|Review by Simon Barnes||Kit #72005|
At long last, one model I never thought that we would see in 1/72nd from any manufacturer and as usual after starting to build my own and one gets released ! along with all the others I am building to follow, so it is back to the drawing board for me.
The Achzarit is a Heavy APC based on the T-54/55 hull, of which the Israelis' captured a lot of during the 1973 war. The infantry requested a survivable APC for urban combat, able to withstand strikes from the numerous RPGs' and other light AT weapons, the ideal idea, would have been to use the Merkava hull, but as the production of Hulls were needed for the Gun tanks. The solution was found in the IDF storage depots, where several Hundred T-54/55s' plus some that had already been converted to the Tiran were laying. it was available, suitable, due to its thick armoured shell and a very cost effective use of surplus and obsolescent hulls.
Back to the kit/Model, Well was it worth the wait? I'll say so! Anybody familiar with the Combat 72 range from Cromwell Models will know what to expect, the Hull, Tracks and most other parts are moulded as one huge block of Resin,with just the hatches and machine guns to add, but the detail is Fantastic. The purist may wish to change a few features, mainly the Toga Armour at the rear, as this could benefit from some PE and is not too big a job to change, even for a novice to conversions.
As you can see from the pictures, the hull is well detailed with 4 of the six hatches being able to pose open.
The few bits that there are to add, mainly the hatches and guns.
The ammunition feed for the sight mounted gun is there, unfortunately mine broke towards the top.
The kit scales out to the plans that I have although the nose is shorter than my plans, but judging from photos' of the real thing the Cromwell kit looks to be right, I have no actual measurements for the Achzarit, but I do for the T-54/55 on which it is based. The track and wheel spacing is correct.
All in all a very nice and simple kit to put together, The rear ramp is detailed both inside and out should you wish to display it open.The level of detail is amazing for the simplicity of the kit and it will appeal to both wargamers and the static modeller in equal measure.
No decals or Instructions are included in the kit, so a few references might be helpful, but the pictures on the net are more than enough help. One piece I did have trouble with, was this small piece,
As far as I can work out it is a mortar and it fits next to the LHS hatch, the only place I have seen it is on the Blast Models kit, I have not seen any photos of it actually in place on the vehicle.
So What does it build like ???
Well very easily, it takes all of 20 mins to put the kit together, but then another 48 to paint and finish it ! There is very little clean up of parts to do, just a few mould seams around the front and rear fenders. The only change that needs to be done should you wish to model the vehicle closed is to cut some resin from the bottom of the sides on the rear troop exit roof and to cut down the operating ram on the RHS.
Here's what it looks like made and painted.
A great model to build, I had fun with the weathering and painting. I recommend this to all.
Modern Israeli Tanks and Infantry Carriers 1985-2004 by Marsh Gelbart Osprey publishing New Vanguard 93
Israeli Tank Based Carriers by Marsh Gelbart, Military briefs
Various Web sites and discussion forums for pictures.
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