Wednesday, December 6, 2006

The Armour Revival

It's been many years since i last laid to rest a favourite pastime. And in that many years that had gone by, many things and changes have happened around the world( like wars and stuff) and one day i decided to research on what's been goin round in the middle east thru books and surfing the net, actually discovered many details that the common layman do not know about. So here I am learning history thru different accounts from different sides of the battlefield. It was until the advent of Lebanon war of August 2006, after the IDF(Israeli Defence Force) battered Southern Lebanon and at the same time seeing their most advanced tanks in the world blasted away by the Hezbollah on Youtube that made me finally made me come back to modelling(its all about details I guess). Hmm... the most advanced weaponry and army unable to overcome a small militia in this time and age...interesting. More like David versus Goliath(Jewish history) but ironically you have to reverse that equation (cause David is not on the side of the Jews). I became curious and ulimately hooked on armour in modern warfare eventually.

My first Project
The first thought on my mind was to find out more about the IDF MBT(Main Battle Tank) known as the Merkava. After seeing it in action on TV and internet, I decided to visit a local hobbyshop downtown. I picked up a 1/35 Merkava tank which reads Merkava Mk 2 with mine roller by a company called MiniHobby not knowing what to expect but because it cost just bout $20, I made the decision to get it as my first collection and I also picked up a M2 Bradley along the way but I'll talk about it next time.

Disappointment and yet a Surprise...
Upon opening and admiring the new purchase out of the box, I checked out the Merkava with real pictures of IDF Merkava 2 on the net to see how close are the details with real stuff( you know what I discovered?). The supposedly Merkava Mk 2 is not actually a Merkava 2(that's the dissapointment part) it is actually a Merkava Mk 1 the first type of MBT that the IDF designed in their push to modernise their armour...well is'nt that a surprise. I got an earlier mark of the tank, I also realised that the company MiniHobby is a new China company and probably they are not interested in what the details are as long they make some money in their venture. Anyway the model looks good enuff although the small parts are very brittle(cheaper plastic I guess). After fixing I also discovered some parts are missing from the original box and certain things don't fit(like the mine roller). Eventually i decided not to fix the mine roller and replaced the 50 caliber machine gun handle from an old Hummer I had many years back. With some three layers of experimental airbrushing here you go.

I experimented with using diferent layers of colours for this project using 3 colours(black, Iraqi sand and desert yellow). Some drybrushing using metallic colours on the three MGs, some decaling and finally its done. I decided not to add highlights to keep track of which technique is best for future use. History lesson: The Merkava Mk1 was first used in the 1980 Lebanon war.

On with the next project!