Australian Centurion Mk. V/1
|Stock Number and Description||Cromwell Models Combat 72 series No. 72008 Aussie Centurion.|
|Media and Contents:||30 resin parts with 5 cast individually and 25 on 11 casting blocks, no instructions or decals in a zip-lock bag.|
|Review Type:||First Look|
|Advantages:||Highly detailed and accurate, unbelievable resin casting.|
|Disadvantages:||A small amount of clean-up required, no instructions makes it hard to work out what parts are and where they go, no decals.|
|Recommendation:||Highly Recommended, even considering the disadvantages|
A Brief History
The British Centurion tank was conceived during the second half of WW II and although several prototypes were sent to Nth Europe for combat testing, production did not start until after war's end. It went through 13 models (1-13) with several sub-variants along the way and was initially on a par with Germany's WW II Panther but up-gunned and armoured as time progressed.
It was taken to Korea by the British Army, fought with the Israelis in the Middle East and with the Australian Army in Vietnam. In each case, it not only proved superior to the Enemy Armour but out did the other allied tanks which fought along side it. It took the British a long time to get on top of tank design but when they did, they did it well.
I can't believe the model industry has over looked what has to be the most important Armoured Vehicle for the early post-war years. Airfix did one in 1/76 scale way back when Jesus was a rug rat and Tamiya had a go some time ago also. Then, until recently, nothing. AFV came to the rescue about twelve months ago in 1/35th scale with their gorgeous Aussie Mk. V/1 in injected plastic and now Cromwell Models have done the same thing in 1/72nd scale, this time in resin and also beginning with the Australian Mk. V/1.
So, has the wait been worth it?
You betcha, in both cases. The Cromwell Models Centurion is what they call a Combat 72 kit. This means it has less parts than is usual but without sacrificing detail. The tracks and running gear along with quite a few other ancillary and axillary parts are moulded on to the one-piece hull with only a small number of bits, exhaust outlets, spare wheels, driver's hatch covers and long range fuel tank etc, to add. Similarly, the turret has most of the bits already in place, side bins, turret basket, commander's and loader's hatches, periscopes and aerial mounts with the main gun, IR light and basket, grenade throwers and hatch covers still to be added.
You would think with the tracks and running gear moulded onto the hull that it would lack detail in this area. Not so. It still has that see-through look around the road wheels, the tracks have guide teeth and some of the suspension units are visible behind the wheels. There's even some suspension detail from below and the road wheels have inner detail. Thats something that many injected plastic kits lack.
Although the hull and turret are solid resin, all the hatches can be modelled open with separate covers and a small pit in which a figure could be placed. These pits could be drilled out (deepened) if required.
All the modifications done to the Australian Centurions before going to Vietnam and while there are present except one. Long-range fuel tank fitted to rear of hull, up-armoured glacis, side armour plates removed, commander's 30 cal. MG and ammo rack behind the cupola, 50 cal. RMG and relocated 30 cal. Coaxial Gun, IR light and basket (it can be deployed or stowed in the basket), and side bins strengthened. Although the track guards have been strengthened and shortened, some of the extra gussets are not there.
Being an all resin kit, there is quite a few casting block to remove, in particular, along the bottom of both tracks. There is also some flash around the inside of the road wheels but it is very thin and should not be hard to eradicate.
Every kit has bad bits and this is no exception. The tow cables. The tank carries two but Cromwell supply three just in case Murphy decides to help. Each cable is mounted on the guard just to the rear of the side bins, lays along the guards, curves around the back and is mounted in the centre of the rear plate. With the long-range tank mounted on the rear plate these cable are slightly longer, mounting in the same place on the rear of the tank. In 1/72nd scale, these cables would need to be about 50mm in standard form and about 60mm with the long-range tank mounted. Those supplied are just over 35mm in length.
This bring me to the second fault, the lack of instructions. If instructions were given in the kit, we would have some idea what the manufacturer intended with the short cables. Am I missing some bits or have they given me the wrong cables? I have no idea. All I know is they are too short to use the way my references say they should be. As it was, it took me quite a while to work out what all the bits were and how they mounted on the model. Fortunately, there aren't many bits and the club I belong to, Australian Military Modellers Society, has plenty of good articles on the Australian Centurions in Vietnam. Anyone requiring these references will find them here.
Lastly, there's the lack of decals. No-one, as far as I can find out, makes any decal for 1/72nd scale Centurions apart from Canadian ones and I believe they are not now available now that Quartermaster Store is no longer in business. There are some in 1/35th scale but whether I could copy them and reduce then to scale with out infringing copyright laws is anybody’s guess.
I am a little concerned about the packaging as mine came with some small parts broken, nothing major mind you, and easily fixed but mine came in a zip-lock bag with the smaller parts in a smaller bag and I know that it came from over-seas with a bigger consignment of other models. However, I have no idea how they were parceled and whether it was adequate.
So there you have it. We now have a high quality Centurion in Braille Scale. I would still prefer one on injection moulded plastic with similar detail and L&L tracks but this is a very good start. I know if the above criticisms were addressed it would increase the cost of the model and Cromwell models are doing all they can to keep the cost down.
Nonetheless, thank you Gordon Brown of Cromwell Models for this gorgeous creation.
Highly Recommended, no matter what the problems.
Purchased by reviewer.
Text and Images by Glen Porter
Page Created 2 February, 2008
Page Last Updated 2 February, 2008