Bolt Action Centurion Mk III Heavy Tank

This is a review, that I was really looking for, as that tank is simply a must have for myself - the british Centurion tank! Warlord Games added the main battle tank to their range as part of the Korean supplement.

Bolt Action - Centurion Mk III

The Centurion was a successor of the cruiser tank line, with prominent ancestors like the Cromwell or Comet. These were proper tanks, but were no match to the heavy guns, the Germans could put into battle. So one of the requirements for a new, heavy cruiser tank, was that it had to withstand a hit from the feared 8,8 cm gun. They didn't solve that by giving it thicker armour, quite contrary, with 76mm the first prototypes of the Centurion Mk I had much thinner plates than a Churchill (101mm) or later Mk VII and VIII (152mm), but it was highly sloped, creating an effective thickness far above. Something the Russians brought into WW2 with the T-34 and was later picked up by others, like the German Panther tank.

The first production Centurions, the Mk I, were put into service with the 5th Royal Tank Regiment in December 1946. So a bit late for World War II, as 6 units that were ready in May 1945, when the war ended, but never saw action. Yet, development continued and the tank was further improved. As were looking at the Mk 3 of the Centurion, it now has a 84mm QF 20 pounder gun, that was used for over a decade, until it was replaced by the 105 mm L7 gun in 1959 (by then we're already talking about Mk 5). Beside the armament one of the biggest improvements was the fully automatic stabilisation system for the gun, which allowed the Centurion to fire accurately while on the move. With the speed, that the more powerful engines brought along, this made the Mk 3 into a very powerful battle tank of its era. That is one of the reasons, why it is considered to be one of the most successful post-war tank designs.

Between 1946 and 1962, 13 different basic marks with numerous variants were produced, with a total number of 4,423 units. Of those most stayed in service until the 1980s to 90s, in some cases modified for other roles, even remaining in service up today. Just not in the British army, were it was replaced by the Chieftain in 1962.

The Centurion Mk III is a resin and metal kit by Warlord Games with a price of 26 GBP. The tank is kept in 28mm scale and comes with a decal sheet, stat card and damage markers. It is a proper production and retail model (not made to order / mail order exclusive) and is presented in a cardboard box, with the resin and metal parts protected in bubble wrap.

The hull, tracks and turret are casted in resin. Gun, hatches and further details, along with the MG and optional commander are made from metal. There is an explosion diagram on the back of the package, which will help you with the orientation of the larger bits and pieces.

Bolt Action - Centurion Mk III Bolt Action - Centurion Mk III Bolt Action - Centurion Mk III

This kit includes a leaflet on handling resin kits, and I strongly suggest that you read it and take the preparations. So give the parts a good scrub in luke-warm soap water to remove any detergent. You might have to remove some thin flash or skin between the road wheels. If the tracks should be warped by a bit, you can dip them in hot water (hot not boiling) and straighten them along the hull / main body (re-hard them in cold water).

Amoung of details is good and there are no air bubbles or casting imperfections.

Bolt Action - Centurion Mk III Bolt Action - Centurion Mk III

The smaller bits take a bit of sensitive handling. On the rear towing hooks and exhaust pipes are added. The "tool kit" on the rear left was a bit tricky to add to the hull. It was the only piece, that I really had to look up on model kits and original pictures to see how it was added to the rear.

Make sure the pins are cleaned and the connecting holes fit. Less super glue is better, as it dries faster. You can still add a drop afterwards to strengthen the bond.

Bolt Action - Centurion Mk III Bolt Action - Centurion Mk III

The front receives two hooks as well. The small strips are helpful as guides for the metal bits to stay in place. And that's it for the hull.

Bolt Action - Centurion Mk III Bolt Action - Centurion Mk III

Next up the turret. It is a very distinguish design, with the tool boxes on the sides. The large barrel of the gun may be slightly bend, and straighten it might be a bit difficult as you can't just simply roll it. Pulling at each end might help a bit. I strongly suggest pinning the gun to the mount, and it is helpful to add a bit of putty or green stuff to fill the small gap inbetween for further stabilisation.

Bolt Action - Centurion Mk III Bolt Action - Centurion Mk III Bolt Action - Centurion Mk III

The turret hatch is simply put in place, but could be glued in open status, to make room for the tank commander. The MG is added to the ring and the two grenade launchers on the sides of the gun mount. Take care on the orientation of the pieces, as they are not interchangeable.

Bolt Action - Centurion Mk III Bolt Action - Centurion Mk III

Now just add the turret to the hull and we're good to go for primer and some colour.

Bolt Action - Centurion Mk III

The Centurion is quite the huge tank. See it here in between other larger tanks, Tiger II and Pershing, as well as with the predecessors, the Comet and Cromwell cruiser tanks.

Bolt Action - Centurion Mk III Bolt Action - Centurion Mk III Bolt Action - Centurion Mk III

Take a look at the Centurion, with its sloped armour on the front, the side skirts on the tracks and low silhouette.

Bolt Action - Centurion Mk III Bolt Action - Centurion Mk III Bolt Action - Centurion Mk III

A proper resin kit. Casting is good, I had slight warpage with the tracks that I could fix with hot water. Assembly went quite fast, as there were only so many parts to put together. The centurion was build in quite some numbers, but those conflicts aren't as popular within wargaming as others, so if you're not going for a model kit, it is an absolutely valid reason to release the tank as a resin kit.

The price is reasonable. You get a kit of decent weight and proper details for it, and it surely can put up a fight on the battlefield. Why do I like the tank so much? Beside the design that really appeals to me, it was one of my favorite tanks in World of Tanks and I enjoyed the british medium line with the Comet, Centurions, FVs and such. High mobility, great angled armour and proper gun elevation. Hours of fun.

The Centurion fits very well with the Korea conflict, and depending on how you want to play it, with very late World War 2 or Konflikt 47 army projects. For later conflicts, like the Suez Crisis or later Vietnam war (then in service by the Australians), the Mk III might not be a perfect fit, as more modern, upgraded variants would be used.

As the Centurion saw service all over the world (and in some cases is still in service), within the Commonwealth and during the Cold War to western nations / UN partners, it is very likely that you come across one in a military or tank museum near you. I actually saw this one the farthest point from home, that I can imagine, in New Zealand at a craftbeer brewery near Wanaka.

Bolt Action - Centurion

Bolt Action is a brand of Warlord Games.

The reviewed product item was provided by the manufacturer.

Posted by Dennis B.

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