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Armor/AFV: IDF [Israeli Defense Forces]
Armor and AFVs of the IDF army from 1947-today.
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Merkava IV Detail Questions
cabasner
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Nevada, United States
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Posted: Monday, November 06, 2017 - 08:08 AM UTC
Hi All,

I am getting close to the end of a Merkava Mk. IV LIC (Academy kit) build. The tank is complete as far as the parts of the tanks are concerned, and the painting and weathering are 98% done. I have a few questions, with which my Desert Eagle Siman 4 book isn't helping too much.

First off, I am leaving the rear bustle basket open on top. I have placed the 'cloth' covers and the unit markings on the perimeter, but have left the top open (contrary to the entirely closed versions you see with the Legend resin baskets). I need to know what a typical Israeli stowage load would consist of. I have one large DEF Model beverage cooler, which I'm going to paint mostly red, as I was able to just barely make out a red cooler in the basket in the book. But beyond that, I have no idea what the IDF typically carries on their tanks. I don't need to completely fill the basket, but a moderately full basket would probably be good, considering the top is open.

Secondly, since my tank is an LIC version, the coaxial (with the main gun) 50cal machine gun has remote firing capability. There are 2 sets of cords/wires that come off the 50cal. There are two cables that come off the 'angled pieces' (that are angled about 45 degrees going forwards; I am not putting the solenoid cover on that end of the MG), held onto the holes in those angled piece by what look like D rings. I think those are pull cables. Where do they end up at the far end? Do they go into the Commander's hatch? If so, you can't close the hatch. Next, there are solenoid operating wires that come off the end of each of the two solenoids, and which route into a single, thicker electrical cable. My guess is that all 3 of these lines, the single electrical cable and the two 'pull lines' go back near the Commander's hatch, but where do they go from there? My Desert Eagle book doesn't give a good view of those cables/lines in that area (unless I"m blind, which is entirely possible).

Any help in addressing these two areas would be greatly appreciated. I might even post pictures when it's completely done (I'm waiting on some angled antenna bases for final completion, too). Thanks in advance!
GTDeath13
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Posted: Monday, November 06, 2017 - 02:47 PM UTC
Curt check your PMs regarding the wiring.

For a LIC variant I would go for the covered basket. Since you decided to leave it open, you can add canisters, boxes, spare track links at the the bottom of the basket, blankets, bedrolls, sleeping bags etc.



cabasner
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Posted: Tuesday, November 07, 2017 - 05:57 AM UTC
Nikos,

I owe you, man! Many thanks, the PM was perfect!!
DonnyT
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Posted: Wednesday, November 08, 2017 - 08:59 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Nikos,

I owe you, man! Many thanks, the PM was perfect!!




Hi Curt,

Do you mind send me a pic of where the wire for the 50 cal end up?
My Mk 4 build has a close hatch.

Thanks in advance.
cabasner
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Posted: Wednesday, November 08, 2017 - 05:20 PM UTC
Donny, mine too (closed hatch), but it’s not a problem. PM sent. Good luck!

For anyone who may care, I got the resin antenna bases I had ordered, so now I have all the parts and info I need to finish up my Mk. IV. I’m gonna try to complete it this coming weekend and post some pictures.
GTDeath13
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Posted: Wednesday, November 08, 2017 - 08:38 PM UTC

Quoted Text

I’m gonna try to complete it this coming weekend and post some pictures.

Looking forward to seeing the photos. The Centurion you posted a short time ago is vey promising...
cabasner
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Posted: Wednesday, November 08, 2017 - 09:49 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Looking forward to seeing the photos. The Centurion you posted a short time ago is vey promising...



Very nice of you to say, Nikos, thank you. I’ll definitely get something posted soon!
ReluctantRenegade
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Posted: Thursday, November 09, 2017 - 12:34 AM UTC

Quoted Text

First off, I am leaving the rear bustle basket open on top.



I know there are examples of tanks with their bustle baskets uncovered while on the move, but it really shouldn't happen. I've never let that happen on my tank. Light stuff could easily fly out while moving through difficult terrain if uncovered or not attached and secured properly. You don't want to lose anything while driving around and don't ask me where I know that from...


Quoted Text

I need to know what a typical Israeli stowage load would consist of. I have one large DEF Model beverage cooler, which I'm going to paint mostly red, as I was able to just barely make out a red cooler in the basket in the book. But beyond that, I have no idea what the IDF typically carries on their tanks. I don't need to completely fill the basket, but a moderately full basket would probably be good, considering the top is open.



I'm not familiar with the Mk.IV, but on the Mk.II we had two racks of spare track links, two racks for 7.62mm ammo boxes, two jerrycans of water, the boresight and a rather large double-sided camo net (able to cover the whole tank) neatly folded. The latter took up a significant space in the basket. Other than that, we could put anything we wanted to, although as far as I remember there wasn't much space available.

Our personal stuff was kept in large duffle bags ('kitbags') in the hull baskets (two in each basket in a pre-defined order). Accessing stuff was a lot easier than the turret basket, therefore we also kept here some frequently used maintenance equipment, such as the hydraulic jack used for maintaining track tension.

We had only two options for sleeping: in or on the tank. Sleeping on the ground was strictly forbidden, unless tents were raised (way too many soldiers died by various AFVs running overt them). Infantry, gunners and combat engineers still sleep on the ground due to lack of sufficient available places in or on their vehicles. We were never issued bedrolls, although it might be different these days. All the equipment/stowage was kept in EXACTLY the same place and order in each tank. This fact and continuous training allowed us to find everything quickly even in pitch dark, as well as hop on another tank if needed and continue activity.
DonnyT
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Posted: Thursday, November 09, 2017 - 02:00 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Donny, mine too (closed hatch), but it’s not a problem. PM sent. Good luck!

For anyone who may care, I got the resin antenna bases I had ordered, so now I have all the parts and info I need to finish up my Mk. IV. I’m gonna try to complete it this coming weekend and post some pictures.



Thanks Curt, nice reference pics, looking forward to your Mk 4!
exgrunt
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Posted: Thursday, November 09, 2017 - 08:12 PM UTC
Question - one tank pictured above had the "R2D2" device mounted. Is that thing used in addition to the Trophy system or was it an earlier version that is now out of service? Or does it have a completely different purpose?
GTDeath13
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Posted: Friday, November 10, 2017 - 05:33 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Question - one tank pictured above had the "R2D2" device mounted. Is that thing used in addition to the Trophy system or was it an earlier version that is now out of service? Or does it have a completely different purpose?



Trophy is a hard-kill system: it fires an interceptor projectile at detected threats. It consists from array sensors and a launcher on each side of the tank.

The Droid, also known as Windbreaker, is a soft-kill system. CAUTION: The following are my assumptions:

I believe it is a laser dazzle system to disorient IR and laser homing ATGM so that they miss
ReluctantRenegade
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Posted: Friday, November 10, 2017 - 05:53 PM UTC

Quoted Text

The Droid, also known as Windbreaker



Not quiet. 'Trophy' and 'Windbreaker' are simply different names referring to the same APS system. The IDF designation of the system is 'Me'il Ruach' (hence the 'M' designation of the 'Trophy' equipped Mk.IVs) which translates into 'Windbreaker'. The so called 'droid' is not an integral part of the system.
exgrunt
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Posted: Friday, November 10, 2017 - 06:38 PM UTC

Quoted Text


Quoted Text

The Droid, also known as Windbreaker



Not quiet. 'Trophy' and 'Windbreaker' are simply different names referring to the same APS system. The IDF designation of the system is 'Me'il Ruach' (hence the 'M' designation of the 'Trophy' equipped Mk.IVs) which translates into 'Windbreaker'. The so called 'droid' is not an integral part of the system.



So for a full "all-up" / "go to war" version of this tank, it would be accurate to have the droid AND the Trophy system installed? Or is the droid only installed on a few selected vehicles?
ReluctantRenegade
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Posted: Friday, November 10, 2017 - 07:34 PM UTC

Quoted Text

So for a full "all-up" / "go to war" version of this tank, it would be accurate to have the droid AND the Trophy system installed? Or is the droid only installed on a few selected vehicles?



Vehicles seem to have either this or that; the 'droid' seems to appear on selected, non-'Trophy' equipped vehicles only. I'm not saying that's an impossible combo, but rather I have no evidence of it.

I think the more advanced 'Trophy' makes the older 'Droid' obsolete. On the other hand, the 'droid' is probably cheaper and easier to fit on pretty much any AFV used by the IDF in case needed. Another possibility is that the two systems are used together, but not mounted on the same vehicle...



cabasner
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Posted: Sunday, November 12, 2017 - 02:25 AM UTC
As promised, here are pictures of my Academy Merkava 4 LIC. Any comments would be appreciated, as I'd love to improve it, and obviously any tanks I do in the future. You're all better than me at this. M

So you understand where I was coming from, I intentionally avoided heavy weathering. I know these IDF vehicles CAN get monstrously mucked up with mud and the like, but I chose not to do that with this tank, and wanted to leave it as you see it. I'm sure that with one of the numerous IDF tanks I want to build, at least one will end up seriously muddy. It would be fun to do, but I want to plan for that from the beginning of the build.

You'll note the garish red cooler in the back. The reason I included that was, first, to give a splash of color, and I saw, in at least one photo of an open topped rear basket, a red cooler in a Merk 4, just not as high in the basket as this one. I'm not thrilled with the arch of one of the pulled over antennas, but it was the best I could do without trying a different material (these were stretched sprue).





The ball and chains were the Voyager set, which I think, from what I've learned in researching, is one of the best options for a realistic look. I lost one of the ballistic shield , which you can see in this view, but while I had enough to replace that one, I liked the look of the missing one, perhaps adding to the realism (but I admit that in no cases have I seen photos of individual missing balls on these tanks; I have seen entire missing sections, though). The only aspect of this set that was disappointing was that I could not consistently use the correct number of chain links, but that is, I think, more of an effect of the model kit rather than the ball and chain set, since these two were not specifically designed for each other. I have three more of these Voyager sets, and hopefully that will be sufficient for any more Merkavas that will need aftermarket balls and chains (they are pricey!). I know this is not the best job of installing these (maybe I’ll get better with experience), but I think they are passable.


cabasner
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Posted: Sunday, November 12, 2017 - 02:31 AM UTC
A few more...





I know I didn't do the greatest job on the wiring and 'pull cables' for the 50cal MG, but I gave a shot. Better, I suppose, than not having that detail at all.


cabasner
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Posted: Sunday, November 12, 2017 - 02:33 AM UTC
And the last few...

This 'oil slick' on the underbelly armor was something I'd seen in the Desert Eagle Merkava Siman 4 book, though the photo showed the amount of areas where the oil was spread out to be somewhat less than how much I covered; I got a bit carried away when I did the application. Next time, I also want to figure out a way to have the edges of the oil 'pool' be more built up with dust, where I know the oil catches it. This picture shows the Friul tracks pretty well.




While the 'catch bag' for the brass shells is present (scratch built), it is out of focus here, and I was more pleased with it until I realized that size-wise, it's a bit small, and the bottom of the bag should have reached all the way to the top of the turret deck. Next time! And...I cut one of the solenoid control wires to short, thus making the coil of cable have to sit off the deck as well, though that does have one added benefit of making that detail stand out a bit more. The 'conduit' that the cable enters is scratch built, though my PE set DID have that part in the set, I just didn't know what it was far at the time, and the part got messed up enough that it got tossed. Darn!
sgtreef
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Posted: Sunday, November 12, 2017 - 02:47 AM UTC
Nice job on that Merk Iv.
So the paint looks good.
An Academy kit you say?
What year is that might I ask?
I have the Merk II, from way back,from them.

Thanks


Jeff
cabasner
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Posted: Sunday, November 12, 2017 - 03:19 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Nice job on that Merk Iv.
So the paint looks good.
An Academy kit you say?
What year is that might I ask?
I have the Merk II, from way back,from them.

Thanks


Jeff



Thanks, Jeff. This is the Academy LIC version, kit number 13227. There is a non LIC by Academy, too, but it's much harder to find. This one can be built either way, and has the advantage of coming with anti-slip molded in, which the other does not. Scalemates says this kit was released in 2011. I think it’s a really nice model, my first Academy model. I bought the HobbyBoss Merkava 4, with all the aftermarket PE, when it first came out, right when I was getting back into modeling, before i knew it is messed up in terms of the offset road wheels among other errors. The HB moldings are generally more crisp, however. Still, I was happy with the way this one turned out. And, there is a Meng Merkava 4M apparently on the way. I'll be getting that one more than likely, and I have the Meng Merkava 3D Early under construction now (but delayed, because I lost a part that, hopefully, Meng will be able to replace for me, at my expense).

I'm clearly an IDF fanatic, though it wasn't a conscious thing.
Das_Abteilung
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Posted: Sunday, November 12, 2017 - 06:26 AM UTC
Back to the Droid/Windbreaker and Trophy debate. So I would be incorrect in fitting both Trophy and Droid/Windbreaker on the same vehicle?? I have both for my unstarted IV LIC.
cabasner
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Posted: Sunday, November 12, 2017 - 07:12 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Back to the Droid/Windbreaker and Trophy debate. So I would be incorrect in fitting both Trophy and Droid/Windbreaker on the same vehicle?? I have both for my unstarted IV LIC.



I suppose that will be a good, valid question for the upcoming Meng Merkava 4M kit, as the Trophy hardware is included, but in the single photo I have seen of the kit (which everyone who is interested in this has seen, I'm sure) doesn't show a Droid mounted. Whether it will be included in the kit is an unanswered question, I believe.
DonnyT
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Posted: Sunday, November 12, 2017 - 07:51 AM UTC
Curt, very good job on your MK 4 LIC.
The cable guide for the 50 Cal looks good too, what you use to replicate it?
cabasner
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Posted: Sunday, November 12, 2017 - 08:06 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Curt, very good job on your MK 4 LIC.
The cable guide for the 50 Cal looks good too, what you use to replicate it?



Thanks, Donny. Actually, the cable conduit was a little more involved than it needed to be. I started with a 0.75mm plastic rod, cut to length. Then, I cut a few pieces of scrap photo etch brass, and bent the pieces about 20 degrees. These pieces I glued to the bottom of the plastic rod, to replicate the 'feet' that you see toward the front of the cable conduit. Then, because the 'back' side of the conduit in smooth (i.e. doesn't have those 'feet'), I filled in the back from the top of the plastic rod with thinly rolled epoxy, then used super glue to make the back side (relatively) smooth. Then I painted. I thought at first that it was supposed to be hull color, but then I noticed in the pictures I got of that area that the conduit appears to be a dull steel color, obviously not painted on the real thing. I tried to duplicate that as best I could.

I know there HAS to be a better/easier way (well, there is, the photo etch part that I ruined), but this sort of worked.
ReluctantRenegade
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Posted: Sunday, November 12, 2017 - 12:01 PM UTC
Excellent work Curt, I can almost smell the dust! What color did you use?
ReluctantRenegade
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Posted: Sunday, November 12, 2017 - 12:14 PM UTC

Quoted Text

So I would be incorrect in fitting both Trophy and Droid/Windbreaker on the same vehicle??



The 'Windbreaker' is NOT the so called 'Droid', but the translation of the domestic name of the 'Trophy' APS. In other words, the APS can be referred either as 'Trophy', 'Windbreaker' or 'Trophy/Windbreaker'. The so called 'Droid' is a completely different system.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trophy_(countermeasure)

As for the second part of the question: I have tons of ‘Trophy’ equipped Mk.IV pictures, none of them carries the ‘Droid’; neither do ‘Trophy’ equipped ‘Namers’ and ‘Nameras’. I also have many pictures of various ‘Droid’ equipped AFVs - ‘Achzarits’, ‘Pumas’, ‘Nagmachons’, ‘Nakpadons’, Mk.IIs, Mk.IVs (interestingly not Mk.IIIs...) - none of them carries the ‘Trophy’ simultaneously. Just my two cents...