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Airfix Centurion Mk 8

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As promised, here is my entry to this GB which is 'right up my street' - the Airfix Centurion.  It even sounds like it's 'heavy metal', crushing everything in its path and looks like it has a proper gun! This was the very first tank I built and I did it unpainted as the plastic looked to be the right colour anyway. This time though, I'll add some colour variations and mud etc. and try to give it more of a 'used' look. I'll enjoy getting up to speed with all the technicalities and history of this type. It might even get me going on some other armour builds from my youth.


Here's the box....red stripe, of course!



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Nice choice. It's a very smart looking tank, if such a thing is possible.


Airfix released this one as a Series One bagged kit but pretty soon jacked it up into a Series Two box, along with the price rise that entailed. Bandits.



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14 hours ago, TonyW said:

Nice choice. It's a very smart looking tank, if such a thing is possible.


Airfix released this one as a Series One bagged kit but pretty soon jacked it up into a Series Two box, along with the price rise that entailed. Bandits.



Thanks, Tony. Yes, I seem to remember getting this in a bag as I did all the other tanks I built. I couldn't find a bagged kit this time round, though. You must have the last one in existence. I'm looking forward to making a better job of joining the track ends - only melting with a soldering iron seemed to work for me as glue never did.

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I used to join the tracks on my early builds with the kit header staples! A bit of early re-cycling going on there.

Later, I would superglue the tracks along the ground edge, wrap them around the end sprockets and glue them again to the top of the wheels. Most times, the top join would be hidden by side plates, as on the Centurian. On tanks like the T34 I would make the join on the bottom edge as the top one was on show.

Happy days. It's also got me wondering what AFV builds I can add here, I really enjoyed doing a 25lb Field Gun in the Classic Airfix GB and a few more like it would be nice.



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Started! All the parts are laid out, all 103 of them!



I expected the Instructions for this kit be be the original 'locate and cement' style but it is the multi-lingual / diagram version in the box. I hope there hasn't been any sabotage of this red stripe kit....





Turret is together minus hatches and guns and hull is together, with quite a few seams needing filled - not a flawless fit all round and a fair deal of adjustment required while the cement was still soft. I found the thin cement was not best here as a good 'bead' from a tube was required to bed the pieces together. I've got all the wheel bogies and shafts on so I can paint the hull behind the wheels.





There is an open space at the back of the hull that looks like ventilator flaps lowered to let air through the engine bay - thinking about putting something in there to avoid a 'black hole'.


Edited by Ventora3300
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21 hours ago, Richard Humm said:

The kit appears to have gone into a box around 1971, so the pictorial instructions would be from that era. The "locate and cement" type went around 1969.

Thanks, Richard. Yes, that's a pity - I remembered building 'bagged' versions of tanks in my youth and you got to know what all the bits actually were, e.g. storage bins, sprockets, idlers etc. I've had a look on the Airfix Tribute Forum but the earlier Instructions are not there.


Plea to @TonyW - Tony, would you be able to 'pdf' the Instructions in the 'bagged' kit you have? No need if it mean's disturbing your 'Collector's' kit for 'The Model Shop'. Many thanks. Mike 


20 hours ago, Dansk said:

progressing nicely 👍

Thanks, Paul. The pics have shown up several items to be corrected - as always - including a broken link arm on one of the suspension units!


9 hours ago, Hewy said:

That looks a great little kit ,the airfix scammell tank transporter would be a fine be accompaniment 😋

At 103 parts, plenty to do already! That idea's worth considering, though....I had a look at some videos of Scammells to see if there were any winching a Centurion on board - managed to find a Challenger going on with the tracks overlapping both sides. Older clips showed a Grant and Churchill tanks - both favourites of mine. Uh-oh, I think the builds in this GB are going to get out of control......!

Edited by Ventora3300
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More assembly completed on the Centurion - hatches on and the driver's hatches were a bit of a mystery as there were what looked like ejection pin marks on one side and sink marks on the other. Looking at the Instructions and the walkround I found, it would appear that these 'ejection pin marks' are intended and seem to be the driver's periscopes for when the hatches are shut. Fenders, storage boxes and exhaust pipes/boxes are on the sides. Towing hooks are on front and rear. Main gun and coaxial m/g are on too. There was a sink mark on the flash suppressor (?) section of the main gun so I filled that but the box art shows there to be some sort of box on top of that so I'll sculpt something out of the filler - I'm sure I've seen similar on other tank guns. The main gun has had the barrel drilled - will it be going too far to put in some rifling??






That broken suspension rod at the front left looks actually to be a 'short shot'. I don't think it will be visible behind the road wheels but I'll have a look at patching in a section.





Cable reel is on the rear of the turret. I don't know what the other 'blob' is meant to represent but I think I'll have to square up the edges.





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I've been looking up a few reference pics and the cylinder halfway down the gun barrel is the Bore Evacuator, as distinct from the Flash Suppressor at the end, no Muzzle Brake being on this gun! (Now I'm an expert...) There is no box on the top of the Bore Evacuator so the filler I put in the sink mark has been sanded flat. I think though that the Bore Evacuator cylinder shouldn't be concentric on the barrel, like Airfix have done, but pulled upwards so the radii touch.


Time for paint - I'm going for Humbrol 116 US Dark Green but have the 75 Bronze Green ready for maybe a bit of dry brushing to give variations. All the bogie wheels, sprockets and idlers are painted too - you can just see that they are a shade darker than the original sprue colour.


I've noticed that one of the protrusions on the rear panel has disappeared so I'll have to consult with the carpet monster. Due to @TonyW supplying the 'real' Instructions, I now know that it is a cable bracket - so these also need holes drilled if I can manage it.



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Whilst I was still up to driving the 240 mile round trip I used to visit the Tank Museum regularly and must have taken many photos of their Centurions but I can't remember where I put them at the moment. Probably a bit too late now, but the bore evacuator (which stopped the turret filling with smoke when the breech was opened to reload) was indeed not concentric, being much thicker at the top. Also quite a few pics in my reference books do show a raised rectangular "rib" on top of it. No idea what it was for though - strenghtening perhaps or maybe for attaching something like the firing simulator used during exercises.


As an aside, many years ago I was visiting a dental specialist whilst wearing my Tank Museum sweat shirt and we got to talking about tanks - he told me his brother drove a Centurion during the Suez war - straight through the (closed) gates of some palace or other! My wife did once try to book me a driving lesson on one but it never happened. Probably as well because by all accounts the manual gearbox was a bit tricky and the clutch was designed for an Army boot on the end of a very muscular leg. Pity really as I rather fancied charging around in a 50 ton armoured beast. I remember seeing a cartoon in a Tank Corps inter war journal - it showed a Medium Mk II tank which had just demolished an Austin 7 or something similar in a road accident and the driver of the tank is saying to the car driver "I will have to report you to the Ministry for scratching my paint"! 


Nice kit - I have 3 of them somewhere.





Edited by PeterB
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