by: Keith Middleton [ ]
introductionThe Centauro B-1 tank destroyer is an 8 x 8 wheeled heavy armored car used by the Italian Army. The Centauro is armed with a 105mm gun and two 7.62mm machine guns, one mounted on the turret and the other co-axially with the main gun. It has a two man crew and is capable of carrying four additional soldiers if the ammunition load for the main gun is reduced. The Centauro has been deployed for peacekeeping duties in Somalia and former Yugoslavia.
Kit ContentsThe kit is packaged in a sturdy cardboard box. In addition, the two hull parts are encased in a separate cardboard sleeve providing additional protection during transit.
In addition to the hull parts, the box contains six sprues and a separate turret top half molded in light gray plastic, a clear sprue with the vision blocks, a small sprue of poly caps, a small sheet of photo-etched parts, a length of metallic looking thread, a small decal sheet, and eight vinyl tires. With the exception of the hull parts, each of these was individually wrapped in plastic.
There is also a 16-page instruction booklet. There are a total of 385 parts in the box. An examination of all the parts did not reveal any sink marks or mold extraction points in visible locations. In addition, there was no visible flash. Overall I am impressed with the finely rendered detail in all the parts.
The decal sheet is well done with all of the decals in register. However, there is a great deal of carrier film on some of the markings. Finally, unlike some of Trumpeter’s other modern armor kits, there are no figures included.
The instructions take the form of line drawings with 19 clearly explained steps. Based on a quick review of the instruction booklet, there appear to be no unused parts in the box. Finally, a front and back color sheet with painting and marking instructions for two vehicles is included.
There are no unit identifications provided. Both vehicles are overall olive drab. Color codes are provided for Gunze Mr. Hobby, Vallejo, Model Master, Tamiya, and Humbrol paints.
TurretThe turret is molded in two parts and a quick test of the fit revealed a perfect fit with no gaps. Also, the weld seams are well done on the turret and mantlet without being overdone.
The modeler will have to drill 16 holes in molded location points.
There is no interior detail, so the Centauro will have to be built with the turret hatches closed or appropriate Italian crew figures will have to be located and used to fill the openings.
The hatches have some interior detail if one chooses to leave them open.
The gun barrel comes in two parts and comes with the thermal sleeve molded as part of the detail. There are nicely rendered straps as well. The muzzle brake (fume extractor?) also comes as two parts that goes over the barrel once you have added an inner photo ethced perforated sleeve. Having some experience at trying to bend round shaped pe, this might prove problematic. Unfortunately the modeler is not provided an alternative to the pe sleeve.
The turret mounted M3 machine gun is also very well done. Finally, the kit comes with a plastic “canvas” screen that covers the connection area between the mantlet and turret. This is appropriately thin and has wrinkles molded in.
HullAs already mentioned, the hull comes in two parts. Once again, a test fit revealed no gaps.
The upper hull has anti-skid surfacing texture.
The tools are nicely detailed and all have the clasps molded on with locating pins. The detail is good, but if the modeler desires to replace the clasps with pe straps, these will have to be removed. Also, there are locating holes for each tool in the hull.
As far as the lower hull is concerned, the suspension is fixed so anyone wanting their Centauro to have articulating suspension will have to perform major surgery. Also, the modeler is instructed to sand off rather prominent bolts(?) on parts E7 and 8. Finally, there is again no interior detail.
Wheels and TiresThe wheels come in two parts and are assembled around the poly caps. The tires are vinyl. While they have good tread detail and no apparent mold seams, I would prefer hard plastic tires.
ConclusionThis looks like an impressive kit of a modern well-armed armored car. I rate it at 9 out of 10. I mark it down for two main reasons: the vinyl tires and the lack of crew figures.