by: Andras [ ]
After Andras built this model he decided to write a short review of an older model; after all it may be useful for others planning to build it -or even bring attention to it for those who are not aware of its existence.
This has been one of those vehicles I would never have learned about had it not been for World of Tanks. It looks weird with the giant turret, which immediately makes it attractive in my books. The vehicle itself was an attempt to produce something that can effectively counter the new Soviet heavy armor based on the Centurion chassis, mating it with a 7.2 inch BL Howlitzer placed in a oversized, thinly armored turret. It was an experimental vehicle, and never got further than trial stage. The development started in 1951, and was finally terminated in 1957. Obviously the vehicle was a failure as a combat fighting vehicle, but in model building looks can mean everything, and real-world effectiveness is definitely overrated. This vehicle is on display outside of Bovington Tank Museum.
Unfortunately there are not many models available of this vehicle in any scale, which is not surprising. British armor has been neglected by companies, and experimental British armor doubly so. It was really good to find an accessible plastic version available -it’s both cheaper and easier to obtain than a limited-run resin model. Since Ace Model has a line of Centurions I think it was a relatively simple matter to produce this version; and I do appreciate they made this effort.
A word of warning: the model is by no means perfect. The detail is soft at places, and the fit is, well, hit-and-miss, which necessitates filling gaps. The instructions could also use some improvement: they are computer generated views of the model, but it's not always apparent how the assembly should be done. Another issue is that the sprues are not always labelled correctly, but since the model has only a few parts, it's not difficult to figure out which parts the instructions are calling for. The model also has rubber-band style tracks, which are less than ideal; I prefer the plastic alternative. The suspension is a bit difficult to assemble well, but the side-skirts will hide most of it.
The only real problems I had with the assembly were the frontal mud guards and the front glacis. The mudguards simply did not fit in place, so I wrote them off as battle damage. The front was a bigger problem. Simply put the place where the top of the hull and the front glacis plate meets have a step, even though the transition should be smooth. I tried to fill this step in, so it would blend the top of the hull and the frontal plate together, but it was simply too big. The hatch detail on the top panel was too close to the edge so I could not trim it to shape it to the front armor. Unfortunately there is still a visible step remaining. (It kind of looks intentional, so if you don’t know the type you may think it is a design feature.)
The turret is reasonably good, but there were some gaps that needed to be filled, and the gun had to be hollowed out. The PE ribs, however fit very well, and dress it up nicely. The tow-cables are made out of the same rubber as the tracks and are not very good (the moulding is not perfect), but I’ve decided to use them for the review.
The kit does come with some PE, and it considerably improves the model, and the fit is excellent - no complaints there. Once you’re finished it’s not a bad kit when it comes to detail; in fact I am quite happy with it. None of the above issues are deal-breakers; it is just a warning that it’s not a shake-and-bake model. If you built 1/72 models from Eastern Europe, you will be familiar with all these issues. If you put in some effort, you will be able to build a decent model out of it, but it's definitely not like some of the high-tech models we are being treated with lately. If you want an FV4005, this is (almost) the only game in town, though.
Once the building was done the painting and weathering was not difficult.
I’ve chosen a tricky pattern from World of Tanks which I already attempted with my Cromwell (with out to much success). It might not be historical, but since I like the game (and like the in-game vehicle) I decided to recreate it as best as I could.
After priming (Vallejo German Grey) I painted everything in the pale greenish color which will be forming the large patches (a mixture of Tamiya JA Grey and dark green). Once it dried I added patches of silly putty, and painted everything in Tamiya JA grey – this will form the thin line between the green and the black.
After it dried, I carefully squeezed the sides of the putty patches to spread them out a bit- this covered the thin areas of the grey color. Then I sprayed the model with the priming color lightened with Tamiya JA Grey to form the black lines between the patches. (Using the same color to lighten all the camo colors tie them together well.) I have to say the results turned out to be better than I expected; although I did have to touch up on some of the patches.
A couple of layers of green and ochre filters helped to blend the colors together, and I sprayed Future on the model to provide base for the decals. (There were only three decals provided; apparently there should have been a “Spud” marking, too, according to the instructions, but it was missing.)
Once the decals dried, I sealed them with Future, and applied a dark pin wash to the model. After about a day of drying I used a wet brush to remove the excess, forming some good-looking streaks in the process. Wherever I felt there was too much wash left on the surface of the model I used a flat dry brush to remove it. I repeated the same process with dot-filters; the browns, yellows and blues formed nice, faint streaks on the sides of the vehicle.
Using a 00 brush I painted discreet chips on the tank. The color German Black Brown by Vallejo is great for deeper chips where the metal is showing through. I tried not to go overboard; in this scale no chips would be visible in reality, but they do give some visual interest to the model. I also used sponge chipping on the barrel and larger surfaces – again, trying my best not to overdo the effect.
This is when I painted the tracks and the rubber rims of the road wheels with a fine brush- again I used very dark greys instead of black.
I rusted up the exhaust: on a black base and I deposited a bright, rust colored pigment (Humbrol Rust), which was treated with various dark colored wash unevenly to create patches. The end of the exhaust and the mud guard below it got a tiny bit of black to represent soot; I tried not to go overboard. The thin metal sheet that forms the exhaust guard got a really heavy chipping treatment. Because of the constant heat coming from the exhaust pipes this thin piece of metal would be constantly heated, which promotes heavy oxidation.
I made a very light slurry of a reddish rust colored wash, and applied it over the larger chips on the barrel and the exhaust covers; once dry I could adjust the effect using a wet brush. (When I use the term “wet brush” it means a brush dipped into the appropriate solvent dabbed onto a piece of rag.) I added extra heavy layers on the exhaust guards. Later I adjusted the effect with different rust colored paints to make this piece look even more oxidised.
I always liked the dusty look of some of the tanks in World of Tanks: a very light colored dust layer covering the lower parts, which gets fainter and fainter as we go up the hull/turret. I dabbed “Dust Effects” by AK Interactive onto the upper part of the superstructure and the turret with a brush; this product has a very light color – too light for an European setting I think, but very close to the color from the game. I left it dry overnight (it looked horrendous, causing me no small worries), and in the morning (during my morning coffee) I adjusted it with a wet brush. It formed a layer similar to the effect seen in the game, but I could not make the transition completely smooth; for this I would have to airbrush the product. (I know it’s possible, but I’m reluctant to airbrush non-water based paints.)
The lower chassis got slurry of light brown pigments suspended in Mig’s neutral wash. (I have no idea what I should be using this product for, so I use it for making mud). It creates a dark grey/brown effect used in conjunction with the brown pigments, which is very similar to actual mud in many parts of the world. The excess was wiped off once the mixture dried, and I repeated the process with a darker mixture on a smaller area to form layers of dry and fresh mud. I covered the upper parts with a sheet of paper, and created some mud splashes flicking a brush loaded with the mud-mixture. The tracks got some extra treatment of mud. To lighten the colors a bit -and make the model look more realistic- I sprayed flat varnish onto the FV4005. As a final step I rubbed a silver pen on the tracks and the edges of the model to simulate the shine of worn metal, and called the model finished.
To honest I’m quite happy with the results; despite some of the issues coming up while building the model, it turned out to be a short -and enjoyable project.