Dragon IDF Magach 3ERA "Six Day War" series
The IDF armored forces have always been known for their ability to make improvements to almost any platform they received, the Magach 3 was no exception. Essentially an M-48 A1 or 3 series, it was upgraded with a British model L7 105mm gun, enhanced engine and drive-train components, and interior computer and tracking systems. It was also eventually fitted with Explosive Reactive Armor, although this was not in place during the operations covered by the 1967 Six-Day War. The Magach 3 came about as a result of the lessons learned during the Six-Day War itself, and continued improvements to the M-48 series have resulted in up to 6 Magach variants ( including those built on M-60 chassis). Magach ( Hebrew for "ramming hit" and pronounced MAGakh) 1,2,3 and 5 were built on the M-48 chassis, while Magach 6 and 7s were further developments of the M-60A1 platform.
Dragon models has added this Magach 3 as part of their "50th anniversary of the six day war" series and has included many of the enhancements to build a period accurate kit. The 420 pieces provided are found on FOURTEEN grey plastic, one clear, and two tan vinyl sprues. Each of these is protected in a clear plastic bag, and Dragon has taken great care to ensure sprue materials are easy to located. Also included are two small frets of PE brass, and a length of fine wire for a tow cable. A small sheet of water slide decals and a fold out instruction booklet rounds out this well stocked box.
One of the highlights right out of the gate is the box art. Each and every face of the box, front/back/top/bottom/ sides provides the builder with the kind of information that builders like to see. Particularly useful to my eye was the four websites for Dragon USA that are offered on the top face. They provide review information, actual tank info, and kit info.
The instruction sheet provided is a fold out design, with the front page as shown providing callouts for each sprue plate and identifying parts that may not be required to build this particular version of Magach 3. At right around 420 parts count, this kit is one that intermediate and advanced builders will be sure to find pleasantly detailed to build, but may be somewhat daunting for the newer to the hobby builder. The back cover provides paint and marking callouts and locators for the 1st Platoon commanders vehicle of the second company, 1967. In researching these markings, it is interesting to note that the two different marking options are indeed for the same vehicle, as the first tank in IDF platoons had either the Hebrew letter and number or just the platoon number.
The clear parts all show sharp detail and clean glass partitions. Painting of these parts should be done carefully and should be properly masked. The vinyl parts are very soft and flexible, and have a few small clean up pins that might need a little attention. The tracks are particularly well moulded and the guide teeth appear in the correct position. The vinyl mantlet cover and compression boot also show nice detail and should look good on the finished product. Two small brass frets contain parts for extra detail on the hull surfaces.
Road wheel and drive sprockets are multi-piece affairs with very fine details. These are built in the very first set of instruction steps and provide the hull detail items. Over the next 18 steps, parts are assembled to detail and close up the lower and upper hulls, turret and drive tracks. The ERA is also added and the builder will end up with a highly detailed, intricately assembled version of Magach 3, of 1967 design post the 6 day war lessons.
In my inspections of the sprue, I found no flash at all. Many of the parts are attached with strong sprue gates and should be cut off with a razor saw or other similar method. A nice touch in my opinion is that many parts have detail on both sides, and the ERA blocks have protruding numbers on them!
Several sprues of duplicate parts is also provided and this allows the builder a few "extras", particularly in the armament sprues. Each crew served weapon has very fine detail as well as a belt of ammunition for each. A nice touch is that the feed tray covers are separately molded, making them displayable in the open position if so desired.
In closing, the kit provides an immense number of small parts as can be seen, raising the level of detail and skill required to build this kit. For this reason, I would recommend that beginners take building slow and follow instructions carefully. Advanced modellers may want to jump around and build multiple sub sections at the same time, and care should always be taken to ensure all parts are firmly attached before manipulating the sub assemblies. It is my intent to put this together right out of the box, as it really is that detailed that it needs no aftermarket barrels, pe or resin up-detailing.
Highly Recommended for Beginner to Advanced builders.
Thanks goes out to Dragon USA for this review kit.
Reviewed by Brian Messier
If you liked this review, consider joining AMPS. Your annual membership
includes six copies of AMPS's magazine, Boresight,
and helps to support our ongoing reviews.
Click here for more information about joining AMPS