by: Gino P. Quintiliani [ ]
IDF Uniform History
The IDF mainly wore uniforms adopted from the British and American forces up through the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. In the early ‘70s, they developed their own uniforms that were better suited to the arid desert environment of the Middle East. As much of the rest of the world armies did, they adopted NOMEX fire resistant uniforms for their Combat Vehicle Crewmen (CVC) in the early 1980s. These NOMEX CVC uniforms were basically an adapted flight suit. The IDF version also has epaulettes and large thigh pockets added. They have been basically unchanged since the mid-1980s.
Meng brings us a very nice set of IDF armored crewmen in relaxed poses as their second figure release. This set includes four figures and eight water bottles molded in grey and clear sprues respectively. The figures are in relaxed poses with one having his legs extended and crossed while talking on a cell phone. Two others are seated and talking to each other. The final figure is standing in a hatch and is drinking from a water bottle. Although the figures are listed as tankers, they could be used in any IDF armored vehicle.
The figures are broken down into 10-12 separate pieces; 2 legs, 2 boots, a 2-piece torso (split front and rear), 2 arms, 2 hands on two of the figures, a head, and headgear. This breakdown allows ease of painting as the head, hands, and boots can all be painted separately and added after to provide crisp paint separation lines. At first, I thought the split torsos would be an issue with misalignment and seams. I was happily surprised to see this was not the case. The seams are on natural lines in the uniform and they fit together very nicely. The level of detail is very nice as well with no flash and minimal mold seams that cleaned up very easily with a couple passes from a hobby knife blade.
Figure A is a seated figure with his right foot propped on his left knee wearing a boonie cap. He is also wearing the NOMEX CVC uniform and a flak vest. His pose is relaxed with head turned to the side as if talking to another (figure B by the box art). The level of details of the uniform and face is very good with nice, natural fold lines and crease.
Figure B is the companion to A. He is also seated and is pointing off into the distance with his right hand and arm while his left hand is propped on his knee. He is wearing a CVC uniform and a baseball cap-style hat. Again, the level of detail looks great with no flash and hardly any seam lines.
Figure C is standing as if in the hatch of a vehicle with his legs together and slightly leaning back onto the hatch opening. His left hand is down on the roof and his right hand is holding a water bottle, of which Meng provides 2 each of 4 different types to choose from. He is wearing the NOMEX CVC uniform with a flak vest and LBE with ammo and oddment pouches attached to it. He is also wearing a US-style CVC helmet. This is a minor issue, sort of. The US-style CVC is used by the IDF, but is not as common as the British style which has the hard shell on top also coming down over the earphones which gives it a different profile. It would have been nice to have an option of either one as an alternative. Otherwise, the figure also has no issues.
Figure D is seated with his legs out in front of him and crossed. In his right hand is a cell phone to his ear and his left hand is folded in his lap. He is wearing just the NOMEX CVC and has a baseball-style cap on his head as well. His crossed legs are very nicely executed and fit together excellently. The folds of his uniform look very natural and are well placed.
Even though these figures are designed as IDF Tank Crewmen, with some minor modifications, they can be adapted to US or just about any other NATO country’s armored crewmen. By sanding or shaving off the thigh pockets, swapping out the headgear, and replacing the flak vest clad torsos, they can become US armored crewmen. You can add either PASGT (Personal Armor System for Ground Troops) body armor to make them ’80-‘90s crewmen. You could also swap out the torsos for those with IBAS (Interceptor Body Armor System) vests for more modern crewmen (about 2000-2008). Likewise, the headgear can be switched out for patrol caps or boonie caps for US tankers or any other country’s using their headgear.
Overall, these figures appear to be a great set that will be very useful for IDF modelers or, with a bit of work, any other armor modelers. These should be a hit for Meng and hopefully will be the first in a large line of figures to come.