Merkava mk3D Early
Updated: Nov 6, 2020
As this is my first Meng model kit I am actually quite excited about it. Let's see how far we can get.
After I have collected a decent amount of photos of the original vehicle and read about it I have started the work as the instruction suggests: with the lower hull and the wheels.
The instructions are clear and straight-forward so far. But it is quite early for any nasty surprises anyway...
Working on the wheels and the hull: it looks like a really neat kit with accurate fitting. The suspensions are really detailed.
Hinges are separate pieces which is not entirely surprising from such quality kit.
After gluing them to their place the door on the tank can be made workable.
Love those details: those tiny Hebrew characters...
The upper hull is slightly twisted, but it does not seem to be a serious issue. Otherwise fitting perfectly.
The bonnet comes together from 4 main pieces (plus the upper hull). That is not the most 'builder-friendly' solution. Especially with the twist.
The base colour of the kit is very close the the mix I want to use: 50:50 of tamiya xf49 and xf66.
Tracks are clean and easy to assemble. They are primed with Tamiya xf84 (dark iron).
Those rivets need to be cut off the sprue.
Rivets in place.
Had a little accident when I wanted cut off this tiny part off the sprue. First wanted to replace it with a scratch-made one from copper wire.
However, I managed to save the original part at the end.
First basket is ready. Tricky to assemble, but patience helps.
Ready with both and glued them to their final place.
Upper hull finished.
Dry fitting of skirt.
Barrell done - no serious hiccup with it.
Dry fitting of lower part of the turret
It was quite tense to try the lower part of the turret in its place first.
It required a bit of sanding, but finally it became smoother fit.
Although there is still a loooooooooong way to go, finally it starts to resemble a Merkava mk3.
Turret is not fitting perfectly, unfortunately
Halfway through the sanding still huge gap between the parts.
The bottom of the turret basket was bent so I had fix it in hot water.
The handler bar is so thin it broke when I fut it off the sprue. Luckily, I managed to glue them together nicely. However, the other one had to be replaced with a home-made copper one.
Periscopes are prepared: painted with Tamiya X26 (Clear Orange) and masked.
Start to create the anti-slip layer (VMS Hull Texture)
...and finally first layer of its final colour.
Starting the decals.
Applying weathering step by step, layer by layer. Also add a gentle chipping here and there, but didn't want to overdo it as I have done so often in the past. I have applied several layer of flat clear during the build to ensure it is safe what I have already completed.
Created the aerials by melting and pulling apart a piece of the sprue.
Then, I have added some extra details: aftermarket water bottles, jerrycan, a left-over chain I found in the cupboard and barbed wire into the turret basket. Made a cable to the remote controlled machine gun (made of a copper wire) and some tarps made of tissues. Also cut label for the fire extinguishers from the unused decals.
There are more pictures of the final model in the gallery.