Kit Review: AFV Club 1/35 scale accessory sets: Set AC35008; Mantlet Cover for Centurion (Type A); price unknown Set AC35009; Mantlet Cover for Centurion (Type B); price unknown Set AG35018; 20 Pdr. Gun Barrel (A Type) For Centurion; price unknown
Advantages: dress up AFV Club kits and permit customizing a kit to match a specific prototype
Disadvantages: odd that one cover at least is not provided with the base kits; some possible shape problems with the Type A Mantlet (see text)
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all Centurion fans
AFV Club has been a good company at providing customizing accessories for their line of kits so that the more demanding modeler or somebody simply wanting to match a specific prototype can find a 100% matching accessory to use on a model. The three items listed here are the newest items released and provide for different variants.
Anyone who has followed Centurions is aware of the fact that few of them have ever been used without fitting the gun mantlet with a canvas or plastic cloth cover, occasionally with "Metalastic" metal covers fitted to them. But the majority of Centurions either came with a basic canvas cover or a canvas cover cut away over the coaxial machine gun mounting and fitted to a sealing ring and cover over the machine gun. The former item is provided by AFV Club as their "Type A" mantlet cover and is listed as suitable for the Mk 3, 5, 5/1, 6, 7 and 7/1 variants. The "Type B" is listed as for the Mk 6/2 and Mk 11, as well as the Australian Mk 5/1 but photo evidence seems to indicate it could be retrofitted to any Mk 5 and later tank.
Both mantlet covers are made out of vinyl and appear to require ACC cement to attach them to the plastic turrets of the kits. There is a bit of flash which will require a fresh Number 11 blade for removal (another recommendation I have heard is to freeze in your refrigerator freezer and then sand it, but as this vinyl is very thin I would imagine it would "thaw" too quickly to work.)
The "Type A" one just mounts on the tank, but while it seems to match the photos I have it does not seem to reflect the "bump" on the face of the mantlet where the machine gun exits. However, the overall effect is good and I don't think most modelers will quibble.
The "Type B" one, however, requires that both the outside perimeter and the area around the coaxial machine gun opening be cemented to the tank, and this may be a bit trickier. Getting a good seal will most likely require thickened ACC and a lot of patience to get it sealed in place.
The barrel is the early model 20 pdr barrel without the bore evacuator and with the heavy ring type counterweight at the muzzle. AFV Club has even included rifling at the muzzle and a very nicely done taper, with a square peg at the rear to mate up with the kit fittings.
Overall these three items are of use to Cent fans, and should permit a good deal of customization and accurizing for anyone assembling a "stud" of Centurions.
Thanks to Shirley Lin of Hobby Fan Trading for the review samples.