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1/35 Trumpeter Israeli Ti-67 Tank
by Mark Dice

 

I won this kit in the club raffle. Rather than take it home and throw it in the closet, I chose to build it right away cause I found the subject interesting and thought it would be a great break from building planes. It was!

Background: The first major engagement between modern Soviet and American/British built tanks took place in June1967 when Israel took on and defeated the combined strength of Egypt, Syria, and Jordan during the Six Day War.

With the Egyptians pouring troops into the Sinai and Syria and Jordan also making preparations for hostilities, the Israelis chose to strike first with a preemptive strike that virtually eliminated the enemy's air forces on the first day of the war. Israel's army struck hard at the Egyptian forces while initially fighting a defensive action against the Syrian/Jordanian forces. The Israeli's made a three pronged assault, moving so fast through the Egyptians' forward defenses; disrupting command/control and logistics that the morale of the Egyptian forces broke down so, that many units just ran away leaving their armor and equipment on the battlefield. Victory over the Egyptians was achieved in three days capturing about 80% of the Egyptian army's armor/guns/vehicles.

The Syrians and Jordanians were also handled roughly, both losing most of their tanks as well as Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.

Israel took all of this captured booty and used it to increase their military strength. Chief was the several hundred captured T-54/T-55 tanks that were taken and modified into the Tiran 4 (T-54) and Tiran 5 (T-55), called Ti-67 (Tank Israeli-1967) in the west. The main difference between the two versions is the main gun armament. The Tiran 4 having a 100 mm main gun and the Tiran 5 having a 105 mm main gun. These tanks were used against their former owners during the Yom Kippur War in 1973 and later assigned to reserve units to be replaced by newer tanks as they became unserviceable

The Kit:

With this kit you can build either a Tiran 4 or Tiran 5. The decals and marking guide provided are for a Lebanese militia Tiran 4 or an Israeli Tiran 5. I'm pretty sure that you'll be able to build any version of the T-54/T-55 you wish cause there are a huge number of extra parts. There are at least 40 parts listed in the "parts not used" list.

First impression was wow there are a lot of parts!! There are 2 large, 3 medium, and 6 small trees of parts, the lower hull with a little battery powered motor installed, a piece of mesh screen, and the two one piece flexible tracks. The plastic reminded me of the kind that was used to make the little green army men that you would play with as a kid, olive green in color with a kind of oily surface only not as soft. Detail was overall good but there are a lot of mold seams that are going to have to be sanded down, particularly on the wheels.

I built this "out of box" with only a couple of changes. First, I removed the motor from the lower hull. Because this removed the rear axle with it, I just fashioned one out of some evergreen scrap and cut to fit. The second alteration was the rear deck on top of the hull. It comes in one piece and when installed, it kind of sits at an awkward angle. So I cut along the front edge of the forward vent at a natural hinge line and then glued it in place so there was now a step between the forward and aft rear deck. Third the instructions show the heavy machine gun being installed on top of the turret mounted at the top center of the main gun mantelet. This might be right for the Soviet version but I mounted the .50 Cal. just forward of the commander's hatch.

The rest of assembly was straightforward per the instructions. Fit was generally good as long as you pay attention but there are times when the instructions are vague as to the locations of certain parts. A couple of the tool/storage boxes on the fenders, if glued where the instructions show, will interfere with the turret ability to rotate. You might want to test fit then sand the boxes down to allow the turret to rotate freely. I just positioned mine where it was clear. Some extra locater holes on the upper hull will need to be filled. The short antenna is a kit part, while the long one is a piece of stretched sprue.

The kit was painted overall Israeli Armor Sand/Grey (Model Master). Decals applied (no problems there). The various detail items getting their certain colors (water/oil cans, machine guns, wheels rubber part, etc) and then everything was dry brushed several times, each time a lighter shade of the base color, Sand/Grey.

The tracks are the one-piece flexible type that you interlock the pins/holes, and then melt the pins with a heated screwdriver. It took this and superglue to get these things together. That and the fact that it was a chore to get the things to appear to sag like they do in real life was a major test of my patience, I might have to spring for some aftermarket tracks on my next one…The tracks were painted rust, then dry brushed Polly S Mud and MM Steel. They're then installed with the track forced down and glued to the top of the wheels to give me my sag…

Conclusion: In my opinion this was a good kit! It has its flaws but they're correctable and overall it was a fun break from what sometimes can be the grind of an airplane modeler's life. It was my first Trumpeter kit but not my last. With the awesome list of kits they're due to release in 2002, I will be making some more investments in this company's products!! And I will build another of their T-54/55 kits too. After watching all of the coverage of the war against the Taliban, the diorama ideas just kind of jump out at you…. Hmmmm a T-55 with some Alliance fighters being interviewed by Geraldo… yeah, that's the ticket…