Hey Gilbert. I wrote a article about the build a long time ago:
Azimut is the third maufacturer to release a model or conversion of the Israeli 'Achzarit' (??????), AEF Designs and Legends having released their's earlier. The model is a 1/35 scale complete kit with interior and trumpeter parts for the lower hull, suspension and roadwheels. I purchased My kit from J.W. de Boer in the Netherlands. Street prices for the kit run from 125€ - 156€ (aprox. 150 to 175 US dollars).
ACHZARIT is an Israeli APC based on a T54/55 suspension. It is built using the IDF(Israel defense Force) experiences modifying Centurion tanks into APCs, During the war in Lebanon. The root of the problem was the lack of proction afforded the crews of it's M113 fleet of APCs. Soldiers would choose to sit on the outside of the vehicle rather than inside, it was that bad. The M113 can not withstand RPG 7 and landmines so Israel modified their M113s with extra armour called TOGA as well as a new variant called L-VAS that protects them from RPG`s. The modified Centurion tanks which were named NAGMACHON, NAKPADON and PUMA have the disvantage that the crew could be shot at when they had to enter and exit the vehicle; as this happens through top hatches in the added superstructure which replaced the tanks turret.
Israel is currently developing an APC on earlier Merkava I and II as the L7 105mm canons are nowadays almost obsolete for tanks. The difference by using Merkava is that the engine is in the front, so it's easy to add an exit in the back for the infantry.In the early 80s since Israel is hardly the wealthiest country in the world, they looked to their stock of captured T54/55 tanks for a solution. In this waythey didn't have to develop and pay for the suspension to their new APC. The first prototype of the vehicle was finished in 1987.
The Achzarit was developed as a armoured personel carrier and it is not an Infantry fighting vehicle. These IFVs are popular today, for instance like Marder, Bradley, Warrior, CV 90 and BMP 1-2-3.
The vehicle has to deliver infantry safely to the battlefield where they leave the tank. The Achzarit is so extremely armored that it weighs 44 tons and is able to deliver soldiers under heavy fire. One of the bigger modifications on the T55 donor vehicle was to replace the Russian engine with a GM 8V-71TTA 8 cylinder engine on 625 Hp and an Allison XTG-44-4 transmission (which is also used in M109 SPG). The engine is placed so that there is space for a tunnel to the right for the crew to exit into the back of the vehicle where a ramp is placed.
On the Mk. I version, the T55 suspension is used without changes but Mk II is equipped with Centurion road wheels and Merkava tracks. This version also has a bigger engine on 850 Hp (8v-92TA/DDC III with XTG-411-5A).
The Israelis have put an extra 14 tonnes armor on top of the T55 hull. It's 3.70 meters wide and only 2 meters tall. The crew consisting of 3 men has a hatch each. The driver is placed in the left side and the commander in the middle; the gunner is in the right side. The commander has a bowl-shaped hatch that is designed a way so he can open it, but still have protection from overhead. The gunner uses a remote controlled Overhead Weapon Station with a 7.62mm machine gun. 2-3 more 7,62 mm machineguns are installed on a standard IDF swingarm mounts, controlled from 2 hatches in the back of the APC. Normally, 7-8 soldiers are transported beside the crew members.
The Azimut set consists of Trumpeter suspension and wheels as well as "rubber tracks".The electric engine and the battery boxes should be removed and the tracks should be exchanged with other tracks, be it Tamiya T55, T62 or ECSI link/length tracks. Or maybe if you won the lottery FRIDUL metal tracks. Unfortunately, the Tamiya T55 are too short.
The Azimut resin parts are incredibly well cast without sinking-/suction- and worm-holes. As for the etch brass, the light mounts could for example be thicker or the bending groove could be less deep (yes, I broke them…). But other than that, the etch parts are fantastic, especially the TOGA armor for the back of the vehicle.
Azimut delivers the vehicle with all the interior parts which includes the seats, steering wheel, cockpit, ammo-boxes and etc. So if you have the hatches open, you will be able to see some equipment on the inside as well.
No parts were missing from the set I purchased. The machinegun missing the front part of the barrel, so I switched them with Academy MAG machineguns from their Israeli M151 jeep set.
The building instructions are very good for a resin set. There are 7 pages of good drawings, but I want to recommend that you test the placing with a microscopic drop of cryo glue, especially the different boxes and instruments inside the vehicle, because suspension and hull part should fit later on.
Interiors and the exit passageway were painted satin white, seat cushion olivegreen and after that, the interiors were painted with a dark brown wash which makes it look like it has been used and not as if it was new and sparkly. The bottom plates got a highlight with silver/metal, making them look used as well.
After a primer coat the rest of the vehicle is painted with my own mix of israeli modern sand brown. To paint Israeli vehicles is like painting the German in sand yellow or the allied in (olive-drab); every scale modeller or "expert" has his or her own view on how the color should look.
The museum director of the Israeli tank museum in Latrun recommends Humbrol 84.In my opinion, it's too light. Verlinden has always used Humbrol 29, others use Model Master SAC Bomber tan1792, Model Master Israeli Sand Gray 2138. I myself use the following blend as base coat but some people think it's too dark:
All colors are from Humbrol.
50% 164 dark sea grey
20% 163 dark green
15% 62 Leather
15% 121 Pale Stone
By "weathering", I make this blend gradually lighter. This is done with Humbrol 94.
The blend above gives you a color that I personally think looks like the paint seen on pictures of Achzarit vehicles, but choose the color that you yourself think resembles it the most.
Photo of the same vehicle, just taken with a different light or by a different time, maybe with another brand of film can make the color look different than it does on the other pictures.
All in all a good but expensive set that I would love to recommend to everybody who wants to build israeli armor. I can't say whether it's better than AEF or Legend since I haven't seen their sets "live". I would like to reccomend you have a look at the following links if you buy the set:
Or just Google the word Achzarit
Painting of IDF vehicles::
Military Briefs 2. Israeli tank based carriers by Marsh Gelbart
26. October 2015 at 06:57:12