Usually, APC’s are not the most interesting vehicles out there. Their participation in the conflicts is somehow overshadowed by the tanks and howitzers, who take all of the credit. Lately, BTR’s showed their importance and they hit the big screen /in Ukraine regions and Crimean crisis mostly/ but still, APC’s are somehow forgotten. Meng Model have released their latest IDF model and made quite a surprise, putting out APC which is not very popular, nor it was expected by the modelers. As all of their models, it quickly became a hit. Around the web there are plenty of reviews of it, and most of the reviewers agree on one thing – the model is very good. I will try to share my personal experience with it here, and I will do my best to represent it in a way that will be useful for fellow modelers out there.
I expected to find a model complicated and filled with a lot of small parts. Instead, I found something very different. With D9 kit from Meng I found some troubles fitting the cockpit parts and not only one time, but on all three Doobies that I’ve built. On Merkava III.D – Meng first tank model – I found annoying to have so many small parts, and not so clever engineering. For example, the rod that holds the machine gun is consisted from two parts. Nobody know why. Well, with Achzarit, all this is in the past. The fit is amazing. This is closest to Tamiya that you will ever get. And as we all know, Tamiya are the best. They have been out there for decades and they are still unbeatable when it comes down to simplicity and fit. Not too many parts, not too few. There are some tricky ones, but not in a matter of assembly, but rather to cutting them out of the sprues.
Clear sprue is the same amazing quality like the one featured in Meng Model’s Doobi. Photo-etch sheet for Achzarit is a bit large, but not too complicated, just the opposite. It includes meshes for both rear sides, and few details to make them look even nicer. The assembly looks difficult, but its rather easy. There are two types of wheels, which looks pretty much equal, so attention is needed. Overall the assembly goes without any troubles. As I’ve already said – the fit is great. Everything goes wherever it should.
Interior is partially included, maybe because Meng left some space for aftermarket companies, or because maybe there will be Meng’s set for it. I am just speculating, but it has some interior additions on the sides, and no seats, or anything else. In the same time, there is wonderful ladder which leads to the insides of the APC, and the rear doors can be left open – so this looks promising. We should wait and see.
Another thing that I think is missing – stowage. Lately I was amazed by the stowage featured in Tamiya’s Abrams. It is as good as resin. And its not resin, so you won’t have to inhale all the poison coming out of the resin. It would’ve been great if there was some in here too. Instead, Meng added one jerry can. Well, hopefully everybody has some spares in stock.
Tracks are resin, and at the time I am writing this, I still consider ordering Friul tracks for T-55. They will look far better I believe. In part 2of this article you will /and I will do too/ find out what the final decision was.
So, the assembly of the whole kit took me a day and a half, considering that I am still working on two other models at the same time. In other words – easy job! Photo-etched stuff took me 2 more hours, but I am guessing that if a devoted modeler is onto the Achzarit, not more than 5 hours work will be enough for completion and preparation for priming.
That sounds like Tamiya AGAIN! Good job Meng, good job!
Three options are featured in the kit and I won’t bother you which one is which. There are plenty on that subject over the web. I choose the second one. It has no side plates, but I plan to use them on my second Achzarit – yes, I assume that there will be another one, since this brought me so much fun so far!
The other great thing I discovered in the kit was the wheel painting mask, featured in the PE set. In part two I will let you know how that works. No painting yet at this point.
I drilled a small hole where the main antenna should be, planning to use a little trick that I made with one of my Merkava IIs, so stay tuned to see how that will go.
As for the moment – the kit is built, primed and ready for paint. In the next couple of weeks I will finish it. I need 3-4 more days, but I am packing few of my already built models for two of the upcoming competitions that are close by and will hit the road.
To wrap it up –
This is the closes kit to Tamiya that I’ve ever built. The vehicle is strange and rare but exceeded my expectations in detail and size! It has enough for a pro-modeler and it is acceptable challenge for a newbie as well – where can you find a model kit like that?!?
It has Photo-Etch, it has small tricks, and in the same time it is an easy-going project. It has a lot of room for upgrades – stowage, damages, tracks and it is perfectly suitable for IDF diorama. And I mean perfectly!
Meng easily can sell a set for that – D9 Doobi, Achzarit APC and some of their great Merkavas. It should be fun!
So, I highly recommend it to anyone interested in IDF…
…as well as to anyone who is interested in building something different. The well known Tiger I,II, T-34, or the modern Abrams and T-series well, everybody has been there. This will be a huge step aside from the path we all know and walked on so many times. And in the end – they are tanks.
But this… well, this is an APC. Rare stuff! And once built it looks stunning! Believe me this is not a commercial for Meng products – I was very sceptical the first time I saw the boxart. And disappointed with their FT-17 too! But Achzarit brought me a lot of joy so far so I wanted to share it with you!
Stay tuned for the completed model!
The other two models that I am working on are visible here…
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