Israeli Universal Carrier circa 1956

This is the venerable Tamiya Universal Carrier Mk. II kit in 1/35 scale that dates back to the 1970’s. The kit shows it’s age and calls out loudly for photo etch upgrades. I used the Eduard set and it did a nice job providing a few details that really pop. In addition to that, I discarded the awful vintage vinyl tracks that came with the kit for a set of Model Kasten individual link tracks.

Tracks like these are a must on Bren Gun Carriers. There is simply no substitute in my mind. One grand error I made with these tracks was to assemble the drive sprocket before I opened the MK package with the tracks. There was a white metal sprocket in there that I needed to use. The teeth on the Tamiya sprocket are way too big to fit the delicate individual track links. I solved this by cutting the teeth off on the edge where they meet the tracks. It turned out to be not too noticeable.
The Israeli flag was made from epoxy putty rolled and thinned until it was almost transparent. I then draped it over the side of the vehicle and let it dry. Even when it was dry it was still pliable due to how thin it was. I then masked it and airbrushed the markings. The flag is a prototype 1949 proposal type that was never adopted by the Israeli govenrment. Photographs show some troops using this unofficial flag as late as the 1956 Sinai war. If you ask me they should have adopted this one. I think it looks better.

I had originally intended to build this as an Egyptian vehicle but as the project progressed for a number of reasons it turned into an Israeli track from the early to mid-1950’s. Both sides used large numbers of Universal Carriers up until the 1960’s. The Israeli carriers were mostly those captured in the 1948 war though they captured large numbers in 1956 as well. A number of different sand shield configurations were used on Bren Gun carriers used during this era. Most were an ersatz affair that ran the entire length of the chassis. As this would have covered too much of those wonderful MK individual link tracks, I opted to leave the original half shields on. It’s still accurate, just less common.
The IDF still used ex-German equipment extensively during this period so I included an MG34 and Mausers from a Dragon Gen2 kit. The boxes and clutter are the sweepings of my spares box.The painting was pretty straightforward. I mixed Tamiya XF-62 Olive Drab and XF-13 JA Green and post shaded with that mix lightened with XF-57 Buff and lots of thinner. I gave the whole shebang a wash with black Grumbacher oil and mineral spirits. The markings are from the Verlinden Israeli Vehicles dry transfer set. This set is nice buy comes with no explanations. Since I don’t read Hebrew that well it would have come in handy. I dry brushed the lot with ground pastels.
The final touch was chalked on numbers and a nickname in Hebrew on the sides. It’s supposed to say “Giant” in Hebrew. I hope it’s correct. I used a Prismacolor white artist pencil for this.

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