Enter keywords or a search phrase below:

Takom Chieftain Mk.5/5P

When the Chieftain entered British service in 1967, it was the most powerful tank in NATO’s arsenal. The primary versions of the main battle tank were the Mk.3 and Mk.5, the latter being the final production version. Later marks designated major upgrades or rebuilds of Mk.3s and 5s.

Large numbers of Chieftains were exported, and many served with armed forces in Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Oman, and Kuwait.

Given the Chieftain’s widespread service, it’s surprising that only two plastic 1/35 scale kits of the vehicle have been released previously (by Tamiya and Academy). Both are several decades old.

Takom’s kit features excellent detail on light gray plastic. Cleanly molded individual-link tracks come loose in a small bag and require only minor cleanup before assembly. Separate pads for the tracks increase assembly time but make painting the tracks easier.

Clear lenses are provided for the periscopes and major lights.

Instructions are provided in large, uncluttered illustrations, along with a separate color guide and decals for seven vehicles. Ammo of Mig Jimenez paints are referenced in the guide.

The outer wheels comprise four parts to properly capture the undercut rims of the real vehicle. The difference won’t be noticed on the inner wheels. I left off the running gear and tracks until after painting. I did the same with the spare tracks on the rear plate.

Detailing the upper hull went smoothly. The driver’s hatch can be posed open or closed through the use of optional parts. The photo-etched (PE) engine grilles fit perfectly. Advanced modelers might choose to replace the lift handles for the engine hatches with fine wire, but the PE ones look OK.

Adding the PE braces (TP4,TP6) between the headlight brush guards and the diverter plate (TP7) was challenging.

Turret assembly proceeded quickly. The main gun mount uses poly caps to make the barrel movable. But I found that the beautifully molded vinyl mantlet cover pretty much fixed the gun in a level position.

I filled small gaps around Part H4 (beneath the mantlet) with stretched sprue. Sanding blended it into the turret.

The three-part main gun fit well and needed no filler.

With care, both turret hatches can be built to operate.

To paint my Chieftain as a BATUS (British Army Training Unit Suffield) Mk.5, I mixed Tamiya paints to match the suggested colors. The side and top views of the camouflage don’t align, so I adjusted the sides to match the top. A coat of Vallejo clear gloss sealed the finish.

The decals worked fine over flat areas, but the large number on the rear of the turret cracked in several places across the turret bin, even before I applied solvent. Once the decal dried, I touched up the fractures with paint. A flat black enamel pinwash made the molded detail pop before I applied clear flat.
Chieftain tracks don’t sag, so I built link-and-length tracks from the individual links. The instructions indicate 94 links per side, but I used 98.

I added the side-skirt supports when I installed the suspension units near the beginning of the build and had trouble aligning them. If I build another Chieftain I will wait and add them when installing the skirts to simplify alignment.

I’m surprised it has taken so long for someone to release a new kit of this important vehicle, but Takom has done an excellent job. The model perfectly matches dimensions in Ian Hogg and John Weeks’ The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Military Vehicles (Book Sales, ISBN 978-0-906286-75-3).
I spent 23 hours building my Chieftain. Easy to build, the kit is perfect for intermediate armor modelers. The terrific PE and well-molded individual-link tracks would be a perfect introduction to these kit features for newer modelers.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the April 2016 issue.
Read and share your comments on this article

Want to leave a comment?

Only registered members of are allowed to leave comments. Registration is FREE and only takes a couple minutes.

Login or Register now.


Essential finishing techniques for scale modelers.
By signing up you may also receive reader surveys and occasional special offers. We do not sell, rent or trade our email lists. View our Privacy Policy.