Takom 1/72 Chieftain Mk 5 and FV 432 2/1 (5008) – FV 432 Build Review

Because this kit includes two separate models, I’ll be covering each in its own build review. And I’m going to start with the tiny FV 432 personnel carrier.

I begin by constructing the lower hull, and it very quickly becomes obvious that this isn’t your average 1/72 kit. The lower hull assembly has generally taken just ten minutes or so to assemble in most of the small-scale armour kits I have built. Here, this step involves the assembly of around 50 parts, many of which are very tiny. Just getting to the point shown in the image below took me a couple of hours, some swearing and a fair amount of fighting with the carpet-monster.

Take, for example, the two small stowage boxes on either side of the rear hull door. Each comprises no less than five very small separate parts and getting them assembled and straight takes a bit of time. There is nothing intrinsically wrong here – fit is generally very good and the instructions do a reasonable job of showing where everything goes, but assembly here is notably more complex and fiddly than you’ll find on most small-scale armour kits. Overall, this feels like a scaled-down 1/35 kit rather than something purpose-designed for 1/72. That said, the end result does look nicely detailed!

Then, it’s on to the upper hull and more of the same. There are in excess of 40 parts, many of them very tiny. There are over 20 of those tiny cylinders at each corner and in the centre (I don’t know what they are), and each is a separate part, just 3mm long. I leave off the pintle-mounted machine gun and shovels for the moment, to make painting simpler. 

Next, I add the front hull panel, which includes lots more tiny parts, but at least the fit of the panel to the lower hull is very good.

Then I join the upper and lower hull, and fit is again very good indeed.

Then I work on the tracks. These are cleanly moulded and the top run has appropriate sag included. I fix the single links to the sprocket and idler and join the three bottom runs together. The main issue is the tiny size of the individual links and getting these even reasonably straight is a challenge, especially where the single links fit on the sprocket. I use the jig provided, and end up with a separate upper and lower run for each side.

Finally, I add the PE mudflaps and the PE shopping basket (though I’m sure that’s not what it’s really called…) on the upper hull, though I don’t glue this in place at the moment to make painting simpler.

And that, apart from adding the exhaust, tools and tow cables, is pretty much construction of this tiny FV 432 complete. Phew! If I’m honest, nothing is too horribly difficult and fit is generally very good, but there certainly are lots more tiny pieces here than you get on most 1/72 AFV kits! Generally, construction of an AFV kit is something I get out of the way fairly quickly so I can get started on painting, but here, construction takes a fair amount of time and effort. This isn’t an easy or quick build by any means but there is more crisp detail here than I have come across previously in this scale.

Anyway, now I can finally start painting. I have decided to finish this as a vehicle of the Royal Scots during Operation Desert Storm in 1991, so I begin with a coat of Vallejo Light Sand. It’s a little light (though the colour applied to British AFVs in that operation was fairly light, and it seemed to bleach quickly in the sun), but once it’s weathered with an oil wash, it should come closer to the look of the original.

Then I paint the small details and add dry-brushed highlights and add everything but the mesh basket on the upper hull. The tracks are quite fiddly to get in position and lined-up, but they look OK once they’re done.

Then I add the decals and give it a coat of clear varnish.

Then, it gets a dark brown oil wash to bring out the shadows, tone down the base colour and make the whole thing look grubby and streaked.

The final job is to add and some dust and dirt to the lower hull, tracks and running gears using pastels. And with that, this tiny FV 432 is finally done.

After Action Report

This wasn’t a relaxing or simple build. Fit is generally very good, but there are an awful lot of very tiny parts here. The link and length tracks were a bit of a pain to build, mainly because the single links are so tiny. Getting the roadwheels even close to straight and level is also a problem because of very small, delicate mountings. This is a kit where I’d quite like to build a second example, just because I feel like through doing this first one, I have learned how to do it right the second time!

However, there are no problems in terms of overall accuracy as far as I can see and the final result looks OK. It’s certainly difficult to see how you could have a more detailed 1/72 AFV kit. All the mouldings are sharp and that leads to a finished model where the detail really pops.

This certainly isn’t a kit for a beginner, but if you’re confident of your building skills, it can end up as a really nice finished model. Overall, I’d recommend this if you are interested in modern British armour and if you’re a confident kit-builder. Next, I’ll be working on the other half of this kit – the Chieftain tank. I’m hoping that will be a little easier to build, if only because it is slightly bigger and that should make things like the tracks easier to work with. 

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Takom 1/72 Chieftain Mk 5 and FV 432 2/1 (5008) In-Box Review and History

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