Saturday, July 29

Two new "Chariots" from Takom – The Merkava Mk.I & Hybrid in 35th scale

So now we see the start of what we hope is a whole family of Merkava in 35th scale from takom – we have some limited info on them in our preview, as well as some info on what is the difference between the earlier Mk.I and the Mk.I Hybrid ...

Takom's two new kits – The Merkava Mk.I & Hybrid in 35th scale
Takom have announced their foray into the "Chariot" of Israel. The Merkava is coming in 35th scale, and we have some limited information on the kits, the Mk.I and the Mk.I hybrid as well as the difference between these tanks in real life.
Merkava I Basics...and what is the difference between the Mk.I and the Mk.I Hybrid?

Merkava Mark I
The Merkava (Hebrew for "chariot") was the main battle tank used by the Israel Defense Forces in the late 70's and through the 80's. The tank began development in 1973 and entered official service in 1978. Four main variants of the tank have been deployed. It was first used extensively in the 1982 Lebanon War. The name "Merkava" was derived from the IDF's initial development program name.
Design criteria include rapid repair of battle damage, survivability, cost-effectiveness and off-road performance. Following the model of contemporary self-propelled howitzers, the turret assembly is located closer to the rear than in most main battle tanks. With the engine in front, this layout is intended to grant additional protection against a frontal attack, especially for the personnel in the main hull, such as the driver. It also creates more space in the rear of the tank that allows increased storage capacity and a rear entrance to the main crew compartment allowing easy access under enemy fire. This allows the tank to be used as a platform for medical disembarkation, a forward command and control station, and an infantry fighting vehicle. The rear entrance's clamshell-style doors provide overhead protection when off- and on-loading cargo and personnel.
Operational since 1978, the Merkava was first used in combat during the 1982 Lebanon War, where Israel deployed 180 units. Although they were a success, the M113 APCs that accompanied them were found to have several defects and were withdrawn. Merkavas were converted into makeshift APCs or armoured ambulances ok by taking out the palleted ammunition racks in storage. Ten soldiers or walking wounded could enter and exit through the rear door.
After the war, many adjustments and additions were noted and designed, the most important being that the 60 mm mortar needed to be installed within the hull and engineered for remote firing—a valuable feature that the Israelis had initially encountered on their Centurion Mk3s with their 2" Mk.III mortar.
The Mark I weighed 63 tonnes and had a 900 horsepower (670 kW) diesel engine, with a power-to-weight ratio of 14 hp/ton. It was armed with the 105 millimetre M68 main gun (a licensed copy of the British Royal Ordnance L7), two 7.62 mm machine guns for anti-infantry defence, and a 60 mm mortar mounted externally, with its operator not completely protected by the tank's hull.
The general design borrows the tracks and road wheels from the British Centurion tank, which had seen extensive use during the Yom Kippur war and performed well in the rocky terrain of the Golan.The Merkava Mk.1 was never exported outside Israel.

Merkava Mk.I Hybrid
The Merkava was upgraded with various fittings which were also added to the latter production Mk.2s such as the side skirts and smoke grenade launchers

 Israeli Merkava Mk.IB tank during 7th 'Tank Day' in Military Technical Museum Lešany.
A shot trap was found beneath the rear of the turret bustle, where a well-placed shot could jam the turret completely. The installation of chain netting to disperse and destroy rocket propelled grenades and anti-tank rockets before impacting the primary armour increased survivability.All these modifications were performed in 1982-83 while the Mark II was introduced. Most Mk.I's are now (as of 2013) placed into the reserve forces.

Takom's kits of the Merkava I – what we know...
These kits will be exterior only – although the hatches on the rear of the tank will be able to be opened if you want to chance your own scratchbuilding skills or place a soldier in the door. We do not know if there are any more planned as of yet, but with the evolutionary nature of this vehicle in real life, one would think it's a no-brainer.

We already have a thought or two about the crew we might want to use...

Merkava Mk.I & Merkava Mk.I Hybrid kits
Kit nos# 2078 & 2079
1/35th scale
All hatches can be posed open or closed
Link & Length tracks
Photo Etch and Clear parts included
No interior - although the 'clam shell' rear crew hatch can be positioned open,
Two Decal marking choices each, provided by the AMMO team
Designed by T-Rex Studios in China
More on these kits as they come to mind – We already have builders standing by to show you what they are like in build reviews so stay tuned...