|Centurion Sh'ot, 15mm scale model from Peter Pig|
It is a testament to the design of the Centurion that it could be upgraded to an extent where it would be seeing frontline service so many years after it was introduced. If you play a lot of WW2 gaming, you are used to assuming British tanks are terrible (typically an underpowered engine, a door-knocker for a main gun, or both) at least until the Chieftain came along, but I believe the Centurions played an active role in the IDF armoured forces from before the Six Day War through the the war in Lebanon in 1982 all the way until the 1990s, when they were finally retired from service. Clearly a durable tank design.
The Centurions "Sh'ot Kal" had received new engines, new 105mm guns, better armour, fire control and other improvements. These were the tanks that occupied the thin line of IDF firing ramps and bunkers, and which fought desperately in the darkness along the TAPline road in the early hours of the 1973 war on the Golan Heights, so they are key to this project. The manufacturers of 15mm Sh'ot Kals are somewhat limited - QRF has a Centurion (and I'm not sure it is upgraded), Old Glory has one (or seemed to), but Peter Pig appeared to have the best one. No surprise there.
The only issue is that the Peter Pig ones I acquired - from their line of IDF figures - appear to be on the modern end of the Sh'ot Kal's range of service. These models have extra MGs, some kind of sleeve over the main gun, and sections of armour that is either applique or even "Blazer" type ERA. I believe these were the Centurions which saw service in Lebanon - these were not the sorts of enhancements on the tanks that fought on the Golan in 1973. I'm not even sure ERA armour was in use at that point. On the other hand, these tanks look really, really cool, so screw it - I can at least paint these up as test models.
|Centurion Sh'ots or Verizon cell phone towers? I'm not sure....|
At any rate, these tanks will serve as a test bed for attempts to try and match the colours of the IDF tanks from 1973. I have ordered other Centurion models from the Peter Pig range that I expect will match up much more closely to the Sh'ot Kals from 1973. If those arrive soon, I might even turn around and paint these up as tanks for the Khurasan Sci-Fi marines or something (with the ERA, aerials, smoke launchers and other bolt-ons they have a near-future vibe). Or we'll just game Lebanon at some point :)
|Close up showing the open commander's hatch, awaiting a figure from Peter Pig|