Trumpeter 1/72 Merkava III

KIT #: 07103
PRICE: $25.99 SRP
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken


The Merkava Mark III was introduced in December 1989, and had upgrades to the drivetrain, powertrain, armament, and electronic systems. The most prominent addition was the incorporation of the locally-developed IMI 120 mm gun. This gun and a larger 1,200 horsepower (890 kW) diesel engine increased the total weight of the tank to 65 tonnes (140,000 lb), but the larger engine increased the maximum cruising speed to 60 km/h (37 mph).

The turret was re-engineered for movement independent of the tank chassis, allowing it to track a target regardless of the tank's movement. Many other improvements were made, including:


Trumpeter's small scale armor kit is very nicely molded and typical of Trumpeter, several areas of the sprues are wrapped with foam sheeting to help prevent damage during shipping. Those who have built some other brands of small scale armor will appreciate that Trumpeter takes a more simplified approach to their kits by molding some assemblies as one rather than separately. The biggest area where this is seen is in the tracks and road wheels. The outer road wheels and tracks are molded as a single unit. To this the inner items are attached before gluing the assembly onto the suspension bits. This allows for a consistency in assembly that one frequently misses with other methods. I can tell you that often, with the continuous track systems used by some, that I have trouble joining the ends together. This is not an issue with the method Trumpeter uses on this tank.

The tank has a single piece lower hull onto which all the suspension bits are attached. Then a one-piece upper hull is glued on. This upper section has the side skirts already molded into place. One then attaches the bits to the back of the hull as the Merkava is rather clean as tanks go. The turret is two pieces with the main gun barrel trapped between the halves. There is no interior detail. Unlike the hull, there are quite a few attachments for the turret including a pair of machine guns and the rear basket. The turret simply keys into the lower hull using a method that has been pretty well a staple of small scale tanks for decades.

Instructions are five well drawn construction steps. There is no color information provided during construction, something that seems to be common with military vehicle kits. Markings are for a single vehicle as shown on the box art. No unit information is provided. The painting and markings guide provide a variety of paint manufacturer references, though these are keyed to Gunze paints. Apparently Israeli tanks are painted RLM 02 grey or a similar shade as that is the shade referenced. The decal sheet is well printed and should provide no issues.


If you are a modeler that does not like those kits with a lot of small parts, or photo etch, then this is one you should seriously consider. The molding is top quality and Trumpeter kits always seem to fit quite well. It will make a great addition to any collection.


September 2012

My thanks to Squadron Products for the preview kit. Get yours today at your local retailer or on-line store.

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