LF1061 depicts the Israeli rebuild with the new power-pack of American AVDS-1790 series engine and Allison automatic transmission. This required a new engine deck, not unsurprisingly similar to the later M48 and M60 series tanks which used the same engine. Legend provide a whole new hull top part complete with mudguards which replaces the kit piece, along with a new hull rear plate (which in my sample was slightly warped but easily corrected with some gentle heating and bending). This is well detailed and includes all the cooling grilles of the real vehicle. A bonus is the open driver's hatch with separate flaps detailed on the inside. Once the moulding plugs have been removed it drops into place with only minor modifications to the plastic lower hull. Stowage bins on the mudguards come as separate parts, as do the large air cleaner boxes which are also mounted on the mudguards, together with vehicle tools, new American-style headlights, jerrycans and folding stretcher.
Also included is a complete replacement turret, this is cast solid with deep indentations under the hatches. It is the same as far as I can see to the 1967 version, but comes with a different 105mm gun barrel with a concertina dust cover at the mantlet end. All turret details are included as resin or metal as appropriate, and there is a large frame and mesh basket on the turret rear which is assembled from metal rod using the resin jig, with mesh and lead sheet to detail it which is the same as in LF1060.
Added to this are etched brass bazooka plates and new resin spacers for these and new idler mounts. All that is needed from the donor plastic kit is the lower hull part, suspension, wheels and tracks. Note that there were later modifications to re-engined Centurions in Israeli service, but this is fine for a vehicle used in the Yom Kippur conflict.
LF1062 contains fewer parts as it does not include the bazooka plates as these were not fitted in Vietnam. It uses the basic kit hull, apart from the rear plate which is replaced by a new resin item to fit the large armoured fuel box on the back. The extra glacis plate armour comes as a resin part, together with two spare roadwheels and mounting brackets. New stowage bins for the mudguard top replace the kit parts which have to be cut away and there is also the box for the driver's approach march hood along with new idler mountings, mudguard replacements for the cut-down rear ends and even an etched brass boot scraper!
Tamiya's turret is not needed as there is a complete replacement. As with the other Legends sets, this is moulded solid with separate hatches which can be assembled open or closed. The casting is not the same as the other sets as it has the mantlet-mounted ranging machine gun. As well as new smoke grenade dischargers it has all the various details in brass or wire, including the commanders Browning with an etched rack for ammunition boxes (but no boxes or the infantry radio often carried in it), a cable reel and a stowage bin for the turret rear with assembly jig and mesh. Gun barrel is the 20pdr Type B with three counterweights cast into the fume extractor. Add vehicle tools, turret-mounted searchlight to be stowed in the turret bin and new towing cables and we have a comprehensive package.
Standard of moulding on both sets is very good, as with the earlier sets the instructions come as a double-sided full colour sheet which shows the parts spread out for identification as well as close-ups of them fitted to a complete model which as most parts replace their plastic equivalents is all that is needed.
Apart from the reservations I expressed before about the base kit which is old and not up to modern standards, these sets are highly recommended. The only drawbacks to them is that there are no colour or markings information included other than the boxtop illustration, but with several books on IDF tanks and the MouseHouse one on Centurions in Vietnam that is not a major problem.
See the Centurion Subjects page for other Centurion related reviews.
12, Delta Drive
East Lothian, EH21 8HR
See the Legend Productions site for more details on this and other sets available.
Page created 15 March 2004