This is the Tamiya kit of the Israeli Merkava tank. I built this kit in '96. This was a simple to build kit, even though it had quite a few pieces. The detail and molding quality were all excellent. Since there were no real shortcomings to this model, I chose to concentrate on painting. I recalled reading an old issue of Fine Scale Modeler that had an article on Painting armor kits. The author (Cookie Sewell) had a technique where he used a base color first, then used a slightly darker shade to accent the edges of panels and armor plate. Used to highliting these areas, it struck me as counterintuitive, but the pictures in the article (and the finished models he had on display at the local Squadron outlet) convinced me to give it a try.
Since the Merkava is basically painted in a sandy yellow all around, I felt this technique would serve well on this kit. Once the basic color was laid down, I proceeded to airbrush faint tracings around panel lines as instructed, using a slightly darker, browner hue. To my surprise, the final effect was quite stunning, especially after adding the standard light wash and drybrushed highlights. I have used this technique on several armor kits since, and have improved somewhat. I find it to be effective on Mecha kits as well, though a more subtle approach seems to work better in their case. I usually don't weather my kits, or if I do, it's very light. Such was the case with the Merkava. In order to give it that used look, I lightly airbrushed a sandy color to the skirts around the tracks.