by: Nikos Brestas [ ]
The Israeli Defence Force has the tendency to let nothing go to waste. So they came up with a number of uses for their Centurion tank hulls, after they were phased out from use. One of the vehicles is the Puma, which is an acronym for Poretz Mokshim Handasati (minefield break through vehicle), in use by the Combat Engineer Corps or Heil HaHandasa HaKravit. The Puma's role is to provide protection and fire support for the Engineers as they clear paths through minefields or during other frontline tasks. The latest version of the Puma is the Puma Batash, with improved armored modules and enhanced crew protection. Legend Productions has released two sets on the subject, the first one is set no. LF1360 which provides the parts for updating the Hobby Boss kit to the basic Batash Version and the second one is set no. LF1364, which offers the additional Doghouse type superstructure seen on some vehicles. The following are an in box review of kit no LF1364. CAUTION: This set is supplementary to set no LF1360, which is the basic requirement for a Batash version.
The set comes in the standard Legend Production black box. There are two zip lock bags and a single double printed leaf of the now typical color photo instructions. The first bag contains length of 0.5mm brass wire, a square piece of clear plastic and two photo etch frets. The second bag contains the resin parts for doghouse, the hatches, the mounting supports and various bits and details.
The instructions are the weakest point of this set. Although the photos provide clear indications to the usage of the various small pieces and details on the doghouse, there is no indication to where and how the doghouse is positioned on the superstructure of the vehicle, or which parts have to be omitted from the kit. From a first look assembly «K-K» of step 15 from the kit instructions is not required, plus the ammo boxes for the machine guns. There will be a build log on the forums, so please check the forums for more information on the doghouse positioning. Attention will also be required on how the frames for the superstructure windows are shaped, since the instructions only provide a photo of the assembled piece.
The two photo etch frets include the details for the hinges, the mounting brackets for the doghouse, and the rings around the two hatches. Both frets come in the same thickness. The part attachment points on all of the frets are quite small and the parts seem easy to remove cleanly from the frets. The instructions call for duplicate part placement when the part thickness is larger than that of the provided frets. There are indicative dents/lines where the individual photo etch piece needs to be folded, something that I always find helpful when working with photo etch.
The length of brass wire is provided for making a single handle on the doghouse door, so the rest goes to the spare box.
The clear styrene piece is free of any scratches and should be easy to cut to shape, but I would have appreciated if the required clear parts came already preformed (I am a spoiled and lazy modeler).
The detail in all the resin parts is crisp and there is no flash to be found on any of the pieces or bubbles. The casting is perfect and even the bigger parts are straight. The pouring blocks do not run the entire length of the part but there are several attachment points that have to be cut off. One drawback is that on most pieces there are pouring blocks on the back of the pieces that require attention and could prove time consuming to remove and sand.
The doghouse comes as a single resin piece and the casting is perfect. The dimensions and the shape appear to be spot on. There is thin resin covering all of the windows and hatch openings but it should be easy to remove, contrary to the large casting blocks of the piece. Special attention is required when removing the pouring block from the underside of the rear doghouse frame.
The two hatches and their details are superbly done and I am really impressed by the quality and detail of the pieces. The rest of the resin parts included are the doghouse mounts and the usual resin bolt heads supplied in most Legend sets.
Legend Productions continues their line of IDF subjects with this nice looking set. They have invested a lot of time and effort on IDF vehicles and the Puma must be one of their favourites, since there are so many sets already covering most of the versions and equipment found on the vehicle. I would have appreciated if the set came with more detailed and easier to comprehend instructions. The Doghouse will be a welcome addition to the Puma Batash. I sure wish Legend Productions is planning to do an IDF dozer blade in the near future to supplement their Puma sets. Recommended to all IDF modelling enthusiasts.