The Italieri kit is a mixed bag of old and new, but even if some of the parts go back to their old crusader kit, its still a very nice kit with well defined details and a overall good quality. Anyone interested in a review should read Frank Portelas review here.
I also have a build-up running here
Eduard hardly needs any introduction so on with the review.
The set contains 2 high quality frets of photo etch. The PE set contains a lot of parts to update the relatively sparsely detailed turret interior. Itís a nice mix of both new parts and replacements.
Unfortunately I have already assembled my turret, so I have to stick to whatever can be fitted trough the hatch.
One of the more prominent updates to the interior is the 2 mounts for extra magazines for the oerlikon to be placed on both sides of the gunner. These parts take care of a somewhat bare part of the turret and are highly visible from the outside. Other than that thereís replacement of all the boxes on the turret wall with PE items thereby getting a sharper and better definition - these parts are really only visible if you take a close look, so the need and relevance can be discussed.
Aside for the boxes thereís also a number of fixtures on the turret wall which are missing in the kit. Since I donít have any reference on the turret interior I canít really comment on the accuracy of this, but it gives the interior a definite lift and a more "busy" look.
The exterior of the turret also gets a makeover; there is a new and much better sight for the main guns, a new mount for the searchlight and handles for the same. Thereís also new periscopes and casing for these, and some new lift hooks, the latter not really necessary since its made up by to layers of PE and more or less looks like the kit parts.
Being an open topped turret, thereís no doubt that the kit benefits from these updates, of which some are relevant compared with the kit parts and then some which doesnít really make a difference.
Some of the more prominent updates for the hull are the new side fenders and mounting brackets for the fuel tank. Other than that thereís a large number of minor updates including handles, mounting clasp for tools, hinges (Nonworking) for the toolboxes, new clasps for the boxes, mounting for the fire extinguisher etc.
Also included are brackets for the front fenders, but since the kit parts are nice and finely molded this is relatively unnecessary. The fenders are great when you want to do battle damage, the kit benefits from the much thinner material and therefore a more correct look scale-wise.
Aside for the updates for the fenders and the fuel tank, most of the updates are in my view more a matter of taste than necessity as the kit generally is quite good with clear and crisp details.
One of the down sides with PE is the flat nature, so it can be discussed if the kit really benefits form having round handles on the engine access panels replaced with flat PE.
There are replacements for the tool clasps thats way better than the kit parts, you just have to cut/sand the moulded parts off.
The Italieri kit contains no parts to detail the interior of the drivers position or the inside of the hatches, therefore these are a very nice inclusion in the Eduard update, since the kit doesnít motivate to leave the hatches open due to the fact, that the lack of details are very obvious.
The PE supplies both the insides of the hatches, but also detail parts for the inside of the vision ports, instruments etc. So that the drivers position can be left open.
Still, the floor is totally bare and itís probably advisable to leave a figure in the opening to hide that fact.
Overall the Eduard instructions are personal favourites when it comes to aftermarket sets. Very well layout with colour coding to aid the work.
The instructions in this set seem free of major pitfalls, but care is needed.
The parts for the turret, the driverís position (depending on whether you are modelling the hatches open) and the fenders are the real treats in this fine update set from Eduard. A number of the more minor fixes are more a matter of taste, as I find the improvement to the kit often so small that I personally wonít bother with using the parts.
Thereís no doubt that this is a very fine update set in terms of quality, but if you want to benefit fully from the many finely detailed parts, some experience with PE is relevant but due to the quality of the instructions and the well defined parts with relevant groves to assist bending, you donít have to be an expert.
The parts can be shaped more or less with your bare hands and you donít really need special tools.
When I bought my kit about 6 months ago I looked for relevant updates, and even if the Eduard set looked good, I wasnít really tempted, so I skipped it - which probably says more about me than about Eduard - on the other hand, there a lot of good stuff in this update, but considering the price tag of 25 $ on the Eduard site, I would have settled for a set with fewer parts, and maybe some replacement barrels like we see in some Lion Roar sets like there KV updates.
My thanks to Eduard
for the review sample