Review: 1/35 Merkava Mk.3 Baz with Mine Roller system (Meng Model TS-005)
For years the IDF lovers did not have much options. You could get an Academy kit or the Tamiya Mk.1, if you wanted something different you needed to buy expensive resin sets. The last years have been much better for the fans of IDF modelling. Academy and HobbyBoss brought out some nice IDF armour vehicles. But now a new player entered the market and the name is Meng! Meng already did their second Merkava and more IDF kits are on the way!
When this kit was delivered and I opened the delivery box my first reaction seeing the box of the kit was WAUW! What a beautiful boxart and what a big box! Too bad mine was dented during shipping but luckily the inside wasn’t harmed too much. When I opened the box for the first time I was stunned by the huge amount of plastic inside! I had a Dragon flashback but without all the PE and other extra stuff. Big difference is that you probably do use most of this plastic where Dragon gives you a lot of spare parts. Let take a look what’s inside:
- Instruction sheet.
- 16 lightgrey sprues.
- 1 clear parts sprue
- Upper hull
- Lower hull
- Rubber tracks
- 2 idler wheels
- Upper hull part
- Lower hull part
- Brass Wire
- Lead strip
Instruction Sheet: The cover printed in color. Meng starts with some information about the Merkava on the first page. Then 56 build-steps follow, the next two pages sum up all the sprues and the last page contains a colored decal and paint scheme.
Sprue A: Road wheels and suspension, you’ll get the option for steel road wheels or rubber tired. These sometimes are mixed so it gives you some freedom.
Sprue B: Some different parts, with some nice welding detail on some of the smaller parts (check the photo’s)
Sprue C: Hatches, exhaust and other parts.
Sprue D: Skirts (the one piece version), the engine deck and some others.
Sprue E: Ball and chain armor for underneath the turret basket, Im really impressed with the great looks of the chains. This smart solution will save a lot of work! The ball and chain armor was for some modellers the part where they stopped building their older Merkava´s because it´s a lot of work attaching actual ball and chain together.
Sprue F: Main gun parts and other.
Sprue G: Different smaller parts.
Sprue H: Some hatches and the turret basket parts. Especially the bottom of the basket is a piece of art with all those little holes and no flash, amazing!
Sprue J: Clear parts
Sprue K: Turret parts
Sprue L: Also turret parts
Sprue M: Turret hull parts, rear hull basket parts and the separate sideskirts. Meng also included two assault rifles for on the turret next to the commander and loader hatch.
Sprue N: Nochri Dalet mine roller parts.
Sprue P: More mine roller parts.
Idler wheels: 2 pieces of art if you ask me.
Upper and lower hull: Looking very nice, good detail on the welding seams and handles.
Upper and lower turret parts: A great level of detail but my upper part had a little dent in it. Visible on the photo just left above the hatch openings.
Chain: For the mine roller
Brass wire: meant to tie the tow cables to the turret, but it could probably be a good option for the wire that comes from .50 that stands above the main gun to the commanders position.
Wire: Different purposes, for instance towing cable.
Lead strip: For the tactical markings on the turret basket.
Tracks: One piece tracks which look very good but with a little flash on them. Some people don’t like one piece tracks and will go for aftermarket sets but I think these tracks will do perfectly for most of us
Decal sheet: Printed by cartograf and looks excellent! Provide markings for 2 options.
- Option 1: Command tank, 2nd Platoon, 3rd Grimel company, 1st Sufa (Storm) Battalion, 188 Barak (Lightning) Brigade.
- Option 2: Tank 1 Alef, 1st Platoon, 1st Company, 3rd Izuz (Bravery) Battalion, 460 Brigade, Operation Cast Lead, Gaza, January 2009.
The conclusion is that Meng has done an excellent job on this Merkava Mk.3 Baz! Giving a few good options, turret basket open or closed, rear hull basket open or closed. 2 different colour schemes or the wheels that can be made with either bare steel or rubber tired. That combined with great detail and the fact that Meng cooperated with Michael Mass who works at Latrun (Israeli Tank museum and had a high rank position in the Israeli army) what means that there will be little flaws compared to the real thing, makes this one awesome kit!!
Only minor points noted are the lack of the anti slip coating and the flash on the tracks. Definitely recommend but if you are a beginning modeller you might be a little overcome by the amount of plastic.