Border Merkava Mk2D build - 1/35

Hello all! this will be my first topic here.

I’ve just about completed the snap build phase and I note people have questions about the border mk2d build. There is a lack of representation in the general review space just now. I’m not a professional builder or anything but figure I’ll share lessons learnt so far and figure others can chip in as well.

I mostly build straight out of box, and recreationally so do not expect additional detailing etc!

I’ll start posting bits tomorrow.

Cheers.

11 Likes

Right, first bits. Overview of the build.


Meng Mk4 above vs Mk2D Hull below

Comparison to other interior kits
I’ve built (RFM Leopard 2A6, RFM M1A2 [fit in the new SEP V3 body] and Meng Bradley) this is just about par for detailing. I don’t know much about the real machines to say what they got right or wrong. So I am only speaking from a modeller’s perspective.

The RFM Leopard 2 was/still is the best so far though. It had just the right amount of details and from all the references I used while building, everything looked right. As for the Abrams, either the actual tank is less involved/detailed or RFM couldn’t be bothered to pack in the same level of detail.

The Border Mk2 packs in the same level of detail as the Leopard 2 in what seems to be a smaller tank (I should do a side-by-side to see the sizes).

Reference
For this Mk2D, I’ve used this book as my primary reference: ‘Their Last Path: IDF Tank Wrecks. Merkava Mk.1 and 2. ABT 606’ (Their Last Path: IDF Tank Wrecks. Merkava Mk.1 & 2. ABT 606).

The book shows in detail, abandoned Mk1’s and 2’s covering almost every nook and cranny. I have to say I am not sure where Border get its reputation for lack of research but this kit is bang on in almost, if not all the details they’ve decided to highlight.

Ease of build
This is a bit subjective because every other model I have ever built has one build review blog or video I could refer to before and while building. This was crickets, so I have had to build this one entirely on my own, and it shows. Not banging the kit or anything as I could easily figure out any build problems eventually.

Border models don’t help in that the manual is crap for the better part. So many missing steps, and wrong instructions/parts (even with a correction slip packaged alongside the model)!! This may be the part most people are here for so we’ll continue with that in the next post.

6 Likes

Should probably also add that I build interior kits to remain disassembled by sections. i.e. battery pack, upper hull, lower hull, upper turret, lower turret. We’ll see how this one goes but so far it looks like that should be possible except the turret.

Any particular questions you have, please feel free to ask. Will start posting about the actual problems I ran into later in the day.

Cheers

4 Likes

Manual Problems - Hull

The first and most glaring issue is right from the first step. The manual treats ALL mould lines as details. So, if you are used to checking the manual for what parts should have mould lines and which should be removed this will not help you in the slightest. Now to the step-by-step issues.

Step 1 - D69(D68 in step 3) is not shaped as seen in the manual (see the actual part pictured next to the seat drawing). I looked through the runners to see if this was moulded separately however could not find a part to match the flat detail. Luckily this will be covered by the skirts so not bothered.

Step 2 - Corrections are shown in the correction sheet.

Step 3 - B35 does not fit in D66, so I have had to trim this (by a lot). Hidden away in the end so not a problem.

Steps 4-5 - The engine builds up nicely but I have not glued mini sections together for ease of painting.

Step 7 - The manual has you use B48 which has rounded tabs which obviously will not slot in the rectangular notch in the body of the hull. The actual part is located on the runner F63 (which I found out after snipping and glueing on the aforementioned B48).

Step 11 - The rear section of the hull. The instructions have you put the sidewalls of the entrance the wrong way around. This should be positioned on opposite sides as marked in the image below. C20 which has the hinge for the batteries on the left, and C19 on the right
D63 is also not very clear on installation but I found the correct direction this should face in the reference book above (been too lazy to execute though). The doors work fine without this hinge and you won’t miss it honestly.

Step 13 - The cases are weird in that it’s easy to miss which side should face up (it’s the side with the mould lines). Also, note the direction of the case covers in the image. On references, some do not hold all 6 cases/are missing covers as well so feel free to mix it up. I did.

Step 23 - Hull baskets L1 and L2. Now the Manual doesn’t say this but I was looking at the CAD and the runners and noticed you can build the fancier one with the canvas covers and it fits in the same slot. Parts are provided but never otherwise mentioned. As previously mentioned I plan to keep these attached by friction so can change to whichever one I please.

Step 25 - Upper hull additional armour - kit doesn’t say this but from references and the obvious ‘additional’ this is optional. The kit is designed in a way that easily lets this be left off, what that means though is that you only get two puny notches on the left side and one on the right if you decide to add it with some spacers to make sure it sits with the correct spacing throughout - you have to eyeball the actual vertical positioning with references to make sure it sits right. I got it right but I imagine messing this up will cause some interference with the side skirts in the next step.

There is something else I noted on the CAD images which I’ve not quite figured if I’ll fit in or not. These are related to the pipes running from the engine to the fuel tanks on both sides. The covers are provided on the runners but not shown/referenced in the manual. CAD image below has these marked as 1 and 2.

3&4 rear baskets are covered above. Item 5 is provided on the runner but not needed if using the up-armoured covers. 6 looks like it was meant to have cables running across the engine but I couldn’t locate these on the runner so may step out of my lane and get some lead wire (the only thing making this engine pack a notch lower than RFM’s beautiful Leo 2 one).

On a closer look, the CAD also features the earlier MK2 side skirts with more ‘balls’. It would be wrong on this build but thought to note.

I think that’s all of the issues/missing bits I had with the Hull build-up. I’ll update this section if I remember any more problems down the line. I’ll get to the tracks later (they are a proper pain) but work out fine in the end.

Cheers.

2 Likes

It looks really nice. I like interior kits as well.

What you have marked as 1 and 2 are the air intakes for the engine. The boxes on the sides of the hull are the air filter boxes.

2 Likes

Not a bad start at all for a first topic. Nice review so far.

Blaspheme! Fanboys will not be happy with that statement.

"You’re at a disadvantage the first time around it may cost you a little more because of parts you accidentally damage, and it will almost undoubtedly take a lot more time, but the next time around you’re way ahead of the specialist. You, with gumption, have learned the assembly the hard way and you’ve a whole set of good feelings about it that he’s unlikely to have.”

Robert M. Pirsig Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

I like that they have included the battery pack and NBC unit. Unfortunately, as is often the case, that will be difficult to display with the stowage baskets. However, for cross kitting purposes it will be ideal for any Mk. I kit. I scratchbuilt that entire area for the Tamiya kit about thirty years ago. The parts will save time - wedging them in a kit not designed for them will be a little rough.

Those are the air cleaners. Whether you want to want to even fiddle with them or not should satisfy your own answer to the question, “Is the juice worth the squeeze?”
I tend not even to include things that will never be seen.

Edit: I see Gino addressed that while I was looking up Pirsig quotes.

Nice job so far. I"ll be looking to your blog when I do mine.

3 Likes

Ha, so they’re not tool boxes then… that’s good to know. I may in that case, seal that section. It currently has the cover panel fitting snuggly with only friction. Looking at left over parts it looks like there’s an alternative unit but is less detailed so didn’t bother trying.

2 Likes

Thank you very much. Takes a bit more than I thought to start a topic. Kudos to you all who have done this consistently for years!

This is a very nice quote. I quite enjoyed going through this blind, and decided going forward I’ll be building more kits this way. Having other people point out obvious flaws will always remain helpful though.

This is something I’m currently battling with. As much as I like the idea of having those details show through, I will likely end up losing parts if I display without tacking on some glue (and in this case closing the unit up. The hatch on top may let you glean into that section. Also, since I will leave the upper hull detachable, I can still peek at that section fully.

2 Likes

Mini-update pending my next set of review comments: I’ve got parts primed and will start adding paint shortly. IDF colors are a nightmare so I’m going to use out of bottle paints - Mr Color modern IDF base, so RC modern IDF for highlights. Supposedly the same colors but markedly different!

1 Like

The IDF can’t make up its mind either. Don’t sweat it too much.

3 Likes

That M548s probably a veteran from the Second Lebanon War.

3 Likes