In this review I get to look at the early version of the IDF Achzarit APC released under the Hobby Boss
label. The Hebrew word Achzarit means Cruel and that would seem to be an ideal name for this heavy APC. Israel is not a nation to waste anything, just look at what they did with the Sherman tank and consider how that would have held up against WW2 German armour. The Achzarit is based upon captured T54 and T55 tanks captured from various Arab armies the Israelis have faced off against, The Achzarit after conversion were used against their former owners and a very capable AFV it would appear to be.
is not the first company to release a model of the Achzarit, but with that said it will likely be the cheaper option for those on a budget, but does cheaper mean poorer in this case, let’s take a look.
as always has packaged this model in a cardboard tray with a card board lid; this approach should result in the model reaching you in good order in these days of internet shopping. Inside the box the sprues are packaged in their own plastic bag for the most part with the exception of duplicate sprues. Some of the sprues along with the upper and lower hull are packaged in a segmented area of the box. Inside the contents break down as follows;
12 green sprues
7 brown sprues
4 black sprues
1 clear sprue
2 photo etched frets
A length of copper wire
A length of copper coiled wire
1 decal sheet
A glossy colour painting and decal application guide
An instruction booklet
An advertising flyer
A close look at the contents of this box should please most modellers. An inspection does not reveal any major concerns for me, there is no flash or major moulding faults to contend with. There are some cooling lines present on larger mouldings, but as fair as I can tell these have not caused any issues. There are a number of shallow and larger sized ejector pin marks present, but I believe these will mostly be hidden if not all of them. The gates between the sprues and the moulded parts are of a size that I am happy with and that should not cause any difficulties during removal. There is a fair selection that falls under the ‘multi-media’ title and this will please quite a few modellers, but it may concern newcomers to the hobby; my personal belief is that this aspect is of a good level to satisfy most modellers. The only concern I have at this time is that there is a lot of content in this box and the way it has been packed may result in warping over time during storage.
Chassis and Wheels
Starting with the wheels which look good as each pair of road wheels uses 5 parts. The wheel pattern looks accurate when compared to reference and each wheel has a separate rubber pad. I had initially believed that these rubber pads on the wheels were vinyl rubber, but they are not as they are made with injection moulded plastic, this has allowed nice detail to be replicated on the surface. This approach will also make it easy for the modeller to manage a clean paint finish in this area. The wheels are finished with a nicely replicated centre hub cap. The idler wheels look good, but the drive wheels are missing the centre wheel which I believe should be present.
The torsion bar suspension appears to be correctly offset and spaced. The swing arms are not supplied as workable and the fitting locks the arms in a set position; however it will not be overly difficult to do a little work to articulate the arm should you wish or need to display the finished model on an uneven surface. Quite a lot of effort looks to have been put into this area of the model by Hobby Boss
and that effort should result in a pleasing level of detail even if not easily seen.
The tracks for this model are supplied as individual track links, but they are not workable. These links do look a fair match for my reference having the needed detail present and cleanly moulded. There are two connection points on each link and also two moulding nipples and so these will need some clean up on that front. The instructions tell you to use 88 links for each track run, but I am unable to inform you if that is correct. There are 217 links provided in the kit and so there are quite a few spares should something go wrong or more links being required than stated.
The lower hull has a lot of detail on its underside, but unfortunately I am unable to confirm or deny the accuracy of this detail. The detail on the front and rear of the lower hull is all made up of separate parts and these parts I believe are accurate from my assessment of reference images, instructions and the various parts. The spare track hangers on the front of the hull will turn out especially well I believe. The rear of the vehicle taken as whole does have some good and bad detail. The rear light clusters are incorrectly placed according to my reference and when I say this they are a lot off rather than a little. Hobby Boss
has placed the lights near the top of the rear of the vehicle and my reference places them just above the mud flaps; with a little work and use of good reference it should not be difficult to correct the light issue as the various parts that need moving are all separate parts. You are given the option of having the rear door open or closed; I would opt for closed due to the lack of interior detail.
Back on a positive note the upper hull looks to be very well replicated detail wise, everything looks to be accurately placed and angled. Starting at the rear of the upper hull, the engine deck matches my reference as does the placement of the fuel filler caps, bins and raised detail. The fuel filler caps have all been supplied as separate items, which are a nice touch, but while they are accurately placed the orientation is not on four of the eight caps and surgery will be needed on three of the caps as the handles are on the wrong side, should you wish to make easy accuracy improvements.
Moving onto the front upper hull everything looks good, the hatches are correctly placed and orientated, the ERA looks to be well replicated and again accurate. The front lights and cables are correct. There are four grab handles moulded to the ERA; 2 on the sides and 2 on the front, I will remove these details and replace it with wire, but they are accurate where placed. The only downside I can find here is that one of the MG stations is missing; the one behind the drivers hatch and I would have preferred this to have been in the kit, this would not have been difficult as the weapons are supplied on their sprues and would only require one more sprue be included. While talking about the weapons stations, Hobby Boss
has gone to the effort of providing ammunition belts for two of the stations and the only niggle is that the barrel will need to be drilled to improve their appearance. The rear mesh skirts are supplied as large PE pieces and these should look very good.
Decals and Instructions
1 & 2 - Tactical Markings - Chevron, small square, number - The white is correct and can easily be cut out accordingly. Signifies the First Battalion (small square), Second Company (chevron), 3rd platoon (number)
3 - Tactical Markings - This appears to be the letter "Gimel", 3rd letter in the Hebrew Alphabet. While the shape of the letter is not typical of what is used by the IDF, it is not necessarily incorrect as the letter has been written and printed slightly differently after a quick referencing. The black field surrounded by white is a little suspect. It almost looks like an attempt at the markings found on tarpaulin covers with tactical markings printed or painted on them and hung in the same location as the painted makings. Suggestion would be to cut the Gimel out and use just the white letter or cut the white border off and attach the decal to a small square piece of aluminum foil to create a tarpaulin looking pennant and hang with thread or wire pulled from it's four corners.
4 & 7 - There are markings for the IS-6 Smoke Discharger. While the markings look correct in wording, the blue field should probably not be included. In many instances, the dischargers are installed with the lettering on the inside.
5, 6, 8 & 9 - Registration numbers. These look correct.
The instruction booklet uses black and white line drawings and for what I consider to be quite a lot of model, construction is complete in just 13 stages, the only stage that has a lot going on is stage 12 where a lot of detail is added to the upper hull.
Coming in at less than £30 in the UK this is a lot of model for the money. The detail is very good for the most part with the few exceptions I was able to find. The photo etched parts are not excessive in number and should meet the needs of most modellers. This is a very impressive model from Hobby Boss
This next part is a shameless promotion for Creative Models who have been supplying the KitMaker Network with Hobby Boss
review samples. I am very impressed with postal service that Creative Models utilise, I get an E-mail telling what day my parcel will arrive and giving me the option of changing that day. On the day the parcel is going to be delivered you are given a 1 hour window in which the parcel will be delivered and a link to track the truck with your parcel. Very impressive in these days of falling levels in postage services and that is why I felt Creative Models deserved a special mention here in the review.
Israeli Wild & Cruel Cats Vol.3 Achzarit Heavy APC Part 1
Dr Robert Manasherob has given his permission to use the scans replicated in this review and I thank him for that.