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T-60 Plant N.37 Sverdlovsk Prod Spring 1942. INTERIOR KIT - 1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models

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T-60 Plant N.37 Sverdlovsk Prod Spring 1942. INTERIOR KIT

1:35 MiniArt via Creative Models

 

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The T-60 was the result of the ongoing development of light tanks that had started well before WWII. This particular tank started development in 1938 as an attempt to replace the T-26, T-40, the failed T-46 project and the T-50. Whilst such a large number were produced, it was hated by all who had to deal with it – all except the Germans, who found it to be a substandard and underwhelming opponent, and a rather nice ammunition carrier or gun towing tractor, once captured. As a result of its poor armour, substandard armament and sluggish performance, it was more dangerous to its crews than anybody else, earning it the title Bratskaya Mogila Na Dovoikh, literally: “a brother’s grave for two.” The basic design was completed in a mere fifteen days, and Astrov, seconded by Lieutenant Colonel V.P. Okunev, wrote to Stalin contrasting the advantages of the mass-producible T-60 with the more complicated T-50, which had already received the go-ahead. An inspection from a senior minister resulted in two decisions: firstly, the 12.7 mm (0.5 in) machine gun was to be replaced with a 20 mm (0.79 in) ShVAK, although it was still inadequate against the Panzer IIIs and IVs that the T-60 would almost certainly engage whilst there was a shortage of T-34s. Secondly, the Main Defence Committee (GKO), headed by Stalin, ordered 10,000 T-60s to be produced immediately. Some sources have claimed that Stalin’s interest in the vehicle is because he attended the vehicle’s final trials in person.

 

The displacement of the Soviet industry in 1941 disrupted production and further refinement of the T-60. In autumn, Zavod Nr 37’s work on the T-60 was transferred to Zavod Nr 38 at Kirov and GAZ in Gorki. Shortly after, industrial evacuations continued, and GAZ was the sole producer of the T-60. In 1942, the T-60’s frontal armour was increased to 35 mm (1.37 in), which was still inadequate and made the tank more sluggish. The GAZ-203 engine gave the T-60 theoretical speeds of 44 km/h (27 mph) on road and 22 km/h (14 mph) off-road, but this was always difficult to achieve as a result of horrifically bad mud and snow. Replacing the spoked road wheels on the 1941 model with all-metal disc wheels, especially as a result of rubber shortages, did not help alleviate this problem either. The development of removable track extensions also did little to help mobility. Finally, any attempt to increase the calibre of the gun proved difficult. There were attempts to replace the main gun with a 37 mm (1.45 in) ZiS-19 or a 45 mm (1.77 in) ZiS-19BM, but proved unsuccessful as a result of the small turret. By the time a redesigned turret with the ZiS-19BM had passed trials, the T-60 as a whole was cancelled with the introduction of the T-70 in late 1942, although 55 T-60s were produced in 1943.

 

The Germans would use captured tanks under the designation Panzerkampfwagen T-60 743(r), and the Romanians would modify 34 captured tanks into TACAM tank destroyers in 1943 armed with captured Russian 76mm divisional guns housed in a lightly armoured superstructure. These vehicles were confiscated by the Russians when Roumania changed sides in 1944.

 

The Model

The kit comes in the fairly standard, yet sturdy and colourful top opening box MiniArt use, with an artists impression of the vehicle on the front. This later tank is easily distinguished by the solid road wheels. Inside there are thirty three sprues of varying sizes, mostly small, in a medium to dark grey styrene, along with one sprue of clear styrene, two small sheets of etched brass and a smallish decal sheet.  As with most MiniArt kits there is a huge amount of detail contained on the sprues and in this one there are 490 parts, including the etched brass.  The mouldings are superb with no imperfections and very few moulding pips.  Some of the smaller parts, and there are a lot of them, do have a fair number of sprue gates, but fortunately they are relatively small and shouldn’t cause too many problems. The sheer number of parts is explained by the fact that this kit is equipped with a full, and I mean full interior, which for a model/vehicle this size will mean you will need a magnifying glass/Optivisor when building.

 

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The build starts with the lower hull floor, to which the drivers position is attached, complete with detailed gearbox, levers and brake drums. Then there is the comprehensively detailed engine, which is a model in itself, and has more parts than some whole kits, around 22 in total. The two batteries and battery tray are then added to the left hand side of the hull adjacent to the drivers position, followed by the right side panel which is fitted with a fire extinguisher and four support brackets. The rear bulkhead is fitted out with several parts on the outside, before being attached to the lower hull, as is the lower glacis plate. The engine assembly is then glued into position and connected to the gearbox via a couple of drive shafts. The interior is slowly built up with bulkheads, ammunition racks with spare ammunition drums and boxes and another fire extinguisher. The left hull panel is then attached, along with the outer drive covers, idler axles, internal longitudinal bulkhead and several pipes.

 

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The upper hull plate is fitted with several panels before being glued into place. The drivers hatch is made up from five parts, while the drivers vision block is made up from six parts.  Both assemblies are then glued to the driver position, and can be posed either open of closed. Depending on which colour scheme the modeller has chosen there are two options for the style of headlights to be used. The suspension arms are then glued to the hull, followed by the road wheels, return rollers, drive sprockets and idler wheels. The engine cover is next made up of three plastic and two etched grille pieces. This is then glued into position on the top deck, along with the drivers access and viewing plate. The tracks are each built up from eighty five individual links, which, unfortunately are not click able, but have to be glued, making it a little more awkward to get the sag and fitted around the idlers/drive sprockets. But with plenty of patience and care they can be made to look the business.

 

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The track guards are fitted with many PE brackets, as well as storage boxes, pioneer tools and a nicely detailed jack. These are then fitted to the hull and the build moves on to the turret. There is a large PE grille fitted to the rear engine deck along with a PE surround. There are two covers that go over this if winterising the vehicle, each plate is fixed with four to six PE wing nuts.

 

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While the turret is very small there is still plenty of detail packed into it. The turret ring is fitted with commander’s seat, ready use ammunition locker, plus traversing and elevation gearboxes and hand wheels. Inside the turret itself there are two four piece vision blocks, spent ammunition plug, vent cover, the breech and sight for the main gun which is slide through the trunnion mount, as is the three piece co-axial machine gun. The turret roof is fitted with a two piece hatch and before it is glued into position the machine gun ammunition drum is attached and the spent cartridge chute to the main gun.  The roof is then attached, as is the outer mantlet and barrel cover of the main gun. The turret is the attached o the hull and the build is finished off with the fitting of more PE brackets around the hull and the engine exhaust glued into position.

 

 

 

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Decals

The small decal sheet contains markings for 15 tanks.

 

  • Tactical numbers 103 & 113 Red Army, Volkhov front, Summer 1942.
  • Tac Number 43 Unspecified unit, Red Army Summer 1942.
  • Unspecified unit, tactical number 13, Red Army Summer 1942.
  • Tac Number 211, presumed to be 30th Guards Tank Brigade, Red Army, Leningrad 1942-43.
  • Tac Number 257 30th Guards Tank Brigade, Red Army, Leningrad Front winter 1942-43.
  • Tac Number 715 Unidentified unit, Red Army, Volkhov front, 1942.
  • Tac Number 180 over painted unidentified unit winter camo Volkhov Front Winter 1942-43.
  • Tac Number 18 Unspecified unit, Red Army Summer 1942.
  • Unidentified tank captured by the Wehrmacht, Eastern Front 1942.
  • Unidentified tank captured by the Wehrmacht, Eastern Front summer 1942.
  • Tac Number 208, 209, 227 and 228 from the 30th Guards Tank Brigade, Red Army, Leningrad Front summer 1943.

 

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Conclusion

This is another amazing kit from MiniArt and brings yet another lesser known military vehicle to the mainstream modelling community.  With the numerous parts count and the large number of very small parts, this kit is really aimed at the more experienced modeller, it looks like it should build up into a superb model, absolutely full of detail, so much so that there shouldn’t be any need for aftermarket parts. Highly recommended.

 

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Review sample courtesy of Creative Models

 

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