Monday, January 6, 2014

15mm IDF Armour - M51 Shermans and Tiran-67

M51 Sherman tanks from Battlefront
 Here is another selection of models painted during the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge. It is a healthy pile of IDF armour, a company worth of M51 Shermans (known casually as "Ishermans") and a lone Tiran-67.  The M51s are mostly from Battlefront (8 of them), with a few from Old Glory (a pack of 3). The Old Glory tanks have Peter Pig accessories (crew, MGs).

Tiran 67 (left) and three M51 Sherman tanks from Old Glory

I painted the Old Glory tanks first, back in December, using my mix of GW "Death World Forest" and Devlan Mud wash (see here for more on that).  I find Old Glory to be very hit-and-miss. The Old Glory M51 models are nice, however, and competitively priced.  They are weakest on what I like to refer to as "accessories" - their crew figures are awful, their MGs are awful.  The Peter Pig accessories really "make" the tanks in my view.

Old Glory M51 Sherman tank - crew and MG from Peter Pig

The M51 saw a healthy amount of action in the 1967 "Six Days War" as well as the 1973 Yom Kippur War.  The Centurions get most of the tank glory from those wars (and rightly so), but the humble M51 was a key player.  In 1973 it was IDF reservists in M51s that kicked off the vital counterattack against the Syrian penetrations on the Golan Heights.  M51s saw action in the counter-invasion into Syria (ambushing an Iraqi armoured division which had been sent to help the Syrians), as well as in the fighting on the Sinai. 

Front view - oversize 105mm is so big it can't quite fit in the photo

The M51 is one of the coolest-looking tanks out there, with a massive high-velocity 105mm gun and a requisite end-of-days size muzzle brake. I cannot understand how the Sherman tank was able to become such a cool vehicle when in WW2 it was panzer cannon fodder. Even so, rolling out in one of these in 1973 took guts...after all it would be facing 100mm guns (T-55s, SU-100s), 115mm guns (T-62s), 125mm AT guns, 108mm recoilless rifles and even AT-3 "Sagger" guided missiles.  

M51 Sherman tanks from Battlefront, using Vallejo colour for Sinai Grey

The markings on all of these tanks are hand painted.  Some of them turned out great.  A chevron, generally, is pretty easy to freehand paint.  On the other hand, the Hebrew letters were hit-and-miss.  I wanted to use decals for those, but I had ordered them from Battlefront in November and they were taking forever to show up (still had not arrived as of this posting).

Rear view of Battlefront M51 Sherman tank

The Battlefront M51s are of course pricier, but they are nicer models.  They are a little bigger - the turret is larger, and the tank itself is a little taller, and the barrel on the main gun is thicker/heavier-looking. For these tanks I attempted to follow Battlefront's approach to getting the elusive "Sinai Grey" colours on the tanks.  I followed the process from this article - it's a great read, check it out - using Vallejo's "Green Grey".  I did not bother with the puffery of an oil wash, but I just used GW's Devlan Mud to pin wash the model instead.

You can see the freehand painting of the Hebrew letters didn't go so well....

While the overall Battlefront M51 is a better model, I was pretty disappointed with the casting quality of the accessories.  The crew figures and MGs sucked.  Unfortunately my stock of Peter Pig stuff had run out, so I just made do with the least-bad castings. I'm putting another order in to Peter Pig (which will no doubt arrive four years before any Battlefront stuff...anyway).

Was pleased with how the markings on this tank turned out!
The searchlight is optional for the models.  I threw a few on, but not on all of them.  Fortunately they were well-cast, compared to the crew and the MGs.  

Example of a tank with a search light mounted

I am very happy with this approach to Sinai Grey.  There are a couple of comparison shots here so you can see how they differ.  You also get an idea of how the Old Glory M51 compares to the Battlefront one.

Old Glory on the left, Battlefront on the right

Old Glory in front, Battlefront behind

Battlefront on the left, Old Glory on the right

The lonely tank is a Tiran-67, a T-55 captured in 1967 and put into service with one of the IDF's reserve armoured brigades.  I haven't found much detailed information on the service of these tanks, but I believe they saw combat in the Sinai in 1973, as well as with various "allied" militias during Israel's Lebanon incursion in the 1980s.

Tiran 67, a captured T-55 in IDF service

The Tiran is an Old Glory casting, and not a great casting. The MG is from Peter Pig. The poor Tiran is a little lonely...I may add a few more even though they aren't great quality, just to have a T-55 vs. Tiran game set in the Sinai sometime.

Coming soon...Khurasan T-55 company...

Eleven M51s is quite a lot of IDF tanks for skirmish style gaming...and while I am hoping to run more skirmish style games with these for our group, I am actually also trying to load up for a straight-up Fate of A Nation, Flames of War game.  Yes - you read that here...I will be trying to run some Flames of War games...I am already trying to build up my Egyptian forces as well as IDF. I'm hoping Dallas might jump in on the Egyptian side, and I'm hoping Curt will do some Jordanians. I have a big shipment of Battlefront stuff dues this week, so stay tuned for more painting!


Chris said...

Those are some great looking tanks you have there. Makes me want to game the Yom Kippur War.

Greg B said...

Thanks Chris. Dive in - you'll love it!

PS - love your UN stuff on your blog.

Wargamer on Tour said...

The oil wash is not puffery, but (IMHO) a nice fast way to highlight the details. I reckon it is faster than magic wash and dry-brushing back up, and I've never gotten good results using a black lining pen


Greg B said...

@ Wargamer on Tour - I have no doubt many get good results with oil washes. I use the word "puffery" as I have never found anything involved with oil paints to be fast or efficient. But I do envy the painters who seem to use it so effortlessly - I am just jealous! I suck with oil paints.

And then some people even find a way to use them in airbrushes...!