Sunday May 23rd 2004 saw the most recent Tankfest. This is where as many of the museums working tanks are brought out and run round an arena. This year saw the unveiling of the museums famous Tiger 1 turret number 131. This had been the subject of a very comprehensive overhaul to full working order. There were an awful lot of people who came a long way to see the Tiger which made it the busiest Tankfest ever. Some of the models were run in the lulls between their bigger cousins running round and a good day had by all. Thanks go to Johnny for the pictures who actually supplied me with over 450 pictures from which I've had to whittle them down to the ones that you see here and Howard for the videos.
 

Mark had the new 1/6th scale Challenger 2 model as the focal point of his display. On the other end of the display was Bryan Brown's new Elefant... ...flanked by various Tamiya models. Sean relaxes whilst driving! While Gary puzzles over his Abrams.
The next three models all belong to our friends from the North! First a 1/8th Abrams... ...a 1/8th T90... ...and the 1/6th 21st Century M5 Stuart light Tank. Richard loads up the blank firer in his new IS152. This was the first time he'd seen his model and he was chuffed to bits... ...and so were the admiring crowds obviously!
As usual the models drew in a huge crowd. There was a lot of interest and most of us spent all day explaining all about them. Jim's award winning tank seems to have run over a poor unsuspecting dolly! Mark's speedy T34 mingled with the crowds but had to slow down for fear of running somebody over! Peter Couldwell's very spotty Panther basks in the sun. Howard found a perch atop the camouflaged Mazda from where most of the following pictures were taken.
A Challenger 1 in Gulf War colours roars into the arena. While a Churchill AVRE bunker buster rumbles round at a more sedate pace. A Royal Marine Viking. The replacement for the Snow Cat it has all four tracks driven as you can see! A British Centurion possibly the longest serving post war British built tank. A German Leopard thrills the crowds by balancing on the knife edge.
The Leopard then did a lap of the arena. An American M60. I presume that's a searchlight atop of the barrel? A British Chieftain kicks up the dust. A German Panzer III purrs quietly round. This tank was so quiet you could barely hear it! A British Comet. This was a modified Cromwell chassis with the famous 17 pounder gun.
This funny looking tank is the early WW2 British Matilda 1. I am reliably informed that this is a M103 A2 120mm Heavy gun tank, it was used exclusively by the U.S. Marine Corps heavy tank company till 1972 . This is the British Valentine. This particular tank is the  amphibious version with duplex drive... ...as can be seen by the propeller at the rear. The awesome British Challenger 2. Arguably the best tank in the world at this time. Click on this link for a downloadable video in WMV format but be warned this is 2.3Mb so it could take some time to download on a dial up!
The post war German Jag Panzer Kanone betraying it's WW2 lineage.   The world famous Sherman leaves a trail of blue smoke! A good view of the rear of the Sherman. This is the distinctive Swedish S tank. Designed with a really low profile it had a fixed gun and the whole tank moved up or down and side to side to aim the gun. Another famous tank, this time the Russian T34 shows it's sloping armour well in this view.
The T34 poses on one of the grounded bridges. This is the Chinese Type 59 which is a copy of the Russian T54. Another Russian Tank, a bit younger, the T72. The first of many Tiger pictures, this was taken on the Saturday before the show when the Tiger was moved adjacent to the arena... ...ready for the display the following day. Note the original battle damage at the rear.
On Sunday morning, the whole of Bovington came to a halt when the Tiger was unveiled for the first time. This picture shows the Tiger in all its terrifying glory. Click on this link for a downloadable video in WMV format but be warned this is 2.3Mb so it could take some time to download on a dial up! You can see why the Tiger commanded such respect from the Allies. It certainly looks the part! Later in the day it was started to move it back inside. It seems that one bank is a bit smokey!
Sean suffering from the effects of alcohol! Harvey looks on, complete with his new UKTC Roundel on his chest! One of Jim's figures enjoys a drink! Hauptman Humpy relaxes on his throne but still has the frying pan in his hand!