Following the release early last year of their Challenger 2 MBT (Kit No. 00308), Trumpeter have now released two additional kits of the C2 taking into account the changes in armour suites for their service during Operation Telic in Iraq 2003 and as part of KFOR operations in Kosovo. The two new kits are identical except for one sprue containing the different parts needed for that model so I will look at both together with comments on the differences, the other difference is the colour of the plastic with Kit No.00323 OP.Telic being moulded in a mustard coloured plastic and Kit No.00345 KFOR moulded in an olive plastic, apart from this the parts are the same.
The kits are basically as issued in the initial C2 kit with additional sprues plus some tweaking of the original parts therefore my comments on Kit No. 00308 still apply and I will just describe here the new parts and the alterations done on the original parts to show what’s new in the kits.
Both kits have 435 parts each plus a length of twine, the vinyl tracks.
As mentioned some of the parts from the first kit have been updated with additional details and corrections with the main wheel rims having the distortion problems on the first kit eliminated and are now perfectly formed but the centre hubs are still slightly off centre. The idler wheels are the same as in the first kit and the drive sprockets require some trimming of excess plastic. On the inside of the lower hull the brackets for the motor have been removed eliminating any hint of motorization.
On the upper hull the front fender hinge line has been moved about 2mm forward and the fender detail refined while wiring for the front lights and additional weld seams have been included on the front hull surface and the rear TECs (Thermal Exhaust Cowls) have additional details on the top. The two rearmost fuel filler caps have been moved forward to the correct position and the forward engine deck grills have been lengthened.
The turret has the serrated flange added along the section in front of the main sight something that was conspicuous by it’s absence in the first C2 kit and the side tool boxes have minor detail enhancements.
Some of the sink marks on the first kit are no longer there but there is a bit of excess flash on some parts that is easily removed.
Both kits receive the new sprue H which has the main Chobham Armour side
panels and front ROMOR package; these are very nicely detailed for plastic
parts and have well defined and intricate details, the use of multiple
parts enhances the detail definition.
The moulding standard is up to their recent standards with all pin ejector marks on the back of the parts and in places that can’t be seen after assembly with only very minor mould seams to be cleaned up.
The side panels
are made up of the full length frame with the rear armour panel included
to which is attached the top panel with the ‘handles’ with
the main centre Chobham Armour panels added to the outside. At the front
there are alternate panels for the differences between the OP.Telic and
KFOR armour suite.
The bolt head detail on the panels is very well defined with about the only “nitpic” being that the smaller bolt heads may be a bit undersized but they are all in the right places. There are additional detail parts along the top of the panels to build into nice sub assemblies.
For the OP Telic C2 kit (No.00323) there is also an additional sprue J with the fabric skirts attached to the bottom of the Chobham Armour panels in Iraq and these again have nice details for plastic parts with subtle folds and nice bolt head details. The edges of the skirts are bevelled on the inside giving a nice thin appearance when fitted in place and there is the large extensions to the front fenders.
Also included are the four turret mounted CIP panels which have gaps between the louvers, these can easily be filled in with thin card strip as the real panels don’t have the gaps and the two flat panels on the front turret faces are also included.
One thing not included is the large folded vehicle cover 'tarp' that is seen draped along the sides and front of the C2 in Iraq, this is mentioned in the instructions indicating this has to be sourced elsewhere, something for the aftermarket kit makers perhaps?
The KFOR C2 kit (No.00345) has sprue G included with a very nicely detailed dozer blade assembly made up of 37 parts and includes details on the rear of the main dozer blade and again the moulding is very clean and detail well defined. The kit gives the choice of the dozer blade or ROMOR armour package for the front although the additional glacis armour plate is not included in this kit.
Footnote: As all the parts from the original C2 are included it is also possible to build the kit with the original smaller side skirts if you wanted a "plain" C2. It is a simply matter of fitting the skirts (parts C1, C38) in place of the Chobham armour panels as the hull sides are the same on all kits but there are no decals for the basic version though.
The decals are well printed with thin carrier film which is printed close
to the edge of the printed image; this should help when dealing with decal
Unfortunately neither instruction sheet identifies the units included and only has three and four view drawings showing the location of the markings and the cam schemes, some additional references would be very helpful in identifying the various markings provided.
For the Op Telic kit (No. 00323), markings are provided for the 7th Armoured
Brigade, Royal Scots Dragoon Guards and 2nd Royal Tank Regiment tanks.
Markings include the 7th AB "Desert Rat" and the Scottish flag
used on RSDG tanks.
There are specific markings for RSDG and 2RTR vehicles on the sheet as shown in the Concord Special Ops Vol.26 and 27 OIF specials and include “Empire” and “Elusive” of RSDG as well as the chevrons and tac signs plus barrel markings for the fume extractor and barrel end.
The KFOR kit (No. 00345) has markings for the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards in Kosovo 2000, see Military Modelling Vol 31 Nos 3 and 5 for good photos of these vehicles. There are variations of the Scottish flag they use and the 7th Armoured Brigade marking. Registration numbers were carried at the right rear and on the centre top edge of the dozer blade. Specific vehicles are all dozer tanks which is good, DR27AA is callsign 22 of 2 Troop, B Squadron, DR25AA is 3 Troop, B Squadron c/s 32 in a square.
Thanks to Peter Brown for his help in identifying the markings and as mentioned referring to available photos will be very useful.
he kits have some nice details and will build into good replicas of the
C2 although there are some areas that need attention and there is scope for
additional detailing as with any kit. It is good to see that Trumpeter has
made some corrections to the existing parts as well as including the
Chobham Armour panels and Dozer Blade with their excellent details
and a good excuse to buy both kits.
I must admit that with the full Chobham Armour panels and skirts the C2 looks “meaner” than usual.