When Academy released their Merkava Mk IV LIC, closely followed by the Hobby Boss version, there was a lot of discussion about various faults in both products. The general consensus of this was that the most accurate rendition would be obtained by combining the two models together due to omissions and inaccuracies in both products. Voyager Model, amongst others, came to the rescue of these products with various update sets and corrections allowing you to improve either model more than could be achieved by combing them.
In Voyager Model’s case they released a series of sets concentrating on improving or correcting details on specific areas of the base model. This allows the customer to decide which features they wish to improve on their model and which areas they can live with. Voyager Model does have one problem and that is that when they release their sets they usually show all the possible sets on a finished unpainted model, the problem with this approach being that it means the potential customer is unsure exactly what is included in specific sets.
In this review I will take a look at what is included in set PE 35414 which is designed specifically for the Academy offering of this vehicle.
The set is packaged in two strong plastic sleeves with a white card insert in both packs to help prevent bending damage, the two plastic sleeves are stapled together with a card header containing product information. Inside the sleeves there are;
• Five photo etch frets.
• Two 0.72mm brass rods.
• A zip lock bag containing a number of studs, bolts, and a chain.
• An A4 double sided set of instructions.
On first inspection of the contents of this product I was thinking HELP, however after taking a look at the instructions I was pleasantly surprised at how clearly Voyager Model guides you through the construction of this product. There are some kit manufacturers who could learn from the clarity of these instructions.
The photo etch frets are 0.12mm thick which will make any bending of parts easy, but will mean great care will need to be taken to prevent damage to the photo etch when bending or attaching pieces. This set completely replaces the kit side skirts and hanging attachments. The side skirt in this Voyager Model product I believe replicates the heavy armour skirts, which does not have the rubber mud flaps running along the bottom of the skirt.
Each hanging bracket consists of 21 parts which should improve the overall detail of this area of the vehicle. The front hanging bracket also has what appears to be an outline marker which consists of 2 parts on each side; you will need to add the guidance rod to these pieces, but unfortunately the length of rod is not specified or supplied. The rear hanging bracket requires a small piece of chain to be attached to bracket with the other end attached to a bracket mounted on the vehicle with a pin locking the chain in place. It should also be mentioned that four 1mm plastic rods are required for each bracket which is again not supplied.
The side skirt armour panels are all supplied as individual parts which does mean that if you wish to show one of the panels off of the model for whatever reason it is possible with this product. A high point of this product is that each of the information panels is supplied as separate parts rather than decals.
All in all this is a very highly detailed addition to your Merkava IV LIC model which will test those with poor eyesight, it is however not beyond reasonable expectations to make and use this product on your model. I am a little surprised that with the amount of effort that Voyager Model has put into this product, that they have not included the guide rods and plastic rod for the hanging brackets. It is however a well designed product which should improve the detail of your model when used and is recommended.
Highs: The product has excellent instructions for the most part and consists of highly detailed parts.Lows: The only lows I can level is that the guide rod heights are not specified, and that the plastic rod required during assembly is not supplied within the product.Verdict: I cannot see a reason why if improved detail is your goal when building models that this set should not have a place within your build. Highly recommended.
Our Thanks to Voyager Model! This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.
About Darren Baker (CMOT) FROM: ENGLAND - SOUTH WEST, UNITED KINGDOM
I have been building model kits since the early 70’s starting with Airfix kits of mostly aircraft, then progressing to the point I am at now building predominantly armour kits from all countries and time periods. Living in the middle of Salisbury plain since the 70’s, I have had lots of opportunitie...