Russian Army Tank T-72M1
|Stock Number and Description||Amusing Hobby Kit No. 35A038 - Russian Army Tank T-72M1 with Full Interior|
|Media and Contents:||1,606 parts (699 in light brown styrene, 590 in dark green styrene, 264 in grey styrene, 34 etched brass, 17 clear styrene, 2 resin parts (figure), 1 length of vinyl coated wire, 1 length of black nylon thread).|
|Review Type:||First Look|
|Advantages:||First T-72 kit of any type to come with a complete interior; nicely done parts breakdown should allow modelers to leave parts loose to display all of that interior!|
|Disadvantages:||Turret profile not quite right for a T-72M1 as the bulges are not deep enough.|
Highly Recommended for any “72” fan
When the Soviets came out with the T-72 tank in 1973 – and after a prolonged fight within the Politburo and Ministry of Defense to put the tank into production – it did not take long before Soviet customer states to include the Warsaw Pack began asking for their own versions of the new tank. In 1978 they began to offer the export models of the tank as the Object 172M-Eh (for Ehksport) series. But they also did not want to offer the best versions of the tank so two model lines were developed: one for Warsaw Pact members and one for third world customers.
The initial models closely matched the original T-72 but with some changes such as one-piece glacis armor vice the three-layer (steel-fiberglass-steel) and changes to the NBC protection; the Warsaw Pact ones got reduced levels compared to the Soviet domestic tanks and the third world ones were stripped out.
In 1981 a new model, the T-72M, was offered with the Object 172M-Eh3 going to the Pact and the –Eh4 to the third world. This was also the first one offered for foreign production in the CSSR and Poland. It was similar to the Soviet T-72A but as noted did not have as good an armor package.
Finally, another upgraded version was offered in 1983 as the T-72M1 with the Object 172M-Eh5 going to the Pact (and concurrent production upgrades in the CSSR and Poland to this model) and the 172M-Eh6 for export (now also produced in India albeit from semi-knocked down tanks provided by the USSR). These had a new turret design and a new appliqué plate on the glacis to provide additional protection; while the Pact tanks appear to have had silicon rods in the turret to provide better HEAT projectile resistance the Eh6 models did not – just a monolithic armor turret. But both models could be identified by a bulge up to 90mm thick in its center, located just below the cable runs for the Type 902A “Tucha” smoke grenade launchers.
There are no good numbers on Soviet production of the M and M1 tanks, but the CSSR and Poland each built about 1,500 and Yugoslavia another 600 of the similar M84 tank based on the T-72M. India has more than 1,900 T-72M and T-72M1 tanks.
The East German Nationalesvolksarmee (NVA) had 549 T-72, T-72M and T-72M1 tanks of varied production sources when the German Democratic Republic collapsed in 1990. All of these tanks have been either sold on or scrapped by now.
F i r s t L o o k
For over 30 years now we have had access to T-72 models of varying quality and accuracy, starting with an ESCI kit and then DML. Tamiya came up with what it called a “T-72M1” but it was a mishmash of T-72, T-72M and T-72M1 features and did not match any specific tank. Trumpeter has now offered a number of T-72 variants, mostly B models, but none have had an interior. Amusing Hobby, another Chinese company, now offers a complete kit with interior for the first time. While complex and fitted out with numerous parts, it is not as bad as some others.
Parts layout is not bad – all exterior parts are in either dark green or light brown (tracks) and all interior parts are in grey, so anyone not interested in the interior can ignore several of the sprues at once on opening the box. I say box but small crate is probably more accurate! The box is 125mm x 260mm x 390mm (5” x 9” x 15.5”) and weighs around seven pounds.
The kit is not bad but does have some stumbles. The aforementioned bulges only project about 1mm or 30mm in full size and therefore are about 60mm too narrow. Some of the colors offered differ from photos of the inside of actual T-72M1s (I have the excellent Wings and Wheels T-72 color photo album) so you will need to find a good source of photos and colors to replicate the actual vehicle. Also most wiring and cabling is also not present (it rarely is on any interior kit) so more references will come in handy.
The three-piece track link tracks are going to be tedious but a number of jigs are provided to permit assembly of four links at a time (95 per side are suggested). I somehow think those of us with a deep parts box and spare kits could swap out for a pair of Tamiya T-72M1 kit tracks if you do not want to take the time with these or a metal set.
The directions come in a 30 page book and cover 53 steps. After the usual parts map assembly begins with the lower hull. The first seven steps cover the very detailed assembly of the outer shell of the lower hull pan which includes the insertion of the torsion bars in Step 7. Note that while the tracks are articulated the wheels as provided are not fitted with vinyl caps so will not rotate without work if you desire that effect.
The auxiliary fuel tanks are provided in two parts – drum and cover – so all you need to do is some quick work with a Flex-I-File to get a smooth drum.
The next seven steps cover the “driver-mechanic’s compartment” and “fighting compartment” using Soviet terminology. The two main interior walls and forward fuel tanks come in one piece each to make life simple.
Steps 15 to 17 cover the “Zhelud” autoloader and spare ammunition stowage inside the hull. Be aware that the rear “stellazh” fuel tank (part L53) holds more ammunition that will need correct painting.
The “engine-transmission compartment” starts with Step 18 and the final drives/transmissions. This is followed by the fan and the V-46 engine. The engine consists of some 38 parts to include etched but has none of the cabling or piping associated with its fuel injection system. The “guitara” transfer case adds another six parts to the assembly.
Steps 27 and 28 are a bit of an oddity – they describe the differences between the T-72M and T-72M1 glacis plates but the kit is clearly designed to represent an M1.
Steps 29 to 32 cover the fenders and fender bin assemblies. Numbers 33 and 34 cover the inside and outside of the forward hull roof, and 35 to 38 the engine deck and radiator grill areas. There is an option for fording covers open or closed, but as there is no extended snorkel option this is not a great choice.
Turret assembly begins with Step 39 and the 2A46 gun; while it shows the barrel in place the directions clearly show it is the last thing to be added in Step 53! The breech is complete with the PKT coaxial gun attached to it as one assembly. Interior fittings to the turret race (part E39) are next followed by the turret interior details fitted to the “podboy” liner (part M48). The turret interior is finished off in Steps 45 and 46.
Steps 47-51 cover the external fittings of the turret to include the NVST machine mount and hatches. Care must be taken with installing the “Tucha” smoke grenade launchers due to the fact there are four different ones based on their angle fittings that attach to the front of the turret (seven left, five right). Step 51 covers the turret floor with its attached ammunition and equipment.
The directions indicate that the turret and turret floor are to not be cemented in place in order to show off the details; no such directions are provided for the hull roof or engine deck and radiator grill area so it is up to the modeler to cement them in place or leave them loose.
Finishing directions are provided for six different tanks, oddly enough identified as T-72M tanks: NVA with national markings and three color camo (dark green, black, sand grey); Finnish with national roundels in a similar three color scheme; Hungary in dark green with bort number 146; Syrian with national flags and two color green and sand camo; Armenia in three color camo with bort number 3514; Czech Army in dark green with national roundels and bort number 069. A small decal sheet is included.
Also included in this kit are a large poster of the box art by Ron Volstad and an NVA traffic regulator in resin with separate hands and baton. He is well done and nicely sculpted. However no other crew figures come with the kit.
Getting one of these kits is the very devil. I ordered this particular one from “Aliexpress” (marking arm of Jack Ma’s Alibaba) for a cost of $44.27 and over $27 in shipping costs, and it took around 20 days to arrive. It is not available in the US that I know of but the only shop apparently handling Amusing Hobby is Andy’s Hobby Headquarters in Arizona but he does not have it in stock at this time.
In summary, even with a few disappointing features like the lack of turret bulges it is a nice kit and the only game in town if you want to show how a T-72 goes together.
A 37 Hull roof, engine deck, appliqué, details – Gr
B 20 Skirts, fender bins, scraper blade, hull details – Gr
C 33 Gun barrel, unditching beam, mudguards, shock absorbers - Gr
D 27x2 Torsion bars, auxiliary fuel tanks, hull details - Gr
E 70 Turret base, roof, details - Gr
F 93x4 Suspension, hull belly details – Gr
H 17 Clear styrene
I 69x7 Track pins, assembly jigs – Br
J 62 V-46 engine, ammunition – Gy
K 64 Autoloader shell, radiator, fan, fan shroud, details – Gy
L 68 Hull interior, “stellazh” fuel tanks, driver’s compartment – Gy
M 70 Turret interior, “podboy” liner, radio, controls, details – Gy
T 8x27 Track links - Br
Z 37 Etched brass1 Turret shell - Gr
1 Lower hull pan - Gr
1 Length of black nylon string
1 Length of black vinyl tubing
1 Poster of box art
Thanks to Meng Models for the sample www.meng-model.com
Text by Cookie Sewell
Page Created 14 March, 2021
Page Last Updated 14 March, 2021