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 36166. This set concentrates on the basket for the rear of the turret and the rear of the hull. The other 2 sets offered are 36173 which deals with the armoured skirt (Reviewed here
), and 36172 which improves detail over the whole vehicle (Reviewed here
The photo etch set is packaged in typical Eduard style, that being a reseal able plastic sleeve with a card stiffener in the packaging to help prevent damage to the set. This set is made up of one photo etch fret and two pages of instructions.
The photo etch fret in this set is 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 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 link
) 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.
Page 1 of the instructions concentrates on the bins at the rear of the hull and their various covers. All of the steps here should be easily accomplished with the only negative being that the shutters used here are one piece and not articulated.
Page 2 of the instructions covers the turret basket which, while not being the finest hole detail I have seen, it is the most accurate representation I have seen, as the frame work which is under the wire mesh is sited on areas where there are no holes and this is replicated. Should you wish to make canvas coverings for these baskets Eduard has thoughtfully provided the tie downs for the canvases.
While not the most exciting photo etch set I have seen it does appear to be one of the most accurate in terms of detail. The set is produced and sold for the HobbyBoss Merkava Mk IV, but I see no reason why it could not be used with the Academy offering although you will need to buy some square plastic stock to create the framework under the turret basket. I would suggest to Eduard that they add the appropriate plastic stock for that purpose to this set and release it for the Academy offering.