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T-90 w/TBS-86 Tank Dozer 1:35


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T-90 w/TBS-86 Tank Dozer
1:35 Meng


We reviewed the original T-90A release of this kit here back in July 2013, although it only feels like a few months ago to this reviewer. I won't re-tread old group describing the genesis of the tank, suffice to say that this edition includes a TBS-86 dozer blade for entrenching and snow clearance, and one tank in each platoon has such a blade fitted.

The Kit
Although this release seems very similar to the previous one on first inspection (apart from the dozer, of course!), it is actually very much different, and only shares three main sprues, hull parts, and the five sprues that make up the roadwheels with the earlier kit. There are a number of differences as follows:

  • The dozer blade… it had to be said.
  • Different shaped cast turret and appliqué armour in flexible styrene.
  • New track system with moulded in links, but separate track pins.
  • New track jig to cater for the new tracks.
  • Revised turret base with additional parts to accommodate the lighting system.
  • Didn't I mention the lights? A new LED based lighting loom that allows the switched lighting of the Infrared dazzlers on the front of the turret.

That last one got my attention, as I love gimmicks!










It's the same high quality product as you'd expect from Meng, and the extent to which they have gone to change this issue and improve on the previous one is good to see. There has even been a small extra piece of sprue added around the anti-aircraft gun for the turret to protect the barrel from handling, whilst still retaining the slide-moulded hollow muzzle. Construction starts with the common areas such as the wheels and lower hull, which differs in the front and rear bulkheads, lacking the self-entrenching tool rams at the rear, and having a lower spare track-link count on the rear.



The tracks are changed markedly in their construction, with a much reduced part count and simplified build process with only one sprue gate per link and no ejector pin marks to deal with. It does away with the end-caps, separate guide horns and complex jigs in favour of one two-part jig into which you place five links, then insert five track-pins whilst still attached to their sprue. Once this is done, the length is removed from the jig and the pins are cut from their sprue and tidied up, all with no glue needed. The other side of the link is held together by a small pin that locks it into the next link along, a link that can no longer slide free once the pins are inserted the other side. There are no track pads on this variant either, which is a bonus. The finished runs of 96 links are wrapped around the track run, and clipped together by adding a single pin that has been removed from the sprue.



The engine is dropped in this release too, so construction moves on to the upper hull with a number of skin parts added to the basic shape, plus light-clusters, stowage bins on the fenders, bullet-splash guards around the turret ring, fender mudguards, and engine deck grilles. The engine access panels are glued in the down position, with the cooling slats at the rear of the engine deck posed in the open position if the engine is running, or closed if it is stopped. Side-skirts, unditching beam and towing cables are identical, the latter made up from styrene shackles and a length of synthetic braided cord. The additional fuel drums and their hosing on the rear is the same, as is the barrel to the main gun, but as mentioned before, the turret is vastly different due to it being cast rather than made up from panels. Firstly, the anti-radiation appliqué armour is added from flexible styrene parts, over which is laid a number of Explosive Reactive Armour (ERA) blocks and sighting devices. The flexible plastic gun mantlet cover is installed at the front over a two part inner, and the commander's cupola ring is added, as are the mounts for the IR dazzler lights. The light fittings are built up around a small wafer of circuit, to which a Surface Mount Device (SMD) LED is already attached. This performs the job of the old-fashioned grain-of-wheat bulbs, uses up a lot less electricity and produces only a fraction of the heat, minimising the chance of melting your lovely model. The wires are fed inside the turret before the lower part is added, and a blanking plate 3-volt CR2032 coin cell, which isn't included in the package, but widely available – most cheaply on eBay. Around about now you'll probably be looking for painting instructions for the dazzler lenses, but don't worry – Meng have already thought about that, and have installed bright red LEDs, which will do the job admirably. I popped an old CR2025 that I had lying about the workshop into the battery holder, and that worked too. Next is the angled ERA blocks that adorn the front of the turret, and the side mounted smoke grenade launching racks, plus a bustle made up from three stowage boxes, a suite of sensors on the roof and the commander's highly detailed cupola, to which the big 12.7mm Kord heavy machine gun is added, with a dump bag to collect the used shell casings that could pose a crew and mechanical hazard if left to spill on the deck. Adding the barrel is the last job, and the turret joins to the hull in the usual twist-to-lock fashion, and you can access the push on/off switch for the dazzlers by removing the turret.


You now have the optional dozer blade to build, and with Meng being their usual helpful selves, you can also build it without, so all the parts for the front self-entrenching blade are included too. If you're using the blade, you leave those parts in the box and add a set of brackets and sliders on the lower front of the hull, and then build up the hydraulic gear, which is then attached to the mounting plate that fits on the front of the tank. A number of PE guard plates are added to the hydraulics, all of which require limited bending to fit in place correctly. The dozer blade itself is then built from two main parts, a pair of PE hinge-brackets, and two small hooks at the top centre of the assembly. The blade mates with the mechanism at three large points for strength, and it can then be offered up to the lower glacis, where it mounts in four holes. The control wiring runs from beside the driver's cab into the completed dozer blade, and this has sensibly been moulded from flexible styrene to allow sufficient play when raising or lowering the blade.

Three schemes are included in the box, and they're different enough to interest most folks, with one colourful one that's bound to attract attention.

108th Tank Regiment, 5th Guards Tank Division of the Siberian Military District – Sand, green, black camouflage with an olive dozer blade. Number 161 in white on the turret sides.
467th Training Centre, Kourov – all over Russian Green, with 346 on turret sides in white.
38th Research Institute in Kubinka, Tanker's Day celebration – Sand, black, dark green camouflage with a Russian eagle/flag motif and T-90 on the side skirts, and 313 in white on the turret sides.


The decals are by Cartograf, with all the quality that implies, including good register, colour density and sharpness, all covered in a matt carrier film that is cut close to each decal. The Russian Eagle/flag decal is split into three parts, and printing here is superb.

Another lovely kit from Meng, with some changes, additions and a cool gimmick in the shape of the LED IR dazzler lights that are quite innovative in the armour field, which seldom sees much in the way electronics in the box of a standard kit. Detail is up to Meng's usual high standards, the instructions are good, and the new parts make it a different enough subject to tempt even those with their earlier kit.

Very highly recommended.


Review sample courtesy of

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