In-Box Review
Chieftain Upgrade

by: KiwiDave [ KIWIDAVE ]

After tackling the Tamiya Centurion as my first armour model I took a step backwards and bought a Tamiya Chieftain. I usually scratchbuilt details and conversions but saw this as an opportunity to try my hand at some resin details.

Castoff have three upgrades; a basic Mk5, a Stillbrew Mk8, and a Mk11 with TOGs.

I settled for the basic version which seemed a good deal at the price.


Kit Contents
The kit contains a new engine deck, stowage baskets with contents, commanders cupola and hatch, main engine exhausts, NBC pack, two Clansman mounts, a Clansman box, gun crutch, drivers hatch and smoke generators.


This is my first experience of resin and I was a little disappointed at the contents. Several parts were damaged, the flash on some bits was huge and the stowage baskets were not actually Mk5 at all.

The instructions were very basic and referred to part of the NBC pack which I did not in fact receive.

Of the parts supplied the drivers hatch needed the least work and fitted well. The commanders cupola is very nice but not actually necessary for a Mk5. The commanders hatch was not used because of the flash, but the inside detail is exquisite for anyone wanting to leave it open.

The engine covers are the right profile but do not have the wire mesh covers that are a feature of Chieftains.

Overall I feel I spent as much time in preparing the resin parts for fitment as I would have expended on scratchbuilding them, with the exception of the cupola.


Unused to resin I found it a rather unpleasent material to work, rather soft and 'soapy' and a bit fragile. Fortunately I managed to clean up the parts without causing further damage but I did not feel comfortable working in this medium.

When cleaned up all parts fitted OK, but I binned the stowage baskets, preferring to convert the Tamiya ones.

Fitted the parts look good but represent only about 20% of the modifications needed to the Tamiya kit to make a reasonable replica of a Mk5.


The foregoing sounds a bit negative. Perhaps I need more experience with resin, but this kit does not make me want to try again.

On the plus side I found the service from Terry at Castoff to be excellent. Response to my initial email was prompt, helpful and detailed.

Despatch of the goods was also prompt and the packaging excellent. As well as supplying the Chieftain kit Terry also sent me a selection of pioneer tools to fit the Centurion for a small extra charge.

Castoff also do a range of coversions for British armour, figures and diorama accessories.

Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:35
  Suggested Retail: 9.50
  PUBLISHED: Jun 19, 2003
  NATIONALITY: United States

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