Review: 1/35 Achzarit (Meng Model SS-003)
The Israeli Defense Force is known for the many conversions they make on their vehicles. For the Achzarit they adapted the captured T-55’s into the Tiran’s which later on were used to build these Armored Personnel Carrier or APC. The Achzarit could carry 9 troops and 1 driver, it was armored with machineguns and a 60mm mortar and it had some more features like night vision, a smoke grenade launcher and the smoke generating system was kept from the original T-55. The T-55 was rebuild for a large part, a new and better engine was added and placed in another way, to make room for the troop corridor.
When the kit arrived I enjoyed the look of the boxart. The star of David in each corner is a nice touch. The sides show a decal-option and some information. When the top of the box was taken off I was actually surprised that it wasn’t as full as some of the previous kits from Meng but the detail attracts your eye immediately. And there are some nice goodies too! Let’s take a look at what the box contains:
- Instruction sheet
- Upper hull
- Lower hull
- 7 sprue’s in a sandy yellow color
- 1 clear sprue
- Poly caps
- Photo etch
- Paint chart
Instruction sheet: A nice A-4 sized booklet with a glossy front and back and the mat black and white instructions on the inside which are easy to read and understand in general. There is some background information on the vehicle and a related person that Meng co-operated with to build this kit.
Upper hull: The biggest plastic part in the box and it looks great! It has a texture on the top and frontal plate where the engine cover is smooth. The level of detail is very nice.
Lower hull: A nice piece of work too. If you have ever build a T-55 or a Tiran this piece directly shows a bit of what had to happen for IDF to convert this vehicle.
Sprue A: This kit contains two of these sprues, it mostly filled with small parts. Some hatches and machineguns and suspension parts along with the idlers and some of the bigger parts.
Sprue B: Also two of these in this kit. Mostly about the road wheels. Also the sprockets and some smaller parts.
Sprue C: Parts for the corridor, basket and some smaller parts.
Sprue D: A lot of big parts mainly for the interior.
Sprue E: A lot of small parts, the hatches, machineguns and headlights stand out.
Sprue T: The clear parts sprue, this came nicely packed with an extra protection in the plastic bag. It looks very clear and sharp.
Tracks: The first feel of these tracks are that they are a bit rigid. But if you take a close look (and it’s not visible on the pictures) you can actually see small gaps like you would on the real tracks or just like it would with individual tracklinks. I found this a real good piece of detail. Only negative point are some ejector marks on the inside.
Poly caps: For the wheels.
Wire: For the tow-cables.
Photo etch: A nice touch from Meng is this PE-set! The side pieces stand out, this level of detail wouldn’t have been achieved with just plastic. These will look good on the model, that’s for sure. Another nice extra Meng provided is the wheel mask. The meaning for this part is that you first paint the whole wheel black, then put the mask in front so you can spray the steel part in the hull-color without a lot of extra work. There isn’t a lot of folding needed with this PE so even if you aren’t great with PE you still can manage to add this to the model.
Decals: Printed by Cartograf so I don’t expect a lot of troubles with these.
Paint chart: A nice glossy colored sheet with options for 3 different vehicles and a color reference.
- Option A: Commanders vehicle of the 3rd Company in 1st Golani Brigade.
- Option B: Vehicle of the 2nd Platoon, 3rd Company in unknown brigade.
- Option C: Vehicle of the 2nd Squad, 3rd Company in unknown brigade in security operation near the Gaza border in 2008.
This is a great new subject from Meng. Especially the IDF fans will love this one but it will be attractive for more people just for being something different. Except for the ejector marks on the inside of the tracks I couldn’t find any negative points at first sight for this Achzarit kit. If there are any more negative points they will probably be found in the build itself.