Russian Tank BT-7 Model 1937
Reviewed by Luke Pitt
The kit has some 220 parts moulded in dark green plastic over 8 sprues. The cover art on this release is outstanding, adorning the now familiar white box top.The instructions provided are both easy to read and well laid out. Other kit manufacturers would benefit from looking at these.
The hull represents a BT-7 late version, which includes the late-style, short-pitch tracks.
The lower hull is supplied as a “flat pack”, with separate parts for the hull sides, floor, rear hull and nose. This parts breakdown is necessary to authentically reproduce the characteristic inner and outer hull construction of the Christie suspension design. Assembly jigs are provided for the road wheels and for the photo-etched mesh on the engine deck. The mesh pattern is a little dense (in pitch) for my liking, but is perfectly adequate. The assembly of these items is almost foolproof with no gaps in evidence. This is a real testament to the way this kit is engineered.
Options include poseable hatches for the turret crew and the driver. Most of the tools and minor fitting on the hull are provided as separate fittings which has its obvious advantages. The conical main turret, which has a quite complex shape, is provided as a three piece moulding. Two crew figures are included. The poses are good and the decal sheet provides some nicely printed rank badges. Like the other “BT” kits released by Tamiya this kit includes a length of chain in the proper pitch, and a clear sprue for the headlight lenses and visor blocks.
The new short-pitch tracks are supplied as link and length which has its good points ad bad points. How so, you may ask? Well, while the tracks are very well detailed and extremely easy to assemble, but in my opinion they are a tad too thick in profile.
For the detail fanatics the, distinctive track pin inserts may have to be drilled out as they are represented as flat disks when they should in fact be holes. This is not a hard task by any stretch, just time consuming.
Three marking choices are provided, two in Russian service and one in German. All are in standard Russian green.
This new version of the BT-7 from Tamiya is accurate in shape, has logical build steps, is easy to build and has a low part count. As can be reliably expected from this manufacturer, the model is also a breeze to build. For example, I assembled the entire lower hull together in less than an hour. It is without a doubt a better kit than the old Zvezda example and can be heartily recommended as a very worthwhile purchase. Even though I have criticised both the tracks and rear screen mesh, they are in reality very minor points and for most modellers would hardly be an issue.