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Page 8

Clean up of 169016

 

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            169016 at the old museum - out the back in the yard, well there was no where else to put her.

 

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Then in the new museum and a mantlet cover donated by Brad Baker is fitted.                                        Then she sports a coat of paint

 

At this point it was time to decide just what to do with 169016. She was not a Vietnam service Centurion and really did not belong in a Vietnam Veterans Museum.

So it was decided to converter her over to a Vietnam look a like. This raised some questions. The first being I did not want to pass her off as another tank, so she had to keep her own ARN of 169016. Second point was that I did not want her to be mistaken for a Vietnam service Centurion. And then of course I also did not want her to be from any particular time frame, eg:   B Sqn or A Sqn periods or both the C Sqn. periods of service. I was well aware of the many differences in appearance over this period of time. Early period, side plates were used for a short period and then discarded, Mudguards were cut back in another period. Same story with the different dressing of the Glacis plate, there was a period when no road wheels were fitted, then two were installed, then one was dropped down 4 inches or removed completely. Items carried in the IR basket was more or less a personal choice. Items carried on the engine covers, the transmission covers and even on the 100 gallon fuel tank was again a personal choice by the crews. Tools, even though there was a laid down set of tools carried on the rear mudguards in front of the mufflers, this again was not always complied with. Shovels, picks and a sledge hammer and also the crowbar were carried for track repairs, but items like a long handle shovel, while carried by many, was not an issued item.

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The short handled spades were the first items and only now need to be painted the correct color. I brought these new as I did the long handle shovel The sledge I obtained at a Trash and Treasure sale, all these items were very cheap as against just walking in and buying new.

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       Metal Jerry cans were a personal choice and I have only seen them about three times Mostly in the IR light position of the Rear Turret Basket

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The crow bar took awhile but also came from a Trash and Treasure market.

The Centurion Crowbar was a very heavy item with a pinch bar on one end, not a round flat ball

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                  There were two pick heads and two separate pick handles carried

 

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The old type rope was quite hard to find, used to tie down ammo liners on the rear 100 gallon fuel tank

 

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Finding ammo liners just about drove me crazy. I managed to buy some at Wodonga on the Vic --NSW border                        Obtaining empty cartridge cases was also very hard

 The 30's sold for $11 and the 50's for $17. I managed the 20 x .30's for $120 - I owned the others already.                               but a very good old work mate, Bob Herron, supplied

                                                                                                                                                                                                                some.

   http://members.tripod.com/front-idler/bino_2.jpg  The Crew Commander Bino were a lucky find, they were already at the museum!

 

The hardest item to obtain was the 12  x 20 liter black plastic water containers to go in the rear deck. They were available new at about $33. That was $396 which I could not really justify for a display item that would never be used. Anyway I could not find any secondhand  in Melbourne, not even one! Then I saw 19 in Sydney on Ebay, and about 15 were the type I wanted.. I managed to pick them up for $120. Then of course the trouble arose of how to get them to Melbourne as cheap as possible. It was at this time that Rusty Dyson was coming down for a visit, so I put the hard word on him to pick up what he could and as Brad Baker also from Qld was also coming down about a week later I arranged for him to collect the rest. My hardest purchase was now over. Then there 15 metal Jerry cans on Ebay,  I did not need them but rang Brad and he brought them.  Funny I brought mine is Sydney and Brad is picking them up, Brad brought his in Melbourne and I am picking his up! Then the guy in Sydney decided they had to be picked up by Friday the 9th. Rusty was coming down on Monday the 12th. The guy would not wait so I had to pass them up. I then brought four and later managed another three off Ebay. Now only need another five.

This weekend my son Scott and son in law Peter will go with me to the museum to start on the Cent. The front and rear guards will be cut back, the turret traversed and the engine covers closed. The mud scrapers will also be cut and welded in place.  We have to do this before the Museum opens as cutting and sanding and undercoating where we are working has to be done and cleaned up before people arrive. So its a 3.30 am wake up, drive across to Sunbury pick up Scott and Peter and load the welder and tools and leave at 5 am. Hopefully arriving at the Museum by 7 am and having three hours to get the jobs done. Then its a check of some items that are in the store which I will also use on the Centurion, have a look around and lunch and off back home, hopefully arriving back at Kilmore by 6 pm! This went as per desired and I arrived home well and truly worn out.

I have had a donation of 4 liters of Army Olive Drab Enamel, which all the tools and the 30 cal liners will get a coat of! I have purchased the rear turret basket which unfortunately was covered in rust. On the way home from Wangaratta, wondering how to remove the rust, thinking wire brush and rust remover, with some feelings of horror. I then remembered a Bead Blaster in Broadford, so called in and asked him for a price for the Museum. Nice guy and he said a slab of VB.  Knowing what bead blasting is worth I was very pleased to accept his offer. Pick it up this weekend. It also will have to have a coat of red primer and a coat of Olive Drab. The basket cost $400 and I asked for donations from a few guys I am in contact with. Bloody hell it flowed in, two lots straight into my bank! I sent out another email saying, stop!  I have it all, no more money please. I then contacted the second guy that had deposited $400 and said I would return it as I had my target. He replied, keep it for other items I would need! I then managed to get all of the above items in two weeks where as I was expecting it to take 2 years as I raised money, bit by bit.

I should point out that the Museum has offered me money but I set out to do this as a no cost to the museum. Lets face it, they have enough on their plate with all their other projects.

You will no doubt notice no names from the guys that donated money to the project. They all requested that their name not be used. I would have preferred to give them credit but must abide by their request. Their names are embedded in my brain forever!

Then there was the Infer Red spotlight. These were $2000 so I just passed on that one, it was way out of my reach. Then last week Stuart Buchanan , owner of 169040 dropped in for a brew, and told me he had brought one cheap in Camberfield, just down the road from here. I contacted the guy and he had a new one for $1475 and a second hand one for $975 which was the original case with everything inside brand new. As I did not want a showroom condition one, I jumped at the secondhand one. We agreed on a price of $800 for the Museum, another nice guy! I now had to go against my principals, and ask again for money, so I contacted a coupe of guys that offered money for the Turret Basket.

I immediately received $400 and the other chap was approached for $200. The Museum gave me the balance of $200. And I had an IR light. At this point of time I have obtained everything I need, there are a few little items I still require, but nothing I will have to ask for money for again. Then the chap sending $400 sent me $500, so the Museum donation was dropped back to $100. The world is becoming a great place. And so are the people I am now in contact with.

This week I was down at my grandson, Tommy's home working on his computer. I brought up my site and noticed that some items were not where they should be, like two regiment badges that are on each side of the page now appeared below each other. My work station is running twin 19" flat screen monitors and I have my page set for these, but Tom only has a 17" on his and so my page does not fit correctly. I have made the corrections!

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I picked up the IR light today, very pleased with its condition all except the case are brand new These show the locating lugs and mounting bracker

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The front lens clips off and either a white lens (Clear glass) can be use dor the red infra red lens.

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The red lens in position

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The packing protection is pressed coconut shavings, then inserted into a large box for transport, there is also a fitted top with the package

Then its a day at the Museum, as I said a 3 am start for me

 

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                   Drivers side front guards cut back                                    Left guard with the drivers helmet top left

The outside edge has still to be cut back on an angle

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                Mud scrapers on muffler housing                                                                 Two rounds to be placed on engine covers

There was a lot more that was done, two radio antennas installed, plus a soldiers box onto the 100 gallon fuel tank, and some .50 cal liners also onto the rear tank. Dale Grant from Surplus Sam Militaria, donated and delivered to the Museum that morning, a full Crew Commander model complete with tank suit, beret and badge, head set and mic. Dale also donated a heap of uniform items and repo paper work, license, ticket from Vietnam home to Australia, pay book, to name only a couple.  He also arose early to meet me at the Museum. The P.C.R. radio was installed in the Ammo rack and a drivers helmet, a web belt with two water bottles. There is a lot of items still in my shed waiting to be painted which hopefully will be next weekend. I have finished 7 water jerry cans in flat black and have 4 metal 20 liter jerry cans in primer. Also a heap of 30 cal liners and two more 50 cal liners. The search light will also go down when I can locate or make a mount bar for it, so there will still be a few trips yet to get everything down there. But its coming along nicely!

I have picked up the four liters of Olive Drab enamel

This was quite a big trip of 600 klicks but still a lot cheaper, than the $200 quote I had received. The paint had been sitting for quite a long period and when opened had a three liter blob of solid under the 1 liter of fluid. I did not hold out a lot of hope ,but in time it did mix up, a lot of time but it did the job well and that is the main thing.

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The first job was to paint the plastic water jerry cans flat black

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The first three which will go into the IR basket where the IR light normally is carried.

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Two more jerry cans which will be swapped for two plastic water jerry cans. The small one (10 lts) will go into the I R basket, as will the round one, hopefully with OMD 110 painted in white on the side of it

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The tools are now finished, just have to obtain two pick handles

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Six of about 30 liners being painted. I still need a stencil to repaint the numbers and text on the liners

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A pack full of clothes and a shoulder holster, I still need two more holsters, so if anyone has a holster that they would like to be worn by the Crew Commander in the tank please let me know. I also need two 9 mm Browning's, plastic copies will do!

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The trenching tool will be fitted to the pack above.

The pack will also go into the IR basket, I know it should be in the turret bins, but it would not be seen there, so for the sake of display its into the turret basket, as I am quite sure at some point of time there would have been a pack carried there, for even a short period of time.

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Today Brad Baker, who is down for a visit, and myself went to Broadford to pick up the IR light turret bin from the sandblasters. A great job and he also undercoated it as well. .My thanks to Broadford Bead Blasters for a job well done.

 

This will be the end of this website as I have run out of space!

Please use the Refer page   www.centurion-mbt.com   to see when my new website appears.

It may take a few weeks as its a completely different format and as so I will have to learn how to use it, at my age this could take some time!