This post finds me experimenting with IDF armour, namely the MERKAVA Mk.III battle tank. This project came about when chatting with my friend and fellow modeller Eric. He has been encouraging me to build more armour subjects for a long time now and he knew I liked the design of the IDF Merkava so he genourously sent me a gift in the form of Academy’s 1/35 scale Merkava Mk.III .
A little history courtesy of Military Today…….
The Merkava Mk.3 main battle tank is a successor to the Mk.2. It was first publicly revealed in 1989. Production tanks entered service with Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in 1990. Production ceased in 2003 and a total of 780 of these tanks were built. It is still widely used by the IDF alongside the newer Merkava Mk.4.
The Merkava Mk.3 has the same layout as its predecessors. It reflects the unique requirements of Israeli MoD. This tank has improved armor protection, firepower and mobility.
Protection of this main battle tank was improved by adding passive modular armor. Damaged modules can be easily replaced in field conditions. Such armor can also be constantly upgraded when more advanced modules are available. This MBT can also be fitted with explosive reactive armor blocks. The Mk.3 is also fitted with a laser warning system. It is worth mentioning that this MBT unlike the others has a front-mounted engine for better crew protection. Vehicle can be fitted with Trophy active protection system.
The Merkava Mk.3 is fitted with a fully-stabilized 120-mm smoothbore gun, locally developed by Israel Military Industries. This gun can fire all standard NATO 120-mm munitions. It can also fire gun-launched LAHAT anti-tank guided missiles in the same manner as ordinary projectiles. Vehicle carries 50 rounds for the main gun. Ammunition is stored in separate containers.
Vehicle is fitted with a new fire control system, developed by Elbit. This fire control system has automatic target tracking.
Secondary armament consists of three 7.62-mm machine guns. One of them is mounted coaxially with the main gun, while the rest are positioned on top of the roof. Sometimes the Mk.3 tanks can be seen fitted with ranging 12.7-mm machine guns. This MBT is also fitted with remotely controlled 60-mm mortar, which is used to fire illumination and fragmentation rounds.
The Merkava Mk.3 has a crew of four, including commander, gunner, loader and driver. It is worth mentioning, that the Merkava Mk.3 has a unique feature and can carry up to ten troops, when ammunition is unloaded. Troops enter and leave the vehicle through the rear hatch.
Vehicle is powered by Continental AVDS-1790-9AR diesel engine, developing 1 200 horsepower. Power-to-weight ratio of this tank is rather poor due to excessive weight which limits the tank’s mobility.
Variants of the Merkava Mk.3 include the Merkava Mk.3A, 3B, and 3D. Production of the Merkava Mk.3 ceased in 2003. Its successor became the Merkava Mk.4.
Here’s some stat’s on the MERKAVA Mk.III:
|Dimensions and weight|
|Length (gun forward)||9.04 m|
|Hull length||7.97 m|
|Main gun||120-mm smoothbore|
|Machine guns||3 x 7.62-mm|
|Mortar||1 x 60-mm|
|Traverse range||360 degrees|
|Main gun||50 rounds|
|Machine guns||10 000 x 7.62-mm|
|Engine||Continental AVDS-1790-9AR diesel|
|Engine power||1 200 hp|
|Maximum road speed||60 km/h|
|Vertical step||1 m|
ACADEMY”S 1/35 MERKAVA Mk.III
Now I am not the biggest fan of Academy kits but I have to say this is pretty good! Upon opening the box, one finds a well thought out model with a pleasing level of detail.
The assembly was very straightforward with no fit issues and the model painted in overall IDF Sinai Gray from Valjello acrylics. It was weathered with AK Interactive finishing products and an aftermarket figure from MENG was added to set the piece off.
The finished model was mounted on a simple display base to show the model in context, using a MDF plinth painted as a typical Israeli highway that is patrolled by the IDF.
I have to say I enjoyed this build and I thank my good friend Eric for giving me the kit and a fun and insightful modelling experience. I learned some new weathering technique on this project and I am sure that my new approach will serve me well on future armour builds.
Here are some photo’s of the completed model, I hope you enjoy it.
That’s all for now. Wherever you are, whatever you are doing-Take care!
And Happy Modelling!