Blast Models
IDF TIRAN 5 & SLA TIRAN 5/4 Conversion
Blast Models 1:35 Scale Kit: BL35019K
Review by Terry Ashley


The kit:
Newly released from Blast Models is this extensive IDF Tiran 5 and Tiran 4 (aka Ti-67) conversion for the Tamiya T-55A (Kit #35257).

The set consists of 111 resin pieces cast in a light cream resin plus a 4 page instruction sheet. The quality of the casting is excellent with only a few minor air holes present on some of the parts and some other internal air bubbles that don’t break the surface, you have to be careful when checking for these to make sure they are actually surface air bubbles or internal, don’t need to make extra work for yourself. Due to the many small parts in the set there is some fine resin ‘flash’ to be removed from some parts and extreme care will be needed when removing the parts from the casting blocks.

Due to the many small and fine parts the packaging is important and the parts come in three plastic bags, one for the larger parts, another for the medium sized bits and the third for the small parts, all this keeps any damage to a minimum and I only had two parts with some damaged which is pretty good considering the package came half way around the World.

The main parts for the hull include the rear engine intakes for the Czech and Polish produced versions, the new front fenders and mud flaps, new driver’s periscopes with cleaning tubes and wiring for the lights as well as the light guards, fender storage boxes and other small fittings. Some minor surgery is required to remove the Tamiya kit driver’s periscopes and front fenders before fitting the resin replacements with the instructions showing clearly what has to be done and where to cut.
The new rear engine grills simply replace the kit items and shouldn’t pose any problems and all the other storage boxes and small parts are just added to the hull as required. You also get an upward extension for the exhaust outlet, but this only appears on the original concept drawings and not usually seen on production Tiran5/4s, but it is nice for this to be included in any case.

Driver's hatch handles to be added

The turret parts are quite comprehensive with many small bits to be added, the good thing is there is no surgery needed on the Tamiya turret with the resin bits either replacing the kit parts or fitted to the turret surfaces.
The larger parts are the rear storage basket and side storage boxes and it is recommended you fit the rear storage basket first as this is aligned centrally and then can be used as a guide for adding the other parts.
Two new hatches and turret inserts are provided as these are the earlier style than in the Tamiya kit and require no modification to the kit to fit.

The two inner hatch rings fit perfectly and the hatches can be positioned either open or closed as you wish. The commander’s position also has the internal main sights included as these are very noticeable if the hatch is open while the hatches themselves have internal details included. The curved machine gun mount fitted to the side of the commander’s hatch is also included and it should be noted that it was usual IDF practice to face the hatch to the rear (with the sight facing backwards) so the open hatch provides some back protecting when the commander is standing in the hatch.

A new gun mantlet with very nice canvas texture is included as well as a two part 105mm L7 barrel. The forward part of the barrel has a pin which fits into a pre-drilled hole in the central fume extractor, the hole is offset as it should be and you have to ensure this is lined up correctly when fitting the barrel to the mantlet. The muzzle is also opened up to a depth of 5mm for good effect.

There are many small bits and accessories such as jerry cans and antenna mounts to be added around the turret and provided you take your time in fitting these there shouldn’t be any problems. The smallest of these are the row of tie down cleats down the centre of the turret and the instructions show the proper spacing and location of these quite clearly.

The two .30cal machine guns for the hatch mountings are very nicely cast as is the .50cal MG which can be fitted in a central turret mount for the Lebanese Tiran 5 or fixed above the mantlet for the IDF Tiran 5, the choice is yours depending on the version you prefer. You should note that if building the Lebanese Tiran 5 it retains the original D10T 100mm gun from the Tamiya kit, only the IDF version gets the new 105mm gun.

For the IDF Tiran 4 version the distinctive T-54 circular air blower for the turret roof is provided. The instructions clearly show the correct location for this with an overhead view of the turret giving measurements from the turret centre line.

The Instructions:
The 4 page A4 sized instructions are in the form of black and white photographs of the kit during construction with the parts called out by number and short text notes where needed. This all makes it fairly clear where the parts go but as with any detailed update set careful study of the instructions and references will be helpful.

An extremely detailed and comprehensive conversion for the Tamiya T-55 with only a one minor problem to sort out (front fenders) and will build into an impressive model of the Tiran 5/4, the alternate parts to make one of three versions is also a bonus.

Highly recommended.

The Resin parts:

Click on thumbnails for larger view

IDF Tiran 4 (T-54), Tiran 5 (T-55),
Tiran 6 (T-62)

Warmachines No.10
Verlinden Productions No.669

Thanks to Blast Models for the review kit.

Page created August 10, 2003

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