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Merkava Mk.2
Main Battle Tank

Israeli Defense Force

This model added to on March 28, 1998

The Merkava (Hebrew for "Chariot") is the indigenous Israeli main battle tank. Designed with the lessons of the 1973 Yom Kippur war in mind it combines the highest degree of survivability with massive firepower. The Merkava is one of the the best protected tanks in service today.
The Merkava's engine is placed in the vehicle's front so it can serve as part of the armor suite and provide the crew with maximum protection. This configuration also creates space in the vehicle's rear, which can be used to store up to 85 additional rounds of ammo or carry six equipped infantry. The crew can also enter, exit and resupply through a door in the rear hull.
The Merkava Mk.2 maintains the same U.S. designed 105mm main gun as the earlier Mk.1s although with improved fire control and better armor protection. Merkava Mk.1s took part in the Lebanon war (1982) and proved superior to the Syrian T-72 MBT (then the Soviet's newest tank).
The Merkava also carries a 60mm mortar that can be mounted on the roof of the turret for infantry support.
The Merkava relies on its heavily protected crew compartment, fire detection and suppression system, rear crew escape door, and computerized fire control system for survivability. However all of these features and armor protection come at a price, the Merkava is one of the heaviest main battle tanks of it's time with a top speed of only 28.5 mph.
ESCI/ERTL did a nice job on this kit. It's a quick easy build even for beginners and accurate enough to satisfy most experienced builders.

ESCI ERTL Merkava 1:72

Kit: ESCI/ERTL # 8338

Scale: 1/72
Value: I paid $4.99 (US) in 1996 for this kit. An excellent value. The kit has been out of production for many years but still can be found for around $10.00 now.
Comments: This kit is a fairly simple build with no major fit problems. No flash to speak of. Details are crisply molded and look nice. Tracks are molded in separate links. Commander and loader's machine guns are over simplified and need some custom details added, however the .50 cal gun is very nicely done. Roadwheels are molded as one solid wheel instead of separate inner outer wheels. Commander's hatch is a separate part and can be attached in the open position. Mortar and roof mounts are present in the kit and although instructions make no mention of it, could be modeled in the firing position.
Decals: I hand-cut my own stylized Hebrew markings out of a white decal sheet.
Customizations: Almost none.

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