Australian Centurion Update
1:35th Update Set No. FST134
Review by Terry Ashley

The release by AFV Club earlier in year of their new RAAC Centurion Mk.5/1 (kit #35100) was very well received but one of the main issues was the absence of the distinctive canvas mantlet cover fitted to nearly all serving Cents in Vietnam as well as those of other countries.

This update set from Firestorm addresses that issue as well as providing a few other nice updates and consists of 24 parts in grey/green resin and a small instruction sheet.

The quality of the resin casting is good overall but there are some sizable air holes in a couple of parts that will need attention but mostly there are just the usual casting blocks to be removed before assembly.

As mentioned the main part is the full canvas mantlet cover and this is cast in one piece designed to simply replace the kit mantlet and gun mounting (parts I13, I14) and includes nice canvas contours plus the top stiffeners and bolted strips around the outer edge and around the co-axial MG mounting as well as the search light mounting bracket.

Also included are the very small casting number data on top of the co-axial MG mounting which you can read and has the correct part and foundry numbers of the original for a nice detail touch.


The section machined out of the co-axial mounting for the .50cal ranging machine gun is unfortunately the same incorrect shape from the kit part and you will have to carefully re-contour this at the top with a sharp blade.

Resin mantlet cover showing re-contoured co-ax mounting

The back of the cover has the same shape as the kit part I13 and fits neatly into the opening at the front of the assembled turret with indentations for the kit gun trunnions also included. But it did require a fair bit of trimming of both the gun trunnions and turret front and from the back of the resin cover to get an even fit to the turret and test fitting often will determine how much trimming is required.

The resulting fit of the cover to the turret after trimming is very good and any minor gaps can be filled with thicker cyanoacrylate which is best to use to attach the mantlet cover as this gives a little time to line things up before it cures but two part epoxy would also work.

The gun barrel opening is designed to take the kit metal barrel but this should go a further 3-4mm into the mantlet than the part allows and you will have to carefully drill out the barrel opening with an appropriate sized drill (about 6.5mm) for the barrel to go that little bit further back into the mantlet cover. 

Also included for the turret are the four corner lifting eyes with the pipe brackets for the large sunshade often fitting in Vietnam and these simply replace the kit parts plus the Commander’s and Loader’s hatches are replaced with parts that are better detailed and without the pin marks of the kit parts.

AFV Club kit and resin turret hatches
AFV ClubFirestorm
AFV ClubFirestorm

Added to the rear turret basket are the two star picket reinforcing brackets welded to the top of the basket of the Vietnam Cents and there is the large search light with canvas cover as often seen in service but the casting block is attached to the front and when removed there are quite a few small air holes that will need to be filled.

The rack of .30 cal ammo boxes often carried on the rear of the turret roof is included and this replaces kit parts F25, F26 and F27 for a quick and easy replacement eliminating any gaps in the kit parts.

On the hull you are provided with the complete rear 100 gallon fuel tank to replace the multi-part kit tank eliminating any join seams and the hassle of assembly with the resin tank including well done weld seams around the mountings and attachments for a better detailed part except for the bottom where the casting block is removed meaning there is no detail here but it’s hard to see this area anyway.
A new telephone box is also provided that is fitted to the right side of the fuel tank and this again has enhanced detail for the kit part (H21)

The storage boxes along the fenders are provided in resin parts and include the star picket brackets fitted to Aussie Vietnam Cents but there are some few sizable air holes to be filled while the ends of the brackets are slightly hollowed out to give the impression of the hollow pickets.

The casting blocks on the fender boxes are almost non existent but you will have the file the bottoms so they are nice and even and to remove any remaining casting blocks that may be lurking.

Covered search light, 100gal fuel tank and fender storage boxes
Note a few air holes to be filled.


One small feature of the Aussie Cents in Vietnam was a small bracket made from short sections of star pickets welded to the front fender tops for the crew to scrap the mud off their boots before getting into the tank and three are provided to use as required.

On the glacis there is the appliqué armour panel that replaces the kit part F23 and includes the welds around the edges and nice surface texturing to give a nice improvement over the kit part.

Replacement armour panel, note correct offset spare road wheel mountings.

As well as providing the much needed canvas mantlet cover this set has other updates that simply replace the kits parts without any alterations to simplify assembly as well as providing added details.

The mantlet cover looks the part but there is a bit of work to fit to the turret and in fitting the kit gun barrel but nothing anyone with basic resin modelling skills can’t handle.

Overall a nice update set to add those final Aussie touches to your Vietnam Cent with the canvas mantlet cover giving a proper look to the model.

Highly recommended

Also available as separate sets is #FST142 Canvas Mantlet w/search light bracket and Set #FST141 Canvas Mantlet cover without searchlight bracket.

Final assembly of resin mantlet cover and kit metal barrel
Resin Parts
Click for larger view
Close new window to return to the review

See the Centurion Subjects page for other Centurion related reviews.

BookAustralian Centurions in Vietnam
Military Briefs 3
Mouse House Enterprises®
By Shane Lovell
ISBN 0-9577586-2-6
bookVietnam Tracks
Simon Dunstan

Osprey Publishing Ltd
ISBN 0-85045-472-7

This and other detail & accessory sets are available direct from

Thanks to David from for the review sample.

Page created December 20, 2006

Click Browsers BACK button to return to list
Home / Reviews / Vehicle Reviews / Firestorm