I have recently decided to refresh my stock with recent modern armour releases and ordered two kits from Easy Hobby, one of them Dragon’s Magach 2.
I am big fan of IDF armour, so it was just a question when I will put my hands on it, so why not right away…
I was curious. Dragon has this annoying habit to take otherwise perfect kit and wreck it with one or two ridiculous issues, that completely take away the joy from the build experience (such as with their Conqueror – you can read more about my experience here). So what will this one be…?
When you first open the box you will have the usual Dragon Deja Vu – sprues neatly packed in plastic bags, with great looking details and fine molding. Nothing new there. From the illustration on the box it is clear you can build two version of the tank – Magach 1 in Jordan army colors and Israeli Magach 2. Illustrations are typical messy mix of pictures on an oversized fold-out sheet that requires quite some time of studying, especially since there are some important differences between the two versions of the tank you can choose from.
I have spent so far about 2-3 hours with the kit and you can see on the pictures current state of my progress. Unfortunately that time was sufficient to see the flaws of this model, which again are quite important in my eyes. So yes, Dragon has unfortunately again disappointed me. But to be more specific:
- If you decide to build Jordanian version of the tank you will have to use rear upper hull part which has a lot of handles molded solid on the main body of the tank. Of course there are no undercuts, so the whole impression is quite crude. Removing these and replacing them with something better looking will be real joy for those with S&M tendencies because the surface underneath is made of engine louvres and you would have to replicate them under the removed handles. The same is the case also in the Israeli Magach 2 version, but the handles are not so large, so the effect is not as detrimental.
- If you decide to build the Israeli version you will have one major surgery to make – fenders have to be cut in half and then one half replaced with another part. At first I had hard time believing Dragon would actually do anything like this, given that they have provided two completely separate lower hull parts for the different versions of the vehicle, so why not the fenders…? The instructions are quite vague about the exact line where the fenders are to be cut, basically you will have to judge it yourself. Really???
- For the Israeli version, kit provides 3 different parts for gun mantlet – one without dust protection cover, one covered with tarp which attaches to the turret and one with the tarp and a turret sleeve. Based on the number of pictures I have seen, the most prevalent was the second version. The problem is that Dragon has not provided barrel that would fit this mantlet!! There are 2 barrels provided for the other two alternative gun mantlets, but for this one simply none of them fits… In addition to that, the gun mantlet for this version is made of the same material as Dragon’s flexible DS tracks. Which means that it can be attached to the turret so that it fits well, but it also means that it cannot be sanded, adjusted and it is difficult to remove the molding lines that are visible on the sides. There are also some parts of this mantlet that need to be removed, but again, because the material is flexible, this is not going to be clean task.
So all in all, I see another kit is going to be put on the shelf until someone comes with an aftermarket parts to address the shortcomings. I can live with the fenders, I have cut them and attached the 2 different parts so that it looks reasonably ok and with some putty it might be hard to see the joint. But the mantlet fiasco is hard to swallow. You can always build the tank without the dust protection cover which is perhaps the easiest alternative, though not historically the most accurate. Here I stand corrected by a true experts on Israeli armour, however I was not able to find a picture of such configuration.
My disappointment is underlined by the fact that Magach 2 is very attractive subject and kit has many qualities, its shortcomings however are hard to forgive.
Again, I would be curious to hear other people’s opinion, ’cause who knows? Maybe it’s just me….