Chieftain tweaks
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Corrections and conversions for Tamiya's Chieftain

This list of corrections was originally written by Robert Lockie. With his kind permission I have posted it here for your modelling pleasure. I will continue to maintain this list as new information comes to light.

It is worth being aware of the fact that the modifications required to Tamiya's kit depend on the period being modelled. I would suggest that there are four main types that one might consider:

  1. Detailing the Tamiya kit of the Mk.3 to include the items which Tamiya omitted for reasons of moulding limitations and cost but keeping it as a Mk.3.
  2. Updating the kit to the as built configuration of the Mk.5 (the final build model)
  3. Updating the kit's as built configuration to the upgraded configuration of the Mk.6 (i.e. IFCS, new transmission decks etc.). Mk.5s rebuilt to this standard appear to be Mk.7
  4. Updating to Stillbrew & TOGS fit; I haven't covered this here, as it is a major rebuild and mine is an earlier version. Bear in mind that Stillbrew pre-dated TOGS, so the latter is not obligatory

Most of the details can be seen in published photographs if you look carefully, although when I did my research, this was not the case. The vehicles that I examined were all type 2 (as noted above) onwards but most of the points in 1 were present also, so here goes (this is largely from memory, so I may miss a few):

General modifications

Be sure to fill the motorization holes in the lower hull. It is also a good idea to replace all molded on grab handles with wire or something.

Hull modifications


  1. Replace the glacis splashguard with one with a bend near the top and add the stays which attach it to the headlight guards
  2. Replace the rear portion of the headlight guards with ones which project further back
  3. Replace the wading rail with 1mm x 1mm U section brass
  4. Add the hooks for the wading trunking (one on glacis, one on exhaust box, one on LHS and two on RHS)
  5. Add the hull fire extinguisher handles and brackets between the first and second trackguard stowage bins each side
  6. Add the retaining clip for the driver's hatch when open
  7. Replace the splashguards either side of the driver's periscope
  8. Add the trunking for the dozer blade inboard of the right front stowage bins
  9. Add wing mirrors to the front trackguards
  10. Add the retaining catch for the open driver's hatch on the glacis and its protective plate
  11. Add hasps and padlocks to all stowage bins
  12. Rebuild the intake on top of the exhaust box on the hull rear
  13. Rebuild the armoured box for the telephone on exhaust box on the hull rear (it is easier to just rebuild the exhaust box as well, or there will be a hole where the telephone comes off) as it is spaced off the exhaust box on four threaded posts
  14. Add hooks for two spare tracklinks on the rear face of the exhaust box
  15. Rebuild the inner ends of the rear mudguards, which are the wrong shape
  16. Add the pressed 'X' reinforcement to the sides of the hull rear stowage bins
  17. Rebuild the light clusters on top of the rear mudguards, as they should not be identical both sides
  18. Add the rests for the opened outer panels of the transmission covers inboard of the long stowage bins on the hull sides
  19. Add the threaded socket to the top of the 'T' shaped panel over the engine
  20. Replace the triangular panel at the right front of the engine deck (over the engine breathers) with a louvred one
  21. Add the brackets which are used to bolt the trackguard bins to the trackguards. Those between the square and triangular bin are attached to the fire extinguisher pull handle brackets
  22. Remove all the lifting handles on the louvred engine and transmission covers, add mesh covers to them and replace the lifting handles from wire or rod
  23. Add two small attachment points (like towing/lifting eyes) to the extreme front of the glacis, for the dozer blade
  24. Add a bazooka plate support arm between the front roadwheel and idler
  25. Replace the bazooka plate brackets on the hull sides
  26. If the bazooka plates are to be fitted, replace them with brass or plastic sheet
  27. If the bazooka plates are to be omitted, rebuild the outer ends of the support arms to the correct pattern


Perform all of the modifications noted for the Mk.3 hull (above) plus the following:

  1. Replace the entire transmission covers with the new version, which has two central lift out panels horizontally and shorter outer hinged panels, and build up the hull rear plate and rear of the 'T' piece above the engine
  2. Replace the exhaust pipes with a more curved version and flanged outer ends
  3. Remove all but the lower horizontal of the wading rail from behind the transverse depression stop rail on the engine decks
  4. Replace the gun crutch with a version similar to that used on Challenger, but with longer pivoting arms

Mk.6 or 7

As for Mk.5.

Turret modifications


  1. Rebuild the base and cover for the loader's periscope. The latter can come from a Challenger.
  2. Add the polygonal overpressure relief valve cover behind the commander's cupola
  3. Add the two blocks with threaded holes below the gun mantlet for removing the 120mm barrel
  4. Extend the thermal sleeve as far forward as the rear of the fume extractor
  5. Rebuild the turret stowage baskets, or at least the way they are attached to the turret as they are attached by brackets not welded direct to the turret side
  6. Add the armoured pipe and housing below the LHS stowage basket which supplies power to the searchlight
  7. Replace the cover for the commander's sight
  8. Add a cable from the block on the left of the cupola to the commander's GPMG
  9. Add a cable from the rhomboidal block on the right of the cupola to the commander's spotlight
  10. Add two cable guides to the top outer ends of the turret rear plate
  11. Add the stop for the searchlight door to the door front
  12. Add the four lifting rings (there are at least two versions) to the top of the searchlight housing
  13. Cut the top face of the searchlight housing from the inner rear corner, perpendicularly to the front and rear, to a point directly forward of it and immediately behind the front plate. There should be a small overlap of the front plate compared to the inner edge of the top plate. Fill the inside face of the searchlight.
  14. Add the three blocks on the turret (two forward, one behind) that support the searchlight, and the brackets on the light and their associated bolts.
  15. Add a hasp to the central part of the join in the loader's hatch
  16. Replace the brackets for the smoke dischargers with ones made from flat section strip
  17. Detail the right side and rear faces of the gunner's sight
  18. Add a pad to the inside of the forward loader's hatch and a strip inside the join between front and rear hatches
  19. Rebuild one side of each of the smoke discharger clusters to represent the correct cast shape
  20. Drill (carefully) down the fixing wheel on the top of the commander's spotlight bracket to give the impression that it is a ring
  21. Add the brackets to the commander's stowage bin to space it off the turret and fill the inner face to avoid a hollow appearance


Perform the modifications for the Mk.3 turret but skip items 2 and 4. Also perform the following additional modifications:

  1. Add the rectangular (instead of the polygonal design) overpressure relief valve cover behind the commander's cupola
  2. Replace the rectangular gun control equipment cover behind the commander's cupola with a trapezoidal design, with handles on the edges
  3. Replace the 120mm barrel with an L11A3 or A5 version, similar to that from a Challenger. If you use a Challenger gun, extend the cover to the mirror housing on the muzzle so that the base is in line with the tip of the muzzle. The slope of the rear of the mirror housing is also too shallow and needs re-angling or preferably cutting back to represent the mirror housing and having a cover added to represent the rubber sheet version
  4. Add the light projector next to the gunner's sight and the cable and its cover which join the two
  5. Replace the left side turret stowage basket with a larger design which extends out to the edge of the searchlight. Some had a plate joining the basket to the light. At some point, the basket was apparently modified with a downwards extension in the front outside corner for a container of NBC decontaminant (like a large fire extinguisher, as on Challenger) and stowage on the underside of the basket for the associated tool roll.
  6. Add mesh inserts for both stowage baskets.
  7. Remove all detail from the cupola top outside the raised concentric ring and add a ring of thin plastic sheet to extend its diameter. The front portion is bent down to maintain the field of view of the commander's sight.
  8. Replace the NBC pack with the No.6 Mk.2 design
  9. Replace the antenna bases with the Clansman type (as found in Challenger but there are actually six and not four webs below the rubber upper part
  10. Add the various small radio-related details to the left of the cover for the turret battery access hatch
  11. Replace the commander's periscope ring with the angled type as found on Challenger
  12. Some vehicles have a large rectangular bin for APDS projectiles in the left turret stowage basket, bolted to a retaining strip under the basket floor
  13. Add the armoured box for the aerial tuning unit antenna ahead of the commander's stowage bin, with a portable fire extinguisher below

Mk.6 or Mk.7

Perform all of the modifications noted for the Mk.5 turret but skip points 1 and 12. It should be noted that this would also include all of the Mk.3 turret modifications but skipping point 4. In addition,a perform the following modifications:

  1. Replace the rectangular gun control equipment cover behind the commander's cupola with a trapezoidal design, with handles on the edges
  2. Replace the ranging MG to the left of the mantlet with a welded plate to cover the hole

Copyright © Dan Hay
Last update: Friday, 02-Dec-2005 21:18:50 UTC