The only currently available 1/35th scale plastic Centurion is Tamiyaís Mark 3, which was originally issued in 1971 (the Academy Centurion is a reworked copy). The tank modelled is an early version with 20pdr Type A barrel and top-loading bins on the track guards, suitable for the Korea War. Inevitably, the mouldings are not up to current standards, with much of the fine detail either absent or moulded in. This set aims to replace the deficiencies of the kit parts.
Two medium-sized and one smaller frets, crammed with too many individual parts to count. There are only a few large parts, most are small detail fittings like latches for stowage bins, tool and tow-cable clamps. An acetate part is included for the driverís windscreen. There are five pages of colour-coded instructions in the usual Eduard style.
Most of the work involves the removal of moulded-on blobs/blocks from the kit and their replacement with PE parts, the complexity rating is largely due to the small pieces involved, folding is in the main fairly simple.
Work starts with the driverís area and some nice periscope covers and progresses round the hull, replacing the air deflector on the lower hull rear and returning to the upper hull replacing (among others) moulded-on latches, clamps and the (fictional) bazooka plate mountings moulded onto the track guards, on the way augmenting the exhaust fishtails with some detail parts. Curiously only the rear flaps of the track guards get PE replacements, the front ends only get some additional details. The build then returns to the hull front for the PE stowage bin for the driverís approach march hood, and the driverís windscreen. Detailing the hull finally finishes on Page 4 with the addition of loops to the kit bazooka plates (set 35-862 replaces the plates completely).
The turret is more of the same with more loops, and latches, hinges and fixing plates for the stowage bins; the replacement clips for the fire extinguishers are particularly nicely etched. Again, it is mainly removing and replacing details, only the mountings for the smoke bomb throwers get a complete PE replacement.
The majority of the PE parts are well chosen, only a few parts like handles and the travel clamp for the cupola MG let down by the 2-D nature of etch. Some of the tools disappear during the tidying-up of the track guards with no indication of replacement, and they need to be checked with references to see if they need scratch built replacements.
The references cited in the instructions are minimal (only an issue of Panzer magazine) and there is no mention of web-based resources which is a shame. I found walkarounds on Prime Portal, Tanxheaven and Howitzer.dk which are more easily accessible and helpful. Probably the most relevant was one by Daryl Nightingale (linked to this review), which allowed me to identify most of the parts in the set, and also shows the wiring for the smoke bomb throwers which needs to be added
The Tamiya Centurion may go on to rival the original for longevity, without much likelihood of mould improvements, so this set fills a definite need. Recommended to anyone practiced in repetitive bending of small pieces of etch.
My thanks to Eduard for the review sample!
Comprehensive set of PE parts which will replace a lot of the moulded-on detail of the elderly Tamiya model. Since Tamiya will probably keep recycling their mould, this set may be useful for a while
About David Maynard (Drader) FROM: WALES, UNITED KINGDOM
From south Wales originally, I became an archaeologist by chance and have continued being one for about 20 years. Which is a lot of mud shifted. The nursing home where I was born is now part of the Celtic Manor and, by a nice bit of irony, I did the archaeology for several of their golf courses. I h...