Hobby Boss


Merkava Mk IIID

Kit #: HB82916 Preview by Peter van Kempen - P(dot)Kempen5(at)chello(dot)nl
Edited by Marc Mercier

This kit represents a late nineties Mk IIID version of this home grown Israeli tank, the first operational Merkava (Hebrew for Chariot) Mk I being issued somewhere in the seventies.

The later version, the Mk IV, with modular armour systems, the very latest technology and a slightly differently dimensioned hull and turret is also in the pipeline from Hobby Boss.



As usual, Hobby Boss kits come in a carton box, with carefully packed sprues in bags and an integrally moulded hull in a separate protected foam cover. There is a folded booklet with adequate instructions, and reasonable quality transfers.

Specifically for this kit, there are no etch parts, the box is quite large, (considering only two sprues) and a separate hull with two half finished track units in another colour of plastic; so a total of 44 parts for a tank.

Since I also own Esci kits (Mk I and II), dating back to the 1980s as well as the more recent Revell Merkava Mk III, I decided to get this kit too. This makes for an interesting comparison of these older models against the Hobby Boss one, offering an impression of the latest model kit design and trends.

To start with, Hobby Boss has significantly less, but much better detailed parts in the box than either Revell or Esci. The hull unit is supplied in 3D, slide moulded box form, ready with axles and suspension system attached to it. That makes packing with additional foam protection a must.

The quality of the moulded details, compared to the Revell kit suspension represented on their hull sides, is superior and, when it comes to representing surfaces, attached boxes, armour or equipment, Hobby Boss' details are crisp and have good depth, which painting can highlight even more.





The turret also represents the best one compared to both Esci and Revell in surface detail, but at the cost of fewer parts: We get one opening hatch in the turret (as Esci does), rather than the two open hatches Revell has provided. The few separate parts that we do get, such as .50 and .30 MG’s are on par with Revell and way ahead of those provided by Esci in the late 80s.

Generally the crispness of details of the few parts by Hobby Boss are just a bit better defined than the Revell offering which seems a bit soft. It must be said that the Esci kits, although of age, do not fall far behind the more modern offerings and still are good kits from that point of view. The many loose parts in the Esci and Revell designs, which together form the hull and turret however, do need time for careful fitting and sanding, to prevent unrealistic gaps.



That, to be fair, is not an issue with the Hobby boss kit as their slide moulding and design have result into a good fit and will demand less time and modelling skills. The two separate track units moulded with one half wheel on the tracks, including guide horns, are the maximum that slide moulding and technology nowadays can provide.

The 1980s Esci models then were the first with hard plastic tracks, however without inner track details or guide horns and had the road wheels already as one set.

Revell, of course, followed the same philosophy but now with inner track detail, guide horn representation and better detailed, paired road wheels.




This Hobby Boss offering provide all that track detail in one unit, moulded with one half roadwheel attached, thus saving assembly time cutting pieces and avoiding alignment problems during assembly. By doing so, the Hobby Boss tracks cannot be adapted to follow rough terrain and the wheels set are identical.

I will not comment on the correctness of what's represented in all the kit, especially the track detail at hand and can only state there is a defined outside track detail visible, but the detail inside the units is less.
Logical, because this is technically impossible to achieve.

For a collector and a modeller looking for a faithful reproduction, having average modelling skills and tricks to mask such lack of inside detail, this track unit by Hobby Boss is an acceptable solution. For these "low part count kits" with maximum surface details and ready track units, only limited modelling and finishing skill are required. This kind of kit challenges more the modeller's painting and weathering skills, as these really bring out the best of the offered crisp surface detail by Hobby Boss. Those who will want to obtain an ultra detailed, contemporary, quality of track and wheel unit detail, down to every nut and bolt, will have to revert to the aftermarket or kit bash from another model wherever this is an option.
Dimensions (Source : Wikipedia)

Scale wise, the models of the three companies compare well together and offer a good representation of the complete Merkava family. Pictures show that basic parts such as wheel and track layout, hull and turret seem to be almost identical, given the layout detail for each version.

From the 63 ton Mk I on, all versions up to Mk IV are now in the same 65 tons range.

Length for all versions up to Mk IV is approx 7.5 /7,6m (WIKI) measured without the gun tube.
Overall length, including the barrel varies from 8.63m, 8.73m till 9m depending on the type of the gun.

Revell's hull length (including mudguards/fenders) measures 110mm overall, so 7.92m in full scale, Esci measures 105.7mm (giving 7,61m) and Hobby Boss 110.4mm so 7.96m.
Comparing to the above mentioned standard length of 7.6m the Esci kits seems to be the most correct, while both Hobby Boss and Revell comes out approx 5mm, (meaning 0.3m in 1:1) too long. This is quite noticeable if you put the models straight next to one another, but not when presented in other positions; so the question: "which is correct (Esci too short or HB and Revell too long)?" will not keep me awake.

Additionally, as mentioned before, due to the “flexible” extensions such as mudguards etc, these 30cm (on a total length of 7.6m) can be neglected in my opinion.


Width of the Merkava's is given as 3.72m, excluding skirts and 3.80m including them.

The Revell hull only is 50.4mm wide, which is 3,63m in real life, Esci 52mm (or 3.744m) and Hobby Boss 51.7mm (which makes 3.72m). Looking at the standard makes the Revell hull too thin while HB is spot on, but all three are reasonable in 1/72 scale.


All in all, the Hobby Boss kit is a very well designed model with its surface detail well executed and, given the concession done to inside track detail, a good addition to the Merkava family already available by Esci and Revell for your showcase or dioramas alike.

I bought this kit myself, this review only is to add my personal observations about this kit to other, already available, information and without the intention to analyse every details and dimensions or to be fully complete.

Additional information can be found on the Henk of Holland website : http://henk.fox3000.com/hobbyboss.htm

This model can be purchased from Tracks & Troops

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Article Last Updated: 23 December 2016