IDF Sho't Kal 1973
AFV Club 1:35 Scale Kit #AF 35124
Review by Terry Ashley
Updates were made to fit the L7 105mm gun followed by more extensive modifications to incorporate the US Continental AVDS-1790 diesel engine as fitted to the M60 Patten tank series with the rear hull being extended and the engine deck changed to the same style as fitted to the M60.
The kits consists of 509 parts in olive drab plastic, 18 in clear plastic with a metal barrel, a small etched fret with 18 parts, six large suspension springs, 26 vinyl tyres and the vinyl tracks plus a length of twine for the tow cable and a selection of vinyl poly caps plus 1 resin part and the decal and instruction sheets.
Rubber tyres, mesh and thread
The quality of the mouldings is excellent overall with some very minor flash on some parts which is easily removed and quite a few large knock out nodes on the inside of the larger parts which again are easily removed and don’t effect to detail in any way. Some of the initial kit parts are showing their age a little with a few annoying sink marks appearing, most notably in the main wheel hubs but these are fairly easy to fill as there is no surrounding detail to compromise in the process.
Detail on the parts is excellent with some weld seams present as well as nice cast texture on the turret and final drives plus some very finely moulded parts such as separate grab handles and turret basket rails to finely represented springs on the hatch hinges but as with any kit there are areas for improvement.
The clear parts provided for the Commander’s cupola periscopes and all other periscopes are moulded in a ‘softer’ clear plastic than the usual brittle clear plastic making it much easier to work with while still being nice and clear.
Other new parts for the rear hull include the new tow shackle mounts, field telephone box and a resin part for the rolled bundle carried in the middle of the rear plate.
The final drive housings are two parts with excellent details on the outer and inner sections that include the bolt head details and nice cast texture to the surface.
The drive sprockets have excellent details on both sides of the sprockets including the complicated rib and hub details and bolt heads with a small poly cap trapped between the two sprockets for fitting to the final drive axle.
At the front is a separate idler axle mounting and axle which can be fitted at different angles with small ribs inside the axle mounting and you can fit the axles without glue if you wish making it easy to reposition the axles later. The front of the idler mountings are filled in with separate inserts for the large bolts (parts H12,H13,H18 and H19) and these are identified in the instructions with this kit.
There are actually three different style of idler wheel seen on these Centurions with the kit only having the one ribbed style of wheel and you should check to see if the vehicle you are building has this style wheel. The idler again has a poly cap trapped between the two halves and a separate hub cap for good detail definition.
The four duel return rollers have nice hub details with separate mountings plus the additional single roller added just behind the idler wheel to help prevent track loss and this is a simple steel wheel unlike the other rubber rimmed rollers. The single roller fitted to the final drive housing is also an all steel wheel but some vehicles have a rubber rimmed wheel here which again is an alternate style used on the Cent but the kit only included the steel rollers for these positions.
The six big bogie units have movable main axle mountings with a large spring trapped between the two just like the real bogies with the front and rear bogies also having additional suspension arms that are sort of workable? The connecting rod and top arm (parts E8/E9, E20) are designed to be movable by heat melting the attachment pins but the lower connecting rod attachment point is glued into place meaning when the suspension in compressed the connecting rod just bends while the top connections articulate which is a strange set up.
When the large front and rear halves of the bogies are glued together and the wheels attached the large springs are completely hidden, but we all know they are there.
Turning to the road wheels we have a very interesting design with the inner and outer road wheel having excellent bolt head detail and a small weld seam around the outer edge as well as the six lightening holes. These again trap a small poly cap between them and the outer rubber section of the wheels is provided in black vinyl.
This is not just the rubber wheels section but actually includes the outer wheel rim which when fitted to the plastic inner rim includes the ribbed area inside the outer wheel dish for a very well detailed look. Painting will be a little tricky but the overall effects on the wheel detail in very good as kit road wheels traditionally have missed the detail on the outer dish sections.
One thing I found was that the poly caps trapped inside the road wheels were very difficult to fit over the axle stubs and I ended up drilling out the inside of the poly cap to open up the hole width, not real easy with flexible vinyl but they did fit better after doing this. You may simply resort to gluing the road wheels in place for a more solid assembly.
As mentioned the separate wheels hubs have some sink marks on about half the hubs that will require filling but the bolt detail on hubs is nicely done and shouldn’t be compromised while filling the sink holes.
The assembled bogie units have very precise locating lugs for the hull sides and the large contact area means a very strong join to the hull, just watch the connecting rod on the rear bogie unit as this may foul the final drive housing if the back of the pin heat join is not trimmed sufficiently.The tracks are provided in continuous length vinyl that has quite good details on both sides for this medium track but will not glue together with normal plastic cement so you have to heat weld it or use thick cyanoacrylate.
The separate individual Centurion tracks set #AF35102 are available but only if purchased separately.
At the front , the driver’s two part hatch has separate inner periscopes and outer covers in clear plastic with two small etched parts for added detail as well as the locking latch on the right door with the only clean up being some small pin ejector marks to be removed from the outside strangely.
Added to the glacis plate are the two twin head light clusters with new style bush guards that are moulded extremely thin and care will be needed removing these from the sprues and in fitting.
The separate side fenders are new for this kit with detail on the underside as well as rib detail on the top with new style forward storage boxes made up of multiple separate parts each with nicely defined side latches for excellent detail definition but there are a coupe of small pin marks to be removed also.
The fenders locate easily into large channels along the hull sides for the solid attachment and the small rear fender sections are added along with the new M60 style square airfilter boxes made up of three parts each for good details. The location of the airfilter box to the fenders is not that precise and you should ensure these are lined up correctly in relation to the fender detail.
Included for this kit are the full length skirts moulded in one piece per side which are attached to the large brackets on the hull sides and these include engraved panel lines between the three skirt segments.
There is also a selection of pioneer tools to be added to the fenders and these have their attachment clips included with small locating holes in the fenders for easy attachment. This kit again includes twine for the tow cable as opposed to the wire cable in the first kits with plastic end sections that is fitted in the usual locations around the rear hull.
The fit of all the main upper hull parts is spot on without the need for any trimming or filler which makes for relatively quick and easy assembly of the upper hull parts to the lower hull tub.
For this version the “standard” Mk.5 mantlet (part I14) is used but this as with the original kit does not have the canvas mantlet cover so noticeable on Centurions and you should be aware this is again not included in the kit.
AFV Club have just released a thin rubbery vinyl “canvas” mantlet cover in set #AC35009 that can be used or there is also the Lionmarc set #LM33002 Centurion replacement turret w/cancas Mantlet cover with the metal barrel from this kit fitting perfectly to the resin turret without any other alterations needed.
The two turret sides fit together easily with a large joining tab under the bustle (part I29) which helps secure the sides together as well as adding additional detail under the bustle and the inner mantlet (part I13) is held in place between the two turret sides by two small poly caps (parts R4) allowing elevation and you obviously have to position these as you fit the turret halves together.
These poly caps are a little too large for the holes and you should trim these a little for a better fit and also when the metal barrel is attached the weight of this means the barrel will not sit level as the poly caps are not tight enough to hold the barrel weight which means it will be better to glue the mantlet/barrel in place at the desired elevation.
To fit the lower turret ring you will need to slip the large tab at the rear over the rear lower ring sill and the ring then sits recessed inside the turret halves.
The turret roof is a good fit but there is a very small join seam that will have to be eliminated as there is no join on the actual turret and care will be needed not to damage the nice cast effect here.
As mentioned the kit comes with the metal L7 105mm barrel which is in one piece with fine rifling in the hollowed out muzzle and the fume extractor in two plastic halves that are fitted around the barrel but these required a small amount to be trimmed from each end of the plastic parts for a better fit. Once attached the two halves of the fume extractor joined together quite tightly leaving only a very small seam to be eliminated.The barrel fits neatly to the mantlet and you also get the end of the .30cal co-axial machine gun to add to the mantlet hole and I choose to replace this with one of the available metal .30cal barrels for better detail, but only a small section of the barrel is exposed in any case.
Completed L7 105mm barrel
The distinctive Centurion turret bins are in multiple parts each for good definition but the storage straps on top of the bins are not included and the pistol port on the left side is also a separate part although these is no internal port detail included if you wanted to show this open.
Added to the back of the turret is a new IDF style large luggage rack made up of multiple thin sections of plastic rod and after carefully removing the fine mould seams assembly is fairly straightforward as each section has a small locating pin and corresponding locating hole but some care will still needed.
Fine mesh is provided for the rack and full sized templates are provided in the instructions to allow you to cut the mesh to the right sizes to fit the rack and there is also the large box added to the left rear corner of the turret.
The Commander’s cupola is entirely in clear plastic with the inner periscopes included with a separate upper race and main sights. The separate hatch has nice details inside and out but with three small pin marks to be removed from the inside and there is a separate grab handle added to the outside
The two part Loader’s hatch also has excellent details inside and out with a few unavoidable pin marks to be removed but the detail on these hatches is probable the best of all the hatches.
The main sight in front of the Commander’s cupola has a clear plastic face as well as a separate Loader’s periscope on the forward part of the turret roof also from clear plastic.
The smoke grenade clusters fitted to earlier Centurions are not fitted to this Sho't version but the wiring ducts are still included on the turret and these should probably be removed as they are not on a number of photos I’ve seen of the Sho't.
There are other smaller fittings and aerial mounts added but these are in the “standard” positions and references show they were relocated as well as some showing a third aerial fitted and checking references on this would be the best option.
Included in the kit is a new cal.30 machine gun for mounting on the Commander’s cupola and this is an excellent rendition of the cal.30 and would come close to the best available in plastic with well defined cooling jacket holes and receiver detail. There are alternate mountings provided for the cupola ring and again checking references will determine the most appropriate mounting style to use.
- A. 7th Brigade, Yom Kippur War, Golan Heights 1973
B. Ugdat Peled, Yom Kippur War, Golan Heights 1973
C. 188th Brigade, Yom Kippur War, Golan Heights 1973
D. Ugdat Adan, Yom Kippur War, Sinai Desert 1973
The new engine deck gives this IDF Sho't a very distinctive look with the kit including all the features required for the type but as with any kit there is room for further improvement and additional detailing but should be welcomed by IDF armour fans as well as Centurion fans in general.
As mentioned the kit is set up for later Sho't versions and the final type with full ERA suit and thermal sleeved L7 main gun would be most welcome indeed.
Highly recommended 8/10
See the Centurion Subjects page for other Centurion related reviews.
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