This week I have paid visit to my favourite local hobby store – Hornet Hobbies and finally brought home Meng’s new kit. Being in the process of building Merkava IV by Hobby Boss I decided to try Meng’s kit. Since its release it has been earnings praise all over the web so I wanted to see what the quality really is.
Having a chance to inspect the kit I must say that the first impression is very favourable. The level of detail is high as well as overall quality of moulding. One particular piece over which I have previously voiced my concern was the ball & chain armour at the rear of the turret. Meng provided this moulded in plastic which did not sound very promising. After seeing this part I must however admit that the moulding is extremely well done and will not necessarily require replacement. The only tricky part will be removal of these pars from the sprue as each individual chain & ball has sprue attachment point at its end.
Also as mentioned before, no photoetch is provided as part of the kit, the need for any such part is to be seen. Given the popularity of this kit I believe aftermarket won’t let us wait too long for them.
One particular area, where this kit really stands out in my opinion is quality of instructions. Not only that there is no garbled english translation, Meng has really paid attention to this part, so often overlooked by other producers.
I was personally impressed by the fact that Meng has provided more that just a series of pictures on how to assemble the kit. At the beginning few words from Michael Mass on the birth of this model as well as about the Merkava III tank itself made me feel that Meng does not consider instructions a kit part best suited to cut costs. Instructions itself are well laid out and clear. Colour templates outlining markings and painting also add a nice touch. Unfortunately, one thing I would welcome is the color reference guide for Tamiya paints. For some reason no producer (apart from Tamiya itself) provides this.
Overall I am looking forward to build this kit, there’s already plenty of builds under way on the web, so this should help to address any issues, though it seems there won’t be many of those.