Merkava Modern AFV Paint
Mission Models Paints has released several new colors recently for modern AFVs. This example is for modern Israeli armor, specifically the Merkava line of vehicles. This paint color is meant to cover most Israeli AFVs from the late 1970s to the present.
Like all other Mission Models water-based acrylics MMP-128 is odorless, fast drying, designed not to clog airbrush tips, and to produce a smooth, durable finish. Mission Models helpfully includes a guide on how to work with their paint on their website under the Tech Support Section. The paint is thicker than many acrylics I have worked with and it is not pre-thinned for air brushing. It does appear though that the paint particles are very fine and they have helpfully included a stainless-steel ball in every bottle to enhance mixing, which is a very nice touch.
I experimented with a number of different thinning ratios while working with this paint. I ended up preferring the standard mix I had seen in a few places for 70% paint, 30% thinner and a few drops of the Poly Intermix. I also tended to spray at higher PSIs than the website recommended. You will need to use the MMP thinner for this paint to avoid issues, but this thinner has quickly become my new favorite acrylic thinner. I sprayed this mix both from my Iwata Neo airbrush and my Sparmax trigger airbrush with good results.
You will need to use multiple light coats to get complete coverage of the surface. As this is an acrylic paint, the dry time is fast but each layer has to be dry before you proceed. I typically needed 3-4 coats at the 70/30 mixing ratio to get the coverage that I wanted. The only real issue I had was with painting road wheels, the thin layers that I sprayed had a hard time covering the details on the wheels and the paint did not work well with a circle template. I chose to test brush painting on the wheels and was surprised how well this paint handled being brush painted.
I found that cleaning this paint up is extremely easy, both the MMP thinner and water cut right through the paint. The paint color itself seems like a very good match for the IDF green used on Merkava vehicles. In the pictures below I compare it to my custom mix for Tamiya paints and Life Color UA 903 IDF Green. All three paints are a very close match. Also, I used this paint to build a Meng Merkava, images of this build are below.
While finishing the Meng Merkava I noted some minor issues with the paint. I brush painted Future on to the vehicle in locations that decals were needed and used my Micro Sol/Set for setting the decals. The MMp-128 ran slightly once these were applied, it was easy to correct but I would highly recommend gloss coating with a strong enamel product prior to decaling over this paint. Throughout the build on the Merkava, I noted that this paint tended to wear and chip more easily than Tamiya paints. It is also supposed to hold up well under tape but I had several locations lift after the application of Tamiya tape. With this in mind I would strongly recommend priming under this paint with an MMP primer to strengthen adhesion.
Overall, this paint is very similar to other MMP products, it easy to use and produces a nice flat finish. If you are used to working with the Tamiya range of paints then there will be a learning curve for using this product. The ease of use and the ability to pick out direct color matches for different vehicles is extremely nice. Also, the information on their website is extremely helpful for learning to work with their range of products. My thanks to Mission Models and IPMS for allowing me to review this paint.