by: Pete Becerra [ ]
IntroductionAfter the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, the IDF realized how important armored forces were and bought, improvised, and upgraded WWII surplus vehicles. Realizing that their WWII tanks couldn’t accommodate the larger guns needed to go up against Arab-bought Russian T-54/55’s, the Israelis in 1959 were introduced to the British Centurion MkII. The Centurion came equipped with its original 20-pounder gun and 7.62 commander’s machine gun. In 1963, the IDF upgraded these Centurions with the British made L7 105mm gun and US .50 Cal M2 machine gun for the Tank Commander and designated this as the Sho’t. When the Six-Day War broke out, the IDF had 385 Centurions, including the Sho’t, in the inventory.
Kit ContentsMulti-media kits are becoming a norm these days with many of the scale plastic model companies. AFV Club is one of those companies that combine plastic, resin, turned aluminum, and photo etch in their kits. Once you open the box, you will find it jammed packed with plastic with a majority of it coming from AFV’s previous Centurion releases. The kit contains the following:
11 sprues molded in olive drab
1 clear plastic sprue
2 small photo etch frets
1 cast resin infantry telephone box
2 vinyl tracks
1 length of string for tow cables
6 individual spare tracks
6 metal springs
24 vinyl tires
2 sets of vinyl poly caps
1 20-pounder Type B turned metal barrel
1 L7 105mm “Bonus” turned metal barrel
2 small decal sheets
1 16 page Instructions and painting guide
The instruction sheet is straight forward consisting of 16 pages with a painting guide for three vehicles. An additional insert is provided for the bonus barrel. In step 16 the replacement glacis plate is marked in red with an “F8”. This replacement plate is loose within the parts and is also marked with a small sticker and with the part number marked in red.
Review Beginning with the turret, it is molded with a fine cast metal texture. Weld seems and casting numbers are very well defined and a turned aluminum 20-pounder Type B barrel with separate fume extractor is provided. As an added bonus in the first edition kits only, AFV has also provided a L7 105mm turned aluminum metal barrel with separate fume extractor, so this item may or may not always be present depending on the kit you buy. Both barrels include the rifling in very fine detail. Sprue H comes from AFV's WC-57 kit and is only used for the .50 Cal M2 machine gun. This machine gun and the photo etch gun mount and ammo can make up the new commander's machine gun. The only down fall to the turret is that no mantlet cover is provided. However the cover can be purchased separately from AFV or you can scratch build one using tissue paper soaked in diluted white glue or two part epoxy putty.
Traditional armor kits come with a one piece lower and upper hull but AFV’s Centurion upper hull is made up of several pieces rather than one single piece. It is comprised of the front glacis plate, drivers hatch, turret plate, radiator hatch, engine hatch, and left/right fenders. The road wheels are made to be workable and a metal spring and four road wheels make up one road wheel sub assembly. Linkage arms are “mushroomed” in place, making the sub assembly workable. Rather than spending longer time masking and painting the road wheels and tires, AFV makes it easier by providing separate vinyl tires. The wheels can be painted and weathered separately than the tire can be placed on. Rubber band style tracks are provided in the kit but separate individual tracks can be purchased, once again, from AFV if desired.
The requires you to pay close attention to step 16. As I mentioned above, there is a red “F8” stamped on the glacis plate in red in the instruction sheet. This red “F8” refers to a replacement glacis plate this is not attached to any sprue. The replacement plate is used only when making the Mk 5/1 option.
Decals are provided for three vehicles from Israel’s 10th Armor Brigade in Samaria on the West Bank during 1967. White on black and white vehicle “bumper” numbers are given along with large white vehicle ID panel numbers. ID panels need to be made from tissue paper and diluted white glue or very thinly rolled two part epoxy putty.
ConclusionMy sample kit did have some broken and bent parts. On both B sprues, part 18 was either bent or broken and on one of the S sprues, part 7 was broken. While reviewing the instructions, I came to the conclusion that those parts were not needed, so that was a good thing. There are a lot of delicate parts such as grab handles that need to be removed, so care need to be taken when doing so. With a steady hand for all the small parts, good reference pictures, and nice accessory set from Legend or any other after market company, a nice looking IDF Mk 5 Centurion Sho’t can emerge from the box.