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James H

1:35 Russian T-80UD MBT

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1:35 Russian T-80UD MBT
Trumpeter

Catalogue # 09527

 

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The T-80 is a third-generation main battle tank (MBT) designed and manufactured in the Soviet Union. When it entered service in 1976, it was the first MBT in the world to feature a powerful multifuel turbine engine as its main propulsion engine. The T-80U was last produced in a factory in Omsk, Russia, while the T-80UD and further-developed T-84 continue to be produced in Ukraine. The T-80 is similar in layout to the T-64; the driver's compartment is on the centre line at the front, the two-man turret is in the centre with gunner on the left and commander on the right, and the engine is rear mounted. The original T-80 design uses a 1,000hp gas turbine instead of a 750-horsepower diesel engine, although some later variants of the T-80 revert to diesel engine usage. The gearbox is different, with five forward and one reverse gear, instead of seven forward and one reverse. Suspension reverts from pneumatic to torsion bar, with six forged steel-aluminium rubber-tired road wheels on each side, with the tracks driven by rear sprockets. The glacis is of laminate armour and the turret is armoured steel. The turret houses the same 125 mm 2A46 smoothbore gun as the T-72, which can fire anti-tank guided missiles as well as regular ordnance. 

A disadvantage highlighted during combat in Chechnya was the vulnerability of the T-80BV to catastrophic explosion. The reason given by US and Russian experts is the vulnerability of stored semi-combustible propellant charges and missiles when contacted by the molten metal jet from the penetration of a HEAT warhead, causing the entire ammunition load to explode. In parallel with the T-80U and Russia in general, the Morozov Bureau in Ukraine developed a diesel-powered version, the T-80UD. It is powered by the 1,000-hp 6TD-1 6-cylinder multi-fuel two-stroke turbo-piston diesel engine, ensuring high fuel efficiency and a long cruising range. The T-80UD shares most of the T-80U's improvements but can be distinguished from it by a different engine deck and distinctive smoke-mortar array and turret stowage boxes. It retains the remotely-controlled commander's machine gun. About 500 T-80UD tanks were built in the Malyshev plant between 1987 and 1991.
Extract from Wikipedia

The kit

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This is certainly a large (48cm x 30cm x 8cm), reasonably weighty and full box of styrene, and Trumpeter say this kit has approx. 940 parts, so it’s no weekend project either. The box art depicts a T-80 on some sort of drive-past/parade on Red Square in Moscow and shows the lines of this vehicle off to a real advantage. Including this 2017 release, Trumpeter’s T-80 has seen around 9 incarnations (including the T-84), up to press, with this of course being the T-80UD, in Russian service. Inside the box, we have a total of 21 sprues, with most of these in light grey plastic, four in brown, and three in an off-white vinyl which can be cemented with your regular brand. These are packaged individually, mostly, except for the multiples of the same sprue.

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In the middle of the box, another separate box with a product lid, contains the lower hull, turret, rear engine deck, some of those smaller sprues, decals, braided copper wire, and PE fret. In all, a very busy and attractive kit.

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It's generally accepted that the base T-80 is a pretty accurate depiction of this Soviet beast, so I won’t be looking at any elements of accuracy here, plus I’m not qualified to comment on them either. 

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Construction of this kit is broken down into 32 stages over 20 pages, and begins with assembly of the idler, drive and road wheels, spread out over the first six sprues. We then plough onto what I think is the most impressive part of this kit, and that is the slide-moulded lower hull. Typically designed as a bathtub part, the details are just amazing, including the lower forward glacis, torsion bar fairings, access panels etc. Tensioner wheel mounts are also integral, and the various weld seams look excellent. Road wheel holes are also keyed to accept the swing arms and ensure they angle properly. Some rather nifty PE clasps also store what looks to be a section of a log, perhaps for vehicle recovery if bogged down. The log itself is moulded on a flexible vinyl sprue.

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The lower hull is massively detailed with a deployable plate that may be something to do with RPG defence or similar. I’m not too sure. In front of this will fit four sections of flexible, cementable vinyl that seem to form a skirt. It’s definitely a nice touch. 

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Trumpeter has moulded the upper hull as two main parts with separate reactive armour panel for the forward glacis and a rather nice slide-moulded engine vent for the rear. The latter is bagged separately within the interior box of the kit and needs almost zero clean-up before use. PE engine screen grilles are supplied for this model, as seems to be standard these days.

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Many of the included parts make up the tracks. These are made up entirely out of individual links, and on top of that, you’ll need to fit the horn to each one. Each side has 82 links, and a jig is included to help you assemble these. They do appear to be workable, or at least to some degree so you can assemble the whole length and then apply to the tank. These parts are moulded in brown styrene, for reasons unknown. 

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I’m rather impressed with the kit fenders. As with many areas of this kit (turret, tow cable ends etc.), slide moulding has been employed to create a truly 3D part without the need for awkward construction, especially on the forward end of the fenders where many curves are present. 

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More slide-moulding excellence with the turret. This complex shape has a realistic cast effect, and a separate lower mounting plate. There isn’t any internal detail here, but you can of course pose the gunner/commander hatches in the open position. You’d be better off filling the void with a crew member though. The reactive armour bricks fit separately to the turret. In fact, when you attach all of the various bricks and stowage, very little of that texture seems to be seen!

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A three-part barrel is included and for this specific kit, a flexible vinyl mantlet is to be used.  

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A single decal sheet is included with simple, white printing. This appears to be nice and thin and with minimal carrier film. Three schemes are included with this release, and they are unidentified on the colour sheet that’s included. Paint references are supplied for Mr Hobby, Vallejo, Model Master, Tamiya and Humbrol colours. Trumpeter’s instructions are nice and simple to follow, even with a model with almost 1000 parts. Illustrations are in simple line drawing format and everything is clearly annotated where necessary.

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Conclusion
An impressive kit in many ways, including overall detail, complexity of slide-moulded parts, stature and overall presence. I quite like Russian armour, just from its appearance in comparison to regular Western subjects, and this kit ticks all the right boxes. 

My sincere thanks to Pocketbond for sending this kit for us to review. To purchase, check out your favourite Trumpeter retailer.

 

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