I start with assembling the parts of the lower hull tub and adding the suspension and mountings for the roadwheels, sprockets and Idlers. One thing that’s immediately apparent is just how well this kit is engineered – fit and location are just great, there’s virtually no flash at all and everything fits positively and easily. I found this part of assembly much more straightforward than on the FV 432, perhaps simply because most of the parts involved are larger and more robust.
I then add the upper hull and again, fit is very good and no filler is needed.
I have decided to build and paint the tracks and running gear before I go on to the rest of construction. I paint the hull sides, suspension and roadwheels. I’m going for an Iranian tank and the instructions suggest a finish of “Yellow Grey” but many photographs from the 1980s seem to show these tanks finished in something that looks like sand, so I’m using Vallejo Dark Sand as a base colour and I add some dry-brushed highlights and an oil wash.
Next, it’s time to build the tracks. Having said how great the engineering is on this kit is (and generally, it is) I was less impressed with the link and length tracks. Engagement between individual links, and particularly between individual links and lengths, wasn’t so good. Also, one of the shorter lengths (the one that runs from the idler and the front roadwheel) is too long by about one link – I had to cut it down to get it to fit.
In retrospect, it would have been easier to fit the tracks before attaching the upper hull (and to be fair, that’s what the instructions show). I also glued the roadwheels and idler in position first, but the idler doesn’t quite horizontally align with the roadwheels. It would have been better to leave this in place but unglued until the tracks were in place, because on mine, the idler is a fraction closer to the hull than the roadwheels. Overall, these aren’t terrible tracks, but perhaps they could have been a little easier to assemble.
Then, I add the various parts onto the rear hull plate. And perhaps this is a good place to talk about complexity. Or perhaps even over-complexity. Just finishing up that rear hull plate involves assembling and fitting more than 30 parts, some of them very tiny. I have built whole small-scale armour kits that didn’t have that many parts in total!
Take those small stowage boxes for example. Each comprises four separate parts, and getting these tiny parts aligned and straight takes a bit of effort. This kit is many things, but a relaxing and simple build it isn’t. I have seen it said that is simply a reduced scale 1/35 kit rather than a custom-designed 1/72 kit. I don’t know if that’s true, though Takom certainly do offer a 1/35 Chieftain Mk 5, but this is certainly a challenging build in this scale. I carry on working on the hull, working from back to front so that I don’t miss anything out.
Here’s the hull with most of the plastic part of construction done. And it’s just very, very fiddley. Take those front light-guards (please – take those light guards!). They’re commendably close to scale but wow – getting the three parts of each together and aligned took way more time than I’d like to admit. Next, I begin to add the PE parts, using a two-pack epoxy resin to fix the parts in place. I have to admit that I simply ignored some very tiny PE parts – some are barely 1mm in size, and I feel that they’ll simply disappear if I use a blob of glue to attach them. I also simplified the splash guard on the front of the hull by removing the very fiddly side-stays.
Next, the turret. Basic construction is fairly straightforward, but it again, it does involve a great many parts, some of them tiny. Just to get to the point shown below involves assembling more than 30 parts.
I complete turret construction, and again fit is good, but actual construction is not at all simple. There are a total of around 75 parts used to construct the turret here and many are very, very small. Those stowage baskets on the side, for example, each comprise five small plastic parts and two more PE parts. OK, I know, partly this is due to the subject – there is simply more “stuff” on the turret of a Cold War tank than on the WW2 AFVs I’m more used to, but just getting turret construction done takes a fair amount of time.
At least that’s construction finally mostly done and I can now start on main painting.
I give the whole thing several thinned coats of Dark Sand, and that’s the basic painting pretty much done.
I add the last few bits and pieces, the decals (and there are just three for the tank I’m depicting) and some dry-brushed highlights.
I then give it an oil wash, and that’s it done. Finally!
After Action Report
I bought this kit on the basis of reviews that emphasised what a wonderful and extremely detailed kit this is. Those reviews weren’t wrong – this is an awesomely detailed kit and it’s a testament to what can be achieved through modern moulding techniques. Fit is also generally very good indeed and the finished result has detail that wouldn’t disgrace a larger-scale kit.
But, it’s also a very fiddly, time-consuming and challenging build. I lost count of the number of times I spent on my hands and knees searching for some tiny part that had twanged out of my tweezers or flicked off and into the middle distance as I was cutting it off the sprue. If, like me, you enjoy a relaxing and straightforward build, you may not find this to be a huge amount of fun.
As ever, it all depends what you’re looking for. And if you do have a hankering to build a Chieftain in small scale, and if you’re willing to put in the time and effort, you simply won’t find a more detailed or accurate representation in 1/72. I think this is a beautifully engineered, supremely accurate kit and I can’t really fault it but I didn’t really enjoy the build at all. Go figure…
However, having grumpred and moaned about how complicated this is, I’d still love to see some Takom 1/72 kits of World War Two subjects. Hey, I didn’t say this would make sense…
Takom 1/72 Chieftain Mk 5 and FV 432 2/1 (5008) In-Box Review and History
Takom 1/72 Chieftain Mk 5 and FV 432 2/1 (5008) – FV 432 Build Review
6 thoughts on “Takom 1/72 Chieftain Mk 5 and FV 432 2/1 (5008) – Chieftain Mk 5 Build Review”
It looks great – one of my favourite tanks. Finding that balance between detail and not too fiddly is tricky. i think leaving off irrelevant tiny bits is quite acceptable!!
Thanks for that. It’s certainly an impressive kit, and there are far too few available of the iconic Cheftain in small scale. But I think you’re right – there is an ideal balance between detail and ease of construction and for me, this one perhaps edges towards over-complexity.
Have you tried any 1/72 kits by Vespid? From the two i have made they would rate very highly.
No I haven’t tried any Vespid kits – do you reccomend any particular kits?
Yes i loved the british A34 – super kit. Also built the Jagdpanther – also great. On my blog somewhere. Currently making a PST truck and it is awful………..
Thanks for that – I’ll look out for a Vespid kit to try. I’m currently working on a 1/35 Polish TKS tankette with full interior. It’s pretty good, but also very fiddly…