AFV Club
Mantlet Cover for Centurion
Type A & B

AFV Club 1:35 Kit No. AC35008 & AC35009
Reviews by Terry Ashley

AFV ClubAFV ClubAFV ClubAFV Club

AFV Club have released these two sets with soft vinyl mantlet covers for their respective Centurion kits to address one of the major shortcoming of those kits, I guess you could ask why they were not in the kits to begin with but that is as they say is history.

The sets are labelled Mantlet Cover for Centurion (Type A) and (Type B) with set #AC35008 (Type A) having the canvas cut-out exposing the co-axial machine gun fairing typically seen on the RAAC Centurion Mk.5/1s and set #AC35009 (Type B) which has the full canvas covering for the machine gun fairing.

Each is moulded in soft vinyl material with good canvas folds and top stiffening section detail as well as the bolted strip around the covers for attaching to the kit mantlets, note the Type B cover does not have the top strip included which we look at more closely below.

Both are moulded fairly cleanly but there is a little “flash” on one side and inside the MG cut-out on the Type A cover that will require care to remove given the flexible nature of the cover. I stretched the cover over a small wood block and cut with a sharp blade to remove the excess as you can’t trim in the normal manner.

Set #AC35008:

This cover as mentioned has the cut-out for the co-axial machine gun fairing typical of the RAAC Centurions but it does not have the search light mounting on the upper left corner as fitted to many RAAC Centurions in Vietnam even though the light is depicted on the box top illustration which limits its application for the Vietnam era Cent.

Mantlet cover with excess vinyl flash to be removed
AFV Club

After removing the excess vinyl flash inside the MG opening I fitted the cover to the kit without any alterations required but some minor stretching was needed to get the edges to fit neatly in place and of course using cyanoacrylate (Super glue) is the most appropriate glue, I used “Flash” brand Medium for the job as this gave a little time to position the cover correctly.

The fit of the cover around the co-axial machine gun fairing is not the best as the bolted strips are not included on the cover and the vinyl covered the top and bottom rows of bolts on the kit mantlet while exposing the side strips. I also had the stretch the vinyl a little to get it to line up correctly around the fairing.

One side of the circular opening for the barrel was slightly thicker than the other giving an off centre appearance when the barrel was attached with the fit of the barrel through the hole being quite snug.
If you thin the thicker side of the opening which would be quite an exercise given the soft vinyl the opening would be too big for the barrel causing other issues so you may have to live with the uneven edges?

The cover has the bolted strips on all sides and these resulted in a good appearance once the cover was fitted apart from around the MG fairing as mentioned and you will have to add the search light mounting for the Vietnam era RAAC Cent.

Canvas cover fitted to kit, note good fit around the edges but no search light mounting included
AFV Club
Front view showing the missing bolted strips around the MG fairing cut-out
AFV Club

Set #AC35009:

This cover is the standard type seen on most Mk.6 and 7 Centurions including the early IDF Sho't as depicted in the AFV Club kit #AF35159 with the full cover over the co-axial machine gun fairing.

There was no excess vinyl flash to be removed from the cover before fitting but the cover only has the bolted strips included on sides and lower edge but not along the top which means you have to carefully align the top with the kit mantlet bolted strip as you fit it in place.

Vinyl mantlet cover
AFV Club

The opening for the metal barrel was more even than on the Type A cover but fitting to the kit mantlet was not easy as there is no actual bulge to fit over the MG fairing as you see on most Centurions with this cover fitted resulting in some fit issues.

Even with considerable stretching I could only just get both edges to reach but that resulted in the hole for the co-axial MG not mating to the hole in the kit mantlet, I could have fitted the kit MG and stretched it even further but this would have put more stress on the glue joins. Also to do this you would have to glue one side in place and allow curing completely before stretching the cover to reach the other side and this would distort the cover a little.

I found the easiest method was to actually cut away most of the plastic MG fairing which allowed the cover to fit better but some minor stretching was still needed on the left side and the bolted strip was slightly curved giving an odd appearance when attached.

This also made fitting the kit co-axial cal.30 barrel difficult as the mounting hole in the fairing had been removed so drilling a hole right thought the gun mounting before hand and fitting one of the after market metal cal.30 barrels remedied this quite easily.

Once fitted in place the mantlet gives a good appearance but a bit of work was needed and as mentioned there is no projection where the cover goes over the MG fairing giving a rather flat appearance and you will need care to align the top with the kit mantlet bolted strip.

Mantlet cover fitted to kit after modifications as described, note lack of MG fairing bulge.
AFV Club


The soft vinyl material allows good canvas contours to be included but removing the minor flash is tricky due to the flexible vinyl and there are some issues on both covers, most notably the fit around the MG fairing in the “Type A” as well as not having the search light mounting for the RAAC Cent and the lack of MG fairing bulge on the full “Type B” plus the kit trimming needed for a better fit.

While not perfect the covers offer a relatively quick and easy solution to the lack on mantlet covers in the kits with nice details included and they do look quite good when fitted giving a more compete look to the kits.

Highly recommended 7/10

See the Centurion Subjects page for other Centurion related reviews.


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Thanks to my credit card for the review sets

Page created March 24, 2008