M48A5 by Jakko Westerbeke
This model is based on some photos in the Concord book, â€śTank Battles of the Mid-East Wars volume 2â€ť and represents one of the M48A5 MBTs that the Phalangist militia in Lebanon used in the late 1980s. They
were captured from the Lebanese Army, who in turn had received them courtesy of the United States.
The model is a Tamiya M48A3, with parts from Verlinden's â€śM48-M60 Update Kitâ€ť to turn it into an M48A5: the
105 mm gun barrel, Urdan cupola, headlights and air filters being the main changes, in addition to smaller details. The T-142 tracks come from the Tamiya M60A1, as the T-107 tracks supplied in the M48A3 kit weren't
fitted to M48A5s. Other modifications include the ribs around the exhaust grilles at the rear hull and the reinforcing crosses on the fenders, both of which are simply plastic strip.
The model was further
detailed by replacing handles with wire, adding the bolt detail on the fenders and stowage bins, filling the gap between mantlet and turret, and so on.
The Phalangists had increased the armament of the vehicle,
by fitting an M2 HB .50-caliber machine gun on the turret roof and a second such gun in place of the normal coaxial weapon. On the model, the former is a Tamiya weapon on a scratchbuilt pedestal, while the latter is
part of a barrel cut from one of those horrible Italeri M2 HB guns and installed in the gun mantlet. Additionally, the loader's M60D machine gun was moved forward, for which I used a gun and pintle mount from the
Academy M48A5 kit, again fitted on a scratchbuilt pedestal. I left the M60D off the commander's cupola, even though the photos in â€śTank Battles of the Mid-East Wars volume 2â€ť show one fitted there as well.
The commander, firing the M2 HB, is from Tamiya's PBR Mark II kit, with his legs chopped off so he fits in the cupola. Though the crew in the photos of the real tank wear American DH-132 tank helmets and Israeli
body armor, I figured that a figure wearing an M69 armor vest and an M1 helmet was also possible, since both were in use in Lebanon, and, more importantly; it meant I didn't have to find another figure when this one
had a pose I really liked.
The tank was simply airbrushed with a shade of green that I can't remember (it's probably a Tamiya color) after which it was weathered by applying a heavy wash of a sand color
— Tamiya XF57 Buff, I think. This because the tank shown in the photos I used for reference had a heavy layer of light-colored dust on it, which I tried to represent with the sand-colored wash. I feel it
came out fairly well, the wash giving the impression I was after. There are no markings, so all that was left to do was fit some stowage.