IDF Nagmachon Doghouse (Early) in 1/35...

...a new kit from Tiger Models

Tiger Models have released their third variation on the IDF Nagmachon.  This time we see the early  version of the Doghouse equipped variant of this heavy APC, built on an old Centurion chassis.  The IDF acquired a large number of Centurion tanks in the 1950's and they had some upgrades to what the IDF called the Shot Cal.  Once the aging Shot Cals became obsolete in terms of gun tanks, the hulls offered an opportunity to remain in service once converted to other uses.  One of these is the Nagmachon Heavy APC.  The Doghouse added extra protection for the crew compared to the open shields of the first version (also in the Tiger Models range and one you can see built in the Military Kits section of this site.  These were more suitable for use in urban environments and offered better protection in the close confines of a built-up area.  In addition to the armour of the tank hull there are grenade launchers, reactive armour blocks and and stand-off mesh grills over the bulletproof glass of the vision blocks.

In this instance Tiger Models continue to impress me.  When you open the box you find it packed full of parts and the 'Doghouse', which has supports for the stand-off mesh armour moulded in place comes packed in a shaped vacu-plastic protective container within the box.  Black vinyl tyres for the road wheels, three copies of the sprue with clear parts, one in clear, a second in pale green tint and third in a pale red tint.  Twisted wire for the tow cable, etch frets for the mesh armour panels and various small details for the hull, poly caps for fitting the wheels and chain to fit on the top of the side armour blocks.  The other little thing that Tiger Models do is provide a sheet of lettered self-adhesive labels.  As with so many kits, the individual sprues are identified by a letter moulded into the frame.  This is not too easy to see, so these stickers allow you to wrap them around the appropriate frame and simply make them easier to identify while you are building the kit.  Simple but really useful and a good indicator of the thought that has gone into the production.

If you have seen either of the previous Nagmachon variants they have done then clearly a majority of the parts will be familiar to you as they are the same.  Indeed, there are a number of 'unused' parts from those others which you will have left over to add to your spares box.  The particular element that is not included in this one is any interior for the fighting compartment.  So a few less parts to the build compared to the previously released version.  It also includes individual link tracks, though I suggest you get these done and fitted before you add the trackguards.  When you get to fitting the large side armour blocks there are holes to fit the chains which support them in place.  The instructions suggest opening one of the links and fitting it around the locating brackets.  Having tried it, and the very small links of the chain, this is not easy to do.  What I did was to cut the plastic bracket and re-glue it once the chain was in place.  Since then, seeing detailed photos in the Desert Eagle Publishing books which show these in detail, they should be fitted using U-shaped shackles and if you can find some, that would be ideal.  It would have been great if they could have included these in the kit, but unfortunately not.  Fit of parts is very good and I do like the tinted clear parts.  Use the green tinted panels for the Doghouse, representing thick bulletproof glass, and the red tinted periscopes for the driver's position.

The etch parts include two patterns for the mesh grills to fit around the Doghouse, and the tank serial numbers.  It may be a gruesome thought, but the IDF use welded numbers rather than just paint them on, so the vehicle (and hence the crew) can be identified if the vehicle is knocked out and the paint burned off in a resultant fire.  The suggested finish is the Israeli Sand Grey, and the colours and markings guide is done for them by Ammo of Mig Jiminez.  All in all another excellent kit and so good to see the growing number of IDF armour kits now available on the market.  Still, a fair bit to this build and it is a very well detailed model. 

Thanks to Tiger Models for my example.  Good news for UK modellers now that Tiger Hobbies UK (no connection between them) are the new UK importers for the range.