Book Review
FV4201 Chieftain
FV4201 Chieftain Britain's Cold War Main Battle Tank
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by: Darren Baker [ CMOT ]


The following introduction is as supplied by Tankograd Publishing:
The FV4201 Chieftain was the first purposely designed main battle tank (MBT) of the British Army, and the main weapon system of the Royal Armoured Corps for most of the Cold War era. When it entered service in the 1960s it replaced the medium and heavy gun tanks in service with the British Army at that time, namely the FV4007 Centurion and FV214 Conqueror. The Chieftain was designed to dominate the battlefields of Western Europe if the Cold War ever turned hot, plus it was engineered to be superior to Soviet tank designs. In total, the British Army eventually received 941 FV4201 Chieftain MBTs. This publication describes meticulously and in great detail the various variants (Marks) of the Chieftain as well as the tank's development and technology. For this purpose it almost exclusively uses hitherto unpublished photographs taken on various exercises.


Tankograd Publishing Takes a close look at one of the tanks from my earliest memories and that was still is service well into the 1990ís with the British Army. This is a soft backed book having a robust card cover and containing 72 pages. This offering is one written by Carl Schulze for Tankograd Publishing and looks to offer the high standards I have come to expect from them. This offering from Tankograd is one of their duel language books having German text on the left and English text on the right side of each page and that aspect also includes the captions that accompany each photograph.

The dedicated text provided here by Carl Schulze offers a great amount of information covering everything from the global situation which caused the birth of the Chieftain tank and continues through the situations during the service of the Chieftain tank and finishes with the end of life in the British Army. The text also looks at various aspects of the tank from the hull and power pack through to the business end of the Chieftain the main gun. Carl Schulze writes very well and the information is provided in a clear and easily understood style

Going through the text in the book I was a little surprised not to find any mention of the multi-fuel Leyland engine issue that cost the Chieftain the export success of the earlier Centurion; the reputation this issue caused dogged the Chieftain throughout its life even after it was no longer a real issue; however this aspect has been covered in other titles from Tankograd Publishing if my memory serves me right. So with that said I was very pleased to find charts showing the progression of the Chieftain, these charts will greatly help the modeller identify the Chieftain version they may be looking at as it identifies the changes made and so directs the reader on what to look for.

Moving onto the 92 colour photographs and 36 black & white photographs, I found these to be a mixed bag as quality goes, but for the most part the photographs are very well chosen; donít get me wrong this issue is due to the limitations of personal colour photographs of the 1970ís and does not reflect on Tankograd Publishing as you can only use the best of the images that show what you want to depict. The black & white photographs are very good and show the early Chieftainís to great effect. The full colour images are for the most part very good and provide some great visual reference for both identification and weathering. The captions are of the usual very high standard I have come to expect from Tankograd Publishing and provided in both German and English.

The walkaround section of the Chieftain is a nice inclusion that enables the modeller to pick up on details that may otherwise be missed. The clear photographs and written details on what is being viewed make this a particularly valuable section of the title for the modeller. The title comes to a close with a very good look at the dozer blade attachment for the Chieftain. This provides some great details on the element and shows the dozer blade in its storage position, deployed position and in use. There is also a diagram that clearly shows the dozer assembly and identifies all of the elements.


This offering from Tankograd Publishing provided by Carl Schulze gives the modeller a great affordable reference for the Chieftain family of tanks and will be a great reference for the Takom offerings that came out a few years ago. The text is well written and provides a wealth of information on the vehicle family and is presented in an easily read format. The photographs are for the most part excellent with only a few of the early colour photographs not meeting the same high standards. All in all this is a great reference that every modeller should be able to easily afford and have to hand.
Darren Baker takes a look at another of the new titles from Tankograd Publishing covering the FV4201 Chieftain Britain's Cold War Main Battle Tank
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: Nr. 9031
  Suggested Retail: Ä14.95
  PUBLISHED: Mar 26, 2020
  NATIONALITY: United Kingdom

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About Darren Baker (CMOT)

I have been building model kits since the early 70ís starting with Airfix kits of mostly aircraft, then progressing to the point I am at now building predominantly armour kits from all countries and time periods. Living in the middle of Salisbury plain since the 70ís, I have had lots of opportunitie...

Copyright ©2021 text by Darren Baker [ CMOT ]. All rights reserved.


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