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Challenger 2 (heavy modding)

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Challenger 2 (heavy modding)

Old 02-16-2020, 12:28 PM
  #1  
tomhugill
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Default Challenger 2 (heavy modding)

Hey folks, thanks to Jim I've been lucky enough to obtain this lovely build with hopes of completing the amazing work hes already undertaken.

First order of business (as I've learnt the hard way) is making sure she runs wel before continuing with the detailing and cosmetic work (not that jim left me much to do!).

The first order of business was beefing up the gearboxes. The pot metal ones weren't going to cut it. I'm a big fan of the DKLM PDSGB. I've used them in my centurion, king tiger and chieftain. Since selling the centurion I was left without a fast gearbox for the chieftain. So it was the logical choice to get another base and gearbox for the chally.

Installation was straight forward. Whilst the henglong standoffs dont match the holes perfectly I was able to repurpose some bits and drill into the resin hull fill where required. The added advantage of this setup is that it also adds another solid plate to where the gearboxes are which acts as a brace stiffening the lower hull further. I had to remove one of the cross braces to allow the gearbox to slide in but this didnt have much of an adverse effect. I can add it back in further down the hull if needed later. At this stage I also added electrics in the form of a clark tk60 and wired it up. (With the exception of the rear lights). I bought the chally with an open panzer/tbs mini setup but whilst I'm a big fan I wanted something a bit easier to setup initially.

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Early tests showed that one side had a tendency to throw tracks on grass. Outside a hugely expensive dklm upgrade ($300!!!), no one seems to do a challenger 2 adjustable idler system. Jim has used tamiya leopard 2 tracks on this build. Imo these are far superior to the full metal chally 2 tracks out there. They're lighter than the all metal ones but have have metal and centre pieces so are just as strong. The pads come already attached and dont come off. Finally they're a nice colour out the box, no need to blueing or vinegar soaking. Another plus here is I was able to use a set of tamiya leopard track inducers which I've had say around for years (shout out to the virtues of parts hording), they needed some slight mods but fitted the challengers sprockets with a little dremel work. Now she runs flawlessly on grass, which is something I require all my tanks to do.

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Old 02-16-2020, 12:45 PM
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Fsttanks
 
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The new 6.0/1 Heng Long Challenger 2 lower hull have been upgraded to now include an adjustable idler as a standard feature. Doesn’t help you at this point, but might someone else being inspired by your work.
Old 02-16-2020, 02:00 PM
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tomhugill
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Originally Posted by Fsttanks View Post
The new 6.0/1 Heng Long Challenger 2 lower hull have been upgraded to now include an adjustable idler as a standard feature. Doesn’t help you at this point, but might someone else being inspired by your work.
Do you have any pictures or details? If the tension had been an issue it's something I'd probably investigate further to retrofit. Might be something I need to look into if the mounts dont stand up, although they seem pretty beefy and have been ok so far.
Old 02-16-2020, 02:06 PM
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With her running nicely it's time to start getting the turret functions sorted. The recoil unit had already been fitted, it.just required some tweaking to roll smoothly. The elevation unit required a small platform to be made from styrene and a tiny bit of the turret to be cut away for it to fit nicely.

There were some issues with the elevation servo being faulty causing some odd behaviour but now rectified.

I really love how theres so much space in the turret. The tk60 I fitted is the g2 version with the GBS. I'm still not 100% sure how I'll wire it up but theres definitely enough room to fit the tk60g2 in here. Click image for larger version

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Old 02-16-2020, 05:14 PM
  #5  
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Originally Posted by tomhugill View Post
Do you have any pictures or details? If the tension had been an issue it's something I'd probably investigate further to retrofit. Might be something I need to look into if the mounts dont stand up, although they seem pretty beefy and have been ok so far.
Sorry I don’t have first hand photos of the new adjustable idler and for some reason RCU will not let me load “screen shots” but photos of it can be seen in a review that was done by Motion R/C at Hobbysquawk.com in their tank forum section. I believe the review for the new 6.0 Challenger 2 is on the second forum page.
Old 02-16-2020, 10:57 PM
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Here's my HL Challenger 2, it was purchased and given the basic minimum equipment a few years back as an exercise in assessing how cheaply a Heng Long tank could be made IR battle-worthy. The cheapest variant was purchased, with plastic tracks, plastic gearboxes etc. and fitted with Clark TK22 along with a Clark recoil unit and the necessary Tamiya IR battle apple and IR emitter (a Tamiya JS-2 clip-on).



For such a large tank it was surprisingly light as a result of the lack of mods but the plastic tracks stretched after one full game day and there was no track adjustment available, and I reckoned I was in for a penny and in for a pound. It ended up costing as much as a regular Tamiya 2A6 but well, Tamiya doesn't make a Challenger 2 (yet).



I am a big proponent of proper serious hobby grade RC tanks needing track tensioners and this is my first priority. These are very well made (milled) and if it wasn't for scale appearances I would have left them in natural finish. They did cost a pretty penny, as much as I had spent on the entire tank up to that point.



The front mounted idler is fairly weakly reinfoced especially if DKLM's tensioner has to be fitted; my builder had the front corners braced in preparation for installation.



The stock molded plastic idler is completely shaved off and replaced by brass parts.



The system uses a prototypical cam design to micro-adjust track tension precisely as needed. I have had no track issues since, but Tamiya's hybrid material tracks are one of the best around.



The front idler wheel is also metal and features a hub cover that is magnetically secured.



My memory is hazy on this but I think I did have to buy rear drive sprockets that would work with the 2A6 tracks (also from DKLM).



All in all, the Challenger 2 is a decent running tank, which was why I could justify the additional spending on it. I don't run it all that often, only because I am unfamiliar with the Clark TK22 operating methods. I'm a simple guy and like straightforward Tamiya-style controls. The Clark gun recoil gearbox later broke down too, and I upgraded that to a DKLM full metal setup as well and after a battle I had lost the cupola machine gun and ended up purchasing a SOL Model FN MAG which was made out of resin but was much more highly/accurately detailed.

Oh and the tank is painted in the markings of "Arethusa", depicted as it participated in filming a mock race across a firing range against a Range Rover for the TV show Top Gear. In actual fact there were several Challenger 2s used but Arethusa was shown most prominently for purposes of reference.

Last edited by cleong; 02-16-2020 at 11:46 PM.
Old 02-17-2020, 12:58 AM
  #7  
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Originally Posted by cleong View Post
Here's my HL Challenger 2, it was purchased and given the basic minimum equipment a few years back as an exercise in assessing how cheaply a Heng Long tank could be made IR battle-worthy. The cheapest variant was purchased, with plastic tracks, plastic gearboxes etc. and fitted with Clark TK22 along with a Clark recoil unit and the necessary Tamiya IR battle apple and IR emitter (a Tamiya JS-2 clip-on).



For such a large tank it was surprisingly light as a result of the lack of mods but the plastic tracks stretched after one full game day and there was no track adjustment available, and I reckoned I was in for a penny and in for a pound. It ended up costing as much as a regular Tamiya 2A6 but well, Tamiya doesn't make a Challenger 2 (yet).



I am a big proponent of proper serious hobby grade RC tanks needing track tensioners and this is my first priority. These are very well made (milled) and if it wasn't for scale appearances I would have left them in natural finish. They did cost a pretty penny, as much as I had spent on the entire tank up to that point.



The front mounted idler is fairly weakly reinfoced especially if DKLM's tensioner has to be fitted; my builder had the front corners braced in preparation for installation.



The stock molded plastic idler is completely shaved off and replaced by brass parts.



The system uses a prototypical cam design to micro-adjust track tension precisely as needed. I have had no track issues since, but Tamiya's hybrid material tracks are one of the best around.



The front idler wheel is also metal and features a hub cover that is magnetically secured.



My memory is hazy on this but I think I did have to buy rear drive sprockets that would work with the 2A6 tracks (also from DKLM).



All in all, the Challenger 2 is a decent running tank, which was why I could justify the additional spending on it. I don't run it all that often, only because I am unfamiliar with the Clark TK22 operating methods. I'm a simple guy and like straightforward Tamiya-style controls. The Clark gun recoil gearbox later broke down too, and I upgraded that to a DKLM full metal setup as well and after a battle I had lost the cupola machine gun and ended up purchasing a SOL Model FN MAG which was made out of resin but was much more highly/accurately detailed.

Oh and the tank is painted in the markings of "Arethusa", depicted as it participated in filming a mock race across a firing range against a Range Rover for the TV show Top Gear. In actual fact there were several Challenger 2s used but Arethusa was shown most prominently for purposes of reference.
Thank you! That looks neat
Old 02-17-2020, 06:13 AM
  #8  
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Originally Posted by tomhugill View Post
Thank you! That looks neat
I forgot to mention. I swapped out the stock (useless) plastic gearboxes because they were slipping and went for the usual full (pot) metal upgrade gearboxes instead of the PGSGB. I actually have one of these gearboxes on hand but I felt that it was much heavier than the equivalent metal upgrade gearboxes and altered the weight balance of the tank. This happened when it was installed in my HL Abrams and in battle I had to constantly tend my gun barrel angle. I then added weights to the nose of the tank but it also made movement more sluggish and the whole suspension sagged beyond prototypical. When I decommissioned the HL Abrams in favour of the Tamiya Abrams, I had the option of pulling it to the Challenger, and I know I am the exception in not being completely enamoured by the PGSGB's performance, but it didn't work for me and I didn't seriously consider installing it in the Challenger 2.
Old 02-17-2020, 08:15 AM
  #9  
tomhugill
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I've not had that issue with mine. I assume it's on the stiffer springs so the extra weight doesnt lead to the rear squatting down
Old 04-03-2020, 12:28 AM
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Been a while since I have posted any build progress I'd lost my mojo a bit but I've been slowly tinkering away on the chally, chieftain and another centurion.

Some may remember the group buy for the armoured models challenger 2 TES kit, I finally got mine out early last week and started on it.

I'll do a write up but I'm afraid I didnt get masses of pictures oh each step.

I also felt the need to crack on as once BarryC works his magic itll be an act hard (impossible) to follow!!)

First impressions of the kit were excellent, sturdy box, loads of kit really well packed.

On closer inspection this does change, the side skirts are really hefty pieces, they sit on a backing plate which is also printed. I've been sceptical about printed large flat items over styrene from a print quality perspective and strength too.

However these are fantastic, Armoured models know their printing onions, quality is brilliant and the parts are very strong, I think a high infill must be used.

The bar armour is especially good, no clean up required on the main sections and only a little on the lower rear bit.

The smaller more detailed bits are done in resin (printed) and are well done, the ecm pod face even has the option of an auto bots icon embossed a la megatron.

Now onto the actual build.

The first job was assembling the Dorchester armour modules, theres one piece for each skirt and then multiple parts for the turret sides which stick onto a single base piece either side.

To improve the representation of the rivets they are printed separately in resin and the builder as to attach them.

Here is a built up one.

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To make life (slightly) easier you are supplied with thin face piece which are very smooth and have the guide holes for the rivets in. You glue these to the thick blocks, then drill out the holes with a 1.3mm bit. I wont lie, there are probably well over 200 rivets to do and it's a slow process, I took about 8 hours all told. However nothing good ever came easy and I think the results justify the effort.

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James supplies far more rivets than needed and even with my butter fingers dropping a lot there were still about 40 left at the end.

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Once the chobham was done it was time to attach things to the chally. I started with the front armour. Unfortunately this obliterated some of the brilliant detailing jim did. However I did managed to salvage everything bar the styrene armour plate.

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Old 04-03-2020, 12:29 AM
  #11  
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Whilst jim had done a great job with the head lights I realised the dimensions weren't quite right stock and it made it impossible the place the other furniture on the front plate.

Luckily I was supplied with some metal leopard 2 head lamps. The detail is gorgeous and whilst not right ootb they were a better base to start with.

The stock lights attached straight to the support with no stalk, this meant they were positioned wrong or the bases were in the wrong place. On the leo ones the stalk was too long but it gave scope to cut it back. The other big difference is the leo headlights have an appendage on top of the unit, this was cut off, blended and filled where needed. The backing supports from hl were retained but trimmed to match the new head light bases. A hole for the led wires was drilled through the front plate and everything attached.

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The rest went on without much fuss, I drilled the holes for the big rivets slightly and cut the half conical pieces slightly to get everything to fit at the right angle.



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Old 04-03-2020, 12:30 AM
  #12  
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From here on things happen quickly as the bulk of the work is done (even if not much is attached).

The next job was the skirts.

On my chally jim had removed the skirts which was going to present problems with fitment. I chopped styrene in search to a solution, which looked possible but requiring careful measurement. However I was saved. Jim had included the removed skirts! They had been removed so nearly I had but to stick them on and we were good to go.

The backing plate was test fit with everything aligning perfectly. This was glued to the armour blocks and the whole thing super glued on.

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The result is really really solid, big thumbs up!

Now the sides were on I could add the resin fronts and the covers over the indicators.

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Next up is the bar armour. As I said earlier this is really well done. Theres some slight trade of between thickness and strength but I think armoured models have struck the right balance.

The fit and finish is perfect, there are some separate mounts which had me scratching my head, but there are some assembly photos on the armoured models facebook page which were invaluable.

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The rear portion has supports which correspond roughly to the fule drum mounts with the lip at the bottom facing out.

Really important at this point is not to attach the supports to the rear plate and the bar armour. I did this and realised I'd effectively glued the top and bottom together! DOH!

On mine I opted to attach the supports to the tank as it's a more solid join.

The way the rear jerry can holder, phone box etc are to get the top on an off you have to slot the rear of the upper down first getting the gap in the bar armour under the aforementioned bits. The front can then slide down. On mine I had to remove some ribs which sit behind the chobham front plate to get the front over cleanly.

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Old 04-03-2020, 12:31 AM
  #13  
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Next up is the affectionately known bird table. This houses anti IED antennas and other bits. The top and bottom come separately with pre made holes for the legs and the main 3 antenna.

Be really careful you get the top piece the right way round as it wasnt readily obvious to me and there seem to be different configurations on the real one.

I found the singular leg is at the front and the two at the rear and on top the single holes at the front and two at the rear. In addition there are two extra antenna bases for either side of the bird table.

The legs are hollow plastic tubes and cone with 3 resin pieces which plug in and allow the bird table to sit flat. The short one at the front and two longer ones at the back. They also are slightly sloped at the bottom to match the angle of the turret so make sure they're oriented properly.

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At this point the detail bug got the better of me and I cracked out the brass.

I've added normal antennas and had a stab at the bird cage arrangement.

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Old 04-03-2020, 12:32 AM
  #14  
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A couple more updates from the last couple of days. I have been trying to get the kit finished so I can then start detailing, but it never works like that!

First thing to do was sort the turret antennas out. Unfortunately the stock mounts much different to the real one so I took the beacon light and cut down the conical base to the point it fitted on the base on the turret. Then I used thin brass rod for the antenna. I did something similar for the one in the recess in the side of the turret.

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Next up was some more detail around the front ecm pods

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No idea what they are but these little arrangements are made of styrene sheet and rod.

There are some small antennas on the front corners which I've made using thin brass rod, styrene tube and blocks of styrene sanded to be round(ish)

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Last up I tried to add some detail to the camera with some protective bars

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Old 04-03-2020, 12:33 AM
  #15  
tomhugill
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Next up is the flexible lower portion of the bar armour. James supplies the segments with the kit but it's up to you to join them as you see fit.

I opted to use 0.4mm or 0.5mm brass rod bent into square shape with an overlapping side. This was bent open to get the bar sections into it, then bent back with pliers. It like the rivets is repetitive and time consuming but the final result for me was very pleasing.

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This was then attached to the cross bar supporting the upper armour panels.

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Wiggle wiggle

https://youtu.be/C91HeWGLou4 Sent from my SM-G973F using Tapatalk
Old 04-03-2020, 12:34 AM
  #16  
tomhugill
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Last update for now is the goal keeperremote weapons system. This is another armoured models kit. James has started on an updated version which I'll end up using but seemed a shame to waste this one as it's a nice little kit.

Only mods this time were to extend the locating peg and capping it so the body of the system can rotate. This is a great candidate for motorising its rotation.


Very little clean up was required and it went together well.

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Some shots of overall progress to date.

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Old 04-03-2020, 12:35 AM
  #17  
tomhugill
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No paint for a while but have a test drive instead.

https://youtu.be/I_eo0ff5en4

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