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Armor/AFV: IDF [Israeli Defense Forces]
Armor and AFVs of the IDF army from 1947-today.
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Meng Merkava 4m Questions
cabasner
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Posted: Saturday, December 22, 2018 - 03:00 PM UTC
Hey All,

Working on the Meng Merkava 4m (with Trophy), and I have a few questions. First, when mounting the main gun, I am having a hard time determining how the mantlet should be installed. If you glue the lower part of the mantlet flush with the turret edge, as it appears was intended, the gun is left in a slightly elevated position. If, however, you 'hook' the lower mantlet piece 'inside' the turret edge, the gun appears to be in a completely level state. I'm inclined to think that the former is what Meng intended, but I can't find any photos of what that part of the mantlet looks like. I'd like to have the main gun level, but since the gun isn't movable, and I want the gun to be glued in place the 'right way', elevated or level, I'd like some opinions/advise. Secondly, are both sides of the rangefinder glass supposed to be a clear blue? Thanks for any thoughts.

I can send photos if my explanation doesn't make sense.
ReluctantRenegade
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Posted: Saturday, December 22, 2018 - 09:06 PM UTC

Quoted Text

are both sides of the rangefinder glass supposed to be a clear blue?



Hi Curt, hope this helps:









TopSmith
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Posted: Sunday, December 23, 2018 - 04:02 AM UTC
Great photos. Ha! the left side is easy to determine but the right side is quite a chameleon.
cabasner
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Posted: Sunday, December 23, 2018 - 04:04 AM UTC

Quoted Text


Quoted Text

are both sides of the rangefinder glass supposed to be a clear blue?



Hi Curt, hope this helps:



It does indeed, sir! Many thanks...GREAT pictures, will help a lot more than just for the rangefinder!!!!!
cabasner
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Posted: Sunday, December 23, 2018 - 04:11 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Great photos. Ha! the left side is easy to determine but the right side is quite a chameleon.



Agreed! The right side (from the commander's perspective) looks like a solid whitish blue in most of the pictures!
ReluctantRenegade
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Posted: Sunday, December 23, 2018 - 04:18 AM UTC

Quoted Text

the left side is easy to determine but the right side is quite a chameleon.



The port-side of the gunner's (day) sight has a purple-ish/blue-ish tint, the starboard-side (thermal) sight, has an orange-ish/bronze-ish tint. The commander's sights are in reversed order.
cabasner
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Posted: Sunday, December 23, 2018 - 05:42 AM UTC

Quoted Text


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the left side is easy to determine but the right side is quite a chameleon.



The port-side of the gunner's (day) sight has a purple-ish/blue-ish tint, the starboard-side (night) sight, has an orange-ish/bronze-ish tint. The commander's sights are in reversed order.



Israel,
I want to say thanks for all the great info you have provided to me over time, here in this forum!

Now, I'm going to show my really basic ignorance of the details. The gunner's sight, as we see it in the photos, is the circular one that is on the right (the one that is covered in mesh in the LIC versions of the tank)? Is that correct? And the commander's sight is the box like unit on the left (again, as shown in the photos)? Or do I have the sights identified backwards?

Actually, I just looked in the Meng instructions. They call the rounded sight the "Panoramic Sight", and the box-like unit is the "Commander's Range Finder". Are those descriptions accurate?

Then, there are the "Commander's Periscopes" (around his hatch). You don't see those well in these photos. I presume they also have some coating that would give them color, but there is no color call-out in the instructions. Should they be a certain color also?
ReluctantRenegade
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Posted: Sunday, December 23, 2018 - 06:53 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Or do I have the sights identified backwards?



Yes, the other way around. The commander's panoramic sight is the round-one sitting on top of the turret and it is independent from that of the gunner's.


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Actually, I just looked in the Meng instructions. They call the rounded sight the "Panoramic Sight"



That's correct, although I refer to it as 'commander's sight'.


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and the box-like unit is the "Commander's Range Finder".



Not really. That's the gunners day/thermal sight.


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Then, there are the "Commander's Periscopes" (around his hatch). You don't see those well in these photos. I presume they also have some coating that would give them color, but there is no color call-out in the instructions. Should they be a certain color also?



The episcopes themselves are made of bulletproof glass with a slight green tint to them, but leaving them clear would be also OK.
ReluctantRenegade
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Posted: Sunday, December 23, 2018 - 07:01 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Israel,
I want to say thanks for all the great info you have provided to me over time, here in this forum!



You're welcome.

Stick around, as the next session in my blog will cover the 4M.
knewton
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Posted: Sunday, December 23, 2018 - 07:08 AM UTC
Hello Israel, great to see your return, I look forward to updates of your blog.

Are you able to answer a query for me, please: in the last image of your five, what is the tube to the left of the crewman sitting on turret top? I'd read elsewhere is was a holder for mis-fired main gun rounds... but I'm a little dubious of that.

many thanks, and best regards

Kylie
ReluctantRenegade
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Posted: Sunday, December 23, 2018 - 07:23 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Are you able to answer a query for me, please: in the last image of your five, what is the tube to the left of the crewman sitting on turret top? I'd read elsewhere is was a holder for mis-fired main gun rounds... but I'm a little dubious of that.



Hi Kylie! That's the info I have as well. Instead of dumping it on the ground to be later picked up and used by insurgents, the dud-round is stored in the external tube.
knewton
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Posted: Sunday, December 23, 2018 - 07:47 AM UTC
Cheers, Israel, for the prompt response; I always thought the rounds would be more reliable than that.
Das_Abteilung
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Posted: Sunday, December 23, 2018 - 09:17 AM UTC

Quoted Text

The episcopes themselves are made of bulletproof glass with a slight green tint to them, but leaving them clear would be also OK.



There is no bulletproof glass, only bullet-resistant. Hit it repeatedly and it will be penetrated. It is made of multi-layer laminated glass and vinyl and has a natural mid-green tint, the thicker the greener. But in a housing like an epsicope or periscope it will appear much darker.

I'm pretty sure that modern IDF direct vision optics have an anti-laser coating which probably gives a pinkish tinge as the light catches it. But, like the blue glass mentioned above, it is something of a chameleon according to the light.
panzerbob01
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Posted: Sunday, December 23, 2018 - 01:02 PM UTC

Quoted Text


Quoted Text

The episcopes themselves are made of bulletproof glass with a slight green tint to them, but leaving them clear would be also OK.



There is no bulletproof glass, only bullet-resistant. Hit it repeatedly and it will be penetrated. It is made of multi-layer laminated glass and vinyl and has a natural mid-green tint, the thicker the greener. But in a housing like an epsicope or periscope it will appear much darker.

I'm pretty sure that modern IDF direct vision optics have an anti-laser coating which probably gives a pinkish tinge as the light catches it. But, like the blue glass mentioned above, it is something of a chameleon according to the light.



We should all bear in mind that all of these modern lenses are 1) coated for laser-reflection, etc., and 2) ALL photos are taken from some angle relative to each lens on the vehicle (leading to a mixture of reflection-generated "colors" among lenses in the picture) - and both of these conspire to make most such lenses "chameleons". The 2-piece range-finder consists of two differently-coated outer lenses, plus, as evident in some of the photos, an inner lens on the tank's right. That inner lens is actually typically facing at a different angle then does its left-side brother. So each lens, when viewed at any given angle (the photo), will look different from the other. So... (and I'm in the midst of a Merk 2B with these same range-finders) My suggestion is to tint the left deep blue on the inside face, and the right slightly bronze or clear gold or like tint on the inside face. I am actually going to make an inner lens for that right item and tint that, in hopes of "catching" some of the depth behind the sky reflection (light blue in photo).

I have had some success with using food coloring in Future painted on insides of clear styrene "glass bits" for this purpose - gets the clear lens effect and the depth as well as some version of a likely color.

Cheers! Bob
exgrunt
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Posted: Monday, December 24, 2018 - 04:08 AM UTC

Quoted Text


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Are you able to answer a query for me, please: in the last image of your five, what is the tube to the left of the crewman sitting on turret top? I'd read elsewhere is was a holder for mis-fired main gun rounds... but I'm a little dubious of that.



Hi Kylie! That's the info I have as well. Instead of dumping it on the ground to be later picked up and used by insurgents, the dud-round is stored in the external tube.



That seems strange. I get not leaving potential IED material for the badguys but if you are in combat, do you really want to unbutton, potentially under fire, to stow the round in that exposed container? And if you do, then you've got 20 pounds (or so) of unprotected high explosives sitting close to your loader and the TC if they are fighting unbuttoned. Assume it would only take some shrapnel or MG fire to detonate that round?
cabasner
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Posted: Tuesday, December 25, 2018 - 05:45 AM UTC
All,

Again, I'd like to say thanks for all the great information posted here and everywhere in this fabulous forum!

FYI, yesterday, I got the latest Desert Eagle book, No. 21, Merkava Siman 4/4M. I got the original Merkava 4 book many years ago, but this new one has more, and better, amazing detail photos, way beyond what was in that first one. I'm not involved with Desert Eagle in any way, but wanted to tell you all that if you're looking to super detail your 4 or 4m, this is the book to get! BUT...Israel's photos of the sights are better than anything in this book, with respect to that particular feature...

I plan on making a lot of changes to my 4M tank, even though Meng has done a REALLY nice job on the model out of the box. When you see close up or high definition photos of, for example, the armor skirts, as in the photos in this book, it will make you question why we worry so much about perfect paint on our AFVs!!!
panamadan
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Posted: Tuesday, December 25, 2018 - 07:10 AM UTC

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Are you able to answer a query for me, please: in the last image of your five, what is the tube to the left of the crewman sitting on turret top? I'd read elsewhere is was a holder for mis-fired main gun rounds... but I'm a little dubious of that.



Hi Kylie! That's the info I have as well. Instead of dumping it on the ground to be later picked up and used by insurgents, the dud-round is stored in the external tube.



That seems strange. I get not leaving potential IED material for the badguys but if you are in combat, do you really want to unbutton, potentially under fire, to stow the round in that exposed container? And if you do, then you've got 20 pounds (or so) of unprotected high explosives sitting close to your loader and the TC if they are fighting unbuttoned. Assume it would only take some shrapnel or MG fire to detonate that round?


The SOP to get rid of a bad round is to get it out of the turret via the loaders hatch-at least in the US Army.
Dan
Precious_rob
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Posted: Tuesday, December 25, 2018 - 03:14 PM UTC
Just a heads up for anyone trying to get the colors right on those anti-laser sights, AFV club makes a set of clear plastic inserts for the Merkava 4s. I believe its designed for the Academy kits but I imagine theyll probably fit in Meng's offering as well.

I have a set for my future build of that 4M kit and the color actually shifts from a blue to pinkish hue depending on how the light hits it just like the real ones do.
exgrunt
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Posted: Tuesday, December 25, 2018 - 05:02 PM UTC

Quoted Text


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Are you able to answer a query for me, please: in the last image of your five, what is the tube to the left of the crewman sitting on turret top? I'd read elsewhere is was a holder for mis-fired main gun rounds... but I'm a little dubious of that.



Hi Kylie! That's the info I have as well. Instead of dumping it on the ground to be later picked up and used by insurgents, the dud-round is stored in the external tube.



That seems strange. I get not leaving potential IED material for the badguys but if you are in combat, do you really want to unbutton, potentially under fire, to stow the round in that exposed container? And if you do, then you've got 20 pounds (or so) of unprotected high explosives sitting close to your loader and the TC if they are fighting unbuttoned. Assume it would only take some shrapnel or MG fire to detonate that round?


The SOP to get rid of a bad round is to get it out of the turret via the loaders hatch-at least in the US Army.
Dan



Totally makes sense. Just not sure of the logic of storing the dud round in an (apparently) un/lightly-armored container, 18" from the exposed loader.
ReluctantRenegade
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Posted: Wednesday, December 26, 2018 - 01:36 AM UTC
Frankly, I have my doubts as well. Having said that, the IDF Armored Corps doesn't exactly strikes me as a bunch of amateurs; probably there's a very good reason for the existence of this application.

Now, knowing the above mentioned organisation quiet well, I would say it's probably based on previous (bad) experience with improperly stored ammunition. I hate to use cliches, bit it's probably written in blood.

I think we all agree, that judging by the size and shape of the container, it is very likely used for (externally) storing a single 120 mm round. It looks similar (or even identical) to this:



The question is, why would you want to store a malfunctioning round rather than just dumping it on the ground? I'm not sure whether the info I have is correct, however, it makes (some) sense. Me myself don't think it's used for a round AFTER misfire, but rather for a potential dud BEFORE being loaded into the gun-tube's chamber.
Mind you, the 120 mm rounds have semi-combustible cartridge-casings made of, well, paper basically; the only part leaves the back-end of the gun is the metal case-bottom:



You can see it ejected here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eETvj6bIpuA

I'm only familiar with the brass-shell casing of the 105 mm rounds, but my guess is the 120 mm semi-combustible cartridge-casings are much more sensitive to improper storage hence more vulnerable to external damage.


Quoted Text

I get not leaving potential IED material for the badguys but if you are in combat, do you really want to unbutton, potentially under fire, to stow the round in that exposed container?



I wouldn't do that, that's for sure; there's probably an SOP for these situations.


Quoted Text

you've got 20 pounds (or so) of unprotected high explosives sitting close to your loader and the TC if they are fighting unbuttoned. Assume it would only take some shrapnel or MG fire to detonate that round?



Only if its an HE round, and even in that case, I'm not sure how easy is to actually set it off without proper, intended fuse-action. Experts, feel free to chime in.

The sensitivity to initiation (or the lack thereof) is anther factor: HEAT (High Explosive Anti-Tank) rounds for example have to be relatively insensitive, otherwise they would detonate upon impact instead of after penetrating the armor.

As for the propellant, that's probably a smaller problem than it seems at first glance: firstly, it's designed to be set off by an electric trigger; secondly, it's rather fast-burning than exploding. In other words, more of a fire hazard than explosion; and when it comes to fire in an AFV, the Shrek-principle needs to be applied: better out than in...
cabasner
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Posted: Wednesday, December 26, 2018 - 08:03 AM UTC
Hey Israel!
Now that I have my new Desert Eagle Merkava 4M book, and I can see all the details, I was surprised to see what looks like a lot of scratches, scrapes, and what looks like repainting/retouching of the tank. So, am I misinterpreting what I’m seeing in those photos or are these tanks really as beaten up as the photos seem to show? It has always been my impression that the IDF keeps a very close eye on maintaining their vehicles, even as far as appearance goes, hence touch up paint, and these pictures seem to support that impression. Am I correct?
ReluctantRenegade
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Posted: Wednesday, December 26, 2018 - 08:15 AM UTC

Quoted Text

I was surprised to see what looks like a lot of scratches, scrapes, and what looks like repainting/retouching of the tank.



Are those brown-ish by any chance? Where do you see them?

panamadan
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Posted: Wednesday, December 26, 2018 - 08:27 AM UTC
I used the 120mm quite a bit and I would not want any round sitting on top of the turret. The “casing” on the 120 is durable but not as much as a 105 casing.
The metal tube that is shown does hold the 120 but it is not armored an any way.
The biggest worry with the round being up there is it not exploding in the typical sense, but of the propellant cooking off.
That’s a big fire!
Dan

PS-Now I want to start my Meng kit!!
panzerbob01
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Posted: Wednesday, December 26, 2018 - 09:23 AM UTC
If the IDF is doing this dud-storing, we can absolutely trust to them knowing what is their best route concerning what to do.

Personally, given a certain modicum of experience with explosive devices... placing that dud in what amounts to a light "tin can" and accepting that some small-arms round MIGHT ignite the propellant, resulting in a brief flash-fire, or MIGHT (actually very unlikely) detonate that round seems much preferable to essentially GUARANTEEING that it gets used in an ID against my pals, if it's left. It's not explosively contained when parked in that tube. And thus it would be an "un-tamped" surficial blast. Don't want to be there when it pops, but doesn't pose a huge risk to the tank. The IDF are really into troop survival.
Just a thought! Bob
exgrunt
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Posted: Thursday, December 27, 2018 - 01:59 AM UTC

Quoted Text

If the IDF is doing this dud-storing, we can absolutely trust to them knowing what is their best route concerning what to do.

Personally, given a certain modicum of experience with explosive devices... placing that dud in what amounts to a light "tin can" and accepting that some small-arms round MIGHT ignite the propellant, resulting in a brief flash-fire, or MIGHT (actually very unlikely) detonate that round seems much preferable to essentially GUARANTEEING that it gets used in an ID against my pals, if it's left. It's not explosively contained when parked in that tube. And thus it would be an "un-tamped" surficial blast. Don't want to be there when it pops, but doesn't pose a huge risk to the tank. The IDF are really into troop survival.
Just a thought! Bob



Have you ever seen pics of a tank's ammo cooking off? If you are standing in an open hatch a foot away, I can pretty much assure you it's more than a "brief flash fire". Especially since the IDF tankers SOP seems to be having the crew "heads out" most of the time for max viability (unless this has now changed).

RR - you mentioned that you thought this container might be used for duds discovered before firing. I'm not following... how could one tell that a round is a dud prior to firing?

Please don't misconstrue - I'm fairly certain that the IDF knows a bit more about stuff like this than I do, I just find this curious, that's all.

My final guess - In thinking about this, I'm now wondering if that dud round holder is only to be used in live fire training exercises. That would eliminate the issue of having the rounds detonated by enemy MG fire, would also eliminate the issue of potentially still explosive duds littering a training range, etc.