Last weekend I paid visit to my favourite Hobby stores and brought back, as usual, few goodies.
Hobby Boss Merkava ARV
This was one of my most expected models to be coming to the stores these days. It is one of those models that few months ago no one even expected to see in plastic. The vehicle itself seems to be representation of one of the versions of the vehicle codenamed NAMER, which is sometimes classified as armoured personnel carrier.
Based on the inspection of the content of the box, I am quite pleased. The quality offered by Hobby Boss seems to be growing with each of their releases. The parts are molded in nice dark grey plastic – somehow I like it more than the beige used for the Merkava 4 kit. The level of detail is in my opinion also higher than on their previous kits, so the only thing that remains to be seen is the fit of the parts. The vehicle itself has number of stowage baskets which are very finely molded, though I believe aftermarket companies will be quick to offer photoetch replacements. The kit was already criticized for lack of detail and accuracy on the crane part. This part of the kit really seems a bit simplified as far as I can say, though I am by no means an expert on IDF vehicles.
I am already looking forward to build this one, unlike the Merkava MBT you are spared the assembly of the chain & ball armor…
The only problem I have with this kit is its price – it retails for approximately $80, which is in my opinion little too much compared to other kits, especially some of the higher quality ones…
Bronco Marder IID
There was enough of superlatives written about this kit online and I think they are all well-earned. This kit combines ideal attributes – interesting and original subject, best-of-class level of detail, likely good fit of the parts (based on the other kits from Bronco I dare to claim this), clear and extensive instructions, number of marking options and, last but not least, fair price.
Now beware – this is not going to be simple build. I have counted 21 sprues and of course you have large photoetch sheet. Some of the photoetch parts will require carefull bending (and most likely some good tools to do this).
With 34 steps, instructions are a small book by itself, however the layout is clear and concise (unlike instructions such as those from Dragon which sometimes feel like a puzzle). There are 7 markings options provided, so whether you’re a fan of German grey, yellow or camo finishes, you should be able to find the one you like among them.
Tracks are going to take some time as they are all molded on 4 sprues, so will take some time to cut and clean. Frankly I think I would save the time and go for Friul or Modelkasten replacements…
During my recent projects (Pershing and M1A1) I was wrestling with problems related to the quality of the tracks. I felt that maybe it is time to build something without a tracks for a change. About the same time I have found a great build pictures from Przemyslaw Mrozek – you can find it on his blog (here) or Armorama forum (here). The subject is the newest kit from Ukrainian producer ICM. I was so inspired by his model, that I decided to give it a try myself.
I haven’t built anything from ICM yet, so I am quite curious what the kit will be like. The kit is really not overly complicated, but still has very nice details. Molding seems to be nicely done, without any issues noted so far. Instructions basically cover 5 pages and indicate the process of construction should be straightforward.
I have taken a break in my larger projects and started working on this vehicle, so stay tuned, more info and pictures will be coming shortly.