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Shar2

Soviet MBV-2 Rail Cruiser Late KT-28 Gun

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Soviet MBV-2 Rail Cruiser Late KT-28 Gun

HobbyBoss 1:35

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History

The MBV-2 was a very large, self propelled armoured train or rail cruiser, as they were sometimes called. It was fitted with three turrets armed with the 76.2mm KT-28 guns removed from old T-28 Medium Tanks.  They also carried four maxim machine guns within the hull with a further three DT machine guns in each turret. For anti-aircraft protection, the turret mounted DT’s in AA mounts were augmented by a Quad maxim in a retractable mounting between the control tower and first of the rear turrets. A pyramidal structure amidships formed something of a command cupola jutting out of the angled, armoured hull. This hull was simply fitted over the existing train car. Unlike other armoured trains built before, the MBV-2 included its own power pack - a diesel engine mated to a hydraulic transmission system - which allowed it to be self-propelled removing the use of a dedicated locomotive.

 

In practice, MBV-2 trains were generally deployed as ranged fire support weapons and as deterrents along key fronts. Its firepower was capable of stopping all known light- and medium-armoured German tanks of the war which made German war planners take their threat seriously. However, the MBV-2 trains suffered from what other armoured trains suffered from - they were confined to existing railroad networks and weighed down by their heavy armament, ammunition, and armour. Fortunately for the Soviets, the country managed an extensive railway network - its value already proven in the First World War. Additionally, if disabled for any reason, these trains could also serve in a valuable static defence role. At least one (the second) MBV-2 armoured train was present along the Leningrad Front where it served as part of the 14th Independent Armoured Train Battalion (23rd Army). This example was saved from the scrap heap following the war to find sanctuary as a showpiece of the Kubinka Tank Museum.

 

The Model

Having reviewed the earlier release of this vehicle I was expecting to find something different in this version. But this is not the case. Other than the main guns it is in fact the same kit in a different box and paint guide. The kit comes in a large new style of box. It has a nice artist’s rendition of the rail cruiser on the front and a clear panel, through which you can see part of the main hull. Opening one end, you will find three of the main parts separate from the sprues, which are contained in two top opening boxes. On opening the smaller boxes the modeller is confronted with a box full of medium grey styrene, twenty sprues in total, along with separate hull, floor, bogies, control cupola, and turrets. There are also five rail ballast sections and a sprue of rails and sleepers in a light grey styrene.  All the parts are beautifully moulded, particularly the single piece hull of the cruiser, with no sign of flash and only a few moulding pips, so cleaning up after removal from the sprues should be a bit of a doddle.

 

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Be aware that this is quite a large kit measuring out at 570mm in length and 94mm in width. The cruiser construction begins with the bogies, one is fitted with a frame, three sets of brake pads, three axles and three pairs of wheels. With the wheels fitted, the two side plates/axle bearings plus the front and rear plates. The second bogie is of similar construction, but with only two sets of wheels plus driving connecting rods and counterweights.

 

The main body is then fitted out with the four two piece maxim machine guns from the inside. The floor is then attached followed a pair of air bottles and a single cross member.  Two sets of control rods are then assembled and glued to the underside, followed by the two bogies and a pair of accumulators. The underside is then finished off with a pair of angled side skirts.

 

Probably the most complex build is that of the quad AA maxim machine gun mount. The frame is assembled, followed by the four machine guns with separate handles.  A connecting frame is attached to the front of the gund and two elevation arc frames fitted underneath. The ammunition boxes are glued to the guide frame which in turn is glued to the underside of the machine guns.  The main mounting is part solid pyramid, part tripod with a two piece mount joint on top. The machine gun assembly is fitted to the joint and the completed assembly slid into the compartment just aft of the control tower hole.  Unfortunately there are no bulkheads to this mounting position, so you can see straight through the main hull, including the previously fitted maxims, which are only the muzzle sections. You may wish to close this are in, but don’t forget any access doors.

 

On the bow of the hull there is a three piece machine gun mounting for a DT gun, along with the two, two piece buffers, mid mounted dome and a load of handrails all over the hull. The six piece control tower/cupola is glued into place, along with more hand rails, as are the couplings fitted fore and aft.  Four hinges are made up and attached to the hatch covers for the maxim pit, these can be made operable or just glued into the chosen position.

 

Each of the three turrets are assembled from single piece upper sections, turret ring section, five piece coaxial DT machine guns eight piece main guns, two piece periscopes, and the separate commanders and gunners hatches. Two of the turrets also have another five piece DT machine gun fitted on the turrets rear face, while all three have a DT AA mount on the roof made of 10 parts. The completed turrets are then placed into their respective positions and the completed cruiser placed onto the rails.

 

The three sections that make up the majority of the track are joined together and fitted with the two end pieces, one of which needs to be modified to fit.  The sleeper sections are then fitted from beneath, again with one section requiring modification to fit. The rails are then slid through the ties and joined together with two fishplates per rail.  Since most of the track laid in Russia seems to have been pretty much straight onto the ground surface, it might be best to leave the track bed parts and lay it onto a board or such like as part of a diorama.

 

Conclusion

As with the previous release, this is a great kit and will certainly look different in your model collection..  The build isn’t at all complicated and would be a good first build for anyone interested in these trains, just a shame that Hobbyboss couldn't make it at least a little different from the previous release, especially adding some more bulkheads around the AA machine gun well.  The camouflage possibilities are interesting, with a few photos on the web showing how the cruisers were painted.

 

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Review sample courtesy of


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