My Beaut Aussie Cent

Forum for discussion relating to the Centurion
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Stephen White
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Re: My Beaut Aussie Cent

Post by Stephen White » Sun Sep 03, 2017 9:54 pm

Thanks for all your responses. On with the IR Searchlight. First task to make the maker's plate which sits prominently on the top.
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I did the artwork in Powerpoint and printed on transfer paper, as in the Knowledge Base Topic:
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The big challenge with this light are the cable fittings where the cable from the turret joins the terminal block on the back of the lamp.
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I simply couldn't find any micro mini connectors small enough (there is no depth inside the light as the reflector sits flush against the body. In the end, I either had to accept that I couldn't dismount the searchlight for stowage in the basket or I had to make a bespoke fitting, which would be functional and tiny. Worth a try. I knocked up a bayonet connector using the inserts from Spectrum servo plugs, some brass tube and some insulating rubber tube. Here is the size challenge :
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Complete lamp assembly with electrics. (I've a receiver controlled switch on order to replace the manual switch):
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There is a bit more to do to mock up the cable fitting to scale:
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Cross fingers, check circuit continuity, switch on:
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"Three, two, one, ILLUMINATE"....
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And in the dark:
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It was a gamble to freestyle it but it worked. Reach for the beer.

Stephen

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Armortek
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Re: My Beaut Aussie Cent

Post by Armortek » Sat Sep 09, 2017 2:54 pm

Fantastic attention to detail and craftsmanship.
Is she pretty much done now or does the adventure continue ?

Kian
Armortek

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Re: My Beaut Aussie Cent

Post by Stephen White » Sat Sep 09, 2017 3:15 pm

Hi, Kian. After five years, I'm on the finishing straight. Just the things I've been putting off as too difficult. I thought the searchlight would be in that category but with help, we've overcome the challenge. Which leaves just the mantlet canvas cover and the weathering. I need a Simon Manning masterclass. I've got to transform a Cent fresh out of base workshops overhaul and pristine into one that has spent months in the jungles, mud and dust of Vietnam. It probably also deserves a bit of battering as the original would have received in the jungles. With the searchlight installed, it's mechanically and electrically complete, although I've an ambition to enhance the sound with gear change and more original battle recordings. That then just leaves the final hurdle, getting a stabilisation system working. All the best. Stephen
Last edited by Stephen White on Sat Sep 09, 2017 3:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: My Beaut Aussie Cent

Post by Phil Woollard » Sat Sep 09, 2017 3:19 pm

Lovely attention to detail as usual Stephen, she looks great! Surely there's nothing else you can add? I feel quite exhausted just following the build :)
Regards Phil.
Mechanical engineer, Pyrotechnic technician, and small time farmer.
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Paul Wills
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Re: My Beaut Aussie Cent

Post by Paul Wills » Mon Sep 11, 2017 3:27 pm

Getting a stabilisation system working, that sound cool 8) I can't wait to see it working Stephen.

I have to say that a model is never really truly finished. We model builders cannot resist the urge to tinker, add, take off, redo and then change it. Then just as you've had enough, there is that picture that suddenly appears on the internet, its taken from an angle never seen before and there is a bolt you have missed. :shock: :roll: :lol:

Paul. :wink:
9 kp pz gren div grossdeutschland Tiger A23, Sd.Kfz. 7 half-track Artl Reg 146 (mot), 16.Infanterie-Division (mot). Flak 36 88mm, Erg-Zug Flak-Stammbatterie Augsburg. King Tiger & Pak41

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Stephen White
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Re: My Beaut Aussie Cent - Searchlight Video

Post by Stephen White » Fri Sep 22, 2017 6:29 pm

A few more tweaks on the IR searchlight installation. The electrics are now mounted in the turret. Separate 4.8v battery and charging panel, giving the stepped down switch off of the real thing. Finished off the detail on the custom connectors which I wanted to be functional so that the light could be dismounted and stowed in the basket.
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The real thing:
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Centurions in Vietnam doing a night shoot. I suspect these photos were taken during a range practice at the Australian Task Force Main Operating Base at Nui Dat ("The Dat"). The first use of the Centurion's night fighting capability came very early in the deployment when tanks were vital to the successful defence of Fire Bases CORAL and BALMORAL in 1968, in the face of massed assaults by North Vietnamese regulars.

Finally, I've posted a short video on YouTube to plug Armortek and show the Cent at Tiger Day VII at Bovington. Hope you enjoy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MERfur8ZrQk

Stephen

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Re: My Beaut Aussie Cent

Post by Stephen White » Sun Sep 24, 2017 10:59 am

Wonderful to get a response to my last post from Paul Scott, the owner of 064 in Australia. He sent the following photos of him testing the searchlight in white light mode. It could also be used with an Infra Red filter. By the time I got to Centurion and later Chieftain, IR was totally discredited as it was so easy to detect. We used a flank illumination mode using two tanks, in which the firing tank was laterally separated from the illumination. It made target acquisition tricky but we got quite good at it. With Chieftain in its later marks and with Challengers 1 & 2, thermal imaging became the preferred night vision aid, Chieftain introducing TOGS (Thermal Observation and Gunnery System). TI is superior because it's totally passive, although depth perception is sometimes difficult.
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Paul wrote:

The tree illuminated in the pic was approx 800mtrs away.....and the reflectors at the top of the pic are 1200 mtrs away....very impressive for OLD tech..
You can actually feel the heat from the bulb at 12ft distance from the lens!!


Regards

Stephen

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Re: My Beaut Aussie Cent - Thank You Viewers

Post by Stephen White » Fri Sep 29, 2017 10:18 am

Thank you to everyone who’s viewed or contributed to My Beaut Aussie Cent. This morning the thread hit 150,000 views. That’s 30,000 hits a year or 82 a day over the five years. I’m not sure how you measure the entertainment value or the enjoyment, satisfaction or challenge in builing one of these models but however you look at it, it’s good value, or so I keep telling my wife. On the way, I’ve made friends in Australia, New Zealand, the USA and Germany, friends who’ve added so much to the build. And we’re not finished yet.....

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Re: My Beaut Aussie Cent

Post by Adrian Harris » Fri Sep 29, 2017 10:52 am

Congratulations :!: :!:

I wonder how many Cent kits around the world have benefited from your research and the detailed postings on methods and materials :?:

I know I have your Panzer III thread squirrelled away for whenever I get the urge to work on one of them :lol: :lol: :roll:

Adrian.
R.I.P Margaret I.L.Y

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Paul Wills
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Re: My Beaut Aussie Cent

Post by Paul Wills » Fri Sep 29, 2017 2:54 pm

Its a wonderful ongoing build Stephen. The Aussie tankers will be proud of what you have replicated, have members of 4 Troop seen photos of it recently?

Paul. :wink:
9 kp pz gren div grossdeutschland Tiger A23, Sd.Kfz. 7 half-track Artl Reg 146 (mot), 16.Infanterie-Division (mot). Flak 36 88mm, Erg-Zug Flak-Stammbatterie Augsburg. King Tiger & Pak41

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Re: My Beaut Aussie Cent

Post by Stephen White » Mon Oct 23, 2017 2:56 pm

Final job is the mantlet cover. Thanks to Paul Scott, I could start with excellent reference photos:
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Predictably, the design is not simple, with several panels, darts, reinforcing strips, two zips, cut-out for the IR Searchlight Mounting Bar, etc. The photos from Paul show a later pattern, 064's in 1969 was an earlier design with a simpler barrel tie.
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First stage is to mock up a macquette or model to establish the patterns. Working in cloth is a pain compared with metal, it fights back and won't keep still....
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Then cut the patterns in the final material:
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Sewing up was a challenge and since I wasn't allowed near my wife's sewing machine, I had help...
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At this point, I was looking for micro zips and wondering how best to apply colour. Enter shining white knight in the form of Old Git, alias Pete Mallett, he of Bailey Bridge fame. Pete runs One Sixth UK, one of the best one sixth scale sites:

http://www.onesixth.co.uk/vb4forum/forum.php

Pete donated two perfect micro zips and put me onto using shoe cream - Tarrago No 34 Olive Green to be exact. With a little acrylic colour added, it matches the original perfectly. Thank you Pete, add one more name to the long list of contributors to this project.

The shoe cream can be applied by brush, which I did for the first coat but it's better to use a tootbrush to work the cream into the weave:
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Last lap is the fitting, using 14BA set screws and the metal bands used by the original.
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It's at this point I wish I'd listened to my wife's advice to pre-shrink the fabric. The cover isn't as loose as I'd have liked it but by this stage a repeat wasn't going to score any points. It's not that far off, good enough for Government Work...
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And that, as they say, is that, after five years. Not bad entertainment from one kit. The sequel might be something on the weathering but I need to do some research first. Thanks as ever for looking.

Stephen

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Re: My Beaut Aussie Cent

Post by Frank Breitenbach » Mon Oct 23, 2017 3:59 pm

Hi Stephen
I can say only: Perfect! Noboy can do it better.
All the best
Frank

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Re: My Beaut Aussie Cent

Post by Simon Peck » Mon Oct 23, 2017 7:56 pm

Superb!

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Pete Mallett
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Re: My Beaut Aussie Cent

Post by Pete Mallett » Mon Oct 23, 2017 8:39 pm

An outstanding piece of work on the Mantlet cover, kudos to your better half for the sewing skills, it does not look like an easy job and the shoe cream colouring came out rather well, it's wax based so will tolerate getting wet without the colours running (which is why it's a shoe cream)! Zips seem to have fitted perfectly too! Great job all round mate, those close-up shots could pass for the real thing!
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Re: My Beaut Aussie Cent

Post by Steve Stuart » Mon Oct 23, 2017 11:24 pm

I am speechless, other than to say "congratulations" !
The nigh is at an end?
Steve

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