Groupbuild you say? It must be the crazy guys on Reddit. Yup, they’re at it again, this time for Cold War armor. After the deadline fail with the Somme Groupbuild, I am set on finishing this one well in advance.

First things first, the plan: I want to build a Magach, which is an Israeli modification of the United States M60 tank, or, how the Italeri model kit is titled, an M60 Blazer in 1/35:

Italeri M60 Blazer box

I intend to display this beautiful piece of machinery on what will be my first ever custom-built diorama – a desert scene similar to the one on the box-art, embellished with a watchtower, some sandbags and a cool crew.

Operation Watchtower

Today, we’ll be seeing the first part of this diorama, the 1/35 Observation Post (also) by Italeri:

Italeri Observation Post (1 of 1)

The article may be titled as a one-day build, but it wouldn’t be me if I wouldn’t have spent a full month on something as simple as this. Ideally though, if one were to focus on it, a 10-hour commitment should be enough to assemble, paint and weather the whole thing (drying times included).

Starting with the actual build, I have to say that the 2 sprues which combine into the tower are nothing to be proud of. There’s a lot of clean-up work to do, as the mold is created with the assembly numbers cast directly on the parts themselves. Also, there is not one single component that doesn’t have at least a couple of ejector pink marks on it. You get used to it eventually.

Apart from this, the kit comes along nicely. I did have some build issues, but those were entirely caused by my lack of focus.A few swings of the hobby knife later… problem solved.

Trying to paint it to fit the overall desert theme, I wasn’t really sure how to proceed. Studying a lot of pictures of wooden textures online, thinking about how to put that into practice on my small plastic tower, I came up with a plan.

For starters, I went for a brown base-coat. If you intend on using this model in a regular setting, you could just apply a small amount of light gray and light flesh tone dry-brushing and call it done, at this point.

I had to do more though. So I continued with some brushing of sand tones and light grays, applying it thicker on the pillars than on the upper structure itself. Since the pillars were entirely smooth plastic, I decided to simulate the wooden texture through repeated brush strokes.

After that, I went over it with a gloss coat. Letting it dry, I applied a layer of wash for DAK vehicles to bring out the wooden markings on the top of the tower. The pins had some rust wash applied. A dull coat, some pigments, and it’s done:


Pretty cool build and a nice experience for me getting out of my comfort zone of tank model kits. What would you try to build in order to get out of yours?