Review: 1/35 Merkava Mk.IID (Academy 13286)
Since the late seventies/early eighties the IDF has their own made Main Battle Tank the Merkava. It has seen a lot of action and modifications since then like they did with their earlier MBT’s. To keep a long story short, the 2 stands for the second hull type. The D in this case stands for the fourth (big) modification. A modification that is very visible on the large turret although there are a few more.
The first Mk.2D in plastic is a long awaited kit by many IDF fans. It comes in the greenish box we’ve gotten used too from Academy. Upon opening the box you are greeted by sandy yellow sprues and some other goodies, let’s get into that a bit deeper, what is in the box?
- Instruction sheet
- Upper hull
- Lower hull
- 8 sprues
- Photo etch
- Poly caps
Instruction sheet: A black and white printed paper, which somehow comes in two pieces, like they calculated it wrong how much was needed to print all of the instructions. The instructions itself are clearly printed and easy to understand but have a different buildup which might actually be refreshing.
Upper hull: A new part with some extra armor and a few other different parts compared to the earlier Merkava variants. Details on this upper hull are nice and crisp.
Lower hull: A sturdy one piece lower hull with some detail on it which are pretty basic.
Sprue A (2x): This is an old sprue which you can also find in the older Merkava 2 kits. It’s about the suspension and wheels. Also the ball and chain are on these sprues. Although it is given an option I Personally wouldn’t use these road wheels for this kit. But more on that later.
Sprue B: This small sprue is one of the eye catchers in this kit. It holds the turret and especially the upper turret part is one full of detail and the add on armor block already attached to it. It’s filled with detail and I’m happy to see that they’ve corrected the mistake they did on the earlier Mk.2’s they did which was basically a copy of a Mk.1 with the light on the left rear. Only downside is that the coaxial slit isn’t fully open. This will cost some work getting right.
Sprue C: This too is one of the older sprues, you can tell by the thick mold seams on some of the parts. It’s mostly about the back of the vehicle but also has some other parts like the gun travel lock and drivers hatch.
Sprue E (2x): The new type road wheels, these look good and are better suitable for this vehicle. Sure, it could be possible to use one or two the older type on sprue A because the IDF does use almost everything they get their hands on, but it’s not a standard for the Mk.2D. Only thing I would have loved here was the option for a steel road wheel.
Sprue G: This large sprue has quit a few different parts, the part that take the most attention is probably the belly armor plate. Than the side skirts which are the heavier type and seen on most Mk.2D’s. This sprue also contains some parts for the turret and the rear stowage bins along with some other small parts. The smoke dischargers are one piece which is nice and the large towing hooks are a nice addition too.
Sprue H: This also large sprue holds the parts for the turret basket, another set of skirts and the main gun. Also there are two different types of commanders hatches, which I think is really nice. Especially the doghouse type is a great asset. Only thing missing there are clear parts, that would have looked better than the normal plastic used now. The turret basket is only available empty which is too bad.
Tracks: The one piece rubber tracks are new but don’t feel right. It looks a bit too wide compared to the pictures of these tracks and also the little ‘hole’ in the middle should actually be open. On the other side I am glad they tried to make the batash tracks usually found on the Mk.2D’s instead of just providing the old Merkava 2 tracks.
Photo etch: A little PE fret which is thinner than you might expect from an plastic kit manufacturer. It holds parts for example for the exhaust and some vents.
Poly caps: For the wheels and sprockets.
Wire: For the towing cables.
Decals: A small sheet with decals for only two options but which aren’t stated. Differences are that the one has the heavier side skirts and the doghouse commanders cupola versus the older cupola and lighter skirts.
A nice subject which is welcomed by a lot of IDF fans for there was no kit in plastic. Other than a few minor things like the coaxial slit and the tracks which aren’t to my satisfaction, the kit offers a few nice options and a real great base for a very nice looking model. As far as building this kit goes, I have no doubt it will be fairly easy to build when I look at the other Academy kits I’ve build.