Academy 1/35 Magac 7C "Gimel"
The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) is famous for making the most of the resources they have, including taking weapons supplied by other nations and "making them better".
Captured Soviet T-54/55 tanks were reconditioned and upgraded to become the Tiran 5/6/7, while ex-World War 2 Sherman tanks sourced from various suppliers were upgraded to become the M-50/-51 tank.
The "Magach" series of tanks refers to U.S. M48 and M60 tanks taken into Israeli service from various sources (West Germany, the United States, Jordan). Magach series 1 through 5 are M48- based vehicles, while the Magach 6 and 7 are based on the M60 tank.
The IDF upgraded their M60 tanks with ERA (Exploding Reactive Armor) "Blaze" packages after suffering terrible losses during the 1973 Yom Kipper War, thanks to Egyptian use of Soviet made anti-tank missiles. The upgraded vehicle was the Magach 6.
However, having learned urban warfare lessons from their 1982 invasion of Lebanon, the IDF's M60s were again upgraded, this time with layered passive add-on armor. Merkava tank tracks were also introduced on the Magach 7. The 7C Gimel is the third in this new series of upgrades.
What's in the Academy Box
10 sprues of injection molded tan plastic parts
1 bag of tan vinyl polly caps
1 set of "rubber band" type tracks (Merkava)
1 small sheet of water slide decals with 4 marking options
1 booklet, with 8 pages of black and white assembly instructions covering 15 assembly steps plus a separate double-sided sheet incorporating a markings and painting guide plus a sprue layout diagram.
Academy has gone the route of Dragon Models, utilizing various sprues from previous Academy tank kits, together with new sprues produced specifically for the Magach 7C, in order to produce this kit.
The road wheel sprue, Sprue A, for example, is from the Academy M48A5 kit, while other sprues are from Academy's M60A1, M60A1 Blazer, and M60A3 kits. There are also five sprues specifically produced for the Magach 7C.
Generally speaking the detail on these parts is crisply rendered, without sink marks or excess flash. Ejector pin marks are in spots that won't be seen, once the model is assembled. The rubber band tracks are acceptably detailed, and with the side skirts of the Magach 7C installed, not much is seen anyway.
If you want a little more detail, you can purchase a set of aftermarket injection plastic tracks from Wolfpack for a moderate sum.
Regarding the color and marking schemes offered in the kit: the decals on previous Academy kits I have built have been acceptable, when applied to fairly flat surfaces. They don't take well to bending, such as the barrel stripes on this Magach 7C. So, I might advise utilizing paint and masking techniques, rather than the kit decals for the barrel stripes.
Unfortunately, the 4 marking schemes don't list in any way what unit, time period or locale for the vehicles. This is unfortunate for those like myself who like to build tanks with known histories.
When I looking at the crisply molded parts in the box, knowing how well previous Academy kits have gone together for me, I am confident that by putting some modeling skills to work, a very attractive model can arise from this kit. It certainly will LOOK cool! My thanks to Model Rectifier Corporation for providing Internet Modeler with this review sample.