IDF half-tracks are controversial subjects. They are somewhat forgotten from many, mainly because they were already outdated vehicles when they were in active service. From others, they are loved, just because the same reason applies for them. The fact is, there aren’t many out there on the market. Dragon released some US half-tracks years ago, never made them very popular, nor re-issue them. Aftermarket companies used the initial momentum to flood the market with tons of stuff, but again – that was it. Mainly, lack of interest among modelers.
In the same time, Dragon, in general, are in decline as a company, lowering the amount of quality parts in their kits and raising up their prices. They decided that either new blood needs to be added, or they will fade out. And gathering knowledge from the others on the market, they pointed their attention towards IDF, promising new subject on that matter, based on their good ol’ kits, which are already known among modelers.
IDF is a tricky subject. People are either in deep love with it, or they are bored to death from it. It is pretty much the same with WWII stuff. But anyhow, modelers who know what is the history of IDF and they do like highly modified vehicles, are attracted to them. And basically, that what is is – IDF gets their inventory from pretty much everywhere, and throughout the years, in order to survive they adapted all kinds of things to their stuff. Those modifications were popular, effective, useless or ugly, but one thing is certain – there are there. So based on that, many models are elevated to a whole new level of artistry and modeling skills. For example, 2016 AMPS award went to a guy who made a wonderful IDF halftrack with a lot of stowage and small but great add-ons. Not that the model wasn’t painted perfectly, the diorama pad also executed with high precision, but without that particular subject, the chances of getting that kind of result were low.
Now, all that said, it is no surprise that Dragon announced re-release of their M3 half-track, this time Israeli Defence Forces version. The kit is generally based on DML 6467, with deep mods. For #6467, we know that it is a nice kit, there are some problems with the texture of the rivets, which might’ve been fixed here. Or not. Whatever the case is, IDF M3 from DML is definitely based on something decent, and even though initially tooled in 2008, it still gives you pretty much the best of the present market.
So after the announcement of this IDF set, people started talking and they were – of course – excited about it. This is definitely a good sign for DML and half-track lovers in general. In addition to that, these are good news for the aftermarket companies. They get to re-release some of their resin and photo etch stuff for the M3. Well, now, Dragon made specifically IDF truck, so the conversion sets will become useless, but the stowage sets and specific add-ons still counts. DN Models – as you might’ve noticed – released several mask sets for IDF stuff. This is not a random thing, just the contrary. At the moment though, the information that we at DN Models have about this particular release of DML is limited. That’s why before releasing a mask set for that half-track, we will wait to take a look at the kit first and see does it need one. With the quality of the DML or Tamiya decals, they usually do. But the limited amount of markings on soft-skinned and half-track vehicles, it might be too small to be useful. Time will tell.
The release date is not yet set, but it is expected to bee within couple of months tops. I believe this is good news for IDF lovers and half-track fans. They are unusually looking vehicles, and I assume you are bored to see only Sd.Kfz. halftracks from WWII out there. A little “sound and color” in the half-track area of the modeling shows will make things more interesting. What is expected – well, DML always gave us good kits, and probably this IDF M3 won’t be any different. Let’s hope the price is right, and it won’t be their last!