dustier version of the colour used on the muddy areas was mixed and sprayed over the side skirts and wheels. This was heavily thinned, and built up in very light coats, so as not to completely cover the camo.
Finally, I could start to get everything together. The wheels and idlers were glued in place before attaching the skirts. The sprockets were just pushed on loose for now, as they'd need to be able to rotate to line up with the tracks.
Speaking of the tracks, they'd been primed in black along with the rest of the kit. This was followed by a rusty brown mixed from Tamiya acrylics. After that, the rubber track pads were picked out in a dark grey.
With the tracks painted, they were simply clipped into place and secured to the base of the wheels with a few drops of superglue. I loosely mixed a couple of different AMMO pigments and applied them to the tracks. A few drops of pigment fixer were the added to hold everything in place.
The previous weathering on the side skirts had left a nice dusty look, but it did seem a bit flat. To remedy this, I added a few drops of white spirit to the pigments I'd used on the tracks then, using a card to shield the wheels, flicked the mix over the skirts with a stiff brush. Any oversize splashes were blended away with a small brush before the pigments dried.
I decided to leave the weathering at this stage. I didn't want the tank to look completely filthy, just a bit dusty and dirty after a long exercise. The only thing left to do was add a bit of stowage to the turret bins, which were looking a bit empty. This was made from lead foil, folded up and pressed into place, before being removed for painting.
At this point, the model was essentially done. However, AMMO had kindly supplied one of their new range of grass mats, so I decided to make a small base for the Chiefy.
The one here is MIG-8357 Autumn Turfs, which is a good match for the Canadian grassland at the BATUS range. These mats have grass tufts glued to a backing sheet made of the same stuff as a pan scourer, and they can be easily cut to shape and formed over uneven ground. 
There's only one slight problem with them; they're a bit on the small side for a tank of this size. The Chieftain almost covers the entire mat on its own.
I picked up an extra grass mat and found a photo frame that was about the right size to fit them. After removing the glass from the frame and adding a piece of plasterboard to form the base, the two mats were trimmed to fit the frame.
I decided to cut a couple of ruts into the grass, where the tank would be sitting, and another in front of the tank, to show where other vehicles had passed. Before cutting the mats, I drew the positions of the ruts on paper, as a guide. 
Using that guide I cut the mats to shape and glued them down with PVA.
Once the mats were fixed, I filled the ruts with the same texture paste I'd used on the hull. As it was quite thick here, it took a full day to dry. After an hour or so, while the paste was still soft, I covered the area where the tank would sit with plastic food wrap and pressed the tank into the paste. This was left in place until the paste had fully dried.
When it was dry, I sprayed the paste with a similar pale earth colour to that used on the tank.  
I then sprinkled some dry garden soil onto the ruts and fixed it in place with a sand & gravel glue. All that was needed then was to place the tank in position and the base was done
So finally, the Chieftain's done. It's been a long build, but a very enjoyable one too. Takom have made a very nice kit here. There aren't too many parts and the construction is very logical with no needlessly fiddly moments that could spoil the build, yet the end result is a very well detailed replica of the original. There might be a few small errors in the kit (the missed part for the MRS in the instructions), and the painting guide (the incorrect BATUS version), but these can be overlooked as the rest of the kit is a pleasure to build. Recommended.

The paints and weathering tools used in this build...
A gallery of the tank as a walkaround...
And on it's base to place it in the real world...
Andy Moore
Thanks to Takom for sending this kit to us to review and build.