Centurion Mk.5LR / Mk.5/1 in 1/72...
...a kit from Ace models
One of a small number of Ace kits which UK importer Tiger Hobbies are bringing in is this Centurion variant. This builds into a choice of two versions, one of which in particular is the Australian version (Mk.5/1) which they used in Vietnam. Optional parts for the Australian version include a rear mounted external fuel tank, different gun barrel and turret stowage bins, along with a different glacis plate, which has two spare roadwheels mounted on it. Marking are given for 2 Australian example -
A - Centurion Mk.5/1 (Australia) C-Squadron, CS 24A, the Troop Sergant of 4 Troop, 'B' Squadron, Vietnam, 1971 - Olive Drab overall
B - Centurion Mk.5/1 (Australia) C-Squadron, 1st Armoured Regiment, Vietnam, 1971 - Olive Drab overall
The third and final option in the kit is for a British operated Centurion Mk.5LR, fitted with the large Monowheel trailer which fits to the back of the tank. Markings are for -
Centurion Mk.5LR (upgraded from Mk.2)C-Squadron of the Royal Hussars, Hong Kong in the mid-1960s.
Based in the Ukraine, Ace have been making injection moulded plastic kits in 1/72 for some years now. Limited production kits they have improved a long since their early releases. Still though you do need to remove some flash and check for mould seams and I always suggest you check how things fit by 'dry-fitting' the parts before applying cement. Fit of parts is good so far, with the main turret and hull parts already built. The next stage for me for this one is to do the running gear.
OK, well more progress with this one and the build is essentially complete. It took me some time as there is a fair bit of clean-up to do on many parts as well as a lot of small detail fittings. Actual fit of parts is good though. There are some etch details which are tiny, specifically the periscope covers around the commander's cupola. Bending in the two ends is awkward to do, though if you have one of the etch bending tools, I found that made it easy enough. The turret basket takes a bit of patience (well it did me anyway), though again, fit of parts is actually not bad. I also used the extra fuel tank on the back of the hull.
Once built, and before fitting the tracks, the instructions remind you to prime the tracks and running gear before fitting them, no doubt because the two plastics would react if left in direct contact, just like the old Airfix tracks used to do.
This Ace kit is one of a small number of the Ace range imported to the UK by Tiger Hobbies Ltd, where I bought my example.