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Centauro Kit

Trumpeter 1/35 Spanish Army VRC-105 Centauro Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review November 2008 Manufacturer Trumpeter
Subject Spanish Army VRC-105 Centauro Scale 1/35
Kit Number 0388 Primary Media Styrene, Photo-Etch
Pros The first of the Centauro series of wheeled combat vehicles Cons  
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) $54.95

First Look

Centauro Kit
Centauro Kit
Centauro Kit
Centauro Kit
Centauro Kit
Centauro Kit
Centauro Kit
Centauro Kit
Centauro Kit
Centauro Kit

Fiat Oto Melara of Italy developed a family of wheeled combat vehicles for the Italian army similar to the 8x8 LAV and Stryker families. The VRC-105 is an armored reconnaissance version that provides its crew of four with sufficient protection against 12.7mm (.50 caliber) weapons from all sectors and up to 20mm from the front sector.

All four axles are powered, with three of them steerable, providing the Centauro with excellent on and off-road performance. Its V6 diesel engine is rated at over 510 horsepower and can move the Centauro over 60 miles per hour (100 kph).

The armored reconnaissance version is equipped with a tank turret that packs a 105mm main gun that can fire standard NATO ammunition. While this version would be no match for the latest main battle tanks, it would be more than capable against armored personnel carriers, missile carriers, etc. Some versions of the reconnaissance Centauro exchange ammunition storage capacity for the ability to transport four fully equipped troops to extend its reconnaissance capabilities.

The Spanish Army has adopted a number of the VRC-105 reconnaissance vehicles in addition to the variants in service with Italy. Oman has recently ordered an upgraded version of the Centauro armed with a 120mm main gun.

Trumpeter has added a new subject line to their broad portfolio of kit subjects, going boldly into areas that have been overlooked by other kit manufacturers. This release is the VRC-105 Centauro configured as delivered to the Spanish Army. You can see in the images how similar the vehicle is to the Stryker and LAV series of wheeled combat vehicles.

The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on six parts trees, plus the separately cast upper and lower hull sections, and the turret. Also included in the kit is a tree of clear parts, two frets of photo-etched details, and one set of eight rubber tires.

Assembly starts with the lower hull with the installation of the inter-connecting drive shafts, power take-offs to the axles, and steering arms. This is followed by the axles themselves and the vehicle suspension. The tires are mounted onto their wheel hubs and in turn mounted to the vehicle axles. Laminate armor is applied around the lower hull to complete this subassembly.

The upper hull is intricately detailed with grap irons, tie-downs, pioneering tools, and its own selection of laminate armor sections. Clear periscopes are mounted around the driver's hatch, and you'll want to liquid mask these before installation to make it easier to paint the hull later on.

The turret is the final subassembly and it too receives a number of grab irons, tie downs, periscopes, and other details. The hatches on the turret (as well as the driver's hatch) are positionable, though you'll want to position these closed as there is no interior detail provided in the kit.

Stowage boxes, antenna mounts, and the thermal sight are installed before the laminate and spaced armor shields are added to the turret subassembly. Last but not least in the main gun with an interesting muzzle brake.

Assemble the three major subassemblies, add a few last minute details, and the build is complete.

Markings are provided for five different examples from the Spanish Army including two with distinctive markings applied by the crews.

This is an interesting combat vehicle that will look great parked next to your Stryker, LAV, BTR-80, and other relevant wheeled combat vehicles in your collection. This will also be a striking counterpoint to the recently released Stryker Mobile Gun System kits.

My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!

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