I've not seen any prior write ups so I decided to jot down these notes (along with a few questions) on the recent DML release (kit 3586) of the Israeli AA halftrack. It was under the guise of its Six-Day war "50th anniversary" series of releases. Fine and good but according to Gannon, this combination first saw action during the War of Attrition -- post 6-day War.
My conclusion is one of disappointment. The subject matter is certainly attractive and I'm very satisfied with DML's US Halftrack series. But this kit is a let down accuracy wise -- I would presume that fit isn't an issue as there weren't any in the earlier Halftrack kits.
Here are my pros/cons -- based upon what I can discern from the Gannon's "Israeli Half-tracks Pt 2" and photos I've accumulated from various online sources.
1) the TCM-20 guns and ammo cans look good. This pair of long guns dramatically contrasts with the previous M45 quad .50cal gun turret.
2) The DML IDF halftracks include nice PE -- of note are the typical twin jerry can holders and a pioneer tool rack. However, they omit the PE radiator louvers that were included in all prior HT kits. They inform you that the only option is part H3, a closed louver radiator cover.
3) depending on how they take paint, DML includes a bunch of water cans and back packs and bed rolls are included -- made of their DS material. This will make fleshing out the final kit easier.
1) The M45 gun turret is naturally taken from the earlier DML M16 kit. However, by the late 60s, the original Briggs-Stratton power pack had been replaced by a more modern motor. DML only includes the WW2-era Briggs & Stratton unit. To be fully accurate, I'll need to scratch a replacement. Also the prominent hand holds which were added for the loaders are missing. This is a big omission, in my opinion too.
2) Side panels: the kit includes side fold down panels (similar to the M16). In photos, it's clear this part is not meant to fold down. Also the lower portion of the side panel is the same as the M16 part and includes fixtures that weren't correct for an IDF halftrack. DML tells you to add three grenade boxes (N6 & N1) -- which aren't in photos of the real thing. My solution will be to frankly, build the side panels from scratch.
3) Kit includes the full width dashboard (B1). I believe that by the late 60s, this should have been the consolidated rectangular dash above the steering column. Can anyone confirm?
4) Windshield .30cal has no cradle. This will need scratchbuilding.
5) Add a seat back to bulkhead Q37 for the center seat
6) Rear bulkhead ammo cans are missing their support braces
7) rear bulkhead missing rear door. DML tools up a new part -- but I'm wondering what was their source of info -- known pictures clearly show this door.
8) tail lights. On the real thing, tail lights were relocated to the upper edge of the rear bulkhead. Their original locations were covered by standard vehicle reflectors. DML ignores this fact.
9) head lights -- are the more modern type -- but from photos, I've only seen these on IDF halftracks that rec'd the diesel upgrades and never with the original louvered radiator armor. The older style headlights aren't included in this kit. If you have a deep spares box of DML HTs, then you'll be fine. However, why put this burden on the modeler who desires accuracy. The other option is to go whole hog and add all the components needed for the diesel upgrade (nose armor, passenger compartment air filter, twin mufflers beneath modified front fenders)
10) gun turret base N4: in reality this was two 16" high cylinders stacked atop one another. DML makes it one long cylinder.
11) the rear ammo bins should be wedge shaped. DML only gives you square shaped boxes.
12) the forward ammo bin is not a shelf but instead, a wide box with a lid. There should be support legs beneath this too.
Now my questions for my readers: have you ever seen instances of 3, 7, 8 or 9 as DML portrays it?
If you can deal with (in my mind) are some pretty big accuracy issues, I think you'll end up with a well fitting kit. However for me, this will represent a fairly big investment in modeling time.