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In-Box Review
135
Challenger 1 Mk.3 in IFOR, KFOR Operations decals

by: Pawel Krupowicz [ VODNIK ]

Echelon Fine Details release their details slightly out of order as after previous releases of T35001 and T35004 sets, we now got T35002 and T35006 sets. In this review I took a close look at T35002 decal set for British Challenger 1 Mk.3 tanks. There are marking for two IFOR tanks (Op. Resolute) and one KFOR tank (Op. Joint Guardian) provided. One of IFOR tanks was painted in overall bronze green color, while two other tanks were in typical modern British black / green camouflage. Aside from markings for those three tanks we get a number of generic markings for other Challenger tanks. Many of those generic markings can actually be used for other British vehicles, like Warriors or CVR(T)'s.

Just like all other Echelon decal sets, this one is also packed in a resealable zip-bag, in which we get a single decal sheet (approx. 125mm x 195mm) and A4 size instructions folded in half. Instructions are printed in full color and include a single photo of one of featured tanks. Decal placement diagrams are very clear and detailed, but camouflage patterns shown are not fully accurate. This is clearly mentioned in instructions that due to the lack of reference photos patterns are only partially accurate. Decals themselves are flawlessly printed. All multi-color markings are in perfect register and all printed details are crisp.

Three featured tanks are:
1. "Defiant" - 1st gun tank of 2nd Troop, A Squadron, King's Royal Hussars (KRH)
KFOR Operation "Joint Guardian", Kosovo 1999
- black / green camouflage

2. "Droitwich" - 1st gun tank of 3rd Troop, B Squadron, Queen's Royal Hussars (QRH)
SFOR Operation "Resolute", Bosnia 1996
- black / green camouflage

3. "St Davids" - Squadron Leader, D Squadron, Queen's Dragoon Guards (QDG)
SFOR Operation "Resolute", Bosnia 1996
- overall green tank

Descriptions above are written as they appear on decal sheet instructions, but are not quite accurate because Operation "Resolute" was IFOR operation, not SFOR. Markings on tanks however are very accurate, judging from available reference photos.

In addition to markings for three tanks listed above, on the decal sheet we get a selection of generic stencils for fire extinguishers, bridge class markers, ammo boxes, first aid kits, British flags (two versions: complete ones and with separately printed blue color layer for use in case of color register problems), yellow & red warning stripes and registration numbers. Included is also a number of generic tactical signs. In instructions we get a guide which should help in understanding very complex British system of tank markings. Colors on all markings seem accurate, with exception for blue extinguisher labels, which are much too dark.

Very nice present from Echelon is inclusion of "spare" unit insignias. Aside from markings for three tanks listed above, on the sheet we get two extra KRH emblems, two QRH insignias and one set of QDG insignias (Welsh red dragon and Hapsburg eagle). There is also one extra black rat emblem of 4th Armoured Brigade provided.

On the very bottom of decal sheet are "bonus" markings - code name "Dunvant" and "64KG91" registration numbers, which are not mentioned in instructions. Please note however that those markings are not for one tank! "64KG91" was one of QRH tanks used in Bosnia and its code name was "Desperate". It carried markings similar to the second option on Echelon sheet, but with [30] callsign. "Dunvant" on the other hand was a QDG tank painted in overall bronze green and its registration numbers were "79KF27".

I found photos of all three tanks featured in the Echelon set and they prove that decals are very accurate. As mentioned earlier the only noticeable problem is the color of fire extinguisher labels.

Just as their previous sets, also these Echelon decals were printed by Microscale and I'm sure they will work just as well as those reviewed earlier. To see results of my decal application tests, check my review of Echelon T35004 set.

I wholeheartedly recommend this decals set to anyone building modern British armor models (or should I rather write "armour" in this case?...), even for those not building Challenger 1 kits. Regimental badges, stencils and tactical markings would be useful also for various other British military vehicles. The Echelon set is very well researched and perfectly designed and printed.

Many thanks to Lawrence Goh of Echelon Fine Details for the review sample!

For resellers and distributors list, visit Echelon Fine Details web site.
SUMMARY
Percentage Rating
90%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: T35002
  Suggested Retail: US$14.50
  Related Link: Echelon Fine Details website
  PUBLISHED: Jul 20, 2004
  NATIONALITY: United States
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 82.20%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 91.77%

About Pawel Krupowicz (Vodnik)
FROM: WARSZAWA, POLAND

As first lines of this bio appear under all my reviews, I feel it is important that I start with this information: In March 2005 I ventured into the other side of modeling "industry" - I was not only building model kits, but also helping design them as a consultant for Dragon Models Ltd.. These days...

Copyright 2019 text by Pawel Krupowicz [ VODNIK ]. All rights reserved.


   

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Photos
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  • t35002-4
    Finely detailed markings printed in perfect register.
  • t35002-2
  • t35002-1
    On one side of the instructions sheet is a photo of one of featured tanks.
  • t35002-3
  • t350021