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Tamiya Merkava Israeli Main Battle Tank

In 1948, one of the many problems facing the new Jewish state of Israel was a total absence of armoured fighting vehicles, and the restrictions applied to nations who had tanks, but were refused the ability to sell them outside of their own countries, made the situation for Israel almost hopeless in obtaining any. They managed to get some derelict Sherman tanks that were going to be scrapped and a few armoured cars, but the number obtained was insufficient for the creation of a viable force. It was these conditions that eventually led to the to the development of today’s impressive Merkava line.



Tamiya Merkava Israeli Main Battle Tank

Kit Highlights
  • Plastic parts molded in tan.
  • Accurately detailed tank comes with a commander figure.
  • Movable turret.
  • Mesh netting.
  • Choice of open or closed hatches.
  • 105mm main gun with thermal jacket.
  • Open or closed headlamps.
  • Pliable and plastic tracks.
  • Waterslide decals.
  • Detailed pictorial instructions include a historical background of the Merkava.

There is not much meat on the bone to talk about.  This is a model kit that has been on the market for little over 20 years, enough has been said about it. With the exception of the stock styrene (for the antennas), that will be replaced by wire from K&S as I did with the Merkava IV, this model kit is a 100% out of the box build. There is still new old stock of a photo etch set for it that retails after shipping for almost as much as the kit itself. I decided to keep this build as cheap as possible and settle for the nice surface detail. The kit provides an excellent full body Commander figure. There is some flash on the legs area but nothing a scrape with the knife wont fix.

It also comes with 2 independent 7.62mm Machine Guns. After being painted with Tamiya XF-1 Flat Black, a dry brush with Testors Chrome Silver (1790) help brings those details on the barrels. Yes, you read right, Testors Silver Chrome 1790. It has a very small pigment ideal for dry brushing metal.

Painting & Weathering:
Here is a Merkava Tank model kit that we don’t see often built in this color. For the most part we’ll see them in Desert Yellow. This Merkava was painted in the Sand/Gray color (Lebanon War 1982) which is a mix of 50/50 Tamiya XF-20 Medium Gray and XF-57 Buff. Decals are the familiar semi-thick from Tamiya. Instead of having this kit coated in a gloss finish before a wash with oil Sienna, it was washed with a flat/dull surface. The wash must be very thin in order to work with a flat surface.

If you are looking for a relief build or just want to add another color scheme to your Merkava Tanks fleet, here is a nice model that wont make a whole on your pocket. It is not perfect for rivet counters. On the other hand, a Tamiya kit for $22 these days? Get one now!

George Collazo
George Collazo

George has been hosting review sites and blogging about toy collectibles, travel, digital photography and Nikon digital imaging since 1998. His first model kit build was a Testors 1/35 DODGE WC-54 in 1984.