|Challenger 2 Comparison pt1||by Simon Barnes|
With the release of the Trumpeter Challenger 2 I thought that it would be a good idea to do a comparison between the two. Both are not perfect and unfortunately there is no easy fix for either of them. I suppose that until someone releases a good Challenger 2 the only way forward is to kit bash the two, but even that is not as easy as it first seems as it is not just a simple case of swapping parts, there are still alterations that need to be done and in the end it will come down to which is the lesser of two evils or how far the individual wants to go ! there are those who moan and do all they can about a Sherman that is not correct, or about a Panther or whatever it is they like the best, for me it is Modern British and Russian vehicles that I can not accept faults on when building a kit.
In the following Comparison the Darker Grey is the Dragon kit with the lighter being the Trumpeter.
I will start with the upper hull size wise they are both the same and it is just in details that they differ, but it is a big difference. I have said before that the Dragon engine deck is too long and have even shown how to correct it HERE, for some understandably this may be a bit too much work. The good news is that the Trumpeter engine deck is the right length, unfortunately the rest of the details on the Trumpeter kit are very simplified, the Dragon deck is the better detailed but needs shortening and modifying on the rear right hand corner.The exhausts on the Dragon kit are slightly too far forward, this is rectified when the kit is altered, they are also slightly too small. I have also included the hulls against the Tankette drawings, showing how the two kits are different and how the Trunmpeter turret sits too far back from the front.
Here you can see the difference in length of the engine decks the hull on the right is a modified Dragon hull, Closer inspection of the front will show that the two kits differ, here again the Dragon kit is correct
A comparison shot of the Trumpeter and the Modified Dragon engine decks as can be seen the alterations have corrected the length of the engine deck.
The Trumpeter and an unmodified Dragon hull, it is clear from this shot just how out the Dragon rear hull is.
The lower hull, the Trumpeter kit has the correct wheel spacing's.
The rear Plate, both have the same moulded on details.
On both kits the fuel drums and their holders are moulded as one piece, the details are correct with the Dragon ones having a bit better relief but still not enough.
The Jerry can holder, as can be seen both a similar and both have jerry cans moulded in place, if I had to choose between them I would pick the Trumpeter, although for the first aid kit and telephone the Dragon one is better.
The exhaust shrouds, the difference in length comes from the fact that the Dragon exhausts are in the wrong place, mounted too far forward on the hull due to the size of the engine deck. Both have a similar profile, but both sit slightly too high
The add- on Armour, as can be seen the dust skirt on the Trumpeter kit is a separate piece, as the armour is also used for the KFOR version, to this end the frontal portion is a separate piece as the KFOR option is also different.
The Wheels from left to right Trumpeter, Dragon and my favorite Revell, the Sprockets are reversed with Dragon being first
With the Hull done the Attention turns to the Turret, at a quick glance the Trumpeter looks to be great, the gun sight is the correct shape and length, the sight mounted just to the left of the main sight has better relief than the Dragon kit and the loaders periscope is also better but if you look at the front plates of the turret you can see that the Trumpeter ones are noticeably bigger than the Dragon plates, the Dragon ones are correct.
Turning the Turret on to it's side it becomes noticeable as to why the front plates on the Trumpeter turret are bigger, the Turret is squashed for want of a better phrase, the Dragon turret roof has the correct height, the Trumpeter side wall profile is correct at the rear with the stowage bin running parallel to the hull and not angled downwards as in the Dragon kit. the front portion of the Dragon kit has the correct profile for the Challenger with the Trumpeter one being incorrect in this area.The Trumpeter turret although correct in profile is slightly too long making the rear longer than it should be
The Commanders hatch, although the Trumpeter hatch is moulded closed, the hatch is the better with the two round housings at the rear being the correct size compared to the oversized Dragon ones, here the best thing to do would be to remove the moulded in Trumpeter hatch and replace it with the Dragon hatch.
The Loaders hatches, here Trumpeter have the correct hinge sizes, but the hatch is the wrong shape, the Dragon hatch is the correct shape but the hinges are wrong, the other hatch is the other type supplied in the Dragon kit
The Gun Barrels are very similar, but the Dragon barrel needs to be turned 1/4 turn to line up the thermal sleeve, to explain this better the indentations on the Thermal sleeve should be in two groups of 3 with a larger gap between the two groups, the groups should be aligned top and bottom with the wider gap running down each side, on the dragon kit this gap runs along the top of the gun, on the Trumpeter kit it seems to need a 1/8 of a turn to line the gaps up correctly
The gun mantlet and TOGS housing, this is the easy bit with the Trumpeter one having the correct shape size and profile and can be used directly as it is.
The GPMG, here Dragon have the better rear ends with Trumpeter the better front ! just to be awkward, that being said the Dragon ones are very thin and to my eye too thin
The independant commanders scope, this is good fun !! not ! Dragon have the correct height and trumpeter the correct width, it is easier to change the Dragon one by adding thin plastic sheet to the outside and replacing the bolt detail
the Smoke dischargers, I think that here it comes down to personal choice, I find Dragon s to be better although others might see Trumpeters as better.
There is no easy comparison as to which is correct and to which is wrong, as both are wrong ! both kits have their good and bad points, unfortunately the bad are really bad and there is no easy answer as can be seen in part 2. What is more amazing is that Dragon have published a set of Challenger 2 drawings in the Concord mini colour series that shows the correct turret and hull long before the model appeared, and Trumpeters Instruction also show the correct turret profile with correct roof height, so how both companies messed up so much baffles me!.
Challenger 1&2 Concord mini colour by Walter Boehm and Peter Siebert
Challenger Squadron Europa Militaria by Simon Dunston
Challenger 2 Article Tankette 32/6 and 35/6 by A. Crutchley
Various Challenger 2 article that have appeared in Military Modelling over the years