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Mike

Russian Terminator - Fire Support Combat Vehicle BMPT 1:35

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Russian Terminator
Fire Support Combat Vehicle BMPT
1:35 Meng


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The Terminator had a long and faltering gestation, which involved many changes to its design, including a complete change of the base hull on which the offensive equipment is mounted. Initially started under the auspices of the Soviet Union, it was shelved and resurrected on more than one occasion. It even became a private venture during an official fallow period in its development, after significant losses in street fighting in the Chechen war triggered the manufacturers into action. Officialdom soon put a stop to that, but it began again in earnest in the late 1990s, by which time the original T-72 chassis replaced by the more modern and better protected T-90 hull.

Although based on the T-90, there are significant differences on the upper surfaces, with a built up deck, and a low-rise turret. On top of this are two 30mm cannons that each have 850 rounds at their disposal, with four 130mm Ataka-T anti-tank missiles, two slung on each side of the cannons. On the front sponsons are grenade launchers, which have an amazing 600 30mm rounds able to be fed to them, and are remotely operated. If that isn't enough, there is also a single 7.62mm machine gun coaxially mounted with the main cannons for close support with 2,000 rounds on a single belt to keep it going.

The Terminator is used in pairs as support for, and as advanced suppression for main battle tanks in urban areas, and uses its anti-tank missiles to defeat enemy tanks, and the 30mm cannons to soften up the opposing troops and soft-skinned vehicles, ably assisted by the grenade launchers. In open ground, one terminator backs up two tanks using the same techniques. Protection is both active in the shape of explosive reactive armour (ERA), and the composite armour of the T-90 on which it is based. Slat armour is also added around the rear, which improves protection against Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPG) over and above its progenitor. All modern Russian tanks can be outfitted with the KMT-8 mine clearance system, which the Terminator retains, and can make good use of to clear the passage for the accompanying tanks. It is able to be raised and lowered from inside the vehicle, so doesn't expose the crew unnecessarily, and as well as clearing mines manually, it can also pre-detonate magnetic mines using equipment to mimic the electro-magnetic signature of a tank projected forward of the hull.

The Kit
Having recently tooled a T-90A there was hope that the Terminator would be the logical next step, and sure enough here it is a year later. It's another classy box full of styrene, with seventeen sprues of dark green styrene, plus two hull parts, turret and a clear jig for use with the suspension. The tracks are on another 8 sprues in black styrene, 8 more in a slightly flexible styrene, with more jigs on a separate sprue to assist with the construction of the tracks. A fret of Photo-Etch (PE) brass parts and a brass wheel painting template are included, plus poly-caps, a flexible sprue of small parts, a length of string for the tow-rope, a clear sprue, and a sheet containing two self-adhesive mirrored stickers to simulate the prominent wing-mirrors. The instruction booklet is standard Meng fare, with a glossy outer cover, four language introduction, and painting instructions on the rear glossy pages. A well-rounded packages indeed!

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First impression. Do you really need to ask? Superb. Fine moulding, attention to detail, multiple media used to accomplish the job of building a very well detailed model out of the box that other manufacturers don't seem able to follow consistently. With the exception of a couple of turned barrels for the cannons, there's not much your average modeller would want in addition. Meng's use of other companies' expertise is also a wise investment, as it puts years of research at their fingertips from people with a real interest in the subject. In this instance, it is Gur Khan Books who are bloggers as well as publishers that specialise in Soviet and Russian hardware. Are you ready? Let's build some wheels! Yes – it's time to unleash the poly-caps, as you build up two two-piece idler wheels, two three-part drive sprockets, and twelve pairs of roadwheels, all of which have a poly-cap sandwiched between them to help keep you sane during general painting and construction of the tracks. The underside of the hull is busy, as with many modern Russian tanks, and is worth a look just for the amount of detail that is moulded into it in the shape of suspension bumps, escape hatches and so forth, as well as the holes for the axles of the torsion bar suspension. The lower glacis plate is detailed with a separate panel, and the self-entrenching blade is added to that along with its four actuating rams. The return rollers and idler wheel stations are added first, with six torsion bars with moulded-in swing-arms slid into each side, some of which are damped with additional arms keeping their movement in check. The large T-shaped jig in clear styrene is then draped over the side of the hull and lined up with the axles to arrange all of the swing-arms to the same angle before they are glued into their bearing cuffs. At the rear is a plate to detail up the rear bulkhead, onto which spare track links and the first of the pioneer tools are added. The roadwheels can then be pressed home onto the axles after installing the final drive housing and axle for the drive sprocket at each side of the rear hull.

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Tracks are the next logical step, and you're in for a treat in terms of detail, as well as for some detailed work, but don't despair just yet, as Meng's designers have supplied two more jigs to help you build them. The tracks have separate guide-horns, track-pads and end-caps, the latter being moulded in semi-flexible styrene, presumably to help the track flex around the ends of its runs and to grab the styrene track pins. The horns are moulded in pairs, and the instructions advise you to leave these paired until you have interleaved them with the track parts, as they are small and may fall foul of gravity (or even defy it as they fly through the air) if handled singly. When you have six links prepared in this way, you cut off the sprues, leaving two sets of 6 track links to place in the jig one after another. A jig-lid is supplied to keep the parts from coming loose, and the end-caps have been moulded at exactly the same distance apart as they will be when added to the tracks. These are then placed in another jig and cut from their sprue gates, leaving them in the jig for now. The jig is offered up to the open sides of the tracks, and the two holes accept the pins from adjoining links, effectively attaching them together. So far there has been no glue used either!!! The only glue used in this part of the build attaches the individual track-pads to the outer surface of the track links, but these are optional and can be left off if you feel the urge. Each run is 81 links in length, and an individual slot for an end-cap has been provided to assist you in joining that tricky last link to both sides of each run.

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On the upper hull, a block of reactive armour is built up with the front light clusters and added to the glacis plate, along with the access hatch rings for the grenade launcher operators, and with a stowage box in between them behind the driver's hatch, which has its own clear periscope. The front fenders are made up and each has a return spring that keeps them down in action, as well as installing a substantial lifting lug at the rear. On the engine deck the PE grilles are added, as is the exhaust stub with heat-dissipating shroud on the left fender. The fenders on Russian tanks are often used for stowage, and this one is no exception, having some substantial superstructure added, the forward areas of which contain the grenade launchers and their muzzles. These are added once complete, and are further augmented by more sub-assemblies at the rear left, which I think contains the APU that runs the tanks systems when stationary, so that the huge power of the main power unit isn't idling unnecessarily, using up precious fuel. The engine deck is protected from ingress of shot by a series of barriers, and slat armour, all of which complete the circle of the splash guard, whilst being demountable for maintenance of the turret.

The side-skirts are single lengths with an additional part added to the inner face in order to get the correct angle with the hull when installed. There is also an additional panel that fits between the top of the sponsons and skirts, plus a large moulded in grille on the left side for the exhaust gases to exit. At the rear the towing cables are made up from two 100mm lengths of string, using the printed rules to cut them properly. They have two-part towing eyes that cement to the end, locking them in and stopping any fraying. These are arranged around the rear of the tank, held in place by shackles and cable guides around the towing eyes. A two-part slat-armour panel is installed on the four mounts, and there is no sign of the slats being oversized due to moulding constraints – it looks right to my eyes.

With the lower hull completed for the most part, a pair of drop-in mini-turrets are assembled for the two grenadiers, which sit either side of the driver. Each one has a raised ring onto which the top is glued, with an old-fashioned vision block and a newer high-tech one at the front, which is protected by a shroud that doubles as the hinge-point for the wedge-shaped hatch, with internal liner and closure system depicted nicely. On top of each of these are fitted what looks like a miniature heli-deck, consisting of a circle of tread-plate on stand-off mounts, which hinges up as the hatch is opened. Additional tread-plate is added around the turret ring, which must be used when maintaining the weapons overhead. The turret is more of a blister than a true turret, but has NBC liners moulded in, plus two hatches to which a number of vision blocks are added, with protective shrouds. Stowage boxes and traditional smoke grenade launchers are also present, as are the sort of modern optics found on most tanks these days. These are all well detailed and made up from a number of parts, with clear parts for the front of the turret-shaped unit that sits atop the right hatch.

The 30mm cannons are assembled in their blast jackets, which have realistic drape and folds moulded in, with two holes into which the single part slide-moulded barrels are installed with additional collars from PE. This attaches the breech box, with maintenance panels moulded in, which have separate grab handles for additional detail, and the central coaxially mounted 7.62mm machine gun above the barrels in the centre. On each side of the breech assembly is a long pin onto which the mount for the ATAK-T missile launchers are added after construction, and here the poly-caps come in handy again, allowing you to push the assemblies on with friction fit keeping them in whatever pose you select. A central panel links the two mounts together, which is further strengthened by the addition of a bullet splash guard under the cannons, which is encrusted with equipment. At the rear left of the turret, another turret-shaped sight assembly for use by the commander is assembled, then added, again with a clear part for the lens. The ATAK-T missiles are depicted in their launch tubes, with frangible covers front and rear. The tubes are split vertically with the covers moulded as separate parts, so you will need to do a little scraping of the seams to tidy up here. Times four, for all the tubes. Each missile is attached to a rail with shackles for the tube, and are then paired up on a flat panel with wiring before being attached to the sides of their mounts. A long aerial is mounted to the rear of the turret along with other antennae, and a chute is attached to the rear of the breech to direct the spent shell casings away from the turret ring to prevent jams. The turret can then be added to the hull by a twist-to-lock bayonet system.

If that's as far as you want to go, you just add a pair of triangular fillets to the edges of the front fenders, and start with the painting. If you're going to build the mine clearance plough, you have a little more work ahead of you. The mine plough is actually two separate blades, split left and right, and clears a path somewhat wider than the tanks tracks in the real world. Each ram is built up from a number of parts, and the blade attached at the business end, with a mirror image done for the other side. Inboard of the ploughs are a pair of arms that hold the Electronic Countermine system, covered by a cylindrical fairing, which is raised and lowered with the ploughs as required. These are attached under the front glacis plate, with some smaller parts added to the rear, the function of which I've not been able to fathom. If you don't fit the plough, there's a simple cover-panel for the mounting points at the rear, so don't switch off at step 36 if you're not using the plough.

Markings
This is a fairly new vehicle that will only reach proper series production in 2015, so it hasn't been blessed with many colour schemes thus far in its career, meaning Meng having to depict it as seen at three different arms expos, as follows:

  • Russian Expo Arms 2009 – sand/green/dark green/black hard-edged camo.
  • Russian Expo Arms 2011 – sand/green/brown hard-edged camo.
  • Russian Expo Arms 2013 – sand/brown/dark brown digital splinter camo.

There are no decals, as the Terminators wore no insignia at the exhibitions, but you do get the silver mirror stickers to make up for that.

Conclusion
Another superb edition from Meng, which should be popular with modellers, regardless of whether they "do" Russian hardware. It is unusual looking, and has plenty of menace, resembling a ground-based Hunter Killer "tank" from the film series Terminator, which is likely where its nickname came from. Even if I'm wrong, it's still a good nickname. Although this isn't a model of a prototype, it is possible that the equipment fit may differ between now and entering service with the Russian army (and others), but the kit does a fine job of depicting this urban assault vehicle as it looks now.

Very highly recommended.

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<_< You cheeky monkey! :lol: We were a bit late to the party due to unforeseen circumstances that have happily resolved themselves now :)

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Late to the party???

Well, considering the number of new releases that we have these days, it'll be quite difficult to blame you for not reviewing everything...

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Yes... it's a Smörgåsbord of new kits of late, isn't it? :eat:

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Smorgasthing yourself!!!

Yes, regarding modelling, we're really in a formidable age.

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