As I want my T-62 to have the hatches open as if the crew had bailed out the Trumpeter model needed some modification since the commander and drivers hatches are moulded shut as part of the turrent and hull.
As the hatches on the T-55 are the same I used the Revell kit’s hull turrent and hatches as a guide and opened up the T-62.
To provide a period correct opposing force for my ealrly 70s Chieftain I settled on a T-62. (Early T-72s would have been entering service but they wouldn’t have been present in numbers but, more to the point, the only T-72 model I could find was an M1 variant that entered service in 1979.)
For this I picked up the Trumpeter T-62. This is fundamentally a reasonable kit but the image on the box features a lot more detail than is present on the sprues in the box. As any modeler will know this is a good reason to buy a new kit – in this case the Revell T-55 A/AM which is significantly better detailed than the Trumpeter T-62. As the T-62 is very similar to the T-55 there a a lot of parts that will translate directly across – from headlights to hatches. I think that between the two I can make a detailed T-62 appropriate for the early 70s.
The turret is one of the distinctive visual features on the Chieftain and on the kit I’ve got the front top surface wasn’t particularly good, especially along the join. Quite a few layers of filler followed by smoothing were needed to get a smooth profile.
There were a few other bits of filling required, the tops of the smoke grenade dischargers and the seam round the top plate being the most obvious.
By modern standards this was quite a bit of work for a plastic kit but it’s 40 years old and the tooling is nearly 50 years old so I’m not going to complain, in fact it adds to the satisfaction of making an old kit and having to deal with the problems of a modeller at the time when this was a state-of-the art kit.
As the Chieftain is my favourite tank – for a variety of subjective and non specific reasons – I thought it was probably time I got round to making a model of it.
As it’s now long out of front line service I couldn’t find anyone making a 1/76 model so I took to fleaBay to pick up the old Airfix Mk 2 Chieftain. This kit was originally released in 1970 and the box art on mine dates it to 1975-1978.
The crew pictured on the box don’t come with the tank but the hatches do open so I got some Wargames Foundary 20mm British tank crew. These are WW II but British Army tank crew kit hadn’t changed significantly by the early 1970s so they were fine for my needs.
They needed a bit of fettling to fit the Chieftain so after some basic assembly of the hull and turret I got them to a point I was happy with.