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T-10M Heavy Tank 1:35


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T-10M Heavy Tank
1:35 Trumpeter


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This monster was one of the last hurrahs of the heavy tank in Soviet service, partially to counter the immediate post-war projects from the Allies such as the British Conqueror and the American M103, but also because Soviet military doctrine was slow to change from WWII, even though the slow-moving heavies had trouble keeping up with the advance toward Germany. It was based roughly on the earlier IS-3 with a longer hull, more road-wheels and a larger gun and turret. To carry the extra weight of the armour and armament, the diesel engine was uprated to keep performance on a par, and the new 122mm gun benefitted from a fume extractor (or rather the crew did). After the initial version was introduced in the early 50s, stabilisation for the gun was added one plane at a time, and the M variant gained a slotted muzzle brake to counter recoil of the new main gun, and a new coaxially mounted machine gun instead of the unwieldy 14.5mm coax fitted to earlier versions. Infra-red optics and NBC protection were also added to keep pace with the perceived threats of the time.

Faster, better armoured medium tanks that became Main Battle Tanks were showing their abilities in the minor skirmishes on the periphery of Soviet influence, which sounded the death knell of the heavy tank in the late 60s, although it took a long time to completely draw down stocks.


The Kit
Trumpeter are flooding the market with Soviet armour at the moment, including some of the less well-known types, which is great news for the armour builder, especially those that enjoy the quirky practicality that typifies their design ethos. It is noteworthy that a sticker has been added to the front of the instruction booklet thanking a Mr. Krill Koksharov from Chelyabinsk for his assistance with this project with measurement and drawing data. The kit arrives in a fairly standard Trumpeter box, with lots of individually bagged sprues of varying sizes within. There are sixteen sprues and two hull parts in mid-grey styrene, ten sprues in brown, three sheets of Photo-Etch (PE) brass, two lengths of braided copper wire, a decal sheet, the instruction booklet and a separate colour painting and marking guide with three decal options.

First impressions are seldom anything less than good with Trumpeter armour, and this kit is rather well appointed in terms of detail, with only a metal barrel lacking. There doesn't yet seem to be one available, but you're looking for an M-62-T2 L/46, and you'll not have to wait too long, I'm sure. It's surprising the size of the hull, which you can test-fit together without any other parts, and although it is a large hull, the height isn't. It's the lower hull where the action starts with the addition of the suspension bump-stops, final drive housing and the bearing housings for the torsion bar suspension. The keyed swing-arms are next, with three per side having additional parts added, leaving four per side unadulterated. There are also sponson liners added to the hull sides, which I haven't seen in a new kit for quite a while. They slot into holes in the lower hull and have a raised line running their entire length. Thirty two road wheels are built up in pairs, and all have a nice cast texture on their surface, which is attention to detail that is good to see. Six return rollers are made up and installed on the return run, and the toothed drive sprockets are made up from two parts and added to the final drive axle.

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The tracks are of the individual link type, and there are ten sprues of eighteen links from which the instructions advise you to make up runs of eighty eight links per side. The links have four sprue-gates each, but no ejector pin marks, and fit tightly together in a "sort-of" click-fit way, but they will need gluing to fit properly. Your best option is to build up a length of 88 links and quickly glue them using liquid glue. Then you can drape them around the road wheels and pack them into place to give the correct sag to the upper length, which was quite substantial. A little tape here and there should keep the links together while the glue sets up.

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The turret is made of upper and lower halves, and the upper has a nice cast texture moulded-in that should look good under paint. There is no breech detail added, just a simple T-shaped gun-mount, and an optional rear stowage bustle, which requires two slots in the rear of the turret opening up to accept the mating tabs. The gun mantlet fits to the mount, and the barrel of the KPVT coax 14.5mm machine gun projects from the right side. Various vision blocks, periscopes and of course a searchlight are added to the front of the turret, and the commander's cupola is built up and installed alongside the more simple gunner's hatch. A slide-moulded stowage box is added to the right of the turret, and held in place by PE straps. The barrel is split vertically along its length, with the seamline continuing through the muzzle brake, which has a two-part collar added at its base before being inserted into the mantlet.

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The lower hull is ostensibly complete, and is decked out with towing cable using the copper wire and styrene eyes, light clusters front and rear along with protective cages that are very well-moulded from a number of parts, and of course the driver's hatch. The inner flanges of the front fenders are added along with a couple of sections of deep wading upstands, with PE mudflap parts fitted to the front. The rear deck has a small flat section that is supplied as an insert, and this is covered with a total of four slide-moulded fuel-canisters, which are tied down by more PE straps. More stowage is added to the front and rear, with slide-moulding again reducing the part count and increasing detail, while the louvers in the deck are covered with fine PE grilles. Before the upper and lower hulls are mated, an unditching log is added to the right side of the hull, and held in place with PE tie-downs. The surface of the log is quite well done, but you might consider a little more distressing of it while you are removing the moulding seams.

The turret-mounted DShK.M is quite a focus on the finished model, and is built up from a larger number of parts and has a slide-moulded muzzle that has been very nicely done. The mount closes up around the gun's detailed breech, and a choice of either styrene or PE ammo cans are provided, allowing an open can with ammo protruding if you go down the PE route. The final act involves adding the turret and twisting it to lock it in place on a bayonet mechanism, gluing the base of the DShK.M to the gunner's hatch front, and adding a pair of triangular panels to the front of the glacis plate.


Markings
As usual, it's Soviet green all the way for this deep Cold War warrior, with only a few differences between the marking options. From the box you can build one of the following:

  • Soviet green with white stripes up the sides of the turret/hull and one leading back from the mantlet.
  • Soviet green with red/yellow badge motif on the turret sides.
  • Soviet green with white 202 on the turret sides, plus turret bustle stowage installed.

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The decals are fine, and consist almost totally of while turret codes to give you some additional options if you wanted to build a particular machine. Registration is a little squiffy on the wreath and red flag badge, but they are so small it probably won't notice under a little weathering.

Conclusion
The sheer size of Cold War heavy tanks is only really brought home by standing with them at 1:1, but this should dwarf your Shermans and Panzer IIIs. It's a well-detailed kit, but as always with the decal options you're left wondering which unit and era you are assigning your model to.

Highly recommended.

Review sample courtesy of
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