Centauro B1 Long
Reference Model Victoria: #cod 002

The Centauro entered service with the Italian army in 1992 as a reconnaissance vehicle. 400 vehicles were ordered to Fiat-Oto Melara and delivered in three batches of 100 (original vehicle), 150 (turret with extra armor) and 150 vehicles (extended version of 22cm).
With the experience gained in operations, changes were made to the original vehicle, such as shielded machine guns on the turret roof , a laser warning sensor, Galix smoke grenade launchers.
The armament consists of an Italian made 105/52mm main gun  and three MG42/59 machine guns.
The crew consists of a pilot, a gunner, an assistant gunner and a vehicle commander.
The Centauro is currently deployed in Lebanon within the Italian contingent and has also been bought by the Spanish Army.

The model is the second produced by Model Victoria and depicts the long version. Model Victoria has also produced the original short version. It comes in a thick cardboard box. The small parts are supplied in re-sealable bags and the main parts of the chassis and the turret are protected by air bubble wrap film. A small sheet of photoetched parts is also provided as well as a comprehensive decal sheet that allows a choice between three operations (SFOR, KFOR, Iraq), two regiments (Savoia Cavalleria, 19th Cavalleggeri Guide) and nine vehicles. The instructions come in the form of an A3 sheet with black and white pictures of the finished model or in progress ones.
The engraving and casting are excellent despite some small flaws on some pieces.

The building

The chassis
The installation is simplified by the low number of parts to be glued. The shafts are put in place first and then the wheel axles. The first fault is a horizontal misalignment of the four axles, the front axle being higher by 2 mm.
Then, the steering rods are glued. Model Victoria has simply forgotten the rods between the outputs of the chassis and the axles. To fix the omission bits of plastic rod will be used.
The suspensions do not pose a problem.
The wheels are not mounted at this point. Nevertheless, we must thoroughly sand the treads on the sides because they give to the tires a look too square.

The hull
The upper part is glued on the lower hull before continuing the building. A gap at the joint with the back panel requires some putty.
The instructions are not very accurate but this step does not raise any particular problem apart from the fragility of some very fine pieces.
You should cut the pivot of the driver's hatch to install it in the closed position. On the left side, the storage box for the fuel transferring system must be lowered. The guide rollers for the winch cable to the front and the rear must be thoroughly cleaned.
The protections of lights will be installed after the painting. The numerous etched handles are replaced by new brass wire ones. Three templates will be made from scrap resin to facilitate this work. The gun travel lock will also be supplemented by two brass rods. Model Victoria provides no dimension for them.
The tools can be glued before painting because they are all painted in the color of the vehicle.

The turret
At first glance, it is beautiful and has fine details. Some of them are broken because of this delicacy. During the assembly we realize that Model Victoria has not changed the turret or certain parts of its model of the original vehicle which poses a few problems for the side baskets, the MG ring mount of the assistant gunner and the fit of the gun mantlet cover.

The turret is composed of two parts that are glued from the start. A gap rather important under the turret must be puttied.
The two part gun is mounted ensuring a good alignment with the mantlet.
The extra armor plates on the roof of the turret fit well and require very little work. The longest is to guess on the instructions where they are located. Indeed, Model Victoria gave the same number to all plates for each side! The machine gun ring mounts are corrected. The legs are cut and glued onto the turret the ring is then reattached. For the assistant gunner MG mount, the left leg is shortened to enable the fit of the mount on the extra armor.
On the right rear of the turret roof, a sensor is made from plastic rod and card.

The hardest part is mounting the baskets. Model Victoria provides three resin jigs and copper and brass wires. The jig for the rear basket is correct and greatly facilitates the work. Concerning the side baskets, Model Victoria did not correct the jigs that do not correspond to the baskets with Galix. Only the rear portion can be used directly. In addition, the bottom bars have been forgotten by Model Victoria. With a little patience, one finally finds the right shape and can set the baskets in place. At this time, one realizes that the bosses on the turret do not correspond to the spacing between the etched supports obtained with the jig!
For the add-on armor, the same problem exists. Therefore the connecting parts are not usable and some are made from brass wire. Before putting the add-on armor in place, the mantlet must be glued.
To complete the turret, the machine gun mounts are built. Because of their fragility, they are painted apart and installed at the last moment.

I chose to represent a Centauro of the Savoia Cavalleria regiment in Iraq during Operation Antica Babilonia. The base color is Tamiya XF67 NATO Green. The dust effect is done with various pigment shades.

Prime Portal

Photofile Centauro Auriga Publishing Inetrnational ISBN 88-88711-15-5