has released an upgrade set for the Academy offering of the Merkava IID in 1/35th scale; there is a review of this model on Armorama and a link to it is provided at the end of this review. This set from Legend Productions
provides resin, photo etch, chains, brass balls and twine to add some of the missing detail and improve other areas of the model.
This product is supplied in the typical Legend Productions
end opening box, there are a surprising number of parts for such a small package which breakdown as follows;
57 resin parts
2 long lengths of different sized chain
2 photo etched frets
2 lengths of different sized wire
A length of brass balls
A length of twine
A double sided instruction sheet
Upon first opening this product I was very impressed with the quantity of items supplied in a small package. The resin mouldings all appear to be free of defections and breakages, with Legend Productions
having gone to some effort to protect the finer mouldings while packaged. I will say at this point that I would have preferred Legend Productions
to have supplied a coiled cable substitute rather than supplying twine.
There are three bulky resin items supplied with this set, which are the rear turret bustle rack and the two rear hull stowage bins. The mouldings are very good detail wise for filled and covered stowage bins, but I am not looking forward to the task of removing the pour plug from the rear turret bustle rack as clean removal of this pour plug will be difficult while not damaging the moulding itself. There are three panels for inclusion on the bustle rack as optional parts; I am in two minds as to whether or not these panels would be better replicated with lead foil. While I am not a fan of the coiled string supplied for the hawser cable, I do like the detail on the resin eyes; the only issue I see here is that the modeller will need to drill out an opening in which to insert the supplied string or in my case the lead cable that I prefer.
Also included are the outer halves of the drive wheels’ these are direct replacements for the kit parts with the improvement being the lightening or cleaning holes in the inner face. The three turret machine guns are also supplied; the electrical firing device for the 50cal above the main gun is very nice, but I would consider replacing the barrel for a turned metal offering. The barrels are of course solid and so will need to be very carefully drilled to better replicate the muzzle area. The combination of photo etched parts with the resin machine gun bodies provides a very realistic finish.
Further inclusions in resin are the covered smoke dischargers and fire extinguishers for the turret which are finely moulded with good surface detail. Other details for the turret cover the small arms ammunition storage racks and the ammunition boxes and the aerial masts are also supplied. Legend Productions
has also taken into account the various abilities of modellers and supplied the ball and chain armour in two forms, you have the option of photo etched chains and brass balls, this for me is the least favourable option as photo etch does not replicate the chain detail very well, but it is the easiest option. The other option should you be feeling adventurous uses chain which is attached to a photo etched frame and then the same brass balls are attached; this option for me is by far the better option as regards a realistic look, but it does require some skill to pull this option off.
Moving onto the last area to really benefit from this upgrade set, the armoured plates for the tracks. Legend Productions
has supplied photo etched mud flaps at the front which are a scale improvement on the plastic moulding provided in the model. The side skirts benefit from numbered plates, which is a nice touch. The model as a hole gets an incredible number of very small plates added to it, this is the kind of detail only a modeller could love as most people would not even notice them on the model.
I am not always a fan of resin upgrade sets as they frequently, to my mind anyway, seem to replace parts for the hell of it, I am happy to say that in this case that does not apply. The items replaced with resin and photo etch are an improvement to my mind, in particular the ball and chain armour. The detail that is added that is not in the base kit is the kind of fine detail that many modellers appreciate seeing. I have said many times that I do not like cotton cables added to models and that is the only real low point to this product. I am impressed that Legend Productions
has given the modeller 2 options as regards the ball and chain armour depending on their ability. Legend Productions
has on occasion supplied questionable instructions which result in modellers needing to be mind readers, however I am pleased to say that this product does not appear to suffer from that issue. All told a very pleasing and good product for anyone wanting to add a little bling and sparkle to the Merkava IID model
Merkava Mk IID