The Centurion tank was the signature Main Battle Tank for the British Army and many other Nation’s Armed Forces with the tank first rolling track at the end of WWII and all the way up to the mid 2000's with heavily modified versions. Over the years the Centurion tank was continually upgraded and modified for use by its many users. The first baptism of fire was during the Korean War. British Centurion Mk.3s engaged North Korean and Chinese forces between 1950 to 1953 as part of the hard fighting United Nations troops.
Modellers waited patiently for a long time before AFV Club began the production of a variety of Centurion versions using modern mold technology. The AFV Club Centurion kits spawned a variety of upgrade and update sets from aftermarket producers to provide modelers with even more versions of this truly versatile tank. One such simple conversion now comes from Cromwell Models in the form of top loading bins to convert AFV Club’s Centurion Mk.5 into a Centurion Mk. 3. The top loading bins were the original style of hull stowage bin on and have become a distinctive recognition feature for some of the British Centurion Mk.3s during the Korean War.
Prior to this new conversion modelers had two options for the top loading bins. The first was to use the bins from the old Tamiya Mk.3 kit. The second was to heavily modify the bins included in the AFV Club kit.
The Cromwell bins are simply a direct swap for the AFV Club kit bins making it possible to quickly create the look of a Centurion Mk.3.
The conversion consists of six parts. Included are the following parts:
• Left side bin
• Left side center bin lid
• Left side front bin lid
• Right side bin
• Right side center bin lid
• Right side rear bin lid
The resin parts are cast with nice details. There is minimal flash and the casting plugs should be able to be removed from the parts quickly. There was some slight warping to the bins as they are cast hollow. The warping should disappear with the attachment of the lid bins and the actual bins to the kit fenders.
The two bins are cast hollow with two of the three bins open on each bin. This will allow the modeler to pose the bin lids open if they choose. In order to do this there are casting supports that will need to be removed from the open bins. The inside of the bins includes two supports to denote the inner walls of the bins if they are shown open and provide more stability to the bins. The back side of the bins that will sit against the hull side will need a bit of clean up in order to mimic the fit of the AFV Club parts. Unlike the AFV Club bins, the Cromwell bins do not have a backside and are open. This should not be as issue as the bins will sit snug against the hull side. If there is a gap some simple styrene strips should do the trick.
The bins have three tie downs molded on the outer side. The top of each bin has nicely done clasp and latch details on both the closed and open bins.
This is a simple conversion that fills a gap for modelers interested in producing the look of the Centurion Mk.3 fitted with the open top bins. The conversion is easy to use and can be further detailed and enhanced as the modeler chooses with posing the bin lids open, or further detailing by replacing the cast tie downs or clasps and latches with available photo etch parts. For this conversion simple goes a long way.
It is important to note that not all Centurion Mk.3s in Korea had top loading bins. As upgrades were made to the tanks in Korea some Mk.3s had the side opening bins. As a modeler you need to do your research based on available images to determine what style of bins are correct for your Centurion.
Highs: Very nicely cast details and well priced for anyone wanting to build a Centurion Mk.3.Lows: No back sides to the bins and clean up will be necessary to get the bins looking their finest. Verdict: A small yet very important update to combine with a high quality kit and other aftermarket parts to create the unique look of a Centurion Mk.3 Main Battle Tank.