Centurion MK 5 / 1 Aust Models
These models have been coming for a few months now. They have been reviewed by the Perth Model Club. The last estimate for delivery was Spring 2006. Last week a friend told me they were available ex Hong Kong. I emailed my order on Thursday night at 10 PM. Within 15 minutes I received an email stating my order had been received. Ten minutes later another email saying my payment (via Visa Card through Merchant Bank Hong Kong) had been credited to my account. The next day another email saying item had been posted. On Monday morning at 10 am it arrived at my door, well packed and in excellent condition. From order to delivery ----three and a half days days. Total cost, including delivery was $48 Australian.
I will keep adding photos as I progress. Tonight my grandson Tommy and myself will start on the hull!
OK, we spent a few hours working and managed to set up the six suspension units and road wheels and fix them to the hull.
Some items are very small and if dropped can take some finding on the carpet so we used extreme care and we only opened the packets of items we were working on
The first items were the six suspension units the right hand side set are shown above. care needs to be taken and instruction on where to glue and where to heat seal points
The base hull with the left hand side suspension units installed
The base hull with all suspension units installed and road wheels ready for one side
Now we have all the road wheels fitted. As well the final drives are in place and so are the front idlers. The rear of the transmission compartment is done and the Transmission and engine covers are in place. The turret mounting ring is also installed. She is starting to look good.
TRIP TO AMERICA PHOTO'S
I have a mate named John Clifford, who in his early years like most of us, had little sense. John decided to join the R.A.N. as an Armourer with the Fleet Air Arm. John was quite happy with this choice, throughout his career in the Navy and for many long years after his discharge.
Then one day he took a trip with me to see a Centurion Tank. He spent some time in the Crew Commanders position and waved to all the Kangaroos-- in fact he had a great time and it was at this point of time that he realised just what a massive mistake he had made in his younger days.
So it was quite natural that when he went on a holiday to the U.S.A. that many of the photos he took , were of Army Tanks!
Below are some of his pics taken at Kauai - Hawaii
An American six wheel troop carrier
An Alligator amphibious troop carrier
A front view of the Alligator
An American Half Track Troop Carrier--Front view
Rear View of the Half Track Troop Carrier
American Light Tank-side View
American Light Tank - rear side view
American light Tank - front view
Flex Mount on a Personal carrier
John also called into the US Army Museum of Hawaii
American M24 Light Tank - front View
M24 Light Tank - Note Guards missing
Japanese Light Tank - front view
Rear View of the Japanese Light Tank and the American M24
Japanese Anti Tank Gun
Some help with a few more Questions
I often receive queries from people with centurions or modellers, and even people that just are trying to understand some of the phrases
This shot shows the starter motor on the Centurion and also the gear selecting shafts that run under the turret. You can also see the Aux Gen control panel above the motor. The item on the left of the panel is the Booster Coil. This item boosts the spark to the Plugs. The starter motor draws a massive amount of power and using it for long periods of time will burn it out quite quickly. It should be only used for a few seconds at a time. A Centurion in good condition will start very quickly. Many civilian owners use 2 X 12 volt car batteries, where as they should have 4 X 6 volt batteries and big ones at that. The car batteries will spin the motor over but most likely the spark reaching the plugs is not strong enough to fire the motor up--This is where the Booster Coil comes in. If the booster coil dies then you will have big troubles starting the tank.
This photo shows the interior of the hull with the turret removed. You can now see the under floor storage compartments for the 20 pound rounds for the main gun. By turning the turret you can obtain access to these compartments and replace rounds used from the Wine Rack in the turret
The cooling fans and clutch still attached to the transmission. Under the front of the output shaft on the floor you can see the hole where the inspection plate has been removed. This is where you can access the clutch to motor coupling bolts, when removing a clutch
The transmission compartment, the two rusty plate on the bottom of the picture and the one going at right angles to these in the centre of the compartment are the three plates that must be removed when removing the transmission.. The radiator header tank can also be seen at the top of the picture minus the filler cap.
The "old smokies" at the Holbrook Property of Vince Ryan's. The last one on the left hand side of the photo is 169040which now resides at Flowerdale Victoria one other is 169109 which is owned by Brad Baker in Qld. The rest have been cut up for scrap.
The ID plate that is in the Engine compartment of a lot of Centurions. Its fitted on the left rear of the engine compartment, just under the first engine cover and can be seen when the engine cover is lifted. As all the ID plates and log books are no longer with the tanks, this plate will id the ARN. Strangely the ID plate ARN does not always agree with the painted ARN on the tank????
A close-up of the ID Plate this one is on 169120 now owned by the Tongala Group
A shot of some cutaway 20 pounder rounds
Alan Hill standing on 169109 in Vietnam waiting for the Dozer on the left to pull them out of a bog, C/S 23B is well down
ARN 169074 in Vietnam with the Australian made mine roller--which unfortunately did not prove satisfactory
Another Centurion into Civilian Hands
ARN 160098 a couple of years ago waiting for an owner at Tim Vibert's storage yard at Holbrook
Picture curtesy of Norm Oorloff--Melbourne Sun- Herald Newspaper
This photo appeared today 9-06-06 in the Melbourne Sun
Shows the owner Robert Emmins and Reporter James Stanford giving ARN 169098 a bit of stick. James runs a business called Melbourne 4 x 4 Training and Proving Ground out near Werribee, just outside of Melbourne heading towards Geelong. I believe with a safety frame fitted to the rear decks, customers can have a ride on a Centurion.
Four days later and I am out at the property.
The area is fantastic, built on two levels. The higher level where the house can be seen is flat and has tracks and earth mounds (Knife edges) with heaps of new planted trees. The lower level is at the side of the Werribee Creek and there are tracks going everywhere, of all types, including water and creek crossings. I did not inspect these as the Centurion was my main concern. This shot shows the complex with the house above it and the people beside my car are, L to R, Mark Emmins- Roberts son, John Clifford my mate, looking in vain for some Navel Vessels and the site owner Robert Emmins.
Then its back to the higher level to have a drive in 169098 which Robert had kindly offered me.
She looked good and very straight. When started there was no sign of smoke, in fact it was the sweetest motor I had heard over the last five years. One set of bins were missing but Robert has new ones ordered, plus heaps of other items as well---plus another Centurion!!!!!!---- Have a look at the knife edges behind the Tank---about 30 Feet!!!!!
As I wanted some 35MM pictures and also some video, I decided to take my pictures first and have a drive later. So Mark started her up. Look at all that HARD FLAT GROUND, this was a fifth gear area for sure.
She was just as good from the rear. But note the tight tracks, no slack at all!
The final drive sprockets were worn and Mark is explaining to John, how with any slack the track will ride over the teeth. They have new sprockets ordered, and also a couple of Road Wheels. But she did have excellent road wheels fitted My thoughts were stretched tracks were causing the trouble, but for the life of me I cannot understand why I never counted the links?
You can see here how tight the tracks are, no give anywhere.
Mark, reversing 098 out to try out the knife edge
169098 approaches the Knife edge---its a big one and the driver will see heaps of blue sky---in fact without a crew commander after he has climbed about ten feet, he has no idea how far he has to go to the top, until he starts to swing down, Great Fun!
He is down and Mark was going to fly through this soft earth like a knife through butter----but the tank stopped! She did not want to restart so we thought, out of fuel. A drum was obtained and about 20 gallons put into the 100 gallon tank. Still no go. Mark then said, "I think I hit this button." I was over in a shot. He is a story within a story.
Note the fitting with the red light and black switch beside it. This was never fitted in my day, and I have never heard of it or what it is. Rusty Dyson told me a story when he was in Vietnam and they were going to assist a group of grunts that were in trouble. The oil pressure or water temp gauge went into high gear and the tank stopped. Because of the urgency Mick Butler , the Crew Commander instructed Rusty to hit the override button / buttons. Rusty cannot remember if he did it or Mick in the turret and also cannot remember just what buttons or where they were. Anyway in about 100 yards the motor seized. Was this the button in question? When I had a look at it and pressed it the motor started immediately., This device is fitted to 169109 and also 169098 I wonder how many other tanks had it. Someone said it was a test for the magneto's??? At the moment there are a couple of tanks that will not start! Could this be their trouble???
On the top--a right turn and down he comes
Up on the top of the Knife Edge--its a long way down
Down he comes
And down he comes The idler wheel housing is broken at this time
Notice how tight the right hand track is!
Now have a look at the LHS track, which is not quite as tight
Mark feels he has found the trouble
Yep it sure looks like this is the trouble. The front left hand idler wheel housing has fractured.
Here you can see that the housing has moved up and back
All I can say is I am bloody glad I was not driving. Its no ones fault, it was going to happen, but you would still feel lousy if you broke it in someone else's tank. They hope to have it running in ten days but I feel the trouble could be more than just the housing and final drive sprockets, my guess is tracks, we will have to wait and see. I cannot believe I did not count the track links as I feel the track is stretched. Time will tell!
ONE OF THE OLDEST TANKS STILL SURVIVING
ARN 169003 was found last year sitting in a paddock in Nth Qld, where she had been left for a few years by the mining company that owned her--more or less forgotten.
But she has now been purchased and a Turret has been obtained and she is running--more or less. There is a heap of work to do on her yet but the owner is very keen and hopefully she will in time be fully restored. More to come on this project later
Another ID plate has surfaced
The ID Plate off 169041 "The Atomic Tank" has been located
Last weekend my mate Rusty Dyson and partner Cass decided to have a weekend away relaxing on the coast. As per normal Rusty again became lost, something he seems to do when ever he leaves the freeway. I believe he was much better when driving his Centurion in Vietnam when Mick Butler was able to control him with orders over the intercom--like stop, go, turn left, turn right, all of which Rusty seemed to be able to handle quite well, his only trouble seems to surface when driving and having to make decisions like turn left or go straight ahead by himself. Anyway in time he ended up in a place named Brunswick Heads. This was by far a better outcome than when he became lost on a main highway with me and ended up showing me most of Northern NSW. While trying to find some way out of this place, he noticed a garage sale in operation. What took his attention was a Bren Gun Carrier, sitting beside all the items for sale. Unfortunately the Bren was not for sale!
It belonged to a guy named Darryl Bashford who runs a Used Cars and Smash repairs in Tweed St, Brunswick Heads. Darryl has spent four years doing it up and its runs fine. Was used to lead the Anzac Parage this year.