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Italeri M60 Blazer IDF Tank

Magach (מגח; Ma-GAKH) designation refers to a series of tanks in Israeli service. The tanks are based on the American M48 and M60 Patton tanks. Magach 1, 2, 3 and 5 are based upon M48 tanks; Magach 6 and 7 are based upon M60 tanks. The tanks were sold to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) by West Germany and later the United States, during the 1960s and 1970s. Several dozen Jordanian M48 tanks, captured intact during the 1967 Six Day War, were also commissioned into service, adding to Israel’s 150 already in service at that time. During the war, the Israeli tanks served in their original (American) configuration.

Following the 1967 war, several modifications were made to improve the tank to M48A3 level, resulting with the Magach 3. These modifications included replacement of the original 90 mm cannon gun with the British 105 mm L7, lowering the command turret’s profile, upgraded communication suite, and replacement of the flammable and weak gasoline engine with a 750 hp diesel one.

When the Yom Kippur War broke out, Israel had a total of 540 M48A3 (with 105mm gun) and M60A1 tanks.  During the war, the tanks suffered heavy losses. The location of flammable hydraulic fluid at the front of the turret was discovered to be a severe vulnerability.

After the war Israel had only about 200 M48A3 and M60A1 tanks, after a large number of Israeli tanks were destroyed or terminally hit during the war, mostly in the Sinai front in fighting against the Egyptian army. 

The war’s losses were replaced with new M48A5 (Magach 5) and M60 (Magach 6) during the 1970s. Prior to the 1982 invasion of Lebanon (1982 Lebanon War), Magach 6 tanks were fitted with explosive reactive armor (ERA).



Italeri 1/35 M60 Blazer IDF Tank

The Italeri 1/35 M60 Blazer is the third incarnation as a model kit of what was the centerpiece of the Israeli armored corps in the 70’s and early 80’s. The kit, originally released by ESCI, was later released by Italeri Models (featured here) and subsequently by Revell of Germany. The kit as acquired at a local hobby shop which still happens to have 2 of them left. For $34 I’ve got a slightly damaged box (still wrapped) with its sprues loose inside it, no effort to protect the parts whatsoever was made when packing this kit.

The M60 Blazer tank kit does not have a high parts count, if it wasn’t for a few molded on parts that were a bit fainted, I would have thought at some points that I was working on a Tamiya model. Most of the time building this kit, was dedicated to cleaning.

There is not a lot of flash on the parts, but there is a bothersome mold line almost in every part. The instructions are not to be trusted 100%, or at least the illustrations. That was notable on the ERA plates.

The rear cargo area on the turret need some work, it won’t fit properly.  The turret has gaps around after being glued with the lower half. Green Squadron putty was used to fill the gaps and recreate the cast turret details lost during sanding. Not really hard to fix, in fact, it was the first time I confronted a situation like this and the pictures talk by themselves. Lets not forget this kit has been around for a couple of decades now.

Torsion bars were used in the real tank suspension. I don’t know if ESCI replicated this a little over the board. Some hand adjustments will be needed or some of the wheels will be rather obviously not touching the ground.

If you can add a PE set to this kit and a set of after market tracks, good. If your budget is limited, go for the AM tracks instead. I’ve seen a few samples of this model kit with the original included tracks and they just don’t look right. There is little to no ‘sagging’ at all on the real tank tracks.

The original tracks tend to float on the upper running guides. I used the workable tracks from AFV Club set # AF 35010. Go for them and thank me later ;o)

Painting, Weathering and Markings:

The model was painted with Model Master Acryl Israeli Armor Sand 4814 with my Aztek A470 airbrush and Tan Nozzle. It was sealed with a coat of Acryl Flat Clear. There are 4 markings included with the kit. Version D markings was used. This is a matter of personal choice, I don’t gloss coat before washing the model. The decals are applied on a puddle of Microsol decal solution. Only the decals will receive a second coat of flat Acryl coat for protection.

By applying a clear flat coat finish instead of glossy, the wash (a Dark Wash from Mig Productions) leaves a very subtle gritty dusty finish. A dry brush with the base color will bring  up the details after the wash.  The tank was dusted with Vallejo Pigments Light Yellow Ocre # 73102. What you see on the pictures is what you get out of this process.


Other than the scratch built antena made from .010 styrene, the extra jerry cans from Tamiya and the AFV Club Tracks, this is pretty much what you get out of the box from the Italeri M60 Blazer kit. It was a fun and rewarding build.

There is a version from Tamiya of the M60 Blazer model kit.  Somehow, all roads pointed to the ESCI / Italeri version. All the time spent cleaning up mold lines was worth it. Another addition to my ever growing collection of IDF subjects. Yes, I would recommend this kit.

If you happen to need the instructions for the Italeri M-60 Blazer kit, here are the main assembling pages in JPG compressed in a .ZIP file. There is some minor clipping on the top and bottom due to the Italeri’s instruction’s format.

George Collazo
George Collazo

George has been hosting review sites and blogging about toy collectibles, travel, digital photography and Nikon digital imaging since 1998. His first model kit build was a Testors 1/35 DODGE WC-54 in 1984.