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Mike

Challenger 2 PhotoSniper #30 (9788365437853)

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Challenger 2 PhotoSniper #30 (9788365437853)

Kagero Publishing via Casemate UK

 

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Following WWII and the success of the Centurion, the Chieftain was eventually brought in as its replacement, and while it had some excellent features it was ageing technology that held it back and it took a long time to reach maturity.  As it grew older the MOD began looking for a replacement and after the failure of a large sale of a new design to Iran, the Shir design was repurposed into the Challenger with some changes of course and advanced elements incorporated from another Vickers design.  It was always a stop-gap and pretty soon a replacement was being considered with substantial improvements in the firing control system that was much needed.  The first Challenger 2 was put out for evaluation in 1991 and found to be a bit of a dog, having many problems that took a long time to remedy, leaving the higher-ranking officers that remembered the same issues with the Chieftain with a bitter taste in their mouths.

 

Eventually though, the issues were cleared and the Chally grew up to be a fine vehicle and is arguably one of the best Main Battle Tanks (MBT) in the world today.  The Chieftains and Challenger 1s are now long gone and the Chally 2 is destined to be in service for a long time to come, with upgrades happening to the basic chassis as the need arises.  They have proved to be a robust and capable platform that has served the British Army and Oman well and has an enviable combat reputation.

 

 

The Book

This is the latest PhotoSniper book from Kagero, #30 of the series.  It is perfect bound in a card cover with 82 pages of text and almost 200 photographs, written by Dick Taylor who clearly has a lot of love for the subject matter.  It is printed on satin finished paper with most of the photographs in colour and captions that inform and entertain in equal measure.  Some of the photos are of a candid nature showing tankers going about their daily chores such as maintenance and repair and many appear to have come from private collections.  The text is broken down into chapters as follows:

 

Chapter 1

Design & development

Chapter 2

Challenger 2 described

Chapter 3

The Armoured Regiment & Squadron

Chapter 4

Operational Use & Variants

 

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Although the title implies that it is a photograph-centred book, there is still plenty to read in between the pictures and their captions and that should keep the reader engaged for longer than a simple book of photos.  The pictures are impressive on their own however with lots of modelling-friendly detail pics as well as a great deal of inspiration for dioramas and vignettes.  There are also a good few pictures of the bridge-layer variant the Titan, and the engineering Trojan, plus the Driver Training Tank (DTT) which has the turret removed and is replaced by a cowling that bears a passing resemblance to the superstructure of an old pleasure cruiser boat.

 

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On the very back page (which I haven't counted in the total) is a discount code for a 30% discount on the similarly themed PhotoSniper #27 "Before the birth of the MBT", also by Kagero.

 

 

Conclusion

This book is for anyone interested in the Challenger 2, and as one of those people it makes for an interesting and informative read.  The pictures are great too and it makes me want to retrieve my Tamiya kit from the loft, wherever it might be.

 

Very highly recommended.

 

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Review sample courtesy of

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