Saturday, May 3, 2014

Magach 3s - 15mm Yom Kippur War

Magach 3s from Battlefront
Over the past couple months Dallas has been doing some really nice work on some 15mm Egyptians to participate in some Yom Kippur War gaming - see here for his really sharp tanks and here for some really nice infantry.  It's always fun when someone else in the group tilts over and joins in with a "New Insane Project", and in particular Dallas is great because he not only joins, but once he does, he provokes counter-escalation (Mike is great for this too).  And so here is a platoon of IDF Magach 3 tanks, ready to respond to this Egyptian provocation.

I used Vallejo's "Green Grey" on these tanks
The "Magach", as tread heads will immediately recognize, is a US M48 Patton tank.  The IDF acquired these from West Germany initially (I think) and then more from the US.  They equipped armour battalions serving in the Southern Command, the front facing Egypt in/on the Sinai. The Magach served in the Six Day War in 1967, and saw critical service again during the Yom Kippur War in 1973.

Decals from Battlefront
My initial Arab-Israeli war collecting was focused on the Golan Heights front, but with Dallas doing Egyptians I wanted to expand into the IDF tanks that saw service in the Sinai.  The Centurions and M51s saw action there as well, but the Magach tanks were pretty much exclusive to the Sinai and their rounded, egg-shaped silhouette is quite evocative of the desperate fighting along the Suez Canal in 1973.
Air recognition stripes
As with most of their tanks, the IDF set about improving them almost immediately.  They ditched the little mini-turret cupolas in favour of a more standard hatch, and up-gunned them from 90mm to 105mm. Tracking the many small modifications to the different version of Magach tanks is confusing and gives me a headache, but I think the main differences for gaming purposes are the main gun and the cupola. While there were only a relatively small number of the 105mm-armed tanks in 1967, by 1973 they were the norm in the IDF Southern Command, so I put the 105mm gun on these models.

You can kind of see the hacked-up cupola on the tanks
The models are from Battlefront.  The Magach kits are lovely, but unfortunately the cupolas are still the old-school "M1" cupolas from the original Patton tanks.  I believe the IDF used them in 1967, so this makes sense - Battlefront released these models for the Six Day War, after all.  But I wanted these tanks to "look 1973", so I attempted a crude conversion by simply cutting the MG off the turret and mounting a .50 cal MG on the top.  It's not pretty, and absolutely not a proper "Urdan" IDF tank cupola, but it will do for now!

I absolutely love the decals from Battlefront...

I painted the tanks with Vallejo "Green Grey" and pin washed them with GW "Agrax Earthsade" and "Nuln Oil" washes.  The decals are also from Battlefront, and they are REALLY excellent - no more free-hand attempts at Hebrew letters for me!!  I weathered them with pigment powders and they are ready for action.
Bring on the Egyptians! Hey - what's a "Sagger" anyway?
Dallas has kindly agreed to run a 15mm Yom Kippur War game with me a PrairieCon 2014 in Brandon this year.  We are hoping to play a test-game this week against his excellent Egyptians - stay tuned for details!


Moiterei_1984 said...

Excellent work on these Magachs! Your weathering is superb.

Jason Meyers said...

Ditto. Those tanks look great!

DaveV said...

Great work, Greg! I agree, the weathering is rendered very well.

I just saw a Greatest Tank Battles documentary on the October war. Looking forward to seeing your scenario come to fruition.