British Heavy tank Conqueror Mk2 1/35th scale Black Label kit

box art
This will be my third Black label kit so far, having made their Kpz/70 MBT70 and the Saladin armoured car, both had realistically complex suspension, making a large portion of the high parts count. Long may that continue, I made the Tamiya T62 recently and the suspension and hull were one piece, that was ok, It meant I could spend more time re sculpting the terrible undercut in the turret. How far our hobby has come Gents, it’s all grown up now.
lets take a look in the box.
box lid off
I don’t do the each sprue frame some modellers feel the need to share at the start of a build, I make no apologies for keeping a few secrets to come out later in the build.
As the gun is so awe inspiring, Ive invested in the Aber.
aber gun
the track is a two part vinyl.
tracks and running geasr sprues

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quick check of flex, no worries, and the track is beautifully detailed, so I’ll be able to scrub in some weathering with bristles and rag without worrying about links falling apart.
track around sprocket early test. bpng
the first step, joining the kit gun halves, not that I’m using it, I’m sure you’ll agree that a side by side photo of the kit and Aber barrels are on point for a direct comparison.
kit gun barrel assembly

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here we go with the first bogies, my tank is on a road passing a VW Beetle, so the bogies will all be 90’ square.
first bogie A
the joins are different enough to avoid a FUBAR in assembly
first bogie c
the two bolt holes show how the rubber bump stops are retained. This is typical black label accuracy. The bogie made up showing the flat side that mates to the hull.
first bogie e
now I know the bogies I can turn it up a notch and build them en mass.
laying out bogie parts
the sub assemblies stack up, four of the 16 roadwheels joined up

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Although not generally an early cold war fan, I do like the Conqueror, in fact it’s the only tank from that era I do like. Have been thinking about getting one of the Amusing Hobby ones, but will definitely be watching this one … It looks nice and detailed so far :+1:

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Grouser, I’m a great fan of the Conqueror and I built one of these some time ago; it was (wrongly in my opinion) slated at the time of its release but I found it built up just fine. Apparently, there were some inconsistencies with the Driver’s hatch regarding dimensions/contours I think (I can’t really remember) and I attempted to modify the hatch on mine and messed it up a tad. My advice would be not to worry about it. The tracks also came in for criticism but mine worked just fine.

This tank was about the only one in the British inventory whereby every crew member had his own hatch so you can populate it to your heart’s content if you’re so inclined. I also recall that there should be a third antenna station on the forward part of the turret but that particular fit might depend on what tank was what. I added it to mine just because it makes it all look a bit “busier”.

What tweaks I did add were replacing the Commander’s machine gun – I used (I think) an Italeri one, and modified/replaced the ammo box with an open lid as I wanted to depict mine as sort of going into action; I also added a canvas cover to the communications cable spool on the left-hand side of the turret; a bit of masking tape and an etch buckle can help here. I replaced the fire extinguishers with a different type as they reflect the type I saw on this tank as a schoolboy - yes, I am that old I remember Conqueror in service! I rammed the stowage rack with a cam net and I think that was about that. Oh, and some padlocks on the stowage bins. I added draped cam to the forward part of the turret and part of the gun barrel but realise that’s not to everyone’s taste. I did use the Aber barrel.

Don’t be tempted to replace the engine hatch handles with fuse/brass wire or similar as some Nazis insist as on the real thing they were countersunk to mitigate the trip hazard.

I hasten to add this is not to micro-manage your build/hijack your thread in any way; I enjoyed the model and the size as one constructs it brings home, or at least to me, the size of this monster, all designed to tackle the Soviet threats from their T-10s and ISUs back in the day.

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Interesting, but don’t forget this Black Death kit has the Conqueror running on air as the fuel fillers are missing from the engine deck.

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Not so; they are definitely there. Whether or not they’re in the right place for a Mk 2 I don’t know without wading back through endless references, but Dragon have included them.

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What you see on the rear deck is the water filler cap not the fuel fillers. The fuel fillers (two of them) should be on the outer forward engine deck panels between the louver panels one on each side.

This image from the Perth Military Modelling site shows it better than I can explain it, the placement for the fuel fillers is in green.

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Luciano, well that’s a bit weird then; my kit - definitely the Dragon one - has filler caps exactly where your green outline places them. Perhaps the PMMS review was based on a pre-production run or similar. There again, as I say, I made my model some years ago but don’t recall making or adding my own - although given the punishment of age/memory etc I may have done so. Oh well, all grist to the mill for Grouser when he tackles the rear hull.

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Unfortunately for me my boxing doesn’t have the fillers but does have all the other inaccuracies this kit suffers from, shame at the time I didn’t know Amusing Hobby would come out with one. Oh well.

These heavy tanks always fascinated me especially the Cold War period. Looks like you are off to a great start Grouser.
How many did the British make of these and were they on active service or is this a prototype?

Richard, I think around 160-odd were made and I think that includes a few prototypes and the ARV variants. It was only in service for around a decade from 1955, which is not a particularly long innings for a tank. However, it was made as a response, as I indicated earlier to the Soviet heavies who clearly outgunned most of the NATO tank fleet with their 122mm main armaments. It was allocated to most of the BAOR tank regiments, at the time equipped with various marks of Centurion, on a basis of 9 tanks per Royal Armoured Corps regiment. Note that at the time of Conqueror’s debut the Centurions were not yet equipped with the 105mm. Of course, it was also in use back in the UK with I believe 2 armoured regiments stationed in Tidworth and Catterick respectively, as well as at the training centre of the RAC at Bovington.

The US fielded the M103 as their counter to the Soviet heavies; both Conqueror and M103 used, more or less, a development of the same (US originated) gun.

The Dragon kit is of a Mk 2. As I mentioned the kit was slated upon its arrival, but then the only alternative was a couple of resin models and they weren’t perfect either, and of course, were extremely costly.

Richard, it was definitely an in service vehicle. It was deployed in Germany as part of BAOR. It had many innovations that have become standard since then, such as the ability of the commander to take control from his position, lay the gun and fire it…
Interesting training clip from 1956

20 Mk 1 were built, then 165 Mk 2.
28 ARV vehicles were made as well.

Whilst called out as Mk 1 and Mk2 there were actually iterations of the Mk 2 build - 3 sufficiently different to call out.

Grouser - the kit barrel is way out of scale and comparing it to the Aber one should just highlight that in a big way. Good call on getting a replacement.

Dragon issues on barrel a and missing fuel filler caps is just scratching the surface… check out the PMMS review for full details.
https://www.perthmilitarymodelling.com/reviews/vehicles/dragon/dr3555.html

Not sure about your version Brian, but the 3 people in my club that bought the Dragon version all have exactly what Terry Ashley had for the review.

I have the Amusing Hobby Mk 1 version and whilst better in most respects, it still has its own faults. I touched on these in the Build a photo group build a while back if anyone is interested:

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Thanks Brian and Peter; didn’t realize that it was used for so long and so many had been made. Great videos there too! It was a lot more sophisticated than I would have thought. I have to get one of these. Must have been some chore maintaining these huge vehicles. I would hate to have to change track on one of them !

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The engine handles weren’t countersunk but were loose so they dropped down to some extent. They would still look better being replace with wire, but that depends on how far the OP wants to go with fixing the problems with the kit.

Not sure what you mean Brian. The engine deck grab handles don’t lay flat in a countersunk recess. If you mean they slide downwards into the deck, then there is no countersinking there either. They could only slide up and down, and not all the way down, as the curved corners prevented them from going all the way down to the deck. This was intentional so you could get under them to lift them.
image

Either way, as Luciano’s pic above shows, Dragon depicts them as if they were out as far as they can go, and the lack of gap is therefore quite noticeable, especially from the rear:

This image shows Littlefield’s replacements which are not correct, but it also shows another Dragon kit issue. The number of vanes in the grills:

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Perhaps “countersunk” was the wrong word; they certainly dropped down into a recess.

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before I attach any suspension detail to the hull, I’m going to scratch build some of the interior features that can be seen from the open commanders hatch. The Commanders position, seat, optics and pedestal, the massive gun breech and the Mullens shell case auto eject lift and chute. But first the basics of the engine bulkhead and floor under the turret turntable/basket.
using the upper hull for measurements
the lower hull interior space will be filled and complex adding to the impression of a tank rather than an empty shell. I feel a camera trip to Bovington on the cards.
empty lower hull

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The trouble is, if you do go to Bovington you can hardly see the Conqueror as it’s tucked away smack up against a window, next to a Chieftain in a rather gloomy hall - or it was the last time I visited; in fairness, they may have moved it around. However, you won’t gain any access to the interior at all. In fact (in an earlier life I worked briefly at the Tank Museum) I seem to recall that the vehicle is pretty much gutted; we opened the turret up and there was something like a 12 ft drop to the hull bottom. Turret basket etc all gone; I think the Driver’s station was a bit more intact as one of the fellow wardens who worked there had been on Conqueror back in the day and was delighted to be able to sit in that very position. I can see his beaming face now!

Here’re a few shots I took the last time I explored it; it is a Mark 1:

Plus a couple taken outside the WOs’ & Sgts’ Mess (a Mark 2):

Sadly I can’t help much re the interior, but these all capture the beast well enough I think.

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I live pretty close to Bovington and the Conqueror is still in the same place Brian, at least it was earlier this week!

Will watch this one with interest @Grouser Brians pics look helpful but If you need any more detailed shots, just let me know as I’m hoping to be there again next week. Can’t really help with the Mk 2 though as I think that’s out of bounds to the general public.

Terry