Thank you everyone. The Amusing Hobby kit is then.
Glad you piped up again - I think we were in danger of forgetting the original question!
Having had a close look at my AH model and a bit of a tinker I think I would come down on the side of this kit; it is of course a Mk 1.
Things I've noticed however are:
The plastic is not exactly brittle or even soft, but a little fragile perhaps.
Certainly, as already discussed, the engine deck details are better. I don't know if there is a missing filler cap (as on Dragon's Mk 2) as I don't know enough about the Mk 1; I might drive down to Bovington next week and report back.
The suspension units seem to locate better (than Dragon's Mk 2) and should ensure that all road wheels are level.
Be aware that the gun barrel is without a fume extractor; I would recommend replacing it (unless you actually want one as such) with the excellent Aber metal version; I have one ready to install and it fits the kit easily enough. I note that Aber acknowledge 2 modellers in their assistance with the design: "We would like to thanks (sic) Mr Chris Meddings and Pawel Krupowicz for providing source material, through which we could create this set". Nice to know that modellers can make a difference and are appreciated!
Note that you are required to make your own mantlet cover; AH recommend using Tamiya masking tape although I would prefer Milliput I think.
Detail as mentioned earlier is indeed a little soft; handles on the bazooka plates aren't too bad as they have a recess which makes them look hollow but the handles on the side panniers aren't really very good. Thin wire/solder may help here.
I can't comment on the crew hatches having no plans but the drivers' hatch doesn't look quite right and I would think too small. I'm not too sure how that could be fixed and one would need good references and plans before attempting to do so, not that it would be impossible.
The cable reel on the turret side is a bit weedy as are the smoke dischargers at first glance; however, they may turn out OK once assembled. The cable reel may benefit from some actual cable wrapping around it but only to thicken it up; the real thing had the wire encased in a buckled canvas cover. Easy enough to do with a bit of thin plastic card and a spare etch buckle.
The MG isn't really useable I feel; I will replace mine with a version from an Italeri weapons set as I have a few hanging around. The kit one is sort of pimply in finish on the barrel where of course, there were just cooling holes. The ammo box assembly might need a bit of tweaking as well. This is probably where an etch set would come into its own.
Antennae mounts are very poor being too small; Accurate Armour do some useful radio accessories and their No 19 antennae mount set might help, unless you can fabricate suitable ones yourself (shouldn't be impossible).
Pioneer tools look weedy but I will probably try and thicken them up a bit using Mr Dissolved Putty.
Bazooka plates look to be too narrow; in photographs the real things seem to be just above the road wheels; I will probably add a strip of plastic to replicate this but I must stress I haven't built the kit, just been fiddling!
I'm not too sure what the dimensional errors referred to earlier by Pavel on Missing Lynx are exactly but if say, the bazooka plates are also too short (as well as too shallow) then I think that's an easy enough fix.
You also have to provide your own tow cable but not the ends.
I haven't studied the individual track links too closely but I note a jig is provided to aid assembly. Of course, given the configuration of the vehicle you don't have to bother about a top run.
If you wish to install a camouflage net then on the Mk 1 it was suspended by straps on the turret rear. The type of net would have been the Hessian strip type.
I realise I've banged on a bit and the above is very random; this is because I haven't started the kit yet. These are of course, only my personal impressions and how I may attempt tackling the identified problems.
Again, like the Dragon kit, any glaring dimensions are probably too difficult to address, let alone overcome; kit surgeons, like Pavel, will I'm sure have the expertise and finesse to tackle these and succeed, but sadly, I am not of that ilk (!)
However, with a few tweaks I'm sure one can end up with an impressive looking model on the display shelves or tables. It is an iconic tank, redolent of the Cold war and the attempt to combat the threat from the Soviet heavy tank arsenal.
Good luck with your build.