Voyager Models
IDF Sho't Centurion Mk.5/1
Voyager Model 1:35 Set # PE 35217
(for AFV Club kit #AF 35159)
Review by Terry Ashley

AFV Club Voyager Models have followed their previous set for the RAAC Centurion Mk.5/1 (set #PE 35110) with this set for the recently released AFV Club kit of the IDF Sho't Centurion Mk.5, Mk.5/1 1967 (kit #AF 35159).

The new set contains many parts from the RAAC set with some new items for the IDF Sho't Centurion and this review can be used as guide to set #PE 35110 also with the main differences being a different resin mantlet cover for this set and a couple of new etched frets.

The set has 9 etched frets of different sizes and thickness plus 8 parts in light cream resin, two short lengths of plastic rod and 12 brass smoke grenade tubes plus a new style long foldout instruction sheet.

Quality of the resin parts is excellent with blemish free castings and just the usual small casting blocks to be removed. The cleanly etched parts include relief to highlight the detail in places and the usual engraved bending lines to ensure the correct bend location but using one of the available etched bending tools would be advisable when using this set for easiest assembly.

Resin and Additional parts
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Hull Details:
There are many updates for the hull with some assemblies replacing the kit parts and others added to the existing parts and this requires some detail from the kit to be removed before adding the etched parts. The instructions do show the modifications required so study the instructions before each sequence to avoid problems but most are only minor modifications in any case.

At the rear the tow bar is replaced with six sections of brass to form the large spring mounting with additional smaller brackets and the deflector under the hull overhang is a brass panel with workable hinges that attach it to the hull plus the tow cable mounting box with the copper wire used for the tow cables.

The fender rear and front extensions are in brass as are the front fender supports with the latches on the side mounted storage boxes are made up of 4 small etched parts each for excellent detail while the small grab handles are also in fine brass that require you to drill small holes in the boxes to fit these in place.

For each of the exhausts the covers are replaced with brass panels that need to be bent to shape after removing the moulded on plastic covers with all the fender mounted tools having etched brackets, some made up of multiple parts for good definition.

Also included are the full side skirts in slightly thicker brass than the other parts as well as smaller brass attachment brackets and grad handles, these are is the three segments which will allow you to leave one or more off for some variety if you wish?

Additional details for the driver’s hatches are the tensioning spring brackets and you have to make the springs by winding thin wire (not supplied) around a piece of thin rod to then fit to the brackets and while this is a little additional work it adds nice definition to the detail.

Turret Details:
The main update for the turret is the resin mantlet cover which has additional thin etched bolted strips to add around the outside edges after fitting the cover to the mantlet.

The canvas contours on the are quite well done but there are some issues with this cover, firstly it has the co-axial machine gun fairing exposed but most photos of IDF Centurions of the period have the full cover with just the opening for the MG muzzle. Also the edges of the cover are very uneven and it does not fit over the entire kit mantlet properly leaving quite a distance between the edges of the cover and the turret. The best method to remedy this would be to use epoxy putty or similar to blend the edges of the cover to the turret which will also allow the brass retaining strips to be added evenly.

Once fitted to the turret the kit metal barrel fits snugly into the mantlet hole but this only allows the barrel to be slightly raised and not in the neutral position.

Resin and Additional parts
Note the ill fitting mantlet cover requiring a bit of work to blend in to the turret.

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The two side mounted smoke grenade launcher assemblies have the turret side mountings in multi-part brass with resin grenade tube mounts for the 12 grenade launchers that are supplied as brass tubing and these build into quite intricate little sub-assemblies.

Other etched details include the aerial mounts, the cable drum face, fire extinguisher mountings and the tie downs and straps for the top of the side storage boxes which also have the same 4 part latches as for the fender storage boxes for added detail.

The jerry can racks on the back of the turret are also in etched metal with separate thin brass securing straps and the Loader’s hatches have small etched latches for the insides if you leave these open.

Finally the cal.50 machine gun mounted in front of the Commander’s cupola is supplied as a complete sub-assembly with the receiver and barrel in three resin pieces with etched brass details added. The receiver ammo feed cover is a separate part and the overall quality of the resin is good with just the small casting blocks to be removed.

The barrel cooling jacket is supplied as an etched part that you have to bend around the barrel and this does take a bit of effort to get the correct shape and you are left with the inevitable join seam to remove. The muzzle flash suppressor included is slightly hollowed out but drilling this a little deeper will improve the look and the fine etched barrel changing handle will need care to bend around the barrel.

If you wanted a simpler barrel you could use the metal cal.50 barrel from set #VBS0201 to save on bending the etched cooling jacket as well as having a more detailed barrel overall.

Added to the receiver are the rear firing handle frames and firing levers but you have to make the handles yourself from thin rod or similar, the top sights are also in fine brass as are the foresights to add more detail.

The cradle and gun mounting as well as the ammo box are also in etched brass but the .50 ammo belt is etched and lacks any real definition being flat brass. There is also the etched fret from the M2 HB machine Gun Ammo Box Set (#VBS0301) included which has four ammo boxes as well as the ammo link clips but there are no brass .50cal rounds included so these clips are sort of wasted unless you use any of the available brass .50cal ammo round sets to make the ammo belts.

These are now included as long foldout strips about 75cm long and 10cm high which when folded up fit neatly into the standard Voyager cardboard box these sets come in. There are two strips for this set with printing on both sides that are the usual exploded view drawings of the assembly sequences and I found these easy to follow in most cases.

As usual you should study the instructions carefully before assembly to avoid any traps and overall the instruction trips seemed to take up less space on the desk than the older style full page instructions leaving plenty of room to work.

This is a fairly comprehensive update the IDF Centurion with most of the finer details included with some nicely detailed sub-assemblies such as the smoke grenade launchers as well as the many small tool brackets and storage box latches for good detail definition.

The resin mantlet cover is the poorest part of the set and a bit of work will be needed to add this to the turret and using other available covers may be a better option.

Overall the set will add some nice detail to the already sound IDF Sho't Centurion kit from AFV Club.

Highly recommended 7.5/10

See the Centurion Subject Page for additional reviews.
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Thanks to Voyager Models for the review set.

Page created March 24, 2008