...Tiran 4/5/6 Wrecks in the IDF, Part 1, from Desert Eagle Publishing
Title: Tiran Wrecks in the IDF, Part 1
Author: Michael Mass and Adam O'Brien
Publisher: Desert Eagle Publishing
The first of a new series from Desert Eagle and what a great start. Michael owns up to a particular liking for the Tiran series having served in them during his time in the IDF, and includes a few photos of him during his time with Tiran equipped units. One of the first things it helps sort out I am sure for some is that Tiran 4 relates to upgraded T-454s, Tiran 5 are those cased on the T-55 and Tiran 6 for those based on the T-62.
One element of the story is how well the IDF made use of what might be considered a 'windfall' of tanks due to their success in the Middle East wars of 1967 and 1973. While some were kept as a source of spares, there were such numbers that it warranted making improvements to the tanks and being able to equip complete units with them. Over the years military vehicles wear out or become obsolete, and are consigned to a scrap yard to await the scrap man. Over the years Michael has been fortunate enough to visit these collection points, and if you add to this the clear blue skies and fine weather of the Middle East you get these super quality pictures which are an armour enthusiast and modeller's delight.
The book is divided into sections starting with the Introduction and followed by General Views, Turret, Hull, South Lebanese Army, Paint and Chipping, Suspension, Tiran 6, Tiran 5 with D30 and to round off, Other Derivatives. There are plenty of images showing the complete vehicles while the detail shots provide even more detail. Just as a couple of examples there are hulls where drive units have been removed for spares, and the track has been 'short-tracked' around road wheels to help moving the hulk around in the yard, or when it was recovered. The paintwork and chipping (and plenty of rust) shows how new colours are simply applied over older ones, and given time and weather, the effects of paint wearing off can be quite extreme, and a challenge for modellers. There are also some more interesting conversions done on real tanks, and these can be of interest to modellers as well. For example, a Tiran 5 hull (or it could be an unconverted T-55 hull) which has had the turret removed and a Soviet built D-30 122mm gun fitted to it. Equally odd, an experimental turret, the 'Samovar', which has an Urdan cupola fitted, a rear turret extension to house comms and fire control systems plus having a Merkava 1 turret basket fitted on the back of that. Plenty for anyone who is interested in IDF AFVs but for the modeller in particular as there are basic kits available from Tamiya and any time now, Takom.
The other thing I really enjoy seeing are some of the other things you get to see in the background, lurking in the scrapyard. These include a JS-3, the 160mm Heavy Mortar, the 'Machmat', mounted on a Sherman chassis, and in one, a heavily rusted Pz IV creeps into view. Hopefully these extra glimpses give some hints on what might be included in future title for this new 'Wrecks' series. Full marks once again to Michael Mass and editor Adam O'Brien for their image selections in here, I am confident any tank enthusiast will like this one, and something of a modeller's treasure trove.
Thanks to the Aviation and Military Book Centre for my copy.