Soviet T-10M Heavy Tank
Meng, 1/35 scale
Reviewed by Brett Green
The T-10 (also known as Object 730, IS-8, or IS-10) was a Soviet heavy tank of the Cold War, the final development of the KV and IS tank series. During development, it was called IS-8 and IS-9. It was accepted into production in 1952 as the IS-10 (Iosif Stalin, Russian form of Joseph Stalin), but due to the political climate in the wake of Stalin's death in 1953, it was renamed T-10.
The biggest differences from its direct ancestor, the IS-3, were a longer hull, seven pairs of road wheels instead of six, a larger turret mounting a new gun with fume extractor, an improved diesel engine, and increased armour. General performance was similar, although the T-10 could carry more ammunition.
T-10s (like the IS tanks they replaced) were deployed in independent tank regiments belonging to armies, and independent tank battalions belonging to divisions. These independent tank units could be attached to mechanized units, to support infantry operations and perform breakthroughs.
The T-10 served with the Soviet Union but was not known to have been provided to Warsaw Pact nations, though Soviet heavy tank regiments stationed in those countries may have been equipped with them. T-10Ms were "in the unhappy position" of simultaneous production by two factories (Kirov as Object 272 and Chelyabinsk as Object 734) "with incompatible parts". Not until 1962 was Kirov's version standardized upon.
Heavy tanks were withdrawn from Soviet front-line service by 1967, and entirely removed from reserve service by 1996.It is estimated that some 6,000 Soviet heavy tanks were built after the end of World War II, including IS-2s, IS-3s, and T-10s.*
F i r s t L o o k
Meng Model has now released a 1/35 scale T-10M. The kit comprises 328 parts in dark green plastic, ten parts in clear, 192 black track links, 384 black handed track pins, a clear plastic two-part track assembly jig, a photo-etched fret, 20 polythene caps and markings for four vehicles.
The kit features beautiful surface features with authentic cast and rolled steel texture featured on the hull and turret.
The torsion bar housings, the bump limiters and drive joints are all separate parts to be added to the lower hull before the working torsion bar / axle assemblies are fitted. The road wheels are fixed with polythene caps.
The fully workable tracks are made up from individual links plus two pins.
The pins are handed inboard and outboard.
The clever clear jig allows five links to be assembled at one time. The pins are inserted five at a time in the sides of the track links before they are even cut from the sprues. This should make the task more manageable than the 522 parts might suggest.
There is an impressive amount of stowage boxes, with brush guards also supplied as fine plastic parts. In fact, even the tow cables are moulded in the hard green plastic with separate towing eyes. They look pretty impressive too.
Continuing their efforts to extract the maximum from moulding technology, the texture of the canvas roll on the rear of the turret and the side-mounted unditching beam are also beautifully done.
The main gun may be elevated and lowered thanks to polythene caps, and the turret hatches may be left to operate with their workable hinges. The cupola-mounted DShK machine gun and the textured muzzle brake with its multiple baffles look fantastic.
The kit’s photo-etched fret supplies nice woven-effect mesh for the engine deck grilles.
The kit's high quality decal sheet includes markings for four vehicles.
C o n c l u s i o n
Meng’s 1/35 scale T-10M is a beautiful kit with a very high level of detail delivered with a minimum of multimedia. It really is a tribute to the potential of modern injection moulded plastic.
Although nearly 1,000 parts sounds daunting, the tracks make up nearly 600 of these, and the jig will make this task much more manageable than the total suggests.
If you are a fan of post-war Soviet vehicles, Meng Model’s 1/35 scale T-10M is a must-have.
Even if you’re not, this is an exquisite kit that deserves to be built.
* Historical summary courtesy of Wikipedia
Purchased by the reviewer and available from hobby shops online and worldwide.
Text and Images by Brett Green