Merkava Mk IV LIC
As this was the last model in my stash, I thought I'd complete the build and dust-off the 'Armor' category for a change of pace.
This is Academy's 1/35 kit (13227) of the Israeli Main Battle Tank, the Merkava Mk. IV, in its LIC (Low Intensity Combat) configuration - that is to say, urban warfare.
The kit includes a PE fret and a few other items, but I opted for Voyager Models' PE set 35413, one of half a dozen different sets produced by VM for the Merkava. The VM set has four separate, intricate PE frets, metal cable, and metal wire in different gauges for aerials.
I didn't use all the PE. As with all similar sets, there are pieces so small that even when installed the added-value of detail is negligible. However, many pieces for the machine guns, gun mounts, grilles, handles, and other principle 'action' points have been used to good effect.
The Academy instructions are adequate, if a little vague in places. A good reference is useful, both for clarifying points in the instructions and for additional detailing, such as the remote firing cables for the machine guns, and other similar. For my reference, I used “Merkava Siman 4 in IDF Service” (Mass/Levy), Desert Eagle Publishing No.3 - an excellent book.
The kit comes with two figures, but I chose to use figures from Meng Models' IDF Tank Crew (HS-002), as the poses lent themselves to the title of this vignette, “Between Patrols: South Lebanon 2006”.
The basic paint colours used are Humbrol 84 (Mid-Stone) with panel lines and recesses low-lighted with Humbrol 155 (Olive Drab). With the tank in place on its base, 'dust' colours were added along the road wheels, skirtings, and treads, using Model Master Tan, Sand, and Armor Sand.
MIG pigment dusts were used to enhance tonal variations to upper areas of the machine. Sands and grit in various gauges, from Natural Scenics Ltd. and Hornby, were glued to the base as ground cover, and airbrushed with the MM colours as noted above.
The two open box frames to the rear of the tank usually have canvas 'bag' inserts for stowing crew gear, but I opted just to add three loose canvas covers at points on the main basket, on which tactical sign decals could be displayed.
I'm certainly no armour specialist, but I can recommend this kit as an attractive model of the type, with or without additional etch or figures.