Hobby Boss 1/35 Merkava Mk.IIID Kit First Look
By Dave Manter
|Date of Review||September 2012||Manufacturer||Hobby Boss|
|Kit Number||82441||Primary Media||Styrene, photo-etch|
|Pros||Nice detailing, good tracks||Cons||See text|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$73.99|
The Merkava is the main battle tank used by the Israel Defense Forces. The tank began development in 1973 and entered active service in 1978. Four main versions have been deployed. It was first used extensively in the 1982 Lebanon War. It is designed for rapid repair of battle damage, survivability, cost effectiveness and off road performance. Following the model of contemporary self-propelled howitzers, the turret assembly is located nearer the rear than in most main battle tanks. This gives additional protection from frontal attack. With the engine in the forward portion of the hull, this creates more space in the rear of the tank that allows increased storage capacity, as well as a rear entrance to the crew compartment allowing easy access under enemy fire.
The kit consist of 15 sprues of HobbyBoss's tan colored plastic, 1 sprue of clear parts, the upper and lower hulls, top and bottom of the turret, 352 individual track links, chain and copper beads for the ball & chain armor for the rear of the turret, brass wire and 2 sheets of photo etch. Decals are provided for 2 different vehicles.
All of the parts are very well molded and no flash is present. The anti-slip texture is cast into the hull and turret and is the nicest that I have seen.
The instructions are very well laid out and have you start with the lower hull and suspension. One nice feature is that you have to add bolt heads to the drive units and HobbyBoss gives you the option of using plastic or photo etch parts for this.
The individual track links assemble like the Model Kasten links with very small pins on each side. If you are careful, the tracks should remain workable.
The exhaust outlet is made up of all photo etch parts and will require some patience to complete.
The turret gives you the option of leaving all of the hatches and doors open if you wish to do so.
The rear main door can also be built opened or closed.
The ball and chain armor for the turret will be the most time consuming aspect of this kit, not because of difficulty, but because of the number needed.
Overall, the construction of this kit should be pretty straight forward. There are a ton of details in this kit and it will build into a great replica of the Merkava IIID.
My sincere thanks to Squadron Mail Order for this review sample!