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In-Box Review
135
IDF Maga'ch 6B Gal Conversion Set

by: Jim Lewis [ GUNTRUCK ]

Introduction


The venerable Israeli Defense Force’s main battle tank in the 1980’s and early part of the 1990’s is the subject of this conversion set from Legend Productions. The Maga'ch 6 (commonly thought short for Merkavot Giborei Hamilchama – Chariot of War Heroes) is a modernized family of Israeli tanks built on the American M60 series of MBT’s – first appearing in IDF service during the 1970’s. The Maga'ch 6 upgrade packages are fitted to M60, M60A1 and M60A3 tanks commonly incorporating the Israeli Urdan low-profile Commander’s Cupola and “Blazer” ERA (Explosive Reactive Armor).


There are several sub-variants in the Maga'ch 6 upgrade, of which the Legend Productions Conversion Set represents the 6B Gal – the modernized M60A1 with Continental AVDS-1790-2C RISE (Reliability Improved Selected Equipment) Engine, thermal sleeve jacketed 105mm main gun barrel, enlarged turret basket and the “Gal” main gun fire control system introduced in the 1990’s. Maga'ch 6B Gal’s had Merkava Mk.I tracks fitted and some tanks had steel road wheels at the #5 Station, with all others being aluminum.



Inside the Box

Designed to fit any of the current 1:35th scale M60 model kits on the market, Legend Productions conversion set is comprehensive – with three main Turret pieces (Upper, Lower and Turret Basket) further adorned with 79 resin detail parts; a 15-part .50cal Machine Gun; 41-part Blazer ERA blocks; 19 photoetch, a length of .5mm brass wire and a generous length of nylon string.



Reasons for the Ratings

Packaging – The Legend Productions conversion set comes in a sturdy cardboard box, with an attractive color product labels as outer wrapping – illustrating the contents. There are no packing peanuts inside the box, with Legend Productions loose-wrapping the major parts (Turret Components) and bagging the smaller resin items. The brass wire and nylon string are loose. The photoetched fret is separately bagged. The well-packaged contents fit tightly in the cardboard box, but there remains opportunity for the delicate and thinly cast resin parts to grind upon each other during shipment. The damaged parts I found in my kit example were few and easy to repair.

Instruction Sheets – Legend Productions provides a full-color Instruction Sheet with both part number call-outs and locating photos. They are clear, but with the sheer number of parts, the modeler serves themselves better by inspecting them carefully.


Quality of Parts – Overall, the quality of the castings in the Legend Productions conversion set is high, with a little flash on the smaller parts to cleanup as can be expected. On some of the smaller items, the modeler will need to exercise care in removal from the casting plugs too – and in some cases it is better to perform clean-up while attached and braced by the casting plugs.


Legend Productions castings are accurate and impressively detailed. The cast texture present on the Turret is subtle, and will look well underneath a coat of paint. The Turret is hollow-cast, providing the modeler to pose figures in the open hatches – or opportunity to model a complete interior. Upon initial inspection, I found no air bubbles and short-shots in the largest of assemblies to be concerned about. The Main Gun Barrel is presented in resin, and was straight and true in my kit example. There were no warped parts in this kit actually. The Upper and Lower Turret halves fit together very tightly, with little filler anticipated in the end. The resin pour gates might prove a bit of a challenge to those not familiar with working in this medium. Cut slowly and take care to remove the resin pour gates in the right locations.


The Turret Basket is presented as filled with crew equipment and covered. The same applies for the Smoke Grenade Boxes. These castings presented conflicting feelings for me. On one hand, I appreciated the excellent casting and the detail of this single piece. You can literally speed through a subassembly that otherwise would be both time-consuming and challenging (to the point of frustration) for those not wanting a fiddly build or run the risk of ending up with a misaligned area. On the other hand, it would have been nice to have the option of modeling the basket or Grenade Launcher Boxes – and filling it with your own gear or creative energies. I also appreciated the inclusion of the .5mm brass wire for rendering the rails on the Turret sides, but the actual parts on the Mag’ach are much beefier. The same thought applies to the photoetched Outriggers that support the Fenders. On the real M60 tanks, these are not as thin as photoetched parts come. More experienced modelers may opt to replace these parts, though all modelers will appreciate their inclusion by Legend Productions.


If I could have asked Legend Productions to have included anything else in this conversion set, it would have been the addition a set of steel and aluminum road wheels – perhaps three of each – to allow the modeler greater ability to build this version of the IDF tank matching service photos. For the retail expense of this conversion set, I don’t consider this addition too far out of line.



Conclusions

The Legend Productions Maga'ch 6B Gal conversion set is impressive. It is very complete as presented, with little left for the modeler to add to make their project complete. Though IDF modelers very familiar with this subject can find some details to add to their project that Legend might not have provided, I feel they will be quite satisfied with this set. It skillfully captures the look and feel of this aggressive looking Israeli main battle tank admirably, even with the bewildering detail modifications and changes seen during service in the IDF. I highly recommend this set for fans of all modern armor subjects.



A Special thanks to Ian Hanratty of Friendship Models for the review sample.
SUMMARY
Legend Production's highly-detailed conversion set for modeling the IDF Maga'ch 6B Gal Main Battle Tank
  PACKAGING:95%
  INSTRUCTION SHEETS:97%
  QUALITY OF PARTS:96%
Percentage Rating
96%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: LF1111
  Suggested Retail: $98.00 USD approx.
  Related Link: Legend Productions
  PUBLISHED: Feb 28, 2006
  NATIONALITY: Israel
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 89.45%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 88.20%

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About Jim Lewis (GunTruck)
FROM: CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES

I love American AFV's from all eras and researching Vietnam-era Gun Trucks and US Army Pentomic and Atomic Battlefield Ordnance from the 1950's through the 1960's. Avid Sci-Fi fan and modeler as well - Star Wars, Space:1999, and Star Trek are favorites. Owner/Master Miniaturist - GunTruck Studios....

Copyright ©2017 text by Jim Lewis [ GUNTRUCK ]. All rights reserved.


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