Monday, April 13

Preview: Ryefield Model's new 35th "Megatron" Challenger 2 TES bares its teeth in test build...

The Challenger II TES or "Megatron" is the latest 35th scale upcoming kit from Ryefield Model. We have updated our preview with images of the boxart, colours, CAD drawings of the kit & sprue break up in our preview...

Ryefield Model's new 35th "Megatron" Challenger 2 TES bares its teeth in test shot form

British Main Battle Tank Challenger 2 TES
From Ryefield Model
Product No #RM-5039 
1/35th scale
To be released in May 2020
We have all new pictures fo Ryefield Models new 35th scale "Megatron" Challenger 2 TES in a few different forms, the box contents, the sprues in entirety and in detail, and now the test kit built up in completed form it looks pretty spectacular to us - see what you think... 

The box contents...
The Main Battle Tank Challenger 2 TES in real life...
The Challenger 2 TES (Theatre Entry Standard) also nicknamed "Megatron" is the latest generation of British Main Battle Tank (MBT) in the Challenger 2 family. The design of the Challenger 2 was fully completed by August 1989. The British government selected the Challenger 2 and placed an order worth around £520 million for 127 Challenger 2 MBTs in 1991. Production commenced in 1993 with first production vehicles completed at the Alvis Vickers Leeds facility in 1994. The Challenger 2 MBT was accepted in service with the British Army in 1994. The same year, Alvis Vickers was awarded a second contract by the British MoD for the supply of an additional 259 Challenger 2 MBTs. The Challenger 2 TES Megatron is very similar to the M1 Abrams TUSK (Tank Urban Survival Kit) in terms of protection. The TES system was developed to increase protection of the tank against tandem warheads and IED (Improvised Explosive Device) threats. The Challenger 2 Megatron was presented for the first time to the public in June 2013 at the DVD defence event in Millbrook, United Kingdom. A new version of the Challenger 2 Megatron was unveiled in July 2016 at the Tank Fest in Bovington fitted with a new armour design. This latest version is fitted with a combination of reactive, passive and bar armour providing unique protection against new threats of the modern battlefield. The Challenger 2 TES Megatron can be fitted with variable armour depending on the nature of the threats and the type of battlefield where the tank must be deployed.
Technical Data
The Challenger 2 TES Megatron maintains the original main armament of the previous version of Challenger 2 MBT consisting of one L30A1 120 mm rifled tank gun. The cannon is of ESR steel, chrome-lined and fitted with a thermal sleeve, fume extractor and muzzle reference system. It can fire all current 120 mm NATO ammunition, with the exception of the obsolete APDS round, the L30A1 also fires a new DU round L27A1 with a new BAE Systems, RO Defense L17A1 stick charge propellant system. A 7.62mm machine gun is mounted coaxially to the left of the main armament. This weapon is named L94A1 in the British army and is manufactured by the Defense Company BAE Systems, RO Defense under license in the UK. At the front of the loader, the hatch is mounted a remote weapon station "Enforcer" which can be armed with a 7.62mm NATO machine gun, a 12.7mm heavy machine gun, or a 40mm automatic grenade launcher. This weapon station is fitted with a thermal vision capability and can be operated and fired from under armour. A bank of five 66mm electrically operated smoke grenade dischargers is mounted on each side at the front of the turret. The turret has all-electric gun control and stabilization system with a traverse of 360º with weapon elevation from -10 to +20º.

Design and protection
The design of the Challenger 2 TES Megatron is similar to the standard Challenger 2. It has a crew of four with the driver at the front in the middle of the hull. The turret is mounted in the centre of the hull with the commander seated on the right, the gunner forward and below the commander, and the loader on the left side. Both the commander and the loader have a single-piece hatch cover that opens to the rear. The most important feature of the Challenger 2 TES Megatron is the use of a new armour that consists of a mix of the standard Chobham (this is called Dorchester in the UK) composite armour, reactive, passive and bar armour. The front of the hull is fitted with Chobham armour block. The side of the hull and the turret are fitted with explosive reactive armour which consists in a series of layers offering maximum protection to the crew fighting compartment and ammunition stowage, against both kinetic energy rounds and modern ATGMs (Anti-Tank Guided Missiles) completed by cage armour to provide more protection against RPGs (Rocket Propelled Grenades) threats. The rear part of the turret and the hull are also fitted with cage armour. The Challenger 2 TES Megatron has a maximum weight of 74,840 kg with the TES armour and 62,500 kg in standard configuration.

The Challenger 2 TES Megatron keeps the same engine as the standard Challenger 2 which consists of a Perkins Engine 12-cylinder diesel developing 1,200 hp at 2,300 rpm coupled to a David Brown Engineering TN54 transmission with six forward and two reverse gears with automatic control embodying double-differential regenerative steering with hydrostatically transmitted power giving infinitely variable output. The TN54 transmission also gives increased manoeuvrability in confined spaces. The hydro-pneumatic suspension of Challenger 2TES consists on each side of six aluminium road wheels with the drive sprocket at the rear, idler at the front and two track-return rollers either side. The explosive armour on the side of the hull provides also protection on the upper part of the suspension. The tank is also fitted with hydraulic track tensioners at the front, enabling the track to be correctly tensioned from under armour protection by the driver. The Challenger 2 TES Megatron can run at a maximum speed of 56 km/h with a maximum road cruising range of 450 km and 250 km in cross-country condition. It can cross a trench of 2.34m and climb vertical obstacle of 0.9m maximum.
Standard equipment of the Challenger 2 TES Megatron includes digital computerized fire control system, night vision, heating, NRBC protection system, and APU (Auxiliary Power Unit) which can be used to power the vehicle's electrical systems when it is stationary and the main engine is switched off. The use of an APU allows for reduced fuel consumption and lowers the audio and thermal signature of the vehicle. The commander has a roof-mounted SAGEM (previously SFIM) stabilized sight offering full 360º view capability without having to move the head. This has a magnification of ×3.2 and ×10.5 in the day mode and also has an Nd:YAG laser range-finder. A thermal image with a magnification of ×4 and ×11.5 can be injected into the sight with a separate thermal image relaxed viewing monitor provided to the right of the sight for surveillance purposes.

The gunner has a roof-mounted stabilized sight that includes day optics, thermal image input and laser range-finder. The gunner's sight has a magnification of ×3 and ×10 in the day mode and also has a traverse of 7º left and right. A thermal image with the same magnification as that of the commander can be injected at the flick of a switch. Mounted over the 120 mm L30A1 gun is the Thales Optronics thermal imaging sight head that moves in elevation with the main armament. The front of the drive position is fitted with a camera. The hull and the turret can be fitted with the Mobile Camouflage System (MCS) to reduce the vehicle’s heat signature when viewed through thermal binoculars. The Challenger 2 TES Megatron is fitted with the TES counter IED equipment, evidenced by the array of standard and "Bird Table" antennas mounted at the top rear of the turret. The system is used to jam radio or telephone signals that could be used to trigger a roadside bomb.

This new kit from RyeField Model:
We have some CAD's of the sprues, colours and feature layout of the kit - lucky for us, they have these finer points included in the pictures...
The colours of the kit are limited to what is on display on the "vanilla" version now seen at Tankfest.
The sprue break-down of the kit - not many sprues to put together really for a model so detailed - it seems the parts will need to be pretty detailed off the sprue...

The sprues and parts of the kit.
The click-together workable tracks
The poly plugs for the wheels, the thread for tank cable, the photo etch and clear parts for transparencies.
 The sprues in a greater detail
Ryefield has put one of these together fours to show you just how it looks when all built up - pretty impressive if you ask us...
RM-2001 Upgrade Photo Etched Parts use for RM-5039 Challenger 2 TES
For those of you who like a bit o' pain but a more accurate scale thickness Ryefield has also released a new photo-etched set for mostly the cage armoured parts..(sold separately of course...)
This kit is slated to be released in May 2020 (not long to go now) so keep your eyes out at your LHS or online hobby shop to see more about this kit - or even look at RyeField Model's Facebook page for more on their kits...