Soviet T-64 Mod 1972

Published on
Review Author(s)
Scale
1/35
MSRP
$63.99
Product / Stock #
01578
Company: Trumpeter - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Stevens International - Website: Visit Site
Box Art

Background

Designed in the 1950/60’s with production beginning in 1967, the T-64 was more expensive and technically complex than the T-72 which entered production shortly after. It had a crew of three and featured an electro-hydraulic autoloader for the main gun that initially was 115 mm but later upgraded to 125 mm smoothbore to maintain fire superiority over the NATO tanks then being produced. The smaller crew allowed the tank to be designed with a lower profile and drop in overall weight by 6 tons, but increased the workload for the crew in everyday tank maintenance. The T-64 was constantly updated throughout its production run of 13,000 that ended in 1985. It was a basis and test bed for development of the T-80 tank. The T-64 would only be used by the Soviet army and never exported, and upon the breakup of the Soviet Union it would remain in the arsenals of constituent republics. The largest operator of T-64s outside of Russia currently is the Ukraine. Its first combat deployment did not occur until 1992 in Moldova.

Kit

The sturdy cardboard box comes loaded with over 550 parts – one tree of clear plastic, 20 trees of light gray plastic, 1 tree of gray soft plastic/vinyl, 3 small photo etch frets, one piece hull and turret, a metal barrel, and a small decal sheet. The trees and parts are in individual easy-open bags. Extra fragile parts have extra foam wrapping to prevent breakage, a nice touch. The parts are cleanly molded with no flash and very good detail. The sprue attachments are pretty thick and there are bunches of little extra pour stubs that will need to be trimmed off and cleaned up. There is a 16-page, 14-step instruction booklet and a one-sided, 4-view color painting/marking guide sheet. Color callouts are for Mr. Hobby, Vallejo, Model Master, Tamiya, and Humbrol. There are many parts marked “not for use” on this kit which suggest other variants to be released.

Construction

Construction starts with the lower hull and fit is overall good with the only problem noted that the axles that fit loosely into the holes in the hull. Three on each side have a shock absorber attached to provide a firm anchor, while the other three can free float a little and give you some vertical wheel stagger. The wheels are also a loose fit on the axles, allowing wobble if you’re not careful. A nice bending template is provided for the photo etch mud scrapers for the main drive gear. Where photo etch parts are called out, there appears to be no plastic part option throughout the build.

The tracks are link and length, and require a fair amount of cleanup to remove all the pour stubs and sprue attach points. They fit together well and there were more than enough links to cover the assembly. I ended up with three spare links on each tree. I built my tracks in an upper and lower subassembly to allow painting first, then assembly onto the hull later. In step #3, I left part B26 (x2) off until after final assembly of the tracks to give me more room to fit the tracks.

The upper hull is built and added to the lower hull in step 4 & 5. Fit was very good and no problems were noted in these steps.

The fender assemblies are built next in step 6&7. Again, good fit and no problems, but because I was going to remove the tracks for painting, I did not glue these in place because once they’re glued down you cannot remove the upper track run.

The remaining upper hull details are added in step 8 and the beginning of step 9. The headlight guards are very fragile and will bend and crack easily. The extra armor plates mounted on the fenders have a loose fit and fragile attach points, so caution is advised. The other problem is the unditching log. The instructions show the log installed on the back end of the hull and held in place by 3-piece strap assemblies (photo etch). At no point earlier in the build are you told to fold and install these parts or where they are located. These are parts 2, 4, and 5 on the A photo etch tree. These are tricky to install and wrap around the log piece, but they do lock into place if done right. I added a touch of superglue to ensure they stay locked.

Turret construction starts in step 9. You have a choice of two options – the first with a large machine gun mounted to the commander’s cupola, and the second with a small infrared light mounted to the commander’s cupola. Step 9 is sort of divided into halves with option you choose. After tha,t it’s a free for all in the instructions. The next four pages with steps 10-13 are a confusing jumble of subassemblies and options that you have to figure out whether or not you need, depending on your choice of turret option. The instructions could’ve been done much better by Trumpeter at this point. Fit of the parts was good. You have 3 main gun barrels in the kit to choose from – one metal barrel and one plastic barrel depicting the same gun. The third is a plastic barrel with a thermal wrap. The barrels can be installed in one of two mantles, with the only difference being the elevation of the barrel.

The final step shows the turret installation to the hull. Fit between turret and hull was a very snug one that does not allow rotating of the turret without some effort.

Painting/Decals

For painting, I broke my tank down into subassemblies: turret, hull, fenders (LH/RH), wheels, and tracks (LH/RH). Everything received an airbrushed coat of Tamiya Black #X-1. I then airbrushed Model Master Russian Armor Green #2129 initially right out of the bottle, then adding a drop or two of Model Master Gelb RLM 04 #2072 for highlight areas. The tracks were lightly airbrushed with Model Master Rust #1785. Various small items were detail painted. Everything was reassembled and decals were applied onto a spot of Future. There were two guard unit emblems, five sets of numbers, and then two more sets of 0-9 provided so you can make your own number combination, if desired. The decals handled well and settled right in with the Future. A final coat of Testors Dullcoat was airbrushed overall.

Conclusion

I like the low, menacing look of Soviet tanks with their extremely long guns, and this kit captures that look perfectly. Detail and fit were overall very good and there were nice additions of a metal barrel and photo etch to add to both the challenge and detail. My only complaint about this kit would be the instructions that left a couple pieces out and then totally dissolved into a confusing puzzle of illustrations during the turret portion of the build. But it’s all easily handled if you just take it slow and refer back to the option illustration chosen. I can highly recommend Trumpeter’s Cold War warrior. Thanks to Stevens International for the review kit and IPMS-USA for the chance to build and review it.

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