AMPS First Look Review
Takom’s 1/72 1+1 FV432 Mk. 2/1 and Chieftain Mk. 5 (Kit No 5008)
By John Rauscher
First some history…
The FV432, nicknamed Trojan, is the armoured personnel carrier variant of the British Army's FV430 series of armoured fighting vehicles. Since its introduction in the 1960s, it has been the most common variant, being used for transporting infantry on the battlefield. In the 1980s, almost 2,500 vehicles were in use, with around 500 remaining in operation - mostly in supporting arms rather than front-line infantry service.
Although the FV432 Series was originally to have been phased out of service in favour of then-newer vehicles, such as the Warrior and the CVR(T) series, 500 have been upgraded to extend their service into the next decade. In light of the army's need for additional armoured vehicles in the Afghan and Iraqi theatres, the Ministry of Defence announced in August 2006 that an extra 70 vehicles would be upgraded by BAE Systems in addition to the 54 already ordered as part of their force protection initiative. The improvements take the form of an engine upgrade, a new steering unit and a new braking system, as well as improvement in armour protection to a level similar to that of the Warrior. In addition, plates lined with Kevlar have been added to the bottom hull. This is intended to provide better protection against improvised explosive devices. It is intended that these FV432s will free up the Warrior vehicles for provision of reserve firepower status and/or rotation out of theatre. The updated version is called the Bulldog.
The FV4201 Chieftain was the main battle tank of the United Kingdom during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. A development of the Centurion, the Chieftain introduced the supine (reclining) driver position to British design allowing a heavily sloped hull with reduced height. A new powerpack and improved transmission gave it higher speed than the Centurion despite being heavier due to major upgrades to armour protection and the armament: this allowed it to replace both the Conqueror and Centurion while performing their roles effectively. It remained in service until replaced by the Challenger 1 which shared many of the Chieftain's features. Primary users included Great Britain, Jordan, Kuwait, and pertinent to this review, Iran.* The Chieftain never saw combat with the British Army and was plagued with maintenance issues for its entire service career.
*Brief vehicle histories compliments of Wikipedia with additions by the author.
So what’s in the box?
Takom is becoming by and large one of the industry leaders in manufacture of injection molded plastic kits. This 2 in 1 set is a reduction in scale of their earlier releases in 1/35 of the same subjects, meticulously and crisply reduced to braille scale.
Included in the box are very well printed decals for both vehicles, three frets of PE brass, and eleven sprues of grey injection molded plastic. The instruction booklet is a small 15x20 cm 48 page booklet. Full color profiles for both vehicles are covered in the last 4 pages.
Tracks for both kits are link and length, and a crisp and clear. Assembly is clearly laid out for each. The first 24 steps cover the full build of the Chieftain, while steps 25 through 37 cover the construction of the Trojan.
If there is one criticism of this boxing, it is the noticeable lack of appropriate color profiles and markings for a reasonable representation of a British Chieftain Mk. 5. Iranian vehicles take the day here with 2 specifically identified Iranian schemes, while the sole British example is for an “unknown” vehicle at BATUS in Canada. Given the dearth of material out there, Takom should have done a better job here with actual markings for specific units in the British Army driving the Chieftain. The Warrior profiles provide for three vehicles, only one identified and the other two vague at best.
As this is a first look, I can say without hesitation that the initial impression is very positive. Moldings are crisp, with little to no flash. PE is sensible and used to represent parts to scale thickness without going overboard.
Stay tuned for an out of the box build of both in the next few weeks! All in all I would highly recommend these two little beauties to braille scale modelers fond of UK vehicles. Thanks to Takom for the review sample. More soon!
A nice landscape instruction booklet whose cover mirrors the box art!
The instructions are clear. Errors or oversights will be pointed out in the full build article. Note the Track Jig!
Color Profiles. These and the decals are the only let down. "Unknown" and more Iranian than British options... A little research will yield more options that the builder could imagine. I will have to source decals and include suggestions in the full build!
Sample of the parts layout.
A very nice Chieftain turret.
Reasonable and effective PE
Decals. Not a lot of British options of any substance...
Chieftain Hull parts
Road wheels and tracks!
The reverse face. There are two frets of these parts.
A nice track making jig is included!
Another fret of parts.
FV 432 Hull sprue.
More Chieftain bits.
Another track guide and various parts. Notice the one piece Chieftain barrel.
Close up of the sprue with the one piece Chieftain barrel. There is a noticeable seam along its length...
Highly Recommended for Beginner to Advanced builders, pending full build.
Thanks goes out to Takom for this review kit.
Reviewed by John Rauscher
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