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T-72M1 Russian Army Tank (35A038) 1:35


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 T-72M1 Russian Army Tank (35A038)

1:35 Amusing Hobby via Albion Alloys

 

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The T-72 was the successor to the T-64, having a larger 125mm main gun and a more reliable auto-loader that gave it an advantage over its predecessor.  It was improved further by fixing some niggling problems that were initially present, and was given the name T-72. Unfortunately, problems with production led to delays that required substantial investments in the factory before full volume could be reached, continuing with modifications until the break-up of the Soviet Union in the early 90s.  Export sales were robust, and overseas sales were designated with the suffix M.  Initially the M was fitted with inferior armour and gun, but with the M1 those aspects were redressed to T-72A standards, and had smoke grenade dischargers added to the turret.  Some of this type were also made in Czechoslovakia (now Czechia & Slovakia), and Poland, who were part of the Warsaw Pact at the time. 

 

The subvariant M1K was a command tank, and the M1V had appliqué Explosive Reactive Armour (ERA) fitted to improve survivability, and the later M1M that replaced the M1 was upgraded to T-72B standards with Arena Active Protection system protecting it from above by launching a rocket towards incoming threats to obliterate the incoming round or missile.  The successor M1MS further benefited from much improved electronics that improved survivability further and raised situational awareness.  As well as cast-offs from former Soviet inventory, many T-72Ms of various types are currently in service with Soviet and later Russian aligned nations, while the T-72 is also still in service in Russia either in later guises or as upgraded machines.

 

 

The Kit

This is a new release of a completely new tooling from Amusing Hobby, and is one of their first ventures into real-world in-service armour, their previous offerings tending to be more esoteric project tanks or of the “paper panzer” variety, which has been a boon to those that enjoy strange and unusual armour.  The kit is of the full-interior variety, so the box is packed with plastic, grey for the interior, green for the exterior, which is fun – if you were a beginner and wanted to build your kit without paint, you could do so, especially as the tracks are moulded in brown styrene.  The box is a top-opener with a nice painting of the kit on the front, and inside are eighteen sprues in grey, green and brown, twenty-eight ladders of track links in brown, a clear sprue, lower hull and turret in green, plus a sheet of Photo-Etch (PE), decal sheet, a length of wire, a long coiled spring that looks like a tube from a distance, a two-part resin figure, instruction booklet and separate colour painting guide that has been penned by the artists at AMMO.  The final inclusion is possibly only intended for the initial pressing, and it’s a nice print of the box artwork on thick A3 stock.  The detail is excellent, especially the interior sprues, which have some lovely textures and shapes moulded-in, like the anti-spall lining in the turret roof, a small impeller inside the hull amongst many others, with judicious use of slide-moulding across the sprues.  The tracks are also impressive, having individual links and separate track pins that can leave you with a very fancy workable track run that you don’t need to glue, thanks to its friction-fit nature.  The lower hull is separate from the sprues, and has detail moulded into both sides, so there are necessarily some ejector-pin marks on the interior face, which might possibly need filling, but check the instructions to ensure you’re not wasting your time filling things that will be covered by equipment later – I suspect most if not all of them will.  Like anyone else, I hate wasting precious modelling time.

 

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Construction begins with the lower hull, to which you add various suspension parts, bearings and return-rollers, plus idler-wheel axles and a three-part drive-sprocket that is held in place on the final drive housing by a long thick pin.  Under the front glacis is an appliqué armour panel with fittings for the self-entrenching tool or mine-plough, four of which you need to remove with a sharp blade or sanding stick, then make good your handiwork.  These are overlaid with hinge-points and rams in a scrap diagram, with the main drawing showing them already in-place, then it’s time to deal with the rear bulkhead.  This begins as a flat panel, and has four curved brackets, some spare track-links and an unditching log, before it is attached by two lugs on the moulded-in aft bulkhead.  The road wheels are made up from pairs of wheels with a central hub, as are the idlers, with twelve of the former and two of the latter.  At this point two additional fuel tanks are built from a slide-moulded tube that has the strapping moulded-in with separate end-caps.  These are set to the side until the wheels are dealt with, beginning with the long torsion-bar suspension units with swing-arms and axles at the tip slid into the hull slots, plus a couple of smaller dampers toward the front, following which the idlers and road wheels are glued to the stub axles.  There is a scrap diagram showing the correct orientation of the damper arms in relation to the main swing-arms, which should help a lot.  Inserts are added at the sides of the turret ring, and also the first interior parts at the front of the lower glacis plate, which includes the initial driver controls handling the gear shifter in a quadrant with two PE gates.  The next step sees the foot pedals and a detailed chair for the driver’s comfort.  We’re deep into the interior now, with more controls, what looks like a drinks cooler (it isn’t) just behind and to the left of the driver’s station, then the hull sides are made up by decking out the two panels with a host of detail parts, including an instrument panel that has some decals on the sheet, and a few small PE parts, plus some ready-rounds for the big auto-feeder that’s coming soon.  More ready-rounds are fitted along with some other equipment boxes, then the crew compartment skin is dropped into the lower hull along with a firewall and another group of rounds stored nose-down.  A two-part fence for the auto-loader is slotted into the floor, then it’s time to create the auto-loader from a circular base with upstands that have castor-like wheels on every third upstand.  Then you make up the shell slots, which are cylindrical, and give you a choice of HE-Frag and HEAT shells.  Six of each are made up to be placed within the 22 locations around the base, including 10 empty slots, and a few more ready-rounds.  The completed carousel is inserted into the space made for it, and if you’re wondering at this stage when the assistance with painting is going to make an appearance, just flick to the rear of the booklet where you will find a set of colour 3D CGI renders with a legend to help out.  There is a bulkhead with a fire extinguisher strapped to it inside the engine bay, plus ancillary equipment and some very nicely detailed final drive/brake cylinders that are made up from three parts for detail, plus the end-caps that slide inside an outer casing, with one each side of course.  A large circular fan and tinwork is made up around the rear bulkhead along with more ancillaries and small parts in preparation to accept the power-pack.

 

The engine is a V-46 V12-cylinder diesel that pumps out a lot of motive power to the drivetrain.  The cylinder banks are each made up from four sides and the rocker cover plus a couple of small PE lifting eyes and exhaust manifold attached to each one in mirror-image.  The engine block is built next with a gaggle of ancillaries at one end, then the cylinder banks are fitted into the top and joined in the central valley by the intake manifold with more ancillaries at the busy end, then a new detail insert for the blank end of the engine is constructed and joined with the main assembly.  The rectangular air box has PE intake grilles around the three-part box, and the sub-assembly is joined to the engine via its thick input trunk, and two longer hoses that run down the side of the engine and attach to new components at the front of the engine.  A scrap diagram of the engine shows how it looks from the side, for you to ensure that yours is set up correctly.  The next box is a gearbox with drive-shaft that plugs into some pegs in the floor, then the engine is inserted into the bay, with a stiffening bar across the top, a couple of pots for fluids attached, and more gear added too.

 

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It’s tracks time!  Each run has 95 links, and the individual links are moulded in a tree of eight links, with tree sprue gates on each one.  They’re easy to nip off and clean up as they are situated on the curved edges of the link, and were very easy to remove thanks to the slightly soft plastic.  The jig that you can find on each of the pin sprues has a pair of tabs that allow you to build a much longer jig from it if you like, or you can build them up in runs of eight.  With the flat side up, you drop the links into the jig with the guide-horns sliding through the holes, then you cut a set of four track-pins still fixed to their sprue (imagine a four-pronged pitchfork), and push them into the pin holes in the sides of the links.  These push home snugly and you can see some of the receivers discolouring with stress-marks as this happens.  After they are inserted, you simply cut them off neatly, and that’s your lot.  I made up a test-run of sixteen links in a few minutes using just a pair of side-cutters, a thin sanding stick and some patience, and was very impressed with how easy it was to do.  It makes sense to leave the sprue on the pins long to give you some room for handling them without pinging them off into the gaping maw of the carpet monster.  It’s going to take a little time, but they’re among the best, most robust, flexible and easiest styrene tracks I’ve built.

 

You can build either a T-72M or T-72M1 from the box, and the upper glacis plate is subtly different between the two sub-types, so you have to make a choice now, as it isn’t possible to build the two side-by-side and choose later.  The M has a two-layer lamination, while the M1 adds a third layer over the outer surface, which entails cutting off the four ribs in the top centre, and overlaying the additional layer that has just two raised ribs.  That’s the main difference between them, then it’s a case of adding the light clusters with clear lenses and two-part cages, as well as the V-shaped bow-wash deflector.

 

A tow cable is created from a section of the thread 8.5cm long and two styrene eyes, which is clipped to the deck on the glacis plate while the two front mudguards are being attached to the front of the fenders with styrene springs added along the way, then a pair of triangular webs are fitted between the guards and the front lip of the glacis and a series of stiffeners in styrene and PE are fixed along the length of the fenders in preparation for the additional fuel tanks and stowage this is laid over it.  The rear ends are finished off with more detail parts to close them over.

 

The upper hull is formed from the forward section with the turret ring moulded in, to which equipment and vision blocks are added inside along with the driver’s hatch, then it is dropped into the hull along with two engine deck panels, which are first fitted out with mesh from the PE sheet and optional top covers.  This completes the deck so that the flexible spring with wire run through the centre can be cut and glued into position to depict the hosing for the fuel tanks as per the accompanying diagram and a black & white photo from the engine deck.  Another tow cable is made up from 8.5cm of cord and two more towing eyes to drape over the rear, again as per the scrap diagram.  The side skirts on a T-72 are made in part from thick flexible material, which is depicted in the kit by undulations moulded into the lower sections, with one part per side, and a tiny piece of PE at the front.

 

Now we’re getting there, and can finally make up the 2A46(D-81) 125mm smooth bore cannon, the breech of which is shown assembled in the first drawing as reference.  It is made up from breech halves split vertically, block parts that are split horizontally, and a two-part sliding portion of the block, plus a myriad of smaller parts on the breech as well as the breech safety frame and coax machine gun on a mount with ammo can that fits to the right side.  The gunner’s station is then constructed with optical binocular sight in front of the gunner’s framework seat.  This attaches to the underside of the turret rim with a large T-shaped support, and a number of equipment boxes and mechanisms dotted around the rim.  Another seat is assembled and glued to the rim, then the turret upper is started.  As with most turrets, the inside is substantially smaller than the exterior because of the thickness of the armour, so the interior skin has quite a confined feel to its quilted interior, which is the comfy, insulating side of the anti-spall liner.  More equipment boxes are plastered to the walls on flat-spots, and a part of the auto-loader mechanism runs up the back wall where a curved insert is used to enclosed the wall fully.  A periscope is attached to the outer roof, then the grey inner lining is inserted into the green turret along with the sizeable and detailed breech assembly.  It’s a cabriolet turret at this stage, which will be rectified soon, but more detail is festooned around the outside of the turret, including the rear stowage bustle boxes, smoke grenade tubes, spare ammo cans, search light, and the outer part of the periscope.  An overhead view of the turret is given to show the correct orientation of the grenade launchers, with four on the right, and six on the left.  The two roof panels are mated next and detailed accordingly, including the round commander’s cupola and the D-shaped gunner’s hatch, both of which have handles, vision blocks and even another searchlight on the commander’s more luxurious hatch.  He also gets a DShK (colloquially pronounced “Dooshka”) 12.7mm machine gun mount, which is a huge piece of equipment that is made up from a substantial number of parts, and mounts on the rear of the cupola with an ammo box, and the folding hatch.

 

There is an intermediate stage to the auto-loader that has a stepped circular platform that prevents the turret crew from getting mashed legs, and is filled with a large number of parts that on first inspection resembles a jumble of cylinders and boxes, plus a few ready-rounds strapped to the top – a total trip hazard!  The turret is slotted into the hull after dropping the platform on top of the lower feed mechanism of the loader, and the completed roof panel is also glued in place at this time.  You may wonder where the barrel is, but it’s deliberate and remedied now, with the gun tube made from two halves split horizontally, and a separate muzzle section to give it a hollow tip, with a circular bolted PE part fitted between the shroud and the barrel.  A turned metal barrel would have been almost impossible due to the cooling jacket that is strapped around the gun tube, so take the time to align the halves well to minimise clean-up once the glue has set.

 

The Figure

If you’re reading this next year, there might not be a figure in your boxing, as I suspect it’s a limited thing, but those of us buying the first boxing get a nice resin figure, a representation of whom can be seen on the far left of the box art.  A Soviet Military Policeman (MP).  It is cast in light grey resin in two parts.  The largest part is the body, which has everything moulded-in but the figure’s hands and baton behind his back.  The hands are on a separate pouring block, and should fit well into the gap between his cuffs.  He looks quite tall on his casting block, but when measured with callipers he scales out to be around 6’1”, which is fairly tall, but not unreasonably so – this might be an optical effect due to the long casting blocks under his boots.  Casting, sculpting and detail are all excellent, as you can see below, and you can take your colour cues from the box top or check your references.

 

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Markings

As well as the interior 3D renders on the last two pages of the instructions, there is a separate tri-folded A4 glossy colour painting guide with six tanks under the ownership of various states, as follows:

 

  • T-72M DDR (Deutsche Demokratische Republik – East Germany)
  • T-72M Finnish
  • T-72M Hungarian
  • T-72M Syrian
  • T-72M Armenian
  • T-72M Czech Army

 

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The decals are printed in China and are in good register with enough sharpness to get the job done, although you can see some very slight dithering of the Finnish blue roundels under 2.5x magnification.  It’s all but invisible to the naked eye however.  The profiles have been penned by AMMO and use their codes for the paint shades, with the names next to the swatches, and below each profile there is a suggestion list of AMMO weathering products to add a little depth and realism to the finished model if you wish.

 

 

Conclusion

This is the first interior AFV kit I have seen from Amusing Hobby, and I’m impressed.  It offers a substantial level of detail in a sensible, straight-forward build that should keep you busy modelling for many an hour.  The inclusion of a resin figure is a nice bonus, and the 3D renders of the interior will help with painting immensely, as will the 5-vew profiles of the decal options.

 

Very highly recommended.

 

Available in the UK in most good model shops.

Review sample courtesy of

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Thanks for the review.

Otherwise the military policeman is a East German one, the helmet is the project who succeed the fritz one 1930-1944.

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5 minutes ago, manuel said:

Thanks for the review.

Otherwise the military policeman is a East German one, the helmet is the project who succeed the fritz one 1930-1944.

 

Good to know :yes:

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Thanks for the review, I ordered one already, but didn't get my hands on it yet. It seems inferior to Trumpeter detail wise, but the interior makes it a must-have (for me, at least). I hope/expect they'll do more variants.

 

BTW, not that it matters for the review, but T-72 was not a replacement for T-64; it was a cheaper alternative to replace T-62s in non-Guard unit tank battalions (as it was considered somewhat inferior to T-64 due to a simpler fire control system).

 

Given the provided figure, does anybody know when did the NVA start using the shown camouflaged option (first one)?

 

Edited by Dudikoff
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