Saturday, November 12, 2011

Retrospective: The Rebel Minis Merka Tank

I don't get to talk about current projects. It's like Fight Club.

Folks I work for are afraid of revealing their hand too soon, or being beaten to market with a rip-off by someone else, or sometimes a 3d design doesn't cast up, and they don't want to be harassed by consumers that want it now now now.

So, to keep content ongoing, I'll start doing retrospectives on past works I'm proud of.

Here's one. The Merka 15mm Scale Tank System from Rebel Minis.

Click here to buy one. Click here to buy a platoon of three.

Now, obviously, the "Merka" is little more than the Merkava (Hebrew for "Chariot"), In Space.

Rebel Mike and I were going for near-future, with a bit of sci-fi mixed in, and in my mind, the only modern day tank other than the Germans' Leopard 2, is the Merkava. It just screams "the future is now," to me. Here's an email of my proposal, back in February of 2009...

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Mike,
Just like we did a sci-fi Bradley, let's do a sci-fi Merkava.
All my concept art sketches kept coming back to the Israeli Merkava MBT, so I'll just give you a few links to give you an idea of what I'm going to do (with permission, of course).
http://www.primeportal.net/tanks/merkava.htm is a good walkaround site. This link takes you to the 4 upgrade models of the Merkava. Go to http://www.primeportal.net/the_battlefield.htm and you'll find nearly every armored vehicle that's out there. Nice site.
http://www.3dcenter.ru/blueprints/tanks/merkava-ii.gif is a schematic of the Merkava from a Russian site.
I'm going to drop the wavy track armor on the sides, and add a lot of scifi features, along with a bit of reactive armor. Also, a tread and hover version will be made, with mounting config just like the Bradley APC I did for you.
I'm also going to make a Hover/A-Grav unit that fits in the Bradley's Track slots in the hull.
Also, a heavy artillery turret that will fit on top of the Sci-Fi Merkava.
Let me know if you want me to proceed on this path, or you see another tank you'd like to see "revisioned."
Best,
JBR

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So, the Israeli Merkava was deemed a viable candidate for flinging into the future. I basically lengthened the track units from the Rebel Minis Earth Force APC, which I had just finished (yes, it's the Bradley, In Space), so their mechanical bits would share the same look and design philosophy.

Here are the basic breakdowns...

And a nearly-done series of pics that showcase the "caterpillar" type of Anti-Gravity units I provided that could be used in place of the treads. These didn't make production, only the prototype stage.

I also did a set for the Earth Force APC. Again, never made it to molding.


So, the design was done, and approved.

Here are the components, rapid prototyped, from Planet Proto, a service bureau I was using at the time (early 2009).


Here are assembled pics of the Merka


And the Antigravity Variant.
Mike also wanted a Self-Propelled Gun variant. I looked to the M-109 Paladin as a pattern to emulate, and went from there.


Assembled Antigrav Self-Propelled Gun.
Assembled Tread Variant of the Merka 9.
And here are some painted, assembled production examples. The Merka 9 is available for sale here.


Enjoy!

Best,
JBR
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