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Found 11 results

  1. Howdy all, I am trying to figure out which was the correct configuration for these aircraft, did they have the lower fuselage tank and fin or did they have the auxiliary rocket fairing like the Mirage 5 and the Kfir? Thanks.
  2. Right, here goes with my first finished plastic tank in, I think, seventeen years... Israeli 'Sinai Grey' is said to be very hard to photograph - it never looks the same colour twice... Well, I must have got the model colour about right, because it's a complete to photograph! The shadows are nothing like as green in 'real life' Cheers, Phil
  3. Hello ladies and gents! A while back I started a build thread on this project but unfortunately never got around to finishing it as the project stalled over the holiday season (with a full house the workbench has to go into hibernation for the sake of extra space!) and various other delays. Needless to say the mojo was slowly sapped away! However she is now to the point were I am happy to consider her 'finished', just ignore the niggling seam line that decided to stick out like a sore thumb on the rear of the turret AFTER everything had been painted! So- without further ado, here it is: M51 'Isherman'/Super Sherman as depicted during the Six Day War (Southern Sinai Front). Model brush painted using Tamiya paints and finished with Flory Washes plus Vallejo Pigments for weathering. If you have any questions as to how I used those products feel free to comment below and I'll gladly answer them. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this finished product! Cheers, Poacher
  4. Tim's F-16B build

    Starting with this kit, bought for 3 quid from SMW 2010. And planning to complete as Israeli AF livery. No decals other than leftover insignias from Phantoms and Eagles - so very DIY.
  5. Morning folks - this is my Academy F15 'Ra am' which I bought off another member on here earlier in the summer. It is mostly OOB except Eduard cockpit details. The paints are Mr Color and Alclad and it was all airbrushed free hand. The kit is quite a trial and on more than one occasion I nearly gave up on it. However now its finished I love the scheme and am pretty pleased with it. The canopy is in poor shape however and I am after a replacement one if anyone has one or can recommend an after market one? I managed to buy a Hasegawa 1:48 F15 DJ on ebay for £20 so have ear marked that for a JASDF Aggressor version and have some decals on order for that. I also managed to get from the same seller a Hasegawa 1:48 F4E and am doing that as an Israeli example tin a similar scheme. Chris
  6. Hello ladies and gents! As you can probably tell by my lack of posts I'm about as green as they come when it comes to composing build threads (or posting on the forum in general!) so apologies in advance for any strange formatting/elementary errors! That being said I'd like to share with you all my latest project. No aftermarket (for now!), just a plain and pure build of this beauty: Which is of course Tamiya's 1/35th offering of the lean yet mean M51 Sherman! also popularly called the Super Sherman or the Isherman (names that ironically the Israelis never used!). Introduced in 1965 the M-51 was basically a fusion of the reliable and (at the time) widely available Sherman chassis with a monstrous 105 mm Modèle F1 French tank gun - the same type that would be used on the AMX 30. Seeing action in both the Six Day War and the Yom Kippur War, the M-51 was by all accounts a pretty decent machine and even held its own against the more modern soviet supplied machines it faced in the latter conflict. The IDF kept the M-51 in front line and later reserve service until the late 70's/early 80's when they were either retired or sold to the Chilean Armed Forces who kept them in operational service until the late 1990s. Quite the run for a tank that was essentially designed in the 1940s! Right, obligatory historical blurb over- what about the kit itself??? It will come as no surprise to those that are familiar with Tamiya offerings that this kit is an absolute dream to build. The Tamiya hallmarks of good design, crisp and blemish free moulding and attention to detail are all prevalent in this kit which has, so far, almost fallen together on its own. For those of you out there for whom details are important be aware that OOB this kit might not be suitable for a later (post '67) M-51 mainly due to differences in the engine deck and the uniforms of the provided crew figures (or so I'm told). Anyway- to the build! Here is what everything looked like before I horribly mangled it with glue and tools started to put it all together: And here is what it looked like after I got stuck in Nothing to report from the lower hull assembly aside from reiterating how easy this thing is to build! there are a few minor sink holes on the lower plate but as most of it is going to be hidden behind wheels, tracks and bogies I doubt anyone would notice if you didn't get rid of them. The eagle eyed amongst you will notice a small line of filler where the upper rear wall meets the lower plate. Again- not really a essential issue to be addressed as it will be hidden once the upper hull is fitted but as I am always on the lookout for 'low risk' opportunities to practice filling and sanding gaps I had a go at them (along with the aforementioned sink holes). TA DA- lower hull all done! but before I go on I do have a helpful hint for those of you reading this who are planning on building your own: Before sticking the sides on I would recommend that you fit and glue part G2 (see where the pen is pointing below) onto the floor before you put the side panels on. This way you have something to align and support them on rather than trying to get them to stay upright on their own. Well- I reckon that's a good note to end on! I hope you have enjoyed these first few steps and I'll have part two up as soon as possible Cheers, Poacher
  7. IDF APC Nagmashot. 1:35

    IDF APC Nagmashot [Hobbyboss 1:35 History The Nagmashot or Nagmasho't is the first modern heavy Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC). It was converted from retired Sho't Kal (upgraded Centurion) main battle tank hulls, in response to the shortcomings of conventional APCs in combat. The name is a combination of the Hebrew term for an APC ("Nagma"), and the Hebrew word for "Whip" ("Sho't", which was the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) name for their upgraded Centurion tank, from which the Nagmasho't was converted). The concept that led to the creation of the Nagmasho't emerged from the fires of the 1982 Lebanon War, in which IDF M113 APCs unexpectedly encountered heavy RPG and ATGM fire, and suffered very heavy losses as a result. While the long-term solution to this dilemma was a comprehensive upgrade to the M113 (which soon resulted in what the US Army would designate the M113A3), the IDF also wanted an even more heavily-armoured vehicle for assaulting heavily-defended strong points, and one which could also be developed quickly as an interim until the new M113 variant arrived. It was soon realized that such a vehicle could be quickly developed by simply converting the hulls of retired main battle tanks already in the IDF inventory, in a manner not unlike the "Kangaroo" APCs of World War 2 (which were converted from such tanks as the M4 Sherman). The resulting design would be the first Kangaroo-type APC developed since the 1940s. Also the IDF had a number of intact hulls of Sho't tanks without turrets in the armour graveyards. The development of the Nagmasho't was surprisingly brief, and the first operational examples were in service by 1984. Replacing the familiar Centurion turret is a pyramidal casemate with a rectangular roof. There are two circular hatches at the front of the casemate roof which are hinged in the rear, and two rectangular hatches at the aft which are hinged in front, allowing four soldiers to stand in the hatches to observe all four quarters around them. The sides of the casemate have a distinctive flanging, probably for structural reinforcement, or to allow additional add-on armour to be fitted. Weapon skate mounts are fitted in front of each hatch, allowing personnel in the vehicle cover all four quarters around them with fire as well, if required. The skate mounts accept a variety of weapons, but were usually fitted with MAG 7.62-mm general purpose machine guns, Mk.19 40-mm automatic grenade launchers and M2HB 12.7-mm heavy machine guns are sometimes fitted as well. At least 4 000 7.62mm rounds were stowed inside the vehicle. Up to 8 passengers were carried, who ride in the passenger compartment under the casemate. The driver's position is unchanged from the Centurion series, with the obvious exception of not having a turret basket to interfere with entry to the main compartment. The vehicle commander usually rides in front, where provisions are made for carrying radio equipment, but there is no specially designated position for the vehicle commander. Entry into and exit from the passenger compartment in operational conditions was only possible through the roof hatches; not only was this a slow, and awkward process, but also quite dangerous in combat, as personnel on top of the vehicle were highly visible and exposed. However, the Centurion's belly hatch was retained, allowing the crew and passengers to exit safely from underneath the vehicle (or, should it roll-over, from "on top"). The armour of the Nagmasho't is essentially the same as that of the Sho't Kal hull, with the obvious exception of the casemate. The exact thickness of the casemate's armour has never been published, for security reasons, but it is presumably strong enough to defeat any small arms fire, shrapnel, and shell splinters. Spall liners are standard equipment on the Nagmasho't, and the track skirts provide additional side protection. The Nagmasho't may also be fitted with explosive reactive armour and additional belly armour for increased protection against mines, but both of these have rarely been seen in service. Also, as the Centurion series boast a V-shaped hull, the Nagmasho't has some residual protection from large-capacity landmines and IEDs as well. An automatic fire suppression system was fitted, but it is not likely that the Nagmasho't had an NBC protection system. Originally operated by the infantry branch of the IDF, the remaining Nagmasho't fleet was later diverted to the engineering branch, as the vehicle's lack of a rear door was considered a liability to mechanized infantry operations (soldiers entering or leaving the vehicle had to clamber on top of it, where they were skylined and vulnerable to sweeping fire and shrapnel). In the early 1990s most Nagmasho'ts were converted into the more heavily-protected Nagmachon and Nakpadon heavy APCs. At the same time Nagmashot's used by combat engineers were converted into PUMA minefield breaching vehicles. However few original examples of the Nagmasho't reportedly remain in service. Israel was the only operator of the Nagmasho't. This vehicle not been offered for export, and as it was succeeded in development by more powerful heavy APCs, and designed around armoured warfare philosophies largely unique to the IDF, it is doubtful that many potential buyers would want it anyway. Many may have been converted to later Nagmachon type vehicles. The Model As with the previously released Nagmachon, this kit comes in a similarly large box. The boxart shows a Nagmashot driving in the desert. Inside there are ten sprues and two separate parts, all in a beige coloured styrene, four of a brown coloured styrene, one sprue of clear, two etched brass sheets, twenty four styrene “tyres” and a small decal sheet. As we have come to expect from Hobbyboss, the parts are all very well moulded, with some very nice detail, no signs of flash or other imperfections, but there are quite a few moulding pips that will need to be cleaned off. The instructions are nice and clear with only a few operations per step. Although the tracks are still a bit of a pain to assemble. The build begins with the assembly of all the road wheels and the fitting of the separate tyres. Of course, these can be left off until after painting, which will alleviate the masking that would be required otherwise. The sprockets and idlers are also assembled at this point. The suspension blocks are each made up from six parts. The rear bulkhead is fitted out with two short lengths of track, a storage box, two grab handles, two steps and two towing eyes. Before any parts are added to the lower hull, there are a number of moulded sections that need to be removed and holes drilled out. Once these are done the bump stops are added to the hull sides, along with the suspension assemblies and two piece idler axles. The rear bulkhead is attached, followed by the skirt supports, three rear mounted, three piece towing hooks the two piece sprocket gear covers, the road wheels, idler wheels, return rollers and drive sprockets. The engine deck also requires some holes being drilled out before fitting to the hull. The exhausts, each made up from three parts are attached to each side rear of the deck. The foredeck is also attached, and fitted with the drivers hatch panels, which each have three piece vision blocks fitted. The tracks are made up from individual links, each connected to the sprue with four sprue gates. Fortunately these are very thin and shouldn’t take too long to clean up the 106 links per side that are required. Since the links require to be glued together it may be best to make up lengths of track before fitting, using only individual links to fit around the idler wheels and sprockets. If you want to, you can get away with only doing the sections of track that aren’t covered by the side skirts. With the tracks fitted the rear light clusters are attached and a pair of Jerry cans assembled and placed in the storage cage on the engine deck. Each of the two fenders are made up of the main length and a separate front mudguard section. Each fender also requires several holes to be opened up before they can be fitted with the wide selection of storage boxes, front light clusters and guards, more Jerry cans, racks and brackets for the forward mounted self defence systems boxes and two piece rear mudguard flaps. The casement, for want of a better word, is assembled from a single piece main section which replaces the turret of the donor tank. To this the inner panels are fitted and ERA boxes to the front edges, followed by the roof and the four hatches with their associated handles and vision blocks. The rear bulkhead oft eh casement is fitted with a two more hatches and a pair of aerial mounts, whilst on each corner of the casement there is sited a machine gun mount. The kit provides an M2 50 Cal machine gun and what look like three GPMG’s. Each machine gun comes in multiple parts with separate ammunition trays and boxes. The casement is fitted with yet more ERA boxes and the prominent strakes down each side. Further detail, such as hatch springs, aerial mounts and then attached to the casement roof before the structure is attached to the hull and the machine guns mounted. Lastly the side skirts are fitted to eh respective mounting beams and a pair of armoured panels fitted over the rear fenders. Decals The decal sheet is quite large, but contains only a few decals, as the prominent Israeli flag takes up most of the sheet, the rest are the number plates for two different vehicles. Conclusion Whilst this is another weird Israeli vehicle from Hobbyboss, it’s good to see them being released. They are so different looking, that once built will certainly be a conversation piece amongst you collection. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  8. M109 Doher

    My first work in progress, mainly because I never remember to take photos! So as an experiment, most of these will be taken on my Iphone and posted via Flickr with a view to kicking Photobucket into touch. This is the AFV Club M109A2 kit (as you can hopefully see) with the Black Dog conversion kit. So the obligatory box shots. Untitled by phil da greek, on Flickr Untitled by phil da greek, on Flickr So the photos worked! And not to shabby IMHO. Anyone with any experience of building the kit (or the real thing) then pitch in with any tips or photos etc. The aim is to display the gun in a firing position with it's crew doing various things. Already it's out of control. This will be long and it probably won't be pretty, but pull up a chair shipmates, I'm going in!
  9. Hello everyone , I just recently completed the Tamiya 1/35 M51 Super Sherman and created a video on you tube , if anyone is interested I have included the link below. Thanks, https://youtu.be/k8o3VR1qOD0
  10. D9R Armoured Bulldozer 1:35 Meng Based upon the successful Caterpillar D9 bulldozer chassis, the D9R is the latest incarnation of the armoured variant used extensively in the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) in the Combat Engineering Corps. It is heavily armoured with bullet-proof glazing, as well as protection for the hydraulic and electrical components, with some units sporting the new slat armour to pre-detonate RPG rounds before reaching the cab area, a feature that was introduced in 2005. It has a crew of two, with the commander issuing the orders and manning the roof mounted M2 machine gun, and a driver living up to his job title. Its nickname in IDF service is Doobie, which is Hebrew for Teddy Bear, although it's a bit of a tough looking teddy bear for my liking! It is used for breaching barriers under fire, as well as creating or destroying earthworks, or making areas passable by heavier armour. They have also been used to clear landmines, make fortifications and clear areas of cover, preventing sneak attacks on their forces. They are so well armoured as to be impervious to all but the largest of explosives, and have been known to withstand direct hits from RPGs and IEDs up to half a tonne. So successful has the Doobie been that some have been purchased and used in US service for similar tasks. The Kit The box is larger and deeper than a standard Meng box, and inside are 17 sprues in a sand coloured styrene, with five more in a very dark grey styrene. There are two identical glazing sprues, one of which is totally clear, the other has been tinted a blue/green colour to depict the colour typical of the thick bullet-proof glass installed on this machine. A length of flexible "rubber" hose, four poly-caps, and a small sheet of Photo-Etch (PE) is also in the box, plus a small sheet of decals, glossy covered A4+ instruction booklet and a large colour sheet for painting and decaling that covers almost the whole floor of the box. It's a pretty full box, and the immediately it is evident is that it's going to be a detailed model. What isn't obvious from perusing the sprues is the final size of the model, because the hull is built up from slabs rather than supplied as a tub like many armour kits. The large "bucket" is about your only clue other than the numbers on the box, which gives a length of 247mm and width of 126mm. Initial impressions are very good, with plenty of detail evident on the sprues, and individual link tracks that accurately depict the real things, which is always good. There is no slat armour included in the kit which is a shame from my point of view, but I'm sure that some enterprising aftermarket producer will be along shortly with a set if Meng don't beat them to it of course! Following the four language introduction to the vehicle is a page of different variants of the Doobie, which is nice for a bit of background information, showing its progression to the 62 tonne behemoth it is today. Construction starts with the underside, with the two slab-sides added which have the axles for the drive sprockets moulded into the rear. At the front the compartment for the 405bhp diesel engine is built up, with lots of moulded in louvre detail. The rear-mounted ripper, a large hydraulically operated tooth, is built up next, along with its arm, controls and hydraulic pistons, which can be left working if you are careful with the glue. The ripper takes up a surprisingly large number of parts and construction steps, with the resulting assembly looking complex and robust. The cab's base is built up next, with various sections added to the main floor. The driver and commander controls are added, together with their seats, which are fitted on adjusting mechanisms covered with concertina shaped gaiters. The cab's armoured side panels are next, with the choice of tinted or clear glazing panels up to you - personally I'd choose the more realistic tinted panels at the expense of a little visibility. The glazing is sandwiched between The outer skin and an inner window frame. Additional opener detail is added where appropriate, and the whole interior is painted white before being assembled. The exterior of the cab is bulked up with additional fairing and stowage boxes, as well as grilles, opening windows and the lip at the edge of the roof. The roof part has equipment added to its interior and is installed onto the lip, with lifting lugs dotted around the top surface. The access panels for maintenance and replacement of the bullet-resistant glass are moulded in with hinge and latch detail, plus an opening hatch for the commander/gunner, which can be posed open or closed. Given that a new IDF crew set are to be forthcoming from Meng shortly, the gunner figure could be of use here. The rear light cluster is protected by a small cage, and the vehicle's serial number is attached to the rear of the cab on a plaque and repeated on the sides of the machine, with a choice of numbers depending on which decal option you are going for. Two antenna bases fit into their corresponding lugs on the rear, with the sprung bases included, but the antennae themselves will need to be fabricated from rod or stretched sprue. Additional fuel cans in a tube-framed rack are added to the side of the cab, and the self-defence gun is built up onto its pintle mount with ammo box, and dropped into its base on the roof, at which point the two assemblies are joined together. A set of hoses are cut to length and attached to the cab before it is mated, and these hook up to the ripper arm, details of which are shown in three diagrams at different angles. The next major assembly is the running gear, although if you're a traditionalist, there's nothing to stop you from skipping ahead and getting that part over with early in the build. Each side builds up as a mirror image of the other, and the roadwheels are sandwiched between the two halves of an armoured sponson with the two idler wheels at either end. The caterpillar track differs from standard tank and AFV arrangements in that the drive wheel is raised above the weight bearing wheels, giving the track a triangular profile. There are eight roadwheels on each side, set into pairs within the sponson, and one of the poly-caps is lodged within the heart of the sponson for attachment to the hull later on. The idler wheels are single parts, and fix at both ends of the sponson, while the drive sprocket is made up from three parts plus a poly-cap, which enables them to be push-fitted to the hull on both sides. Tracks are of the individual link type, and are different from your average track run, as you'd possibly expect. The tracks are more akin to a chain with flat plates on one side of the links, which requires you to build a set of 43 links from two "chain" parts that glue together at the end of the shaft that links one link to the next. The leading edge is left free until the next link is attached, so you'll have to make sure they're correctly spaced before you start adding the flat plates. Once you have the run completed, the traction plates are added, and these line up with two pips on each side of the track link, so alignment is crucial as already stated. Having put a few links together, I can see CA (super glue) being a good option once you have established where the parts go. It would certainly speed up the process and might result in stronger joints, but you'd have to be careful to use it sparingly because any overflows would be more difficult to resolve. A pair of special links are on another sprue to link the ends of the tracks together, but these are sand coloured, so if you plan on leaving the tracks their natural grey shade, you'll need to paint at least one. Most of us won't though, and a coat of primer will unify the whole thing nicely. The parts themselves have only two sprue gates each, so clean-up should be quick and easy, but there is an ejector pin in the middle of the underside of each track plate, but once build up, you'll struggle to see them. A little mud and dust should save you from the tiresome job of clean-up, even if you think they might still be seen. I'm definitely NOT going to be cleaning them up - life is too short. The track plates are nicely moulded and very thin, replicating the real thing well, with four large bolt heads that hold them on, and a curved section where the links mesh together that reduces the likelihood of jamming on the real thing. Sure, they're complex to build up, but they're worth the effort in the end, but I'd advise anyone to take their time building them to avoid ending up in a gluey mess. The front lights, fire extinguisher, grab rails and the large flip-topped exhaust are added to the top of the engine compartment, and the main body of the beast is done. The rest of the instructions deal with the construction of the large dozer blade, which has sliding rams that can remain movable if you're frugal with the glue. Two of these are built up and glued to the front of the engine compartment, and here you have choice - one set have narrower sleeves, while the other set are armoured and have a number of lugs along their length. Choose which ones to build up at the beginning of this section, as you could end up wasting time building up all four if you don't read ahead a little. Which ones you choose depends on your decal option - smooth for US, armoured for IDF use. The hydraulic hoses attach at the rear with more ironwork added to protect the assembly. The large floodlights sit on top of them with a cage protecting them from damage, and again here you have a choice of armour types, which affects your choice of floodlights. It's best to check your references here, just to be on the safe side. The blade is a large curved part, and is backup by some heavyweight ironwork, side-plates, push-rods and a webwork of strengthening plates attached to a grille that allows the driver a better view of proceedings without letting the big stuff spill over the top of the blade. Two large ram arms are added to the rear, and the assembly is offered up to the hull. The ram arms sit almost horizontally along the outside of the roadwheel sponsons, on a keyed location pin under the drive sprocket, while the push rods slip into the hydraulic tubes attached to the front of the engine cowling. A cross-brace that allows the blade to follow the contours of the ground fixes at one end to the hull and on the other to the bottom edge of the blade assembly, with the hull-end capable of sliding in and out as the blade twists. Markings There are three markings choices, one of which is a US machine that was stationed in Iraq, the other two are Israeli machines. The IDF machines have the commander's gun and the more robust front arms, and the IDF hemp colour with red step-marks makes for a more attractive model to my eyes. From the box you can build one of the following: US Marine Corps bulldozer, Iraq 2004 - all over sand IDF 603rd Combat Engineers Battalion, Second Lebanon War, July 2006 - all over hemp IDF Combat Engineers School, Bahalat'z, August 2008 - all over hemp Decals are printed by Cartograf for Meng, and are up to their usual standards of colour density, registration and sharpness. A full set of unit marking digits are included along with those of the two featured machines, so with a little reference you could build other vehicles if you wish. A dashboard decal is included with all the dials within the driver's binnacle, and detail is good. With a little decal solution, it should settle down well over the raised detail, just remember to get the alignment right before you leave it to dry! Conclusion Another winner from Meng, and an unusual subject to boot. It should be a straightforward build apart from the tracks, but as mentioned earlier, patience and a little care will ensure that the job is done well. The detail is excellent as you'd expect from Meng, and apart from a few ejector pins on the rear of the dozer blade and inside the cab, there's little that will need any extra work for the majority of modellers. It will be great diorama fodder, and would look great with a Meng Merkava and their forthcoming crew set, breaking through some earthworks. Very highly recommended. Availabe soon in the UK from Creative Models Review sample courtesy of
  11. Merkava III BAZ W/Mine Roller System 1:35 Meng Models The Merkava has been a work in progress since the late 70s, with incremental improvements denoted by additional letters after the Mark, and major changes resulting in an increment of the Mark. The Mk.III marked the state of play 10 years after the first Merkava saw service, and incorporated many upgrades to improve its performance in urban and so called "low intensity" fighting, including a new home-grown 120mm smoothbore gun, more powerful engine and a modular armour system that speeds up repairs, some of which can be done in the field. It also made for a possible upgrade of the armour alone if new technologies came along, without affecting the internal systems and basic hull. The BAZ upgrade saw further upgrades to the targeting system, allowing a designated target to be tracked by the gun regardless of whether the tank was mobile or not. Nuclear Biological Chemical (NBC) protection was also added, probably due to the attempts by hostile countries to become nuclear powers. The Nochri Dalet is the second generation of Mine Roller System for the IDF, which is based upon Russian technology. This edition is also used on the Puma system, but has a different adapter, so I'm sure some will be "mis-used" in that way! The Kit This is a follow-up kit to their earlier IIID that was a later version of the Merkava III with improved tracks and a new remote controlled gun-station on the turret. There have been some additions and improvements on that kit, including a choice of turret bustle stowage options, continuous or segmented side-skirts, to name but a few. Of course, the addition of the Nochri Dalet has necessitated an increased in the height of the box by an inch to accommodate the new sprues. Inside the tall top-opening box are sixteen sprues in a light grey/green styrene, two hull parts, two turret halves, two idler wheels, a clear sprue, a pair of TPU flexible rubber-band style tracks, a sprue of poly-caps, decal sheet, a length of chain, string and wire, plus a small sheet of lead or pewter sheet. Meng's usual compact instruction booklet completes the package, with painting and decaling pages in full colour on the inside rear cover. I'm not entirely sure how I'm going to fit all that back in the box, despite everything having been separately bagged apart from the double sprues, which are bagged together. The sprues are very similar to the original IIID kit, and there are significant similarities to the build, which as seems traditional with AFV kits, starts with the assembly of the running gear. The wheels can be built either as full-steel or with rubber tyres, and parts to achieve either are included, while a poly-cap is buried within the joined pair of wheels to secure the parts to the axles at the end of the swing arms. Some merkavas have been seen with a mixture of steel and rubber shod wheels, so feel free to experiment and mix it up, unless you want to stick with a full complement of one type. The idler wheels are single parts that have been extensively slide-moulded to give a detailed shape, but as a consequence a few short mould lines will need removing. The poly-cap for these parts is hidden behind the hub centre. The drive sprockets are built from two halves with a poly-cap between them, and the return rollers are built up from a pair of small wheels with an axle that slots into the hull. The suspension on the Merkava is external to the main hull, and as such all of the large coiled springs are visible between the road wheels. These are added between the final drive housing and idler wheel axles, with various lumps and bumps and the triangular mounts for the large and small return rollers. At the front and rear of the hull, small serial blocks are added near the bottom of the hull and painted white on a black background. The large springs have been well moulded to minimise clean-up, with a hollow back side to prevent sink-marks during cooling of the moulded parts. A slot in the bottom of each spring mounts to the end of the swing arm, and the upper end of the spring has a moulded in stop that slots into the side of the hull. The rear door is next, and its clamshell design is well represented. Part of the appeal of the Merkava is the easy evacuation of the crew in an emergency, because the crew compartment is at the very back of the hull. It can also carry 10 soldiers, so is able to act as a battlefield taxi or emergency medevac if the need arises. The door provides protection from above during exit, with the lower half of the door making a step. These are hinged top and bottom, and with careful gluing can be left operational, although there is no internal detail within the hull out of the box. The finished assembly slots into a central recess in the lower hull, and a pair of large tubular stowage baskets are added either side. The original kit provided only the bare tubular type, but with this release, the canvas liners are depicted in a very realistic way. The modeller has the option of installing either solution at their whim. The upper hull is an almost complete upper deck, with only the rear fuel tanks and the central section of the long glacis plate as separate parts if you ignore the driver's hatch. The baffled exhaust port is added from the inside, as are the clear vision blocks for the driver, the lenses of which are to be painted clear blue to represent the bullet-resistant glass they are made from. Covers on the top can be posed closed if required, or shown open with the vision blocks propping them up. The hatch itself has a pop-up and swivel mechanism, and can be posed open or closed if left un-glued. Next to the driver's hatch, a tiny block must be removed, presumably because it relates to the later IIID. This is right on an angular edge, so care must be taken not to damage this during removal, as it will show up later. The modular engine deck is angular in shape, and made up from four slabs of styrene, to which the detail parts are added, filling the hole completely. On the front fenders, pop-up driving lights and mudguards are added, with optional side-parts providing extra dust calming. The side-skirt mounting frames are next, with two parts either side, with options for installing a single part for each skirt, or adding individual panels with mounting lugs instead, allowing for the option of leaving off panels to depict those lost in action. The rear fenders and built-in light cluster are added to the rear of the hull, and an extension over the rear door is added to finish the building of the hull. Tracks and their depiction on AFV models is a debate that surfaces from time-to-time, and my own preference is for individual links, as provided with the IIID kit. The BAZ has a different track-set from the IIID however, and this is supplied as the traditional TPE rubber-band type of track that glues together at an overlapping portion to give a continuous run. Comparing the individual links of the IIID to the continuous track gives me the distinct impression that they are identical in shape, and to be fair, the TPE tracks have plenty of detail in the moulding, with no clean-up needed - this is a difficult material to sand or fill due its flexibility. I'm not entirely sure what the difference between the later Caterpillar built tracks and those on the BAZ are, other than that they were strengthened, so perhaps a little more research is needed. The IMI 120mm smoothbore main gun is jacketed, so easy to build up from sections, with the front and rear tubular sections the only parts that are made up from halves. They are both split vertically, and only the sections between the front strapping, and a short seam on the rear section will need any attention, but care when joining the two halves should result in minimal work. The large recuperator is made from a cylindrical body with one-piece end caps, and that attaches in turn to the remainder of the barrel, which has an additional hump attached to the top. The half-cylinder mating surface and the lugs on all the attachment points ensures that the barrel is oriented correctly when it is attached to the small mantlet and poly-cap fitted mounts that glue to the underside half of the turret. The sides of the turret build up in sections, and the top is glued on quite early, with a poly-cap embedded in its roof to retain the panoramic sight later in the build. The two hatch rings for the commander and gunner are added to the bare apertures, and the missing front section of the turret is added, which has some subtle differences between its later sibling, the part for which is unused on the sprues for this kit. The turret basket that is fixed to the rear bustle incorporates a ball-and-chain protection skirt that pre-detonates RPG or similar shaped charge weapons, which covers a shot-trap that was identified early in the Merkava's development, and could potentially result in a jammed the turret if it were absent. Again, two types of basket are supplied this time around, with the bare framework, or a canvas covered alternative provided. The ball-and-chain armour is executed completely in styrene, and is very well done considering the limitations of the medium. There are already generic updates to replace these with real balls and lengths of chain, such as the one that I reviewed recently from http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/234931542-merkava-3d-chain-set-for-meng-135-et-model"ET Model, but if you're either short on cash or the will to undertake the extra work, the kit parts should satisfy most modellers. The twin towing cables are assembled from the provided string and four hollow towing eyes, which are wrapped around the rear basket and secured with a length of the wire that is supplied in the box. The metal sheet is cut into three pieces of size 17mm x 13mm and glued to the sides of the basket as tactical marking boards that will be decaled later. Moving to the upper turret, this has been augmented by the addition of crew weapons that are lashed to brackets, and additional ammo, as well as fuel cans, ammo bases and sensor mounts. The commander's periscopes can be modelled open or closed in the same manner as the driver's and again the main parts are clear. The commander's hatch includes a 360o rotating periscope that can be left to rotate with careful gluing, as well as being depicted open or closed, but substituting the clear part with a two-part closed assembly. The gunner's hatch is more simple, but has a complex hinge assembly that can again be left movable. The smoke grenade launchers are mounted in the front corners of the turret, and are contained in a box on a mounting bracket. The front can be left open to show the tips of the smoke grenades, or covered for transport. The range-finder is assembled into an open-fronted box that drops onto the turret over the clear portion, which can be covered by protective doors if you wish. The panoramic sight that is mounted high on the top of the turret has a clear front panel that is painted clear blue and pushes into the poly-cap embedded in the roof part earlier in the build, and surrounded by a small circular bullet splash guard. The remote M2 .50cal machine gun mount is built up and installed on the top of the mantlet along with its sensor package. The gun itself has been slide-moulded to improve the detail on the breech, and the result is very nice indeed. The two GPMGs for the commander and gunner are mounted on brackets that seem to vary in size and complexity in order of rank, and the commander's gun has a searchlight with clear lens, as well as a transverse mounted, deeper ammo box, while the gunner's is a simple pintle-mount with no frills. With completion of construction, a further 10 stages are required to build up the Nochri Dalet mine roller. Initially, the bracket is made up from fourteen parts, including a very finely moulded serial block that has the digits etched right through. This is attached to the central brace to which each half of the roller projects forward. If you decide to show the roller detached, a pair of large mounting hooks are also supplied, so you can display the roller separately. Each roller is made up from four fluted "tyres" that are set in pairs on either side of the central framework. These frames are suspended from the main arms by stabilising chains that stop the rollers from departing company from their mounts in the event of a detonation, while remaining flexible to absorb the shock. The copper coloured chain is cut into lengths measured by the number of links and clamped within its attachment lugs, so it would be best to ensure the parts are well glued before attempting to complete their installation. Two further lengths of string are cut to depict the cables that attach the spacing arms to the main frame, and each half is attached to the main frame by a long spindle to allow the two rollers to conform to rough terrain independently from each other. Markings The decals are provided on a small sheet and are printed by Cartograf, so application should be drama-free if you have prepared a shiny surface for them in advance. Two schemes are supplied on the sheet, allowing you to build one of the following: Command tank, 2nd Platoon, 3rd Gimel Company, 1st Sufa Battalion, 188 Barak Brigade, which is painted Sandy Brown Tank 1, Alef, 1st Platoon, 1st Company, 2rd Izuz Battalion, 460 Brigade, Operation Cast Lead, Gaza, Jan 2009, which is painted a slightly more drab shade, and RLM02 with a touch of green is suggested. The instructions don't show the mine roller, but colour call-outs are made during construction, sharing the same (or similar) colour as the tank, with sections marked out in a dusky red where appropriate. There are plenty of pictures available on the 'net that will show the correct colour, which is duller than plain red. Conclusion Another sparkling release from Meng that seem to go from strength to strength, supplying the market with kits of less well known and unusual designs, both in AFVs and aircraft. The addition of the mine roller to this release adds value, although I would have liked to see individual links available, even if they were an additional cost option. Perhaps Meng will relent and release them as a separate set later on? I'll be sending them a link to this review, so here's hoping. If you're an IDF modeller, or just one that likes something out of the ordinary, this mine roller equipped Merkava ticks those boxes, and result in an impressive model with a little care. Very highly recommended. review sample courtesy of
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