Academy 1/48 Challenger MBT

By Michael Benolkin


The Challenger evolved from the Centurion and Chieftain line of British main battle tanks. Originally designed as the Shir/Iran 2, this new tank was destined to serve as the new armor spearhead for the Shah of Iran. With the fall of the Shah, these new tanks were adapted for Royal Army service and became the Challenger.

The Challenger is powered by a V-12 diesel engine and sports the 120mm L11A5 main gun. While it served as the Royal Army's portion of the NATO shield, the Challenger was fortunately never called upon to fire a shot in anger in that theater. It did, however, distinguish itself as part of the United Nations force to free Kuwait.

Sporting some new protective armored side skirts and other enhancements to enhance survivability against anti-tank munitions, the Challenger reigned supreme in its areas of operation.

The Kit

In their latest release in this series, Academy has produced a nice addition to their quarter scale combatants. As with the Merkava and T-72 kits reviewed earlier, this kit is essentially a snap-together kit that features a pre-assembled transmission and remote controller.

Molded in desert tan plastic, the Challenger kit is still an exercise in simplicity. Most of the work is in assembling the road wheels. The track is the same as with the previous kits, rubber-band style with an M60-styled track pattern.

The unit is powered by a pair of electric motors that are snapped into the transmission frame. Power is supplied from a pair of batteries located in the handheld controller and power/control is via cable that runs between the tank and the controller. The wire leads will have to be attached to the two motors in the hull, and while a simple 'strip and twist' will work, I'd recommend soldering the leads into place. The batteries are housed in the remote controller, and while it will accept C cells for power, the unit has an interesting adapter included to allow the use of AA batteries instead.


If you want to have some fun with your kids and/or co-workers, this is just the ticket. With an MSRP of $25.00, these tanks will provide a lot of fun for very little effort. The only caution I would offer is not to let it run without supervision at your model club's next contest. It probably would not survive the counterattack after running over someone's scratchbuilt WW1 biplane...

My sincere thanks to MRC for this review sample!

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