In July 2011 Eduard
released three photo etch upgrade sets for the HobbyBoss Israeli Defence Force Merkava Mk IV. In this review I will take a look at set 36173 which covers the armoured skirts on the Merkava Mk IV. The other 2 sets offered are 36172 which improves detail over the whole vehicle (Reviewed here
), and 36166 which deals with the baskets on the rear of the turret and hull (Reviewed here
The photo etch set is packaged in typical Eduard style that being a reseal able plastic sleeve with two card stiffeners in the packaging to help prevent damage to the set. This set is made up of two photo etch frets and two pages of instructions.
The two photo etch frets in this set are 0.14mm thick which will make any bends that need to be made easy. The thickness of the photo etch will mean that care will need to be taken as damaging the photo etch components will be difficult to repair or hide. Down both sides of both of the photo etch frets are a series of hexagonal holes which are used to make bolt heads for adding detail to your model, covered in the instructions is a method on how to use these holes to get your bolt heads.
The instructions guide you through the use of this set using black and white line drawings which are laid out in an easy to follow way. It is worth remembering that Eduard has all of their instructions available to you on their site: Eduard website
: in PDF format which can be viewed there or downloaded, I personally prefer their PDF instructions as they are in colour, with the various colours further helping to identify what is photo etch or a model part and what parts need to be removed.
This set completely replaces the armoured side skirts on the HobbyBoss Merkava Mk IV with the exception of the armour frames themselves. The set replaces the external armour plates, the rear bar armour, and the mounting brackets for the armour segments. You start by removing the injection moulded plastic wave pattern rubber skirt from the armour frames and attaching the photo etch armour plates. There are then 9 pieces of photo etch to make up each of the 10 mounting brackets.
The next step involves replacing the bar armour in the rear panel on both sides, you need to purchase 1mm round plastic stock to accomplish this stage and I would have liked to have seen the 1mm plastic included with the set to make it complete. You then attach the assemblies to the model and add the photo etch replacement for the rubber skirt, the build is finished when you attach the retaining plates that hold the armour plates in situ on the real vehicle. The set does offer you the option of showing the mounting brackets minus the armour plates via the addition of another photo etch part that would be hidden behind the armour plates when in place.
This is a fair set to upgrade the armoured skirts on the HobbyBoss Merkava, with the biggest plus about it being the ability to show the mounting brackets minus the armour plates. I do feel the set would be improved value wise by the inclusion of the 1mm plastic rod which is needed to complete the set.