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IDF Tank Crew - 1:35


Mike
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IDF Tank Crew
1:35 Meng Model


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With the increase in kits of Israeli armour kits from Meng and others, it makes sense for them to release a figure set featuring the people that crew these vehicles. Add them to their Merkava IIID, III BAZ with mine-roller, or their new D9R armoured bulldozer, to give a little human scale and perspective.

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The set arrives in a fairly standard sized end opening figure-type box, and has a painting of the four figures on the front, as well as a Desert Eagle Publishing logo, showing their collaboration with this fount of knowledge of IDF subjects. Inside is one sprue of shiny mid-grey styrene, plus a small sprue of clear parts containing eight drinking bottles - a must in any desert diorama, and very useful everywhere for a more candid appearance to your models. All four figures are broken down into a tow-part torso, separate head with headgear, arms and legs, with separate feet, the reason for which you'll see later.

The poses are relaxed in nature, with one figure in a standing position, leaning on the turret ring of a crew-served weapon, wearing a tanker's helmet and drinking from a water bottle. The other three are sat down, one with crossed legs and a floppy-brimmed hat on, the other with a baseball cap pointing to something in the distance. The final figure is also wearing a cap and is holding a mobile phone (cellphone) to his ear with his right hand.

The two-part torso used in this set is a departure from their previous Middle Easterners set, which had single piece torsos for the most part. It doesn't add any additional seams however, as even a one-piece torso has a mould seam line running down each side. It does reduce the likelihood of sink-marks though, as the styrene is thinner, and flat spots on the front have been moulded in for webbing pouches that are include on the sprue. Some of the figures have separate hands too, which results in sharper moulding of the parts, as well as easier tooling of the figures. The separate feet have been slide-moulded to enable the engineers to add proper tread and heel patterns to the bottom of the figures' feet, as three of them are in the sitting position where their soles will be visible for the most part. For simplicity, even the chap in the turret has these "fancy feet", which if applicable you could leave off (if they won't be seen) and pinch the feet for another project.

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The clear sprue contains eight drinking bottles, two each of small, medium smooth, medium ridged and large types. The clarity of the bottles is impressive, and as usual with Meng products, they are protected by a clear layer of plastic that peels away easily, but clings well to itself. This takes away any risk of chaffing in the bag, and demonstrates a concern for their product reaching the purchaser in good condition that others could and should imitate.

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The moulding is high quality, and the sculpting of the figures is very good. There are deep creases where appropriate on the arms and legs of the figures, with material pulled tight over backs, which appears to be wrinkling under tension just like the real thing. The webbing is well defined, as are the pouches that attach to the aforementioned flat spots, and the points of focus; the hands and the heads are well crafted, with the exception of one hand (part D8) that looks a little small compared to the rest. It rests in the phone user's lap however, so shouldn't show up too much.

On the rear of the box is a full parts and painting guide, with colour call-outs in Vallejo format. If you don't use Vallejo, you could do well to seek out the new(ish) Lifecolor Easy 3 set for IDF uniforms, reviewed here along with others from the series.

Conclusion
This is only Meng's second foray into figure sets, and they have produced another good set that will be useful to anyone with IDF armour in the stash that wants to populate their vehicles with a crew. Moulding and sculpting is very good, and the inclusion of a sprue of water bottles adds extra value. Well worth investigating.

Highly recommended.

Available soon in the UK from Creative Models.
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Review sample courtesy of
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