is another of those Cold War Icons, Globally exported its been involved in most of the worlds major conflicts since it appeared on the scene in the late 1960’s. It was the Soviet Unions low cost alternative to the T-64
series, equipping units outside of the technology challenging Central front area although it was the main stay of Soviet units in the Central group of Forces
in Czecheslovakia. Other than that it was mostly found in the Western Military districts of the Soviet Union or exported across the middle east.
The T-72B comenced production in 1985 and introduced levels of protection that exceeded those of both the T-64 and T-80 making it the best protected of the Soviet tanks. The other key capability on this model was the AT-11 Svir missile
. The model includes the Kontakt 1 ERA
which was available from 1982, first mounted on tanks in 1983, first identified by NATO in 1984 and fitted to the T-72B from 1988. It is worth speculating on weather it would have been rolled out earlier if East West relationships had decended into crisis.
One of the major thrusts of Soviet organisational and equipment change over this period was the neutralisation of the NATO ATGW threat as the the density of Anti Tank weapons had increased to a point where the Soviet Army felt that success was unlikly. This then drove their adoption of ERA and the significant increase in artillery systems over the period.
The improved armour provided the T-72B with base protection of 520mm RHA equivalent from APDS and 950mm RHA equivalent protection from HEAT, Kontakt 1 providing an additional 350mm – 400mm RHA equivalent against HEAT. Of interest the Improved TOW missile would penetrate 900mm RHA equivalent with TOW 2A
delivered in 1987 doing 900mm behind ERA. I suspect it was not until the introduction of TOW2B in 1991 that the balance of advantage was restored to the ATGW. A Tandem war head for Milan did not arrive until 1993 so for a significant period the impact of the ATGW and LAW capability was reduced.
This review looks at the modelcollect
T-72B although there are a variety of options on the market including
- Hobby Den
- Model Collect
The modelcollect kit like a lot of their armour kits is priced at around £11 and depending on when and how many you order may be shipped from China or their UK warehouse. Like the TOS-1 it is staggeringly well packaged with clear instructions.
The Hull is cast from white metal and is finly molded and adds a rather pleasing weight to the finished vehicle. The Tracks are flexible plastic but fit and fix easily using liquid poly. The remainder of the parts are Molded from plastic, the level of detail is generaly excellant and the quality of the molding is very good with only minor amounts of flash on one of the 4 models I built. Modelcollect are certainly approaching Revell standards if they are not quite there yet. No major issues with the build but a few minor ones as follows:
- Turret fit to Hull
- Fit of the front right Turret ERA (looking at the front)
- Removal from Sprue and fitting of external fuel barrel supports
The Turret Hull fit is best sorted before you build the turret as trying to sort it once the turret is constructed is asking for a mishap. The problem stems from insufficient space between the base of the turret and the retaining lugs to accommodate the depth of the molding of the hull deck, a little light filling between the top of the lug and base of the turret soon removes the issue more radically you could just chop off the lugs.
I have yet to try this but separating the turret front right ERA block strip into probably 3 bits will result in a better fit.
Care is generally needed with the finer parts such as the commanders MG. The external fuel tank supports definitely fall into this category and need a bit of thinking about before removal. On the batch build I only lost one on the first vehicle I lost 50%. Fitting them to the hull rear also requires some work as the mounting lugs can be a little large.
Other than that it was a breeze with assembly taking a couple of hours. In contrast I have been building 3 ACE T-72Bs for at least 2 years :). Once constructed the vehicle looks the part and whilst I have seen nothing specific on this vehicle Alex Clark has made some very encouraging noises about a number of other models in the range.
Markings, Stowage and Damage.
The vehicles carry traditional Soviet numbers on the left, right and rear stowage bins and in some cases regimental identifying marks can also be found on the bins. The left and right turret bins are of different lengths so may need different approaches to accomodating the markings. Examples of markings used can be found here
. The large model collect decal sheet which can be separately purchased contains a range of these.
Stowage can be seen in a number of immages and a canvas cover could also be worked for the cupola mounted HMG, a usefull strategy should you break it. I have seen images where the snorkle storage can be mounted up or down, in the down position it precludes the use of an identification number on the rear bins, not quite sure why I did that.
The modelcollect T-64 BV comes with an etched brass commanders screen which could also be deployed on the T-72. There are a variety of options to add vehicle damage around the side skirts and ERA packs immages also exist showing incomplete coverage of ERA blocks on the hull deck. Both provide a route for enhancing the models in your fleet. I have currently added regimental identifiers and vehicle numbers on the left and right stowage bins and have not included any additional stowage or famage on the first four vehicles.
My painting style with the airbrush continues to evolve. On these beasts the lower hull tracks and underside were sprayed with black, then the whole was sprayed with Tamiya XF-13 JA Green ensuring that the lower hull is left a darker shade. The pannels were then sprayed with Tamiya XF-65 field gray. Then the detail was picked out using Vallejo Black Grey for the HMG, Sight blocks and IR searchlights and sky grey for driving lights. A pin wash was then applied using the Humbrol Black enamel wash and a blue grey filter applied to selected pannels and the skirts using diluted Humbrol Blue Grey enamel wash. The raised detail was drybrushed using a mix of Vallejo Russian Uniform and Buff.
Decals were then applied and the whole vehicle was matt varnished then weathered. Weathering involved spraying the road wheels and base of the skirts with Tamiya XF- Earth Brown before washing these areas with a dilute solution of Vajello Mahogany Sand. The front and rear hull and lower hull was then oversprayed with Tamiya XF- Dark Yellow, with a progressivly lighter application as you move up the sides and onto the hull top than sides.
The vehicle is based using laser cut mdf from East Riding miniatures
this was painted dry brushed and covered with a variety of scatter material.
All up an excellent model, straight forward to assemble, quick to build and an excellent representation of the vehicle. Considerably easier than the ACE model and competativly priced against the alternatives.