The IDF received their first Mk.II Centurions (Sho't) in 1959 followed by later Mk.III And Mk.5 types which still retained the 20Pdr main gun with both Type A (without fume extractor) and Type B barrels (with fume extractor). The 20Pdr gunned tanks were used for many years, until replaced by the L7 105mm gun in the Sho’t Kal version in the early ‘70s. AFV Club makes available a turned aluminum Type A barrel and a vinyl Type A and Type B mantlet as separate accessories from their standard production Centurion kits. All three are the subject of this review.
35018 20Pdr. Gun Barrel (Type A) for Centurion
This set is a one-piece turned metal barrel of the British 20Pdr gun tube without the fume extractor (type A). It is nicely milled with smooth surfaces and looks great. It will fit onto the AFV Club Centurions with no modifications required to the kits. With minimal modification, it will also fit the older Tamiya Centurion as well.
35009 Mantlet Cover for Centurion (Type A)
One of the few gripes about the AFV Club Centurions is the lack of a mantlet cover that was seen on most in-service tanks. Throughout their service lives, there were two types for them. This set provides a small upgrade for AFV Club’s Centurion tanks. It is one-piece vinyl and slides over the barrel and onto the kit’s mantlet (part # I14). The Type A cover was seen on early models of the tank that used the 20Pdr main gun, as used by the IDF on their early Centurion 5 Sho’t tanks and by the Royal Australian Army Corps Centurion 1 tanks in Vietnam. It is well molded and completes the look of the tank well. It is a nice addition for a few dollars more although it would have been nice if it was included in the kits it goes to.
35009 Mantlet Cover for Centurion (Type B)
As with the Type A, it is one-piece vinyl and slides over the barrel and onto the kit’s mantlet (part # I14). The Type B cover was seen on all models of the tank and used w/the L7 105mm main gun as used by the IDF on their Sho’t KAL tanks fitted w/the ADVS-1790 diesel engine.
Depending on the version of Centurion you are looking to build, AFV makes it possible using these separate add-ons for a relatively inexpensive price. While the mantlets could arguably have been included in the kits as a standard accessory, the fact that they are available as one-piece vinyl elements will certainly make it easier for this feature to be added to your build.
Highs: Finely milled barrel and crisp molding on the vinyl mantlets.Lows: None noted.Verdict: I highly recommend these items to upgrade, or backdate, either the old Tamiya Centurion or another one of AFV Club’s Centurion kits. I see no major flaws in the kits, their dimensions, or details.
About Gino P. Quintiliani (HeavyArty) FROM: FLORIDA, UNITED STATES
Retired US Army Artillery Officer, currently a contractor at MacDill AFB in the Tampa, FL area. I have been modelling for the past 35+ years, really seriously on armor and large scale helos (1/32, 1/35) for the last 30 or so.