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Chieftain Mk6 BR90 AVLB - CMSC / Friendship Models
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I built the Chieftain Mk6 AVLB master in 1999 for my good friend Horst Kalinke at CMSC, who produced it as a resin and white metal kit. With the help of the vehicles operating manual, my own reference photos and scaled plans, I started work on converting the Airfix Chieftain MBT hull in to the Mk6 AVLB hull. All the details were removed from the hull before replacing the engine deck, reinforcing the hull and plating over turret ring. The commanders’ position was created, along with the antenna tower, NBC pack, exhaust box, storage bins and numerous other details. From the start I had planned to make a model that could be built in to any of the bridge launching positions with either the No10 or No12 tank bridges. This required a lot of trial fitting, and the use of brass pins to allow the different parts of the launch mechanism to pivot and confirm that all the positions worked. BR 90 tank bridges use common components, so I only needed to build one complete track way of the No12 bridge and the end quarter of the No10 bridge for moulding. The required number of track way castings for each bridge were fitted together to check everything lined up. This was the first time the two bridges had been built and seen as complete bridges. The large No10 bridge measuring 35cm in length was especially satisfying to see hanging from the front of the AVLB and working like the real thing in the various launch positions. The track way elements of the bridges were the longest components (17.5cm) to be cast by Horst and required experience and skill to overcome the initial technical problems to bring this kit in to production. I have built two Chieftain Mk6 AVLBs from the castings of this master, a CATC AVLB with No10 bridge on Salisbury Plain and a KFOR version with extra armour and No12 bridge.