Centauro Inside Out
by Moustafa El-Assad
P.O.Box: 716 Saida Lebanon
64 pages soft cover
Review by Terry Ashley
Following the news of the Trumpeter Centauro to be released some time in the future comes this timely new publication from Blue Steel books dealing with the Italian Centauro Armoured car which is armed with a 105mm main gun as part of the UN deployment in the Lebanon.
The soft cover book is in the same format as previous Blue Steel books with 64 pages entirely in colour with English text and covers the later Centauro with the additional turret and hull armour as well as showing both the short and long hulled versions in standard overall green finish as well as the overall white UN livery.
Most pages have just two photos with some a single large photo and a few others with 3 or 4 photos per page which allows plenty od detail to be seen even with overall shots of the vehicles, the text is kept to a minimum with just brief photos captions more from a modeller's viewpoint than any technical descriptions.
The photos are a mixture of semi-close up and close up detail shots and as mentioned the larger sized photos still show plenty of details.
The first 28 pages have walkarounds of a short hull version with the supplementary hull and turret armour in overall while finish and it's interesting that not all the vehicle is painted white with some parts such as the turret sights, inside the hatches, some intake and exhaust grills as well as part of the barrel still in the original green finish which will add interest to the model instead of being just plain white.
Close-up shots show the spaced turret room armour as well as the sight, hatches and periscopes plus the gun mantlet and several inside views of the spaced armour added to the turret sides showing the mountings as well as the inner brackets that will be more than useful when building the kits.
The other general views show many of the hull and turret details and fittings as well as the large wheels to good effect and also illustrate that the plain white is again not just plain white with many variations in colour due to crew use and the elements that will add further interest.
The next 17 pages cover Centauros still in their original overall green finish for a good contrast to the white UN scheme and feature the short hull version as well as a longer hulled Centauro with the special set of add on armour for the rear hull sides and rear that included side skirts over the rear two wheels that give the vehicle a completely different appearance and being all flat plates would be an easy conversion if not included in the kit when it appears.
Again there are plenty of semi-close up shots mixed with close-ups of the rear add on armour fittings plus additional hull and turret details to supplement those in the first section, these vehicles also have the add on turret armour which all the Lebanon Centauros have.
The next ten pages concentrate on a long hull Centauro with good shots of the rear hull and crew entry door which is different from the short hull type as well as side by side shot of the short and long hull to clearly illustrate the differences making it easier to identify these versions when looking at photos.
We then have ten pages with interior shots of the Centauro that shoe the driver's compartment and the turret and rear hull areas giving some excellent details such as the driver's seat and controls, the turret ring and associated fittings as well as the gun breech and the 105mm ammo storage around the inside of the vehicle.
Other details shown are the Commander's and gunner's stations showing the various instruments and periscopes as well as good internal shot of the double armoured rear entry door. There is also the obligatory cartoon depiction of the Centauro in Lebanon as we see in all Blue Steel books for a bit of light hearted relief.
Also included amongst the photos of the Centauro are a few shots of the crews wearing the new stylised digital camouflage recently introduced into the Italian Army to help in painting any crew figures as well as two shots of Italian Leopard recovery vehicles thrown in for good measure.
There is good coverage of both the short and long hulled versions as well as the additional hull armour package along with shots of both the original green and overall white UN schemes to provide more interest.
See the website www.blue-steel.info for ordering details and thanks to Moustafa El-Assad for the review copy.