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Swedish Strv-104 (35A043) 1:35


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Swedish Strv-104 (35A043)

1:35 Amusing Hobby via Albion Alloys




Following WWII, Sweden assessed their defensive arsenal and reached the conclusion that they needed to re-equip with more modern tanks, so they went on the prowl for a suitable vehicle to defend their country.  Having seen the technical and developmental promise of the new British Centurion, they made advances to the British Government, and were initially rebuffed in favour of equipping the British Army first.  It occurred to someone along the British chain of command that a big influx of cash into the war weakened coffers would be welcome, so minds were changed and an offer of 80 of the much-improved Mk.3s was made, arriving in Sweden in the early 50s.  Further orders followed, ending with an order of over 100 Mk.10s that served alongside their indigenous and ingenious (not to mention unusual) S-Tank (Strv-103) for many years under the name Strv-101.


In the early 80s the Swedish engineers began a midlife upgrade programme that would help extend the life of the type further, in line with their original feelings on the capabilities of the basic hull.  The gun was better stabilised and jacketed to keep the barrel cool, the engine and transmission were updated, and the whole electronics package was upgraded to modern standards, including the fitting of night-vision optics amongst other improvements such as laser range-finding and targeting.  The armour was also modernised to include appliqué Explosive Reactive Armour (ERA) packages around the front of the hull and its turret to counter the ever-improving penetrative capabilities of projectiles at the time.  This variant was given the name Strv-104, leapfrogging the S-tank by one.  Both types were withdrawn from service at about the same time in the later 1990s after the Swedish military made comparison trials with modern types that found the 104 wanting in enough areas to warrant replacement.  The German Leopard 2 was their final choice, entering Swedish service as the Strv-121, and later as the improved Strv-122.



The Kit

This is a substantial additive re-tool of the original Centurion/FV4005 kit from Amusing Hobby from recent times, adding two more sprues to the box and nipping off the original smooth exterior barrel from one of the existing ones.  The kit arrives in a sturdy top-opening box with an appealing painting of the subject matter on the top, and inside are twelve sprues and one hull part in sand-coloured styrene, a bag of 210+ (I lost count) individual track links in brown styrene, a bag of six brass springs, a length of braided thread, a fret of Photo-Etch (PE) brass, a small decal sheet and an instruction booklet in portrait A4 format.  Detail is up to the standards we’ve come to expect from Amusing Hobby, and the new parts include a replacement engine deck, the cooling-jacket wrapped barrel that uses slide-moulding to achieve the details, and the angular ERA blocks for the front of the vehicle.




















Construction begins with the assembly of the bogies that are built around the six metal springs to give the suspension arms some real travel, providing you keep the glue away from the pivot points.  There are three of these each side of the large hull tub, and each one carries four wheels in pairs on two axles each, held onto the axles with a central hub cap.  The tracks are wide, so the return rollers sit on projecting bases, and long stand-off brackets are added to support the side skirts later in the build.  The huge final drive housing is layered up and topped with a toothed drive sprocket and a small roller that is probably there to prevent track shedding during turns, as seen on the WWII Panther.  At the front is the idler wheel on an axle that pivots to give good track tension once you have made them up and wrapped them around the road wheels.




The tracks are supplied free of any sprues and quite free of clean-up, especially if you are planning on dirtying them up later, so you can just start making them up there and then.  Each side uses 102 links, and as they snap-together they shouldn’t take too long to assemble, which is nice.  I put together 12 links in a few minutes, and they do remain workable, although they aren’t as mobile as they perhaps could be under ideal circumstances.  You might get the occasional one coming adrift, but in general they should be fairly easy to fit, and if you want to freeze them in place once you have them installed, a dab of glue to each link will do the trick, leaving you free to handle them more roughly during the painting and weathering process.  Both runs of links are applied to the vehicles with the traction bar on each link to the rear, so ensure you test-fit them properly before you put them in for the final time.


The rear bulkhead needs a little adaptation for this boxing, moving the towing eyes to the top of the raised locating marks, then removing the unused section and smoothing it back down.  A number of spare track links are fitted to the top section of the bulkhead with more towing eyes and the infantry telephone box, separated by an insert.  Two small marks on each side of the lower hull are also removed and made good during installation of the bulkhead.  The new engine deck has a hole bored from inside, as does the glacis plate, the driver's glacis panel and the turret ring section, then the exterior of the engine deck has a dozen small pips removed from the centre of the deck as it is fitted along with the other parts to the top of the hull.  The driver’s clamshell hatch has a pair of vision blocks with armoured housings added to their front, with some small curved parts added from PE along the way.  The glacis plate has the front fenders moulded into it, and this is outfitted with ERA blocks and a few small PE parts during installation, completing the basic hull.  The fenders have some holes drilled and some small sections removed, as do some of the small parts that add detail, and create the stowage boxes on top of them.  The detail level is then increased further with more boxes, supports and a selection of pioneer tools, with more PE parts being added to some of the boxes here and there.  The side-skirts are glued into place with the fenders, after cutting out the foot-holes at the front and rear, which are marked and pre-thinned from the inside to help you out.  The hull is finished off by fitting a number of additional fill-in ERA blocks, the front light clusters with protective cages, and other small parts.  At the rear the engine deck is detailed with a number of small parts and a protective bumper around the rear of the turret, with a scrap diagram showing how it should look from above.


Now for the turret.  It is built on a floor panel, which has the turret ring cut out, and has the two sides and the roof wrapped around it, trapping the two-part mantlet in place, allowing it to elevate if you keep the glue off the pivot pegs.  Some holes are drilled and filled in the roof, then the prominent angular stowage boxes are added to the sides along with spare smoke grenades, their launchers, aerials, and of course the tapered ERA blocks on the mantlet, which attach via brackets and have a number of bolt-heads applied around the edges from the shaped section of sprue L.  The commander’s cupola and binocular sighting glasses fit into the hole in the roof with armoured covers over the vision blocks, then a few more spare track links on PE brackets on the rear corner facets, the commander’s machine gun on a relaxed mount, and the main gun are all glued in place to complete the turret.  The gun tube is made of three parts, all of which are keyed to ensure the correct orientation, with the sleeve, fume extractor and muzzle sections, all of which are hollow-tipped, thanks in part to sliding moulds.  The smooth sided bore evacuator is left over from the earlier boxings, while the other two barrel segments have the texture of the cooling jacket with its attachment belts moulded into the styrene, giving a realistic look.  Pop the turret on the hull and that’s the gluey part over with.




There’s only one markings option supplied and one paint scheme, as that’s what they wore.  It’s the Swedish splinter pattern, and it makes anything look good.  From the box you can depict this:






Decals are printed in China and up to the task.  There aren’t many of them, so there’s not much to say.




It has taken some investment by Amusing Hobby to tool the new parts for this slightly niche option, so it’s good to see a kit that allows you to make an Strv-104 from the box in good-old-fashioned styrene, with a little bit of PE to give you some in-scale thickness parts where sensible.


Highly recommended.


Available in the UK in all good model shops.

Review sample courtesy of


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Thanks for the review Mike. :clap:  I didn't realise Albion Alloys are distributors of plastic kits for Amusing Hobby; Border Models; Das Werk and Dora Wings.  I shall go and have a looksee. :)



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On 04/03/2022 at 15:41, John_W said:

Very nice. Would make an interesting companion to my Israeli variant.

Yes, I had to wrestle it away from @Julien the other day, who thought the same and hoped I wouldn't notice :rolleyes:

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