Takom 1/35 AMX-13 /75 I.D.F. Light Tank

Review for Military Modelling by John Prigent

Takom has now stepped up to the wicket with a worthy competitor for the Tamiya kit. Quite apart from being labelled as an IDF tank, this is a different, later hull type. In fact it provides the type 2B hull with squared-off trackguard stowage bins, disc idlers without ribs and a splashguard on the glacis, making it either a tank from late 1950s upgraded with the 1960s double headlamps or an early 1960s one.

What’s in the box? Well, some empty space because it’s a standard-size box but a small tank. Don’t let that mislead you, it still comes with 14 sprues, one of them clear for the lights and vision blocks, plus another ten for the individual track links with nine to a sprue – which, by the way, are the early type without rubber pads. One oddity of the kit is that the part numbers on the sprues are on the attachment stubs, not the main frame where we usually look for them, so make sure to check each one before cutting it free.  Also in the box are a separate lower hull, turret base and turret top, plus a flexible plastic ‘shroud’ to fill the joint between the separately-elevating turret top and its base. That’s close on 200 parts excluding the etched fret and the 86-link tracks. A small etched brass fret provides the essential grilles, headlamp and horn guards and a few other parts, and the decal sheet gives markings for two IDF tanks in the 1967 Six-Day War, one at Nablus and one on the Golan Heights, a Lebanese Army one and one used by the Venezuelan Army in the 1962 Puerto Caballero Insurrection. They’re shown in full colour on the painting guide, which uses Ammo by MIG acrylic paints though most are generic colours so the only ones that you’ll need to find alternatives for if Ammo by MIG isn’t available in your area are the Sinai Grey of the Israeli and Lebanese examples and the ‘blue-green’ of the Venezuelan one .

  Construction is in the traditional style, lower hull and suspension first, then hull top, tracks and trackguards. Some locating holes have to be drilled in the trackguards, because Takom has at least two other versions of the kit with different fittings. The instructions show the trackguards fitted before the tracks, but I don’t recommend that unless you really enjoy threading tracks under their guards. The topside fittings come next, with the first etched parts: those very nice grilles and the headlamp and horn guards. The headlamp guards come with a rather odd assembly drawing that look like an arc and may puzzle some builders; it’s there to point out that the guards are bulged at the front, and the etched ones have the bulges sideways on a single piece instead of being separate bits to attach. You simply need to carefully press them into shape on a softish mat with something like the end of a brush handle. Since this is an in-box review I can’t yet say how well it works, but the idea is certainly better than having to attach separate small bits to the frame of each guard.

  With the hull complete it’s time for the turret, and here you have several jobs to do before assembly of the upper section. Some locating pins have to be trimmed off that aren’t needed for this tank, and holes have to be drilled too.  This section of the instruction sheet separates the ‘IDF’ and ‘non-IDF’ actions, so you get stage ‘X’-1 for the IDF and ’X’-2 for the non-IDF tanks – a lot easier to follow than a single diagram mixing them for each stage. You have a choice of two MGs for the IDF turret-top mount, an M19 .30-caliber or  what appears to be a 7.92mm FN-MAG, but the painting drawings show the M19 on both IDF tanks and the non-IDF ones don’t have the turret-top mount. It would have been useful if Takom has stated which MG to use for which tank, but most photos show the M19 if the mount for it is fitted at all. I suspect that Takom only included them both because they’re on a single sprue common to all their AMX-13 kits.

  With the turret top done its lower section comes next, still with the ‘X’-1, ‘X-2’ instructions. But a word of warning is needed; although the top is mounted on trunnions to elevate and depress it may not move freely inside the flexible shroud. Don’t be tempted to leave off the shroud! Yes, plenty of IDF AX-13s were photographed with it missing – but the top rim it was attached to is not a separate part in the kit. So leaving it off mean that you will need to provide that rim, which I suspect will be a tricky job until one appears on an aftermarket etched set. The same applies to the non-IDF tanks, which don’t use the canvas shroud, though it’s possible that both subjects were provided with the late-production rubber interior waterproofing shield instead. The final steps add the main gun barrel, which may disappoint some as it’s a traditional two-part assembly but I believe aftermarket metal barrels are already available, and some small hull fittings including the front splashguard. Here’s the only omission I can find: there should be two struts behind it to keep it upright, but those should be easy to make from plastic rod.

  Final verdict? This is a straightforward kit that will please IDF fans, though researchers should be wary of photos of the Latrun museum exhibit which has an early turret on a later hull. Definitely recommended!

 

Product: Construction kit

Ref: 2036

Scale: 1/35

Parts: approx 300

Price: £40

Manufacturer: Takom

Website: https://www.facebook.com/TAKOM-354803674728188/