If foreign sales are an indication of success, then the Centurian tank and its variants must rate as the best tank the British have produced. Pen and Sword as part of their tank craft series of books has released a book on the Centurion in the first Post War tank the British produced..
This book from Pen and Sword would appear to aim to satisfy the requirements of the modeller who is not only interested in making models, but is also interested in the history of the vehicle. This book is a soft back offering containing 64 pages by the author Robert Jackson.
The book begins with an introduction looking at the cruiser tank and its evolution to the main battle tank. We start by looking at the Covenanter, Crusader and Cromwell and the designs that they had. These tanks were the forerunners of the Centurion, and how the Centurions design was also based on surviving conflict with the likes of the Tiger 2 and the Panther tank. Production of the Centurion tank began in November 1945, with deliveries starting to take place in February 1946.
The next segment of the book covers the driving, fighting and engine compartments, before moving on to the armaments and armour of the tank. The section is accompanied by a number of close up photographs, ranging from the very early centurions to the last of the line. The book then moves on to centurions making their way into the armed forces and which clearly shows how the centurion tank was the Leopard tank of today. The centurion was sold to Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, India, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait and the Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, and finally Switzerland. The details that are provided for the centurions that went to these countries, covers which units, which variant, and in what period the vehicle served with these nations. The section comes to a close with a series of side on views of centurion tank in service with various armed forces, and the paint schemes used on them.
This next section of the title, looks at finished models of the tank and features the Vietnam War period centurion in 1/35th scale by Brian Richardson
Mk VI West German centurion from1964 in 1/35th scale by Jene-vincent Roy
Centurion ARV Mk II during the Vietnam War in 1/35th scale again by Brian Richardson
Dozer MK V V1 again in the Vietnam War with Brian Riachardson continuing to show his skills in 1/35th scale
1/35th Centurion Mk III ‘Caldera’ Korea 1951 by Evgeny Grehanyy.
All of these builds would appear to feature AFV Club offerings which would indicate just how good this manufacturers models of the Centurion are. This section then looks at some of the other kit offering available in a number of scales.
The book then looks at Centurion Armoured Engineer Vehicles which is a surprisingly short section of the book, but in fairness to the author the AVRE vehicles are really a category of their own. The book then comes to a close with a look at the centurion in service and in action. This covers areas of conflict from the Korean War, the Suez Crisis, the Arab Israeli wars, Vietnam, Indo Pakistan wars and South Africa. The text in this area is limited, but the pictures bring the vehicle to life.
This is a good book on the Centurion tank is well written and has some very nice photographs. I would have like to have seen a bit more detail on the models, but I have to accept that the author was restricted in the amount of space he had available and so I feel that he has done a very good job with the available space.
Highs: The mix of information on the Centurion tank and the model details is a great mix.Lows: I would have liked to see more about the models construction.Verdict: As with other titles in this series I have looked at this offers great value for money.
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About Darren Baker (CMOT) FROM: ENGLAND - SOUTH WEST, UNITED KINGDOM
I have been building model kits since the early 70’s starting with Airfix kits of mostly aircraft, then progressing to the point I am at now building predominantly armour kits from all countries and time periods. Living in the middle of Salisbury plain since the 70’s, I have had lots of opportunitie...