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Merkava Mk.IV LIC

Introduction
For this feature I am using the Academy Merkava Mk4 LIC. The kit itself is a nice model built straight out of the box but if you are like me and suffer from AMS (Aftermarket syndrome) you can’t leave well enough alone. There are a lot of aftermarket items available for the Merkava and I used some to further enhance the kit. For this kit I used:

• Eduard Merkava Mk.IV Detail 36081
• ET Model Merkava III/IV Windbreaker APS EA35-066
• Friul MERKAVA MK. IV 35099
• EUREKA XXL Towing Cables for Merkava III ER3511
• Legend Merkava Mk. 4 Basket Set 1178
• SKP Model Lenses and tailights for Merkava IV SKP-136
• Djiti's Productions US Modern Antenna Mounts DJ35010
• Bison Decals Merkava Mk 4 (set 2) BD35146
• Legend IDF Tank Cal.50 set II 1128
• Legend IDF AFV FN MAG set 1160

Preparing the kit
One thing I find that does have to be done is the non slip coating. Although this kit has a sort of non slip texturing molded in it does not resemble the rough surface seen on real Merkavas. This is done by masking off all the sections that should stay smooth and spraying on hairspray followed by embossing powder. To seal in the embossing powder it gets a few extra coats of hairspray, and after that has dried a layer of primer

Colors
When it comes to IDF colors there is no real one color to go for. Every vehicle, although being painted in that IDF gray, green, brownish color will differ in shade depending on maintenance, duration in the field, fading and shade differences in the batch and amount of thinning of paint used.

I use several different paint mixes and two types of paint for IDF vehicles and alter them according to references I am using. The four main mixes I use for modern IDF vehicles are:

• Tamiya: one part XF- 20, one part XF- 57, one part XF- 27 and one part XF- 49
• Tamiya six parts XF-25, three parts XF -62 and one part XF-65
• Humbrol: 84
• Humbrol: one part 72, one part 155 and one part 159

The model featured is painted with the first mixture of Tamiya paints.

Preparing the kit
Before the base color could be applied the model was primed and then pre-shaded. Because the model will be painted one color pre and post shading is a useful technique to give the finished model more depth of color.

Using a piece of card panel lines where pre shaded so they would have a hard edge on one side and feather out on the other.
Base color
Now I could start applying the base color. This was heavily thinned using Tamiya lacquer thinner to the consistency of semi skimmed milk so the base color would be built up very slowly. Start by filling in the grey areas and avoid covering the pre shading.

With the grey areas filled in with the base color it can now be slowly applied of the entire model. Don’t try and do the covering layer in one go but use multiple layers so you have maximum control of the amount of the pre shading showing through.

Now the base color was on I lighten the mixture with some buff and thinned it down even more so I could start the post shading. This was applied to the centers of panels and, again using a piece of card as with the pre-shading used to further enhance the panel lines.

After painting the mud flaps a layer of clear was then applied to seal in the paint and as a smooth finish to be able to apply the decals and protect the paint from the next stage.

Washes
For the wash I used raw umber oil paint thinned with mineral spirits. To see how the wash will act I first test in on a coin to see how it will accumulate around raised details.
When satisfied with the wash I applied it to the model using a large round brush and set it aside for a few minutes to let the wash dry a bit. Then, using q-tips moistened with mineral spirits the excess wash was then removed. When removing the wash from the side of the model use up and down strokes. This will besides removing excess wash create a subtle streaking effect.

Finishing touches
The model was then allowed to fully dry before being given a dull coat using Vallejo matte varnish. At this point I added the periscopes, which I had kept separate to make painting the glass sections easier and added the SKP lenses. The antennas were painted white, gloss coated and data label decals from the spare parts box added before being mounted them to the turret.

The tracks were not painted but chemically treated. This is done by mixing one part vinegar with one part bleach. This will turn the white metal tracks black. But be careful when using this technique! You are creating a chemical reaction and this WILL give off harmful fumes. It is best done outside to avoid inhaling them.
After rinsing the track links under running water to get rid of any of the vinegar/bleach mixture and letting them dry the tracks were assembled. The tracks were then given several heavy washes of raw and burned umber to give them a nice dark oxidized shade of brown.

Conclusion
The turret and rear hull baskets, machine guns and other smaller fittings were painted with Vallejo paints and fitted to the model to finish it. From this point on you can start to the weathering process and add pigments if you wish to make it into an operational vehicle.

*EDITORS NOTE* We have received warning from our knowledgeable members about health hazards regarding the method of blackening the tracks.

The chlorine gas produced by combining the two solutions in the text is at least very dangerous and could be potentially fatal. Please practice this method only at great care, while ensuring protective equipment and proper ventilation for all modeling purposes. Any method using selenium used as an ingredient in Blacken-it is not really safe for your health. Please, if you choose to try this method, do it at your own risk as this article author nor Armorama will be responsible for any problems caused by improper use of any kind
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About janwillem (janwillem)
FROM: GRONINGEN, NETHERLANDS

Hi, my name is Jan-Willem, I life in the Nederland’s and I work for social securaty in the Netherlands. My interests are 1/35 middel eastern AFV as there is a nice mix of soviet en werstern armour but realy love IDF armor