Hobby Boss 1/35 IDF Puma CEV Kit First Look
|Date of Review
|IDF Puma CEV
The Israeli Defense Forces are some of the top recycling groups in the world, not only acquiring and upgrading weapons systems from allied nations, but also capturing, repairing, and employing weapons systems found on the battlefield. The story of the Centurion in IDF service is one of those interesting stories as they began acquiring the tanks in the late 1950s from a variety of countries as well as capturing other examples from their adversaries. While the Centurion was an effective tank in its day, the Israelis modernized their tanks with the 105mm L7 main gun in place of the original 20 pounder. These up-gunned tanks were called Sho't. One of the problems with the Centurion was its engine, which ran on gasoline making it more explosive in combat. The Sho'ts were re-engined with the Continental AVDS-1790-2A diesel engine giving the tank better safety and range. These diesel tanks were called Sho't Kal and are recognizable by the engine deck that is very similar to the M48 and M60 tanks. Further improvements were added to these tanks over the years allowing the type to support combat operations in the 1967 and 1973 wars as well as the 1978 and 1982 operations in Lebanon.
In the early 1990s, the Sho't Kals were withdrawn from the tank forces but not retired. Some of them were converted into Puma Combat Engineering Vehicles (CEV) which provided mine clearing capabilities on the battlefield as well as moving mobile bridges in support of combat operations. With the Centurion turret removed, the Puma has room inside the revised hull interior for up to eight as well as mine-clearing rockets. Further enhancements were made for low-intensity conflict operations with enclosed gunner positions, slat armor protection, and remotely operated turret.
Here's a nice new release from HobbyBoss, this is one of the latest configurations for the Israeli Puma CEV in 1/35th scale. It has been a while since I examined an armored vehicle from HobbyBoss and the first thing I notice is how much they've improved the injection molding processes compared to the tank subjects produced 5 or more years ago. This is evidenced by the fine slat armor parts which have not been easily rendered by other companies and forced many to use the cumbersome photo-etched slats on the market. Not this kit, these are very nice-looking though delicate, so care must be taken when building or handling this kit.
The kit is molded in olive drab or tan styrene and presented on 24 parts trees, plus one tree of clear parts, 24 black rings (roadwheel tires), and one fret of photo-etched parts. Among the features and options in this kit:
- Very detailed suspension
- Individual track links
- Remote gun turret
- Detailed armored doghouse
- Nice details on the upper hull and fenders
- While the various hatches could be posed open, the instructions have you build them closed as there is no interior inside the hull
- Armored side skirts
- Slat armor around the rear of the vehicle
While there are quite a few parts in this kit, assembly looks straightforward and much of the vehicle can be assembled before applying the base coat.
The only complaint I have is with the painting/decal instructions. One color provide is provided for a vehicle in overall Sinai Gray-Green but no explaination of which decals should be used to render the various examples they were clearly made for but not documented in the instructions.
You'll note that there is a new importer for Hobbyboss kits here in North America as MRC has picked up the product line and have kits that have not otherwise been available in some time. Actually, with the bankruptcy of Squadron/MMD, MRC is now the exclusive importer for HobbyBoss. Check them out or have your favorite hobby shop do that for you.
My sincere thanks to Model Rectifier Corporation for this review sample!