The Centurion tank possibly represents Britain’s greatest contribution to the world of armoured conflict with the exception of the very first tanks. The Centurion came into being as the answer to Hitler’s tank forces, but was late to the party and so, as the wrinkles were ironed out, it became a formidable weapon of war and became an export success. Tanks that served during the Cold War do not tend to get the attention of the German armour of WW2 - until now - as Scorpion Miniature Models turn their attention to the publishing world with a title dedicated to modelling the Early Centurion Tanks in 1/35th scale.
This first book offering from Scorpion Miniature Models Publishing is, I hope, the first of many such titles. The author of this release is M.P. Robinson and features the modelling work of Ian Wright, a modeller who I am not aware of, but does do stunning work in this title. This release is a soft-backed book offering 100 pages of modelling delight for the Centurion tank fan. The contents of this title are:
1. Cruiser Heavy Tank A41
2. Centurion Mk.1
3. Centurion Mk.2
4. Centurion Mk.3
5. Centurion Mk.3 to Mk.5
6. Increasing the Range
7. The Conway
The various chapters of the book all follow a similar presentation method with the possible exception of the chapter that is titled “Extending the Range” that concentrates on the external fuel tanks adopted to address the short combat range of the Centurion including the use of REME workshop produced towed fuel stowage devices.
The standard approach to each chapter is as follows. A small amount of background data is provided along with a varying number of schematics. Let’s be honest, if you are purchasing this book it is not to dig deep into the Centurion tank and its service, you want to be helped in replicating early Centurions as accurately as possible and the information you need to do it. The chapters are well laid out in terms of what has to be done, with details of the base kits used to produce the Centurion of choice. Also provided are details on some of the aftermarket products available to the modeller with those available from Scorpion Miniature Models featuring heavily and, for me, fairly as SMM are behind the title. With that said, companies such as Accurate Armour are also included and so you are pointed in directions for those items you might need to obtain.
While aftermarket products are liberally mentioned, it is the details that the modeller produces himself in this case that caught my eye. I do not mean the major items the modeller has worked on, wonderful as they are, for me it is the well-replicated details such as weld lines and the like, something we can all do but don’t always bother with. What these details do here is show just how much of a difference this aspect of scratch building can provide, the impact it makes and that is also not really displayed without paint on it.
It is, of course, the major changes to the base model that will catch everyone’s attention, and these are well covered in the title. Obviously, it is your own limitations that will determine how well you can make changes, but you do at least have a guide to what does and does not need attention and what those changes are with a possible solution for your aim. I forgot to say the results that could be achieved depending on your own ability.
I will close by saying that the models in this title are shown in their nakedness and so all of the work that has gone into obtaining accuracy is fully on display. Concentrating on unpainted models means you can look at the last few pages of each chapter and decide if the requirements of the finish are within your skill set. Let’s be honest, painting and finishing models is a subject in its own right and there are a lot of titles out there to help with that aspect.
I went into this book not really knowing what to expect from it and with an open mind as to what I wanted. I have to say, I am very pleased with what I found. The pictures are clear and show the subject matter at its best. The written information is clear due to being easily understood and presented in a good- sized font. If I was to criticise the offering it would be that the title could cover subjects to a greater depth, but the books need to sell and so a wider subject matter has to be offered and I do accept that. So, a book that offers what this title does for £21.50 ,or roughly 20p a page, is good value for money if modelling the Centurion in more than what is offered straight from a model provider.