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AFV Club 1/35 Centurion Mk. 5 Tank

The Centurion Tank, introduced in 1945, was the primary British main battle tank of the post-World War II period. It was a successful tank design, with upgrades, for many decades. The chassis was also adapted for several other roles. Development of the tank began in 1943 and manufacture of the Centurion began in January 1945, six prototypes arriving in Belgium less than a month after the war in Europe ended in May 1945. It first entered combat with the British Army in the Korean War in 1950, in support of the UN forces.

The Centurion later served in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, where it fought against US-supplied M47 Patton and M48 Patton tanks and they served with the Royal Australian Armoured Corps in Vietnam.

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Israel used Centurions in the 1967 Six Day War, 1973 Yom Kippur War, and during the 1978 and 1982 invasions of Lebanon. Centurions modified as armored personnel carriers were used in Gaza, the West Bank and the Lebanese border.

The Royal Jordanian Land Force used Centurions, first in 1970 to fend off a Syrian incursion within its borders during the Black September events and later in the Golan Heights in 1973.  South Africa used its Centurions in Angola.

 

 

AFV Club 1/35 Centurion Mk. 5 Tank

Kit Highlights
  • Workable suspensions with metal coil springs
  • Clear periscope vision blocks provided
  • Road wheels with rubber rims
  • Prevision aluminum gun barrel with rifling
  • PE metal parts for super detailing
  • New tooling bulldozer blade
  • 2-Pdr Gun Barrel (A type) included

And here is a model kit subject that I’ve been meaning to work on for a while. Coincidentally, it was the show below that made me look more into the Centurion Tank and its history. It was the nature of the subject what brought me for the first time to work on an AFV Club model.

The kit AF 35106 features a entire sprue with the proper parts to add a ‘dozer‘ to the tank. Something that is quite evident that has been omitted here. There are 27 steps to put this model kit together from which steps 25, 26, and 27 are dedicated to the dozer assembly alone.

Step 1 and 2 are all about the suspension assembly including the metal springs and linkage. Make sure to work careful this area, you don’t want glue where it doesn’t go or your supension will be stuck.

Pins need to be melted in order to seal them without glue. So have a cheap soldering gun handy and if you don’t have one, get one. There are plenty of uses for a soldering gun on our workbench ;o)

The prongs on the hull are thick for the poly caps, so don’t expect a Tamiya fit here. Actually, If I knew, I would have left the wheels without the poly caps. The suspension works very neat. The tracks are made of soft rubber which tends to sag a little bit.

There is not much if any to see the suspension in action, but if you plan on building a diorama, the soft tracks and suspension will add great dynamism to the scene.

The downside on the tracks, the connector prongs are very thin and flimsy making it a very weak spot. I did used CA glue and to secure it more, I carefully melted the prongs and some area of the track using my soldering gun. The tracks detail is very good, but my next Shot Kal or Vietnam Centurion will have AFV’s workable link tracks. AFV Club provides a few track links (AFV 35102) to be used as ‘spares’ on the model, they are simply awesome.

This is one heck of a model kit from a company that hasn’t been on the game for too long.  The overall fit is better that I expected. However, some parts are plagued by protruding prongs (see pictures below) from their injection process. They will not be on the visible side of the finished model, (thank goodness) but they are there and they are annoying.

The way the mold was designed, leaves a lot of raised protruding runners almost all over the sprues. This in many cases, leaves little room for the sprue cutters to do its job. At least without damaging or stress marking some parts. Not good, especially with tiny parts for which I instead used my exacto knife.

Painting and Weathering the Centurion:

Ha! Looking for the color if the Centurion Tank? Welcome to the club! Seems like there is not a concrete answer on this one. Some colors ranged from weathered OD Green, Deep Green and most pictures and a little info, pointed to a mix of colors that resemble the famous Bronze/Green from some WW-II aircraft interior. The truth is that the color of the Centurion tank, -at least the widely used green-, is very hard to see.

Most of these tanks had operated in very dusty environments and a shade of green for it is as debatable as an OD green from WW-II. So IMHO, I don’t think you’ll go wrong with any shade of green.

I don’t generally prime my models, but since it was molded in dark green styrene and it was to be painted in a dark green, I decided to add a coat of  Tamiya XF-20 Medium Gray as base. Because I know that I was going to give this model some mid to heavy weathering, I decided to use Tamiya XF-65 Field Gray which is a greenish gray color for the base color.

After painting the whole model, I did added a few drops of  Tamiya XF-2 Flat White to what was left in my airbrush cup, and sprayed randomly a fine mist with my Aztek A470 airbrush. The paint was then sealed with Acryl Flat Clear Coat and I proceeded to add the decals. By the way, the decals are of very good quality.

Unlike aircraft model kits, I don’t gloss coat armor models prior to adding the decals. Instead, I make a puddle of decal solution on the flat paint and add the decals where they go. It gives me time to make adjustments if necessary and they wont silver when dry. After the decals are dry, I just cover them with another coat of Model Master Acryl Flat Coat to protect them for the enamel washes.

Once everything was in place, A Dark Wash from Mig Productions was given to the model. Then it was followed by a fine mist of AK Interactive US Modern Vehicles #122 Sand color on the side panels. Vallejo Pigments were used to further dust the hull and tracks. Other sections were accentuated with Tamiya Weathering Master Set E. Rain streaks on the side panelswere made with AK Interactive Rain marks for NATO Tanks AK 074.

Chains on the front came from the beads section at the craft store and antennas are made from K&S .016 wire. The barrel included with the tank was substituted by a 105mm from the Barrel Depot and it was kindly sponsored by Red Frog Hobbies.com.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR

There are extra pieces including the search light included with this kit to build other versions. Personally, I did not like the fact that some parts came molded in clear. It comes with markings for 2 British versions, Royal Danish Army and New Zealand’s Army. This kit is clearly for the experienced (not to mention demanding) model builder.

The price for it is right, it wouldn’t hurt to throw in the workable tracks and charge a little bit more (wishful thinking). I have stretched enough that I’m not a variants builder. But my experience with this kits along with the history of the subject will definitely left me wishing for a Vietnam or Lebanon conflict version. Did I said, this kit is priced rightfully? Oh yes, I did.

Absolutely Positively Recommended!

Once ggain, my sincere thanks to Red Frog Hobbies.com for sponsoring this build. You can find there the kit, accessories for it, all the AK-Interactive products line and of course, GREAT customer service.

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George Collazo
George Collazo
George has been hosting review sites and blogging about toy collectibles, travel, digital photography and Nikon digital imaging since 1998. His first model kit build was a Testors 1/35 DODGE WC-54 in 1984.
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