Zvezda, 1/35 scale
Reviewed by Andy King
F i r s t L o o k
The T-14 Armata is a brand new next generation Russian tank that is due to enter service between now and 2020. It has a crew of three, weighs in around the 50 tonne mark and the main armament is the 2A82-1M 125mm smoothbore cannon. The tank has a couple of unique features that include a remote turret and an internal armoured capsule for the crew that is more than the equivalent of 900mm of Rolled Homogenous Armour. The chassis and turret is protected by ‘Malachit’ dual ERA (Explosive Reactive Armour), the turret shape is designed to reduce its radio and thermal signature and the vehicle is protected by a millimetre-wavelength radar active protection system (called Afghanit) that can detect incoming anti-tank munitions.
The tank also uses an integrated computerised control system that as well as monitoring all functions of the vehicle it can analyse threats and either suggest or take actions to eliminate them.
According to Russian officials the tank should be virtually invisible to radar and infra-red detection on the battle ground due to radar-absorbing materials and paint and the placement of heat generating components deep within the vehicle.
How effective the tank will really be in action remains to be seen but at the moment to say it has NATO worried is an understatement, especially as the tank renders current anti-tank weapons and rounds obsolete and the Russians appear to be trying to develop a nuclear round for the main armament too.
This is a brand-new kit from Zvezda and appears to be made in co-operation with Uralvagonzavod, one of the largest scientific and industrial complexes in Russia and the biggest tank manufacturer in the world. Inside the rather large box you get just eight sprues in grey styrene, separate upper and lower hulls, a clear sprue, two sheets of clear styrene mesh in different sizes and a decal sheet. No etch is included.
Moulding quality is okay however there are small amounts of flash present and although mould-pin marks are on the inside faces of most parts they may require removing as they may prevent the proper fit of parts. Like the Gaz ‘Tiger’ by Zvezda I reviewed recently on some parts there are noticeable lines present (possibly from the mould not being polished fully). These may disappear under a coat of primer but if they don’t it will be very tricky to clean them up.
Surface detail looks pretty good although the rear turret basket mesh is moulded solid. You also have to cut out the engine grills from the sheet of supplied mesh using the templates on the instructions. The slat armour for the hull sides could do with thinning out as it is a bit chunky. The two rear mounted tow cables are moulded in styrene and would look better with the cable itself replaced with picture hanging wire. Zvezda have made a decent attempt at the rubber skirts on the bottom of the side plates but they’re still a bit too uniform and could do with a bit more reshaping.
The tracks are of the ‘link-and-length’ type with separate guide horns and look really good, unfortunately the inside faces of the tracks have pin marks in places. The good news is you only need to fill them on the bottom runs of track as they are mostly hidden by the plates on the hull sides. The main gun is split horizontally which will make clean up tricky as it’s very easy to ‘flat-spot’ a barrel when sanding the seams (trust me on this) and would be better being substituted for an aftermarket item.
Decals are never a strongpoint of Zvezda and the sheet included is no exception as the two stars on the black and orange striped flashes for the hull sides and the Guards badge (item 3 on the decal sheet) are out of register.
Just two colour schemes are provided; an overall green one with those fancy orange and black ‘go faster’ stripes on the sides and the other is in a three-tone camouflage pattern of sand, red-brown and green. Colour call outs are for Zvezdas own range of paints and Humbrol.
This is a decent kit that will make a great starting point for those wishing to add some aftermarket goodies to a tank that currently has Western nations spooked. Recommended for fans of modern armour.
History via Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T-14_Armata
Thanks to The Hobby Company for the sample www.hobbyco.net
Text and Images by Andy King