T-72M Cold War Medium Battle Tank
Das Werk (Amusing Hobby), 1/35 scale
Reviewed by Cookie Sewell
F i r s t L o o k
When the Soviets came out with the T-72 tank in 1973 – and after a prolonged fight within the Politburo and Ministry of Defense to put the tank into production – it did not take long before Soviet customer states to include the Warsaw Pack began asking for their own versions of the new tank. In 1978 they began to offer the export models of the tank as the Object 172M-Eh (for Ehksport) series. But they also did not want to offer the best versions of the tank so two model lines were developed: one for Warsaw Pact members and one for third world customers.
The initial models closely matched the original T-72 but with some changes such as one-piece glacis armor vice the three-layer (steel-fiberglass-steel) and changes to the NBC protection; the Warsaw Pact ones got reduced levels compared to the Soviet domestic tanks and the third world ones were stripped out.
In 1981 a new model, the T-72M, was offered with the Object 172M-Eh3 going to the Pact and the –Eh4 to the third world. This was also the first one offered for foreign production in the CSSR and Poland. Poland, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia also purchased rights to build the T-72M variant in their own countries. Once again, they had a different design of turret and glacis armour (essentially monolithic and not composite) and the Eh4 lacked full Soviet NBC protection. (It remained with the Pact Eh3 vehicles as they would be considered to be fighting side by side with Soviet tanks on the same battlefield and required similar levels of protection.) These tanks did have the laser range finder and modified fire controls systems but were not fully identical to those of the T-72A.
Amusing Hobby from China produced a T-72M/M1 kit which while interesting (it had a full interior) missed the mark with both versions of the tank due to problems with the turret. Now Das Werk, another new company, has offered a corrected version of the T-72M tank. According to its website, Das Werk (roughly The Factory in English) is a German company founded in 2017 who partners with foreign manufactures and offers engineering support to provide accurate kits. This kit is an improved version of the earlier model with a new turret shell and details as well as a new PE fret.
This model dispenses with most of the interior parts of the previous kit but still includes extra ammunition cassettes on the three suspension sprues. The three-piece track link tracks are going to be tedious but a number of jigs are provided to permit assembly of four links at a time (95 per side are suggested). I somehow think those of us with a deep parts box and spare kits could swap out for a pair of Tamiya T-72M1 kit tracks if you do not want to take the time with these or a metal set.
Warning: there is no parts map for this kit included and some of the sprues are not lettered.
Assembly starts with the lower hull pan and covers the first eight steps. The model comes with separate rotary shock absorbers, bump stops and torsion bars but only offers the original eight bolt wheel sets for the model. The lower glacis needs to have four of the plow attachment points removed per the directions. All wheels have separate hubs but are not moveable as installed. The auxiliary fuel tanks are nicely done with a complete body only needing the ends attached.
Step 9 covers the glacis and there is a choice of two options: either the T-72M or NVA specific T-72M UV-1 version with the base glacis plate or the T-72M UV-2 with the 16mm appliqué installed. Care is required as the directions are not very specific about which is which after the first illustration. Also their directions for using ACC consist of an icon that looks like an oil can! There are a number of PE braces and flanges installed on the fenders along the way.
Step 15 covers the hull roof and 16 the engine deck. You have an option to install the wading covers (parts A12 and A20) or the grilles (parts Z15 and A16) in this step, but as the snorkel is fixed and stowed that sort of misses the mark.
Since this is a Czech built tank the auxiliary fuel tanks are fitted with hoses to attach them to the tank’s fuel system in Step 19. A photo is included to show the final result.
Step 21 starts the turret construction – unlike the Amusing Hobby T-72M/M1 kit, this one provides a normal turret shell without the “podboy” radiation liner attached. There are two options – the T-72M and T-72M UV-2 versions have the Typ 902A “Tucha” smoke grenade launchers and the T-72M UV-1 does not. If that option is selected the slots for the mountings for the launchers must be filled in with putty.
There are a number of options for the turret with the Ra parts being the new ones for this tank. Some details are small but Das Werk does give you an option.
Step 28 covers the NVST machine gun and its mount of 13 parts and a windscreen (part E45) as well. In Step 29 the three-piece styrene gun barrel is assembled and installed. Since this model does not have the interior of its predecessor there are 24 fewer steps in its construction.
Four finishing options are provided: Nationalesvolksarmee, DDR, 1980s (protective green with logos); Hungarian Army, 1990s (protective green with insignia and bort number 124); Czech Army, 1980s (protective green with roundel and bort number 250), and Iraqi Army 2006 from Hungarian stocks (sand with Iraqi flag markings). A small sheet with a “number jungle” is included. Colors are keyed to AMMO by MIG paint colors.
In summary, even with a few disappointing features like the lack of turret bulges it is a nice kit and the only game in town if you want to show how a T-72 goes together.
A 37 Hull roof, engine deck, appliqué, details – Gr
B 20 Skirts, fender bins, scraper blade, hull details – Gr
C 33 Gun barrel, unditching beam, mudguards, shock absorbers - Gr
D 27x2 Torsion bars, auxiliary fuel tanks, hull details - Gr
E 70 Turret base, roof, details - Gr
F 93x3 Suspension, hull belly details – Gr
H 17 Clear styrene
I 69x7 Track pins, assembly jigs – Br
Ra 24 Turret race, shell, fuel tank racks, detail changes, rail shipping locks
T 8x27 Track links - Br
Z 47 Etched brass
- 1 Turret shell - Gr
- 1 Lower hull pan - Gr
- 1 Length of black nylon string
- 1 Length of black vinyl tubing
- 1 Length of springing
Thanks to Meng Models for the sample www.meng-model.com
Text by Cookie Sewell