|MERKAVA II Dor Dalet|
|Review by Simon Barnes||Kit #72001|
It was rumored that Cromwell models were going to move into1/72nd scale, but no one knew with what and those in the know weren't telling! then in late 2005 the models burst onto the scene with a definite IDF theme with two almost simultaneous releases of the Merkava 2 dor dalet and the Magach 6 Batash.
The Merkava the IDF's own indigenous MBT, the Merkava 2 being an improved version of the Merkava 1. Thought by some to be the best MBT in the world and given the IDFs combat experience there is no reason to think why it should not be.
The Dor Dalet version of the Merkava 2 is the IDFs latest version of this mark, some may think that if it is so good, why does it need to be uparmoured ? well the answer is simple, no tank is invulnerable to every type of attack and the Merkava 2s proved vulnerable to the Russian AT-4 spigot ATGMs around the turret ring and driver stations, and as the IDFs main policy is crew protection, these areas were improved, hence the Dor Dalet.
So what do you get? well the suprising thing is very few parts ! with the hull and tracks and wheels being all moulded as one part! Given the amount of detail it is a testament to Cromwell's mold producing techniques that they have managed this. It should be noted that these models are a cross between a war gaming model and a static model and as such there is a bit of compromise in some areas. The hull comes moulded with all details in place, even the belly armour package is included, the standard of casting is exceptional the hull shows no missing part or blemishes, the only air bubbles to appear are in the lower belly which is out of sight and these are skinned over so no filling is necessary. There are two resin blocks along the bottom edge of the tracks that need to be removed, this results in there being no track detail but unless you want to model the tank upside down this shouldn't matter, the blocks are easily removed. It is nice to see that Cromwell have used the Esci/Italeri Merkava tracks, as these capture the shape and profile of the real Merkava tracks a lot better than the Revell Merkava tracks, Cromwell have added guide horns to the tracks and not left them blank. They have also improved the exhaust area, which now is larger and shows the correct slanted louvre's.
Most of the parts that come in the kit are for the turret, with the exception being the drivers hatch, I made the mistake when taking the pictures of leaving the loaders hatch in position, this is a separate item and does not come moulded to the turret as shown in the picture. The smoke dischargers shown in the parts are actually cast as part of the turret, unfortunately mine broke off in transit and so are shown separate, they present no problem in gluing back in place. The ball and chain around the turret rear comes in 3 parts, although these will need to be fitted around the turret basket, the other parts are the MAGs for the commander and loader and the .50 cal for mounting above the main gun, the commanders hatch is the newer type with periscope rather than the on supplied in the original kit, the main gun comes complete with the MRS mirror at the end. The turret basket is the newer shape fitted to later vehicles of the Merkava 2 production run
All in All I am impressed with Cromwell's first venture into 1/72nd scale, the kits are easy to build and complete, for the purist there are details that can be improved upon mainly due to the restrictions in mold making and casting and for those that want to, these items are easy to do, those that don't will still have a very good model of the Merkava 2 Dor Dalet and only need to concentrate on the painting and weathering.
The only criticism I have about this kit is the lack of the anti slip texture that is missing from the hull and turret, this however is only a minor point and can be added by those that want to. There are those that might complain about the lack of being able to elevate the main gun, I would just like to point out that even on the plastic kits the main gun is unable to elevate.
All in all a very good kit, even for those who don't like working with resin should like these kits, with only a few part to put in place, I can recommend these kits to all and not just for experienced modelers as with most Resin Kits.
The kits come with no instructions, although most parts are self explanatory, it would be handy to have photos of the real vehicle to hand when attaching parts.
Many thanks to Gordon Brown of Cromwell Models for Supplying the kits for review
Modern Israeli Tanks and Infantry Carriers 1985-2004 by Marsh Gelbart Osprey publishing New Vanguard 93
Various photos from the internet
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