Merkava Mk.2D
Conversion set

Legend 1:35 Set #LF1106
Review by Peter Brown
Continued development and conversion of the Merkava has resulted in new generations which look very different from the original design. With new anti-tank weapons ranged against them, improved armour has been fitted to older tanks. One result is what is described by Marsh Gelbart in his "Merkava - A History of Israel's Main Battle Tank" as Merkava 2 BATASH or Merkava 2B Dor Dalet. Unlike the earlier vehicles with the narrow turret profile, this has extra armour on the turret side to protect against HEAT warheads as used on antitank missiles. Later Merkava 3 vehicles are fitted with steel-rimmed wheels and this conversion appears to be a BATASH/2B Dor Dalet with steel wheels. Given the reluctance of the Israeli Defence Forces to give out details of equipment, this may be known as Merkava 2D but I can neither confirm nor deny this.

Whatever it is called, this set converts the basic Academy kit to the uparmoured version. Unlike LF1064 Mk.IIB/C and LF1071 Mk.IIC sets, this includes a new hull top as well as the extra plate fitted under the hull to protect against improved anti tank mines which knocked out several tanks and the smaller section on the lower glacis - this is the part shaped vaguely like a pair of spectacles.

There is also a new turret complete with main and secondary armament and even the crew's GALIL carbines. The ball and chain armour to protect the turret overhang comes as fine chain and a series of balls which attach to an etched brass strip. The instructions tell you how many links of chain to cut off, the balls have to be separated and attached by a short length of the thin brass wire provided. This will be tedious to assemble, and also make the detail on the underside of the stowage rack all but impossible to see. The rack itself comes ready stowed as a separate part cast with the rear parts of the side armour/stowage boxes, not as a set of etched parts as in the earlier conversions.

New hull rear stowage bins are cast complete with the perforated plates on the rear face and these also have stowage included. The main under-hull plate is one part with the separate front section and also fixing bolts which attach to the original tow hooks.

Side skirt plates come as separate sections. Casting blocks are attached to the lower edge so care will be needed not to damage these areas. Etched "springs" are provided as well. Wheels come as separate inner and outer discs with short stub axles.

Most parts are cleanly cast in pale resin, with a fret of etched parts, two different thicknesses of brass wire and a length of nylon cord for use as a tow rope to go with resin eyes and a piece of lead sheet which is to be cut into strips as straps on the stowage in the turret rear rack. Instructions are the usual colour photos showing parts layout for identifcation and a completed model with the parts in place and identified to show location.

With new turret and hull top. not much is used of the Academy kit with just the lower hull "tub", suspension, sprockets, idlers and tracks. Whether it would have been better or indeed more cost-effective to include these parts in resin is up to the purchaser. With no plastic kit available, this is a way of getting this vehicle in model form.

The solid turret basket will make this easier to build than the B/C or C versions, this is still probably not a good choice as a first resin kit. It is still up to the usual Legend standard and as such is recommended for those into modern Israeli AFVs.


Etched/metal parts
Resin parts

Review set courtesy of Ian Hanratty at:
Friendship Models
12, Delta Drive
East Lothian, EH21 8HR
United Kingdom
Phone: (0131)-665-4087

Page created 15 August 2005

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